The Apple MacBook 2015 and Moore's Law

Apple’s new MacBook looks insanely great. It follows in a fine Apple tradition of forcing the pace of technological change by removing ports slightly ahead of what is practical (original jellybean iMac, legacy ports, floppy drive; Macbook Air, optical drive). It takes port-removal to almost its logical extreme, with only a newfangled USB Type-C port, which doubles as power, and a headphone socket. It also takes thinness that much closer to its asymptote, while it actually bumps against the width-asymptote (at least as long as we stick with full-sized traditional-layout keyboards). Computers can’t get much smaller without changing form dramatically.

But impressive though all that is, it’s not what stood out for me in the keynote. No, that was this frame of the presentation:


All the black stuff? Battery. The actual logic board is that tiny sliver of PCB, crammed up near the top hinge. So in case we need any more evidence that while Moore’s Law marches merrily on for processors and storage, it doesn’t apply to battery technology, this is it. (The other thing you can see is the trackpad - until we grow smaller fingers that’s not going to shrink much, and nor is the screen, and nor is the keyboard - we’d need new interaction methods entirely to get smaller.)

That logic board is smaller than an iPhone 6 (which, of course, is also mostly battery). Insane!

MacBook 2015 comparison

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