The difference a (battery's) life can make.
After decades of buying the cheapest Windows laptop available on the show floor at Best Buy and using them until they effectively destroyed themselves from within, my mom upgraded to the M2 MacBook Air last month1. As the dutiful "techie" son, I drove to my parents' place in New Jersey to help walk her through the process of setting up her first ever Mac — importing passwords and other preferences from iCloud, walking through how the dock and menu bar each function, explaining little differences in how window management works, etc. After about an hour of this I sat back and asked myself if there was anything else I needed to go over, anything markedly different about MacOS that was worth touching on for someone who had, until now, only used Windows.
"One last thing," I noted as I stood up and removed the MagSafe cable, "is that you're going to find yourself needing to charge this guy less than you're used to. It's much more portable than your last laptop. There's a reason when you walk into cafés almost everyone with a Windows laptop has theirs plugged into a wall and most of the people with MacBooks don't."
Apple dropped some updates to their Mac lineup today after some last-minute rumor-milling over the weekend. They're exciting releases2, and I'll let other, more qualified people explain why.
What really struck me was a piece of marketing material towards the end of the keynote that began with a title card: 3 Pros, 1 Day, 1 Battery Charge. It follows three creatives who all unplug their fully charged 2023 MacBook Pros at the same time and delve into their field of choice — one proceeds to film and edit 4k footage, the second recreates and old Zeiss lens via CGI along with a scene to shoot through said lens, and the third builds an iPad app. While they push the hardware past their perceived limits, the combined power of the M2 lineup of chips and the battery efficiency of the entire laptop effectively proves these three are more hampered by available time in the day than by the machine itself.
It's a great ad that gets to the heart of why I've found Apple's computing lineup so exciting since making my own switch way back when: It all feels frictionless due to the attention given to nuances like battery life. The big question for viewers, extrapolated out, is that if this laptop can cater to three super-users and survive an entire day's workload on a single charge, can you even imagine what's possible for yourself?
Creativity and recreation and work can all feel limited if you're confined to one specific space. While those kinds of limitations can sometimes be helpful, I've always found I'm more productive when I'm on the move. There are entire teams at Apple who are not only aware of this, but are dedicated to it. How efficient can we make this device, plugged in or not? In conjunction with every other team collaborating to focus their attention on other seemingly menial elements like trackpad response, hinge design, or user experience touches, everything adds up to create The MacBook Experience: It's a machine built to go unnoticed.
While you're in your element, you shouldn't have to think about it.
If all goes well, you shouldn't even have to plug it in.
1 That's the same laptop I'm using to write this! Wow!
2 My biggest takeaway is that the Mac Mini lineup is here to stay for the time being, which is a relief to this M1 Mac Mini owner. To be clear: It is still the best computer I have ever owned, and at no point have I felt like I've gotten close to the ceiling of what that chip is capable of despite hitting it with game streaming, audio production, photo editing, video editing, and more. That said, if it ever does start to show it's age I'll be happy to know there will likely be another Mac Mini to replace it with.