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  • Flash Halves New MacBook Air Battery Life: Tests


    Apple's rated 6-hour battery life on the 2010 MacBook Airs can only be achieved without Flash, according to a couple of new tests. Ars Technica found that installing Flash cut battery life to 4 hours on an 11-inch Air, while Anandtech's tests showed battery life cut in half on the 13-inch model. Apple claims that they do not install Flash on new MacBook Airs because they think "the best way for users to always have the most up to date and secure version" is to download it from Adobe.

    In his review of the 11-inch MacBook Air, Chris Foresman of Ars Technica was able to get only four hours of battery life doing normal web surfing. After he removed Flash, Foresman got six hours and two minutes out of the Air, browsing to the same sites. He concluded that the Flash ads on most of those sites was draining the 4500mAh six-battery array, observing that the CPU was "running far more than seemed necessary" when sites had Flash content.

    Anand Shimpi and Vivek Gowri at Anandtech did some different tests, but found similar results using Flash. Doing light web browsing, document creation and music playback on the 13-inch MacBook Air, they were able to get over eleven hours out of its larger 6500mAh battery pack. The 11-inch model got 7 hour battery life in this "glorified typewriter" test. However, when browsing pages with one to four Flash ads, the 13-inch Air's battery life was cut by more than 50% in comparison to browsing sites with no Flash and iTunes playing music.

    Apple has made no secret of its disdain for Flash. Steve Jobs, in a closed session, reportedly referred to Flash as "buggy," and called Adobe "lazy." In an open letter, Jobs claimed that the problems with battery life were due to the fact that Flash must be decoded in software, rather than in hardware like Apple's preferred H.264 standard. So an Apple spokesman may have been disingenuous when he told Engadget the company is "happy to continue to support Flash on the Mac." You can have it, he seems to be saying, but don't expect your Mac to run well or have much battery life.

    Source: PCWorld
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Flash Halves New MacBook Air Battery Life: Tests started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 60 Comments
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Right now, not having Flash means that a lot of ads and interactive portions simply aren't there. What happens when all the same websites convert to HTML5? Who's to say that the richness of HTML ads and content utilized at the same level will not similarly drain the battery? That would be the true test.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      HTMl5 doesn't have as large if a battery drain. I'll give you a link to a bunch or awesome interactive html5 things later.
    1. Tyronal's Avatar
      Tyronal -
      Quote Originally Posted by hypertripo View Post
      I never said I loved Flash or that it's awesome. I'm just saying that everyone says we don't need flash and that it's crap.

      If it is crap, I will totally agree with you if there is some proofs, benchmarks, test, etc, but saying flash takes more power than not having flash is just plain dumb.

      The thing is that Apple seems to protect itself from not really supporting flash by saying it's power hungry, crap and not needed.

      But i'm pretty sure everyone here has flash installed and it will be like that until we get a decent alternative that is accepted EVERYWHERE. Because now there is some flash over here, some html5 over there.
      Um...... the story, dude, has um, guess what. Battery life test with flash and without on macbook air. Isn't that a test? Or isn't it what you'd like to hear? My cpu % stats are exactly as recorded. Doesn't that count? This graph may help.
      http://docs.google.com/File?id=dc2hxh8z_305n7dc9whh_b

      Here is a blog by a developer who writes code, knows code and explains the whole abobe flash debate. Good read. http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/archives/292
    1. adrian1480's Avatar
      adrian1480 -
      I don't think HTML5 or any of the competing video formats are going to offer particularly better battery life, tbh. not from what I've seen.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      Quote Originally Posted by hypertripo View Post
      I never said I loved Flash or that it's awesome. I'm just saying that everyone says we don't need flash and that it's crap.

      If it is crap, I will totally agree with you if there is some proofs, benchmarks, test, etc, but saying flash takes more power than not having flash is just plain dumb.

      The thing is that Apple seems to protect itself from not really supporting flash by saying it's power hungry, crap and not needed.

      But i'm pretty sure everyone here has flash installed and it will be like that until we get a decent alternative that is accepted EVERYWHERE. Because now there is some flash over here, some html5 over there.
      flash uses a **** load of cpu. Are you really that dumb that you don't realize that?
    1. hypertripo's Avatar
      hypertripo -
      Quote Originally Posted by moon#pie View Post
      flash uses a **** load of cpu. Are you really that dumb that you don't realize that?
      I do realize that but we are still stuck with alot of flash content on the internet, and that is why we still need flash.

