Battery Packs: From iPhone to MacBook Pro, extra power is useful
Despite constant hammering all day and every day, my iPhone 4 still manages to last almost a full day on one charge. But the phone is nine months old and past experience tells me that now’s the time the battery life begins to start shrinking and it becomes normal to get into the red zone towards the end of the day.
This isn’t a criticism of the iPhone’s battery life. I’m willing to trade a smaller internal battery for a more compact and light form factor. Apple could easily have offered extended battery life but the phone would have been bulkier. I prefer to rely on getting my extra power from an external battery pack or, of course, a convenient power socket.
For the past few months I’ve been carring around a HyperMac Micro in my Tom Bihn Ristretto messenger bag. The battery pack has been a lifesaver on many occasions, especially on those mornings when I realise I forgot to plug in the phone the previous evening. I prefer an external, cable-conected battery to the built-in case designs such as the Mophie Juice Pack because these slide-on devices just make the phone bigger and more bulky.
So far, though, I have baulked at carrying an external battery pack big enough to charge a MacBook Pro or even a MacBook Air. HyperMac have an extensive range of batteries in various capacities, but they are now far less attractive since Apple prevented the company from using the patented Magsafe power connector. The latest HyperMacs have to be connected to the computer via a Magsafe airline adaptor, which means more cost, more weight and extra cables to schlepp around.
It seems, though, that Apple have a hidden agenda because they have filed a patent for a combined charger and power adaptor. This device could take the place of the normal plug-in laptop charger and will store power for when there is no convenient socket.
I can see benefit in this—one less gadget to carry around—but everything will depend on the weight of the thing. I can cope with carrying the relatively light MacBook Air power unit but I’m not so sure I’d want something weighing twice or three times as much.
¹ The first generation HyperMac Micro, which is the model I use, is suitable for iPhone and iPod only. It is rated at 3600 mAh¹ and gives me up to two full charges of the phone. A new, second-generation model is now available to power the iPad and iPhone.