Thinner and lighter laptops, a trend driven by Apple, have screwed us all

“The pursuit of thinner, lighter laptops, a trend driven by Apple, means we have screwed ourselves out of performance,” Owne Willimas writes for Motherboard. “Over the last few days we’ve seen outcry about Apple’s new MacBook Pro, which offers an optional top-end i9 processor, and how its performance is throttled to the point of parody as the laptop heats up over time.”

“The sobering reality is that this practice is normal across laptops — we’re just starting to see it more often,” Willimas writes. “Desktop computers faded in popularity over the last decade, but many of the tasks we’re demanding from our laptops simply can’t compete with the raw power of a desktop in the physical constraints of their form factors. The problem, almost always, comes back to heat: there’s too much of it, and not enough space to get rid of it… laptops tend to get hot because they’re thinner, with limited space to dissipate that heat through the use of fans and heatsinks.”

“Apple’s insatiable thirst for thinner, which we can see across the iPhone and Mac, appears to have finally caught up with the company. Its new hardware is the most powerful yet, but the form factor betrays that on-paper performance, because the laptop’s form factor means it’s thermally constrained,” Willimas writes. “This isn’t the only thermally constrained machine Apple builds, either. After years of silence, Apple admitted in 2017 that the top-end Mac Pro was stagnant because ‘[…] we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will.'”

“If Pro users really were Apple’s target market, the company could redesign these laptops to use the older, thicker MacBook Pro form factor from 2015,” Willimas writes. ” With that available space, and improvements in processor design, it would be able to better cool the same hardware and squeeze out more performance—but it’ll never happen. Thicker laptops would mean admitting failure.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote nearly 3 weeks before these latest MacBook Pro models were unveiled:

Form over function will get you every time.

Hey, Jony: Enough with the thin.

Everything is thin enough. Sometimes too thin. Thinner isn’t the answer to everything, nor is thinness intrinsic to good design. We’d gladly take a bit more robustness and battery life over more unnecessary thinness, thanks.MacDailyNews, June 25, 2018

How to fix Apple’s MacBook Pro throttling and give yourself much more performance with just a few clicks – July 24, 2018
MacBook Pro CPU throttling controversy continues as Intel says it’s okay – July 24, 2018
Engadget reviews Apple’s new MacBook Pro: Exactly what you’ve been waiting for – July 23, 2018
About that MacBook Pro Core i9 throttling claim – July 20, 2018
Mashable reviews Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Pro: ‘An insanely powerful machine’ – July 19, 2018
MacBook Pro (mid 2018) throttling – July 19, 2018
Apple’s new 13-Inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar sports four full-speed thunderbolt 3 ports – July 19, 2018
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Pro: ‘Extremely powerful machine; Apple’s not messing around here’ – July 18, 2018


    1. MDN has a position for whichever way the wind blows.

      The technically illiterate shouldn’t be allowed to write about technology. Today Apple announced a firmware upgrade that fixes a bug causing thermal throttling in ALL MacBook Pros, not just the current model.

  1. Apple could easily do this, it is quite ridiculous that they created a form factor which cannot handle the CPU.
    1. MacBook Air-thin and light as possible, even if you can’t replace SSD and RAM.
    2. MacBook-medium range laptop with standard fusion HD option to make it affordable for education customers and average people, with (Apple SSD options are insanely over the top price wise.) User-Replaceable HD and RAM.
    3. MacBook Pro–the most powerful, desktop replacements, price-is-no-object laptops. User-Replaceable SSD and RAM.

  2. I could not disagree more. Notebook computers should be as thin and light as they can possibly be. Form contributes to function. Powerful notebooks that are easy to transport, can be easily handled with one hand, and fit well on an airplane tray is the goal. I will likely be purchasing a new MacBook soon, I am waiting to see what the new MacBooks are like and if there is a display larger than 12 inches. The MacBook Pro 15 inch and 13 inch are a bit too thick and heavy for me.

    1. Precisely the type of „advice” Apple should ignore. 12” is too small but 13” is too „thick and heavy”? Do you feel the pea under a dozen mattresses and complain about the porridge being too hot/cold? Not 1% of Macbook users fly even once a week for their laptop fitting on an airline tray to be a major factor, let alone a design „goal”. I’d like to see a survey of Macbook customers and what they really want in a New Macbook, I don’t think „thinner” or „lighter” would make the top 5.

    2. “Form contributes to function.”

      Absolutely correct.

      Thinness form contributes to thermal throttling, loss of ports, smaller battery,

      Since when is a MacBook Pro a notebook? …

  3. If I want thin, I’ll use my iPad. I would rather have the ability to upgrade my own ssd and ram rather than having a ultra thin laptop.

    Sorry, Apple, you’re wrong in this decision again, but what else do you expect from Timmy’s new Non Steve Jobs Apple.

  4. I noticed this with Windows laptops is the preponderance of stupid-thin at the cost of being faster, having more ports and longer battery life – you know, things like more important than thinness?

    How about a Mac Book PHAT Pro that is chunkier, more versatile & powerful and designed for pros who really want to get things done? Thin is not “in.”

    1. Yeah!

      Big, Blonde And Beautiful lyrics – Queen Latifah

      Bring on that pecan pie!
      Pour some sugar on it sugar, don’t be shy
      Scoop me up a mess of that chocolate swirl
      Don’t be stingy I’m a growing girl

      I offer big love with no apology
      How can I deny the world the most of me?
      I am not afraid to throw my weight around
      Pound by pound by pound, because I’m

      Big, blond & beautiful
      Face the fact, it’s simply irrefutable!
      No one wants a meal that only offers the least
      When girl, we’re serving up tghe whole damn feast

      Slice me off a piece of that hog head cheese!
      Take a look inside my book of recipes
      Now don’t you sniff around for something fluffy and light
      We need a man who brings a man sized appetite!

      I use a pinch of sugar and a dash of spice!
      I’ll let you lick the spoon because it tastes so nice!
      We’ll keep in the oven till it’s good and hot
      Keep on stirring till you hit the spot!

      Because I’m big, blond, & beautiful
      There is nothing ’bout us that’s unsuitable
      Why sit in the bleachers timid and afraid
      When Edna, you look like the whole parade

      They say that white has might and thin is in
      Well, that’s just bull ’cause ladies big is back
      And as for black it’s beautiful!
      All shapes and sizes follow me!
      Who wants a twig when you can climb a whole tree?

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, groovy baby groovy!

  5. The most powerful computer is the one that I have with me.

    Being thinner and lighter makes it more likely that I’ll have it with me. Yes, there are some sacrifices for that, but upgradeable components and an array of legacy ports, while convenient in of themselves, don’t have a direct impact on the Pro nature of my Mac or the performance therein.

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