Calls for Apple to Bring iPhone-Style Low Power Mode to MacBooks

Following rumors of a performance-boosting "Pro Mode" coming in the next update to macOS Catalina, developer Marco Arment has argued that Apple should bring an iPhone-style Low Power Mode to MacBooks as well.


Since iOS 9, Apple has included a Low Power Mode on iPhones that reduces the amount of power that the device uses when the battery gets low, and Arment this week shared his experience with his own self-styled equivalent for macOS.

His method involves the use of a third-party app called Turbo Boost Switcher Pro that enables users to disable Intel Turbo Boost on a Mac's processor. According to Arment, disabling Turbo Boost has increased his 16-inch MacBook Pro's battery life by an estimated 30-50 percent and made it "a much better laptop" the vast majority of the time he uses it.

With Turbo Boost disabled, peak CPU power consumption drops by 62%, with a correspondingly huge reduction in temperature. This has two massive benefits:
  • The fans never audibly spin up. When Turbo Boost is enabled, the fans annoyingly spin up every time the system is under a heavy sustained load. Disable it, and it’s almost impossible to get them to be audible.

  • It runs significantly cooler. Turbo Boost lets laptops get too hot to comfortably hold in your lap, and so much heat radiates out that it can make hands sweaty. Disable it, and the laptop only gets moderately warm, not hot, and hands stay comfortably dry.
Arment claims that despite the reduction in processing power, his ‌MacBook Pro‌ is "still fast enough to do everything I need (including significant development with Xcode)." His only concern is that the app which allows him to enjoy these benefits is on borrowed time: Turbo Boost Switcher Pro relies on a legacy kernel extension that likely won't be supported in future versions of macOS.
"I suspect that this is the last year I'll get to run the latest OS and be able to turn off Turbo Boost at will, making all of my future laptop usage significantly worse," says Arment.


An iPhone's Low Power Mode reduces battery usage by disabling background app refreshing and automatic downloads, locking the screen after 30 seconds, and via other methods. Would you be happy to see an optional Low Power Mode in a future version of macOS, too? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

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Overcast Podcast Player Gains Audio and Video Clip-Sharing Feature

Overcast has been updated with support for sharing video and audio clips of podcasts, streamlining the process for both podcast creators and listeners.

In a blog post on his website, Overcast developer Marco Arment explains why he created the clip-sharing feature:
Podcast sharing has been limited to audio and links, but today's social networks are more reliant on images and video, especially Instagram. Podcasts need video clips to be shared more easily today.

I've seen some video clips from tools specific to certain podcast networks or hosts, but they were never available to everyone, or for every show. So people mostly just haven't shared podcast clips, understandably, because it has been too hard.

Not anymore.
The new clip-sharing feature can be found in the Share menu, accessed by tapping the share icon in the top-right corner of the player interface.

Image via Marco.org

Tapping Share Clip... brings up options to generate an audio clip, or portrait, landscape, or square video, up to a minute long using the current Overcast theme setting. Adding a "Shared with Overcast" badge is optional.

Overcast 2019.4 is available as a free ad-supported app for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]


This article, "Overcast Podcast Player Gains Audio and Video Clip-Sharing Feature" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Overcast Podcast Player Gains New Siri Shortcuts and Apple Watch Complications

Overcast version 5.0.2 was released today, bringing additional Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12 and new Apple Watch complications to the popular third-party podcast player.

The new Apple Watch complications can be positioned on the central or corner positions of the Infograph watch face that features on Series 4 models, offering users another way to quickly launch the app from their wrist.

For fans of Siri Shortcuts, Overcast now supports three additional options. One lets you quickly enable or cancel the sleep timer, while the other two allow you to generate either standard or timestamped links for the podcast episode you're currently listening to, making for easier sharing.

Elsewhere in this update, the Nitpicky Details menu includes an option to reduce the haptic level related to certain functions, and users now have more control over the Auto-Sync to Watch feature, with toggles available for playlists as well as individual episodes.

Lastly, this point update fixes a handful of bugs and crashes, and adds a one-tap preset for the previous interval to the sleep timer. Overcast 4.1 is available as a free ad-supported app for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Overcast for iOS Updated With Smart Resume Feature and 24-Hour Auto-Delete Option

Overcast for iOS reached version 4.1 today, adding a handful of noteworthy features to the popular third-party podcast player.

First up is Smart Resume, which aims to reduce the impact of playback interruptions. With the new feature enabled, podcast playback jumps back a few seconds after the podcast has been paused, to help remind the listener where they left off in the conversation.


Smart Resume, which is on by default, also intelligently adjusts playback so that it resumes in the silences between spoken words wherever possible. Users can control the feature from Overcast's Nitpicky Details menu.

Also new in v4.1, Overcast can now be set to auto-delete podcasts 24 hours after playback is completed. Previously, episodes could be auto-deleted either immediately after listening or not at all, but now users can leave a day-long delay before their removal, and the threshold for deletion will be paused during extended offline periods such as long-haul flights.

Elsewhere, passwords for private podcast feeds can now be entered into the Add URL screen (rather than via HTTP Basic Auth) and a number of bug fixes have been implemented, which should result in less download fails and playback stalls, and no glitches when resuming playback after quitting in the background, amongst other improvements.

Lastly, iPhone rotation support has been removed from Overcast 4.1, due to the function's extremely low usage coupled with the burden of peculiarities that comes with coding in support for iPhone X displays.

Overcast 4.1 is available as a free ad-supported app for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Marco Arment Argues the 2012—2015 MacBook Pro is ‘Best Laptop That Has Ever Existed’

Marco Arment, a developer best known for co-founding Tumblr and creating apps Instapaper and Overcast, believes the 2012 to 2015 era 15-inch MacBook Pro is "the best laptop that has ever existed."

2015 15-inch MacBook Pro

"Introduced in 2012, less than a year after Steve Jobs died, I see it as the peak of Jobs' vision for the Mac," said Arment in a blog post this week.

The 2012 model was the first MacBook Pro with a Retina display, and had a much slimmer design compared to previous models after Apple removed the built-in Ethernet port and optical disc drive for