      Even if it's crap and it uses alot of ressources we still need it like i said before.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      we don't "need" flash. there are only a few real reasons to use flash. YouTube and hulu. I am in the html5 beta on youtube so no flash there and with hulu, I hardly watch hulu anymore because of the 80-100% cpu usage (out of 400%). The rest is crappy ads, which is exactly why I use adblock, and then for everything else clicktoflash.
    1. NakedFaerie's Avatar
      NakedFaerie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Acciavatti View Post
      they think "the best way for users to always have the most up to date and secure version" is to download it from Adobe.
      Then if thats their way of thinking then why isn't there an option to install it on the iPhone?

      It's fine if they don't want it on their device but we do. There should be an option for us to install it or not.

      Give us our freedom you b'stards.
    1. Tyronal's Avatar
      Tyronal -
      Quote Originally Posted by NakedFaerie View Post
      Then if thats their way of thinking then why isn't there an option to install it on the iPhone?

      It's fine if they don't want it on their device but we do. There should be an option for us to install it or not.

      Give us our freedom you b'stards.
      Don't know why you fools keep b!tchin about this. You have freedom. Freedom to buy whatever device you like that DOES have crappy flash on it. Apple have legitimate reasons to not have it, and you have legitimate reason to buy anything else. What's your problem??? Someone holding a gun to your head, Troll?

      Quote Originally Posted by adrian1480 View Post
      I don't think HTML5 or any of the competing video formats are going to offer particularly better battery life, tbh. not from what I've seen.
      Friend of mine, bought brand new macbook two years ago. Watches tv shack videos all the time, using flash. Had to replace battery well before its expected life span. Battery had less than 100 cycles but its now dead. Apple support told her using flash constantly will fry the battery ahead of normal use. $120 buck out thanks to flash. *clap clap clap* good job adobe, good job. ANYTHING else has to be better than this.
    1. mardinn's Avatar
      mardinn -
      Quote Originally Posted by moon#pie View Post
      Are you that ******* lazy that you can't loom it up yourself? It's common knowledge.
      Oh is it now commmon knowledge? Then why won't you stand for Apple, for Steve? To prove his point? You can't go in a courtroom and say HE IS GUILTY. You have to provide evidence. So show me the evidence, or maybe there is no evidence. Maybe just apple made up this ridiculous test?
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      Quote Originally Posted by mardinn View Post
      Oh is it now commmon knowledge? Then why won't you stand for Apple, for Steve? To prove his point? You can't go in a courtroom and say HE IS GUILTY. You have to provide evidence. So show me the evidence, or maybe there is no evidence. Maybe just apple made up this ridiculous test?
      I think the images speak for themselves:
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      This whole debate always seems to go in wrong directions.

      This isn't a Mac VS PC issue, it's an Adobe Flash VS HTML5 (which is also being pushed very heavily by MS on IE9.)

      Flash is only necessary if you want to view a lot of interactive content, which I'm assuming most of us do. HTML 5 seems to perform better, but the limited usage of it thus far prevents us from removing the flash plugin from our computers.

      I guarantee that if there was a PC equivalent to the MBA, you would see identical results on battery life while surfing the web. Flash hogs resources, there's no denying that.

      If you were to NOT surf the web, your battery life would probably be identical. So it's not whether you install Flash, but whether you USE Flash.

      IMHO: This is the real reason why Apple doesn't load Flash at the factory. Everyone knows that those estimates are only valid when using the device under original installs, settings, etc... Try getting 11 hours after installing some games and playing them, it won't happen, period.
    1. Tyronal's Avatar
      Tyronal -
      Quote Originally Posted by CynicalDriver View Post
      This whole debate always seems to go in wrong directions.

      This isn't a Mac VS PC issue, it's an Adobe Flash VS HTML5 (which is also being pushed very heavily by MS on IE9.)

      Flash is only necessary if you want to view a lot of interactive content, which I'm assuming most of us do. HTML 5 seems to perform better, but the limited usage of it thus far prevents us from removing the flash plugin from our computers.

      I guarantee that if there was a PC equivalent to the MBA, you would see identical results on battery life while surfing the web. Flash hogs resources, there's no denying that.

      If you were to NOT surf the web, your battery life would probably be identical. So it's not whether you install Flash, but whether you USE Flash.

