Lithium Polymer: 46% More Capacity, 0% More Weight

Today Apple is shipping lithium polymer batteries in all of its MacBook Pros. Only the original, white MacBook is offered with a removable battery. Most impressive are the capacities Apple is able to offer thanks to these new batteries.

The table below shows the old and new battery capacities:

  New Lithium Polymer Battery (Integrated)

Old Lithium Ion Battery (Removable)

Increase in Capacity
MacBook Pro 13-inch 58WHr 45WHr 29%
MacBook Pro 15-inch 73WHr 50WHr 46%
MacBook Pro 17-inch 95WHr 68WHr 40%

 

Now there was no 13” MacBook Pro before, so I’m comparing to the old aluminum 13” MacBook. Also, the 17” MacBook Pro was the first and only unibody 17” MacBook Pro so the old battery I’m comparing it to was the previous generation 17” MBP battery.


73Whr?!? Holy crap

The biggest winner is the 15” MacBook Pro, it gains a 46% increase in battery capacity with zero increase in size or weight. The new 15” MacBook Pro is the same size and weight (5.5lbs) as the previous model, it just has a 46% larger battery. Did I mention it’s cheaper too?

Index Other Hardware Changes
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  • RikkiTikkiTavi - Monday, June 15, 2009 - link

    Interesting. As I said my expertise on the mater is limited. It would be interesting to know what reasons there are for cylindrical cells.
    As I see it, they are more inefficient in both space usage and manufacturing. I'll see if I can find something on this.
    Reply
  • santala - Saturday, June 13, 2009 - link

    Indeed, the older Macbook batteries contain flat rectangular cells, which was plain to see once opened. Therefore the comparison used by Apple currently, which leads you to believe that they used to be cylinderical, is wrong. They have been rectangular on Macbooks before, the material and size simply has changed, not the shape of the cells themselves. Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Saturday, June 13, 2009 - link

    My apologies, you are indeed correct... browsing my pics folder came up with the answer-

    http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/PlasmaBomb/PowerBook....">http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/PlasmaBomb/PowerBook....
    Old powerbook = cylinders (NiMH I think).

    http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/PlasmaBomb/Mackbook.j...">http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/PlasmaBomb/Mackbook.j...
    Macbook = flat cells

    (feel free to take a copy of the pics)

    So they haven't used cylindrical cells for a long time, bad apple for deliberately misleading people :|

    Sorry as I said I don't have a macbook to play with :(
    The lithium ion battery from my laptop looked pretty much like this -
    http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/lithium-ion-ba...">http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/lithium-ion-ba...
    when I dismantled it (it was dead).
    Reply
  • evilspoons - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    I have a Mid-2007 15" MacBook Pro (Santa Rosa 2.2 GHz) with 3 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive (both upgraded by me from 2 GB - the extra 1 GB was free, otherwise I'd have 4 GB, and the 120 GB hard drive it came with was awful).

    Most of the time the battery life is just fine - but damn, this new 15" will DOUBLE what mine gets? Wow!

    I think the new 15" MBP - in matte - with 4 or 8 GB RAM, a 512 GB SSD (or a 128 GB plus a hard drive, if there somehow was room: I need my iTunes library!), and maybe with the upcoming quad-core laptop CPUs would make just about the perfect computer.

    Hopefully this is what the next generation MacBook Pro will look like and it'll be out about the time I start wishing my 2.2 GHz was faster.
    Reply
  • jeffbui - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    Anand, I'm sure you've put in that X25-M. Let us know how much more battery life the notebook gets. Thanks! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    My understanding is that the X25 is a high performance part that doesn't dramatically improve battery life. However, it should be better http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=34...">by about 6%, give or take. Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    Still 6% of 8 hours is a decent amount...

    about an extra half hour.
    Reply
  • cserwin - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    As a modeler of RC airplanes, I know that LiPO's require extreme caution, especially when charging. Search youtube for "LiPO Fire".

    Basically, if you charge the batteries too fast, they burn. Could the smaller brick have to do with battery charging rates?

    Reply
  • mmntech - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    I'm an RC pilot as well and IMO, the safety risks with LiPo packs have been greatly exaggerated in recent years. Most laptops and other portable consumer electronics devices these days already use Li-Ion or LiPo as is. All packs do have a serious risk of explosion and fire, but they usually don't spontaneously combust unless they're cheaply made and have internal faults. Remember that RC packs are rated for much higher performance than laptop packs. They're also subject to more stress in the form of vibration and hard impacts. In 99.9% of cases, they're safe in consumer electronics provided they aren't abused.

    The batteries used for laptops have built in charge circuitry and balancers.
    Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    That is what the chip in the battery and charging controller are for. Reply

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