02/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


What is it with Steve Jobs and batteries?

A new 17-inch MacBook Pro was announced today at MacWorld. It's thin, lightweight (for a 17-inch notebook), but has one serious flaw: A non-removable battery. No matter how Apple tries to explain how they've been able to make the battery last longer (up to eight hours) using built-in chips, special technology, etc. it's a real limitation. Eight hours likely mean five hours in the real world, like the MacBook Air's five hours was really three.

Apple talked about how their batteries have built-in chips to control the charging and help the battery last for 1000 charging cycles, more than twice that of other batteries. But all notebook batteries now have built-in chips to monitor and control charging. So without more specifics, this can either be something new or something old.

Not being able to remove the battery also means there's no way to remove power from the notebook in an emergency. I'm aware of one MacBook Air owner that had a "runaway" computer that overheated and couldn't be shut down because of its sealed battery.

A non-removable battery really seems like a poor trade-off, especially considering the 17-inch notebook is the workhorse of the line.