      IMHO: This is the real reason why Apple doesn't load Flash at the factory. Everyone knows that those estimates are only valid when using the device under original installs, settings, etc... Try getting 11 hours after installing some games and playing them, it won't happen, period.
      One of the most intelligent responses to this subject i have read in some time. No emotion, pure fact. Thank you.
    1. mofolo's Avatar
      mofolo -
      See Picture:

      Are we Really comparing APPLEs To APPLEs here?

      The "Flash Test" are running 3 windows apposed to just one in the 'Light' browsing test.

      How do we know...
      Does Light browsing also constitute "about:blank" as the URL?

      Sure, if there are 3 Windows (not tabs... thus Different Processes) - it'd be chewing through; theoretically.. three times as much battery life.

      So really - the fact that it's only halving battery life goes to show that Flash is pretty battery friendly.

      Trollololololo.

      Go cry to Steve b*
      tches.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      seriously people? are you that stupid that you really can't figure out some common sense stuff? Anything that needs a more powerful graphics draw will take more batter than 3 (about:blank) windows. think going to gizmodo and reading one article at a time. That's "light" web browsing
    1. kenpura's Avatar
      kenpura -
      we would all like more batter, as we all enjoy our morning waffles
    1. mudrock1000's Avatar
      mudrock1000 -
      Where does 11 hours come from? I don't know anyone who gets at much :P

      Anyways Flash is not going anywhere. It's easy to develop on and more people use it. And above all, everyone owns a PC and uses Flash. I mean honestly why is there this massive pull for HTML5? I honestly am not seeing how it's this amazing thing. How about rather than creating alternates, we all band together to improve the standard? Just me though.
      If you don't like flash, then don't use it I guess. :]
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by mudrock1000 View Post
      Where does 11 hours come from? I don't know anyone who gets at much :P

      Anyways Flash is not going anywhere. It's easy to develop on and more people use it. And above all, everyone owns a PC and uses Flash. I mean honestly why is there this massive pull for HTML5? I honestly am not seeing how it's this amazing thing. How about rather than creating alternates, we all band together to improve the standard? Just me though.
      If you don't like flash, then don't use it I guess. :]
      HTML5 is being pushed because you get virtually identical results, yet save tremendous amounts of resources.

      Have you ever played Farmville? It's great at first, but once you've upgraded your farm two or three times it starts to run choppy. There's no reason for such a simple game to run so slow. Eventually the thing that drives people away from it has nothing to do with the game itself, rather it's the performance of the game in Flash. Unfortunately, there is no real great way to make a game like FV in HTML5, at least not that I am aware of.

      HTML5 is also not controlled by Adobe, who charges massive amounts of money for the authoring software needed to properly work with Flash. Anyone can choose to take the time to learn HTML5, and if they own a computer, they can get the software they need for free legally; Safari or IE9-Beta, and a basic text editor.

      The biggest bonus of all? You won't need to have a plugin "updater" running in the background, nagging you about Flash Player 23.3.76.89672.

      Is HTML5 going to kill Flash? NO! It will however, allow people to code video/audio playback and dynamic interactive websites without killing your battery/processing power.

      Flash still owns web-based games, and will continue to do so for some time. It would just be nice if basic browsing took fewer resources.
    1. Tyronal's Avatar
      Tyronal -
      Quote Originally Posted by mudrock1000 View Post
      Where does 11 hours come from? I don't know anyone who gets at much :P

      Anyways Flash is not going anywhere. It's easy to develop on and more people use it. And above all, everyone owns a PC and uses Flash. I mean honestly why is there this massive pull for HTML5? I honestly am not seeing how it's this amazing thing. How about rather than creating alternates, we all band together to improve the standard? Just me though.
      If you don't like flash, then don't use it I guess. :]
      Band together You obviously don't understand the concept by which adobe have made flash a monopoly in web content for 15 years +. Nobody can write the code for flash plugin but adobe. It is PROPRIETARY, CLOSED. Anyone can code html5 (anyone with a brain) because it is FREE and OPEN. Adobe are lazy turds who have had this goldmine and no competition for years. As the web has changed, updated and economised its standards over the years, flash has remained exactly the same, bloated, uneconomical and outdated, only the content has differed. This is what happens when one company has it all to itself. Html5 will replace flash video there is no doubting that. CSS3 and javascript can and will replace interactive content eventually. The web design world has tired of adobe and its lazy arrogant stance, now they will pay the ultimate price for being rolled gold pricks. Say goodbye to flash, it is just a plugin and an outdated and ****** one at best.