What prevents companies from making a LONG lasting battery?

Shredder-

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 4, 2012
143
13
Maybe there's an obvious answer to this, but what prevents companies from making batteries that last +15 hours on a single charge?
 

imahawki

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2011
612
8
A lack of mastery of magic or conversely, still being bound by the laws of chemistry, physics, and electrical engineering.
 

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,603
1
There will never be everybody that is happy, so how do you choose what is a normal current draw to achieve that 15 hour life?? Apple claims 10 on some of their batteries, and yet we still see the "How is my battery only last 1.5 hours?" posts throughout the forums.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
You pick a battery chemistry/technology, like lithium-ion (of which there are probably many different variations), and then you get basically a fixed amount of capacity per volume of battery.

Apple could easily make a Macbook Pro with a 30 hour battery. It would probably be four inches thick and weight about 12 lbs.

As the energy storage density of batteries improves, you can make batteries the same size with more capacity or smaller batteries with the same capacity, or some other combination that makes sense as far as form factor and power requirements of the hardware go. Newer generations of processors can often do more with less power usage.

Take a look at the inside of an iPad for example on an iFixit teardown. An iPad has a very small power-sipping logic board, much more comparable to an iPhone than a Macbook. The entire rest of the inside of the case behind the screen is filled with a giant battery.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
It's no problem to build a battery that lasts 15, 20 or 50 hours. It will weight about half a pound per hour.

The real question is how much battery you can squeeze into a mobile device. For built in batteries, Apple is about as good as it gets. Note that electric car manufacturers face the same challenge.

I'm not exactly sure what the biggest issues are that prevent technology from advancing. But the incidents with burning iPhones and laptops should make clear that the batteries are operating at their limits. I think that over the next few years, the biggest progress in battery lifetime will be from reduced power consumption, not from increased battery capacities.
 

Kendo

macrumors 68020
Apr 4, 2011
2,161
626
Maybe there's an obvious answer to this, but what prevents companies from making batteries that last +15 hours on a single charge?
They can. But Apple, HP, and Dell shave down the size of the battery to fit more compact forms. A MacBook Air that lasts 15 hours would no longer be considered an Air if it were 3 inches thick.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
They can. But Apple, HP, and Dell shave down the size of the battery to fit more compact forms. A MacBook Air that lasts 15 hours would no longer be considered an Air if it were 3 inches thick.
Actually most laptop manufacturers sell slice batteries that attach to the bottom of a laptop and double or triple the battery life. Apple doesn't do this because it looks like crap ;)
 

Skika

macrumors 68030
Mar 11, 2009
2,923
924
I believe a really cool/amazing battery tech revolution awaits us in the future. I wouldn't be brave enough to say in how near or far though.
 

hotgrease

macrumors regular
Feb 14, 2010
101
0
Of course these are all reasons to have a USER REPLACEABLE BATTERY. But of course that will never happen again.
 

bill-p

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2011
1,871
373
Maybe there's an obvious answer to this, but what prevents companies from making batteries that last +15 hours on a single charge?
You see, no company in the world has been able to engineer a 5W CPU and 5W GPU wih the current performance of a Macbook Pro (45W CPU and 30W GPU)... So unless they can do even better than that, we're stuck with 10 hours and under.
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,386
62
Well there is an alternative to just putting in a bigger heavier battery, which is better battery chemistry.

Every year there is at least one brack through in that department. New Ge, Si anodes that last 3-10 store 3-10 times as much energy as current ones.
I still remember that a few years back they said 40 times the energy/volume is possible and it should sell for 2-3 years now. It never worked out. Something just always spoiled the plans. Cannot survive enough load cycles. Nobody has a powerful enough cathode.
Whatever it is there is lots of research and the actual advancements, while there, have been quite poor.
The research proves though that there is still more possible it just takes longer than expected.

Still though current battery lifes are simple choice of manufacturers. Batteries are costly. Cheap notebooks often only come with 48Wh. Better notebooks with 80-97 Wh. The MBP somewhere in between with 60/77 on the 13" and 15".
If they wanted the battery unlike the air is not that huge nor heavy in a 15" MBP. If they rearange the other components doubling capacity with a few cells spread out flat on the bottom or the display panel (which would be cooler and batteries like it cool) wouldn't change all that much. Maybe 4mm thicker.

Apple could easily make a Macbook Pro with a 30 hour battery. It would probably be four inches thick and weight about 12 lbs.
4inches it would be more like 4cm or 1.6 in though the 12 lb seem reasonable.
Double the bottom case and dedicate all additional space to battery would probably end up with 4 times the battery capacity about 1.6in thick and quite heavy.
The better alternative is the stuff that Sony, HP, Dell, Lenovo offer with the battery slices that may add a bit more thickness than a built in solution but you mustn't carry the weight around if you don't need it.
Apple could build some mounting holes into the current design and offer such a slice if they wanted to. 5mm slice would already double the battery life.
 

Dr McKay

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2010
3,423
45
Kirkland
The technology exists, however they are currently too dangerous for consumer use, there are batteries that could power your laptop for a day, however if it went bang, it'd probably take your house with it. No computer company wants that risk.
 

bdodds1985

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2011
867
0
Tartarus
Of course these are all reasons to have a USER REPLACEABLE BATTERY. But of course that will never happen again.
by far one of the worst things that they could have done was take that away from us. i used to (on my pc) take the battery out when i had it plugged in and it also gives you the option to buy multiple batteries (which apple would benefit from) but it seems they dont care. dont the older unibodies have a replaceable battery? why would they do that?:confused:
 

kevink2

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2008
1,406
133
It affects device size too to make it user replaceable.

You pretty much need a block sized opening for the battery to fit, reducing the options of making the battery different shapes to better fit a case and internal components.

And yes, especially with phones, I miss being able to swap batteries to extend life.

Advances in the phones have made battery life better through the years. Countered by the fact I do a lot more with my phone now in the course of a day.
 

bdodds1985

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2011
867
0
Tartarus
they can, but people are crying about how thin they want their devices to be.
exactly. any thinner and the only device we will be using is an ipad. it is still a step backwards to eliminate the option of taking the battery out even if they shave a whole quarter inch.
 
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