Intel Just Announced New Chips That Could Let Future MacBooks Have Practically Unlimited Battery Life

Intel Just Announced New Chips That Could Let Future MacBooks Have Practically Unlimited Battery Life

You think those new Sandy Bridge MacBook Pros are beasts? Just wait a couple years. That’s when Apple will be able of releasing bleeding edge MacBooks capable of not only running for 24 hours on a single charge, but of recharging their cells as they run by sucking up the ambient light in the room around them. Wow.

At today’s Intel Developer’s Forum, Intel introduced its new Haswell architecture, and it’s a doozy of an update to current chips.

Created using a 22 nanometer 3D transistor process, the first thing Haswell makes possible is ARM-like power consumption on an x86 chip. That means all day battery life, as well as ten days of connected standby. Drool.

But that’s not all. The Haswell architecture sucks up so little power — twenty times less than current Intel chips — that they can actually run on a solar cell. To prove it, Intel even showed off a Haswell-based Windows PC that was running entirely off a solar cell that was basking in the glow of a single light bulb.

Theoretically, this means that future MacBooks could have, for all intents and purposes, absolutely no constraints on their battery life. If Apple stocks them with solar cells, they could work indefinitely off of a single charge, juicing themselves as needed from the ambient light in the room. Wow.

Of course, Haswell’s a couple generations away — first we need to get through Ivy Bridge, which should come out next year and also reduce Intel power consumption. Plus Intel has some optimizations to do first.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Apple switching the MacBook line to ARM chips, which has always been farfetched, but Haswell cinches it: Intel’s finally taking power consumption seriously, and they are using their absolutely peerless manufacturing process to try to destroy ARM’s advantages in just a couple generations.

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  • Guest

    “bleeding edge”, huh?  That’s pretty gutsy!

  • Kuipo

    This would be amazing.  IF it happens to turn out this way.  I’ll reserve my actual feelings for when they have them in production for the masses.  I hope for the best however.

  • markbyrn

    And i imagine Cult of Mac would allow adverts that told people not to read Cult of Mac or click any of it’s ad links.

  • Jdsonice

    Wow Wow Wow – This could help create a whole new swarm of devices that would not need regular charging. 

  • Mike Rathjen

    “To prove it, Intel even showed off a Haswell-based Windows PC that was
    running entirely off a solar cell that was basking in the glow of a single light bulb.”

    I assume it wasn’t running Crysis.

  • Bill

    Wow! The new device uses “twenty times less” power than current Intel chips. So if they’re using 1x now, that means they will be using -19x! That’s truly incredible. They will generate power! With enough of those, we can get rid of power plants and internal combustion engines.

    Without accurate, well-considered tech reporting like this we might have missed this breakthrough!

    :-)

  • EmmaMitch5611616524

    “bleeding edge”, huh?  That’s pretty gutsy!

    I just got a $829.99 iPåd2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use BÏDFiRsT. COM

  • MiralSimon

    woooow that’s incredibly unbelievable I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use http://fzy.co/1Sj

  • tMyers327

    end of the world next year so this is a null issue… :P but seriously this is freakin sweet, sign me up!

  • bpaul

    Bill,

    Well done for being such a pedant. Did running John down make you feel all warm inside? Clearly John meant that the new chipsets will use 1/20th of the current Sandybridge chipsets, so why do you feel the need to come on here and be all superior?

  • bpaul

    Whoops, I meant 1/20th of the power of…

  • MiosLaurie

    CPU is only one thing of the power consumers in one certain PC. Don’t warm to much.

  • Ren101

    This is truly a dream come true for me
    Intel has decided to blaze the trail once more
    Can’t wait for 2013

  • Ren101

    This is truly a dream come true for me
    Intel has decided to blaze the trail once more
    Can’t wait for 2013

  • Julian S

    That sounds pretty good yes. But as “MiosLaurie” points out, the CPU isn’t the greatest power user in a system. I believe the display backlight uses by far the most power. 

  • imajoebob

    I’d like this comment a lot more if I had made it the first.  Right down to the negative quotient.

  • imajoebob

    A switch to ARM would be about consolidating on iOS more than power considerations.  So it’s still a viable path, maybe even more so than Intel.

  • gareth edwards

    wonder if this ties in with a solar patent Apple applied for a while back? Something to do with screens with solar PV underneath – match made in heaven.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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