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Apple looking to hire battery engineer for future computers

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Tue April 17, 2012

Apple job listing seeks senior battery engineer

Apple is looking to hire a Senior DC-DC Power System Design Engineer to help it develop more efficient MacBooks and Macs, AppleInsider found. The ideal candidate will work at Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters and investigate concepts and design products. The position would involve advanced DC-DC power design and development for next-generation Mac platforms.

The listing otherwise mentions 11 key areas, one of which includes improving power metric performance optimization. The engineer will also need to work on new power architectures for CPUs and graphics processors, along with developing circuit design for the chips that power Mac hardware.

Apple's iMac and MacBook offerings are also mentioned with regards to optimizing white LED backlight drivers.

Candidates need to have a minimum of eight years of experience for the high-level position, and Apple is looking for an employee with a PhD in power electronics.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Apr 2011


    Improving technology is allways good, but...

    wouldn't it be simpler to just have replaceable batteries?

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    @arne, The answer is no

    Replaceable batteries take up a lot more room, they require additional enclosures, and requiring the user to carry the heaviest part of the laptop is unnecessary. Airlines have restrictions on types of batteries allowed in carry-on luggage as well. Replacing a battery in a MacBook Pro is actually very simple but not something you would want to do on a regular basis so finding battery technology that will give the most power per ounce is something Apple, and others, need to work on. It's the same thing EV car makers are doing. Using your analogy, we'd need to carry a car-load of extra batteries to switch them out after 20 miles instead of finding batteries that could take you >100 miles (check our Tesla Motors).

  1. revco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005



    I'd start at my search with Logitech engineers. Those guys just get it about battery efficiently. 18 months from 2 x AA in my mouse and 3 years from 4 x AAA in my keyboard.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Apr 2011


    @prl99 care to explain further?

    - "Replaceable batteries take up a lot more room" what do you mean by a lot more? 5% 10% 20% 50% more volume?

    - "they require additional enclosures"
    Most laptop makers manage to design an enclosure just 2 millimeters offset from the actual battery volume; for the average laptop battery that's less than a 5mm extra per axis or quite less than a 2% increase in battery volume and under 1% for the overall computer + battery volume. Some computers save even more space by using the removable battery as part of the laptops casing further trimming the couple milliliters needed by the "additional enclosure".

    - "Airlines have restrictions on types of batteries allowed in carry-on luggage as well"
    Laptop batteries meant to be user replaceable (no exposed contacts) are just as dangerous as the one on the laptop itself, if the laptop can make it to the cabin, why not the extra battery? So far the batteries for replaceable battery laptops have not been forbidden going through several European and Middle East countries.

    "Replacing a battery in a Mac Book Pro is actually very simple but not something you would want to do on a regular basis"
    Granted, replacing the laptop's battery is something you'd have to do only in an emergency, like at a airport with no wall sockets available(specially so after a 19 h flight...), a foreign hotel with plugs you do not carry any adapters for and are way to tired to hunt for them locally, or on the field, say on a proposed work-site where there are no generators or compatible power sources (a particular common occurrence on Doha...) the Mac book's battery being simple to replace would be a snap to any of Apple's engineers to make field replaceable .

    Alas, I do not believe using replaceable batteries would keep any research lab from aiming for the best millage they can get from them, this is obvious.

    And there actualy are several EV companies researching ways to make the whole vehicle's battery exchangeble for a freshly charged on in a manner of seconds. General motors has been comming out with very interesting drive-in/out prototypes for decades. The replacement of the batteries would be paid for in a similar manner to the gas tank on a barbeque.

    So other than making an extra buck for battery replacement charges whilst keeping the user locked to the vendor a true practical reason is not to be seen.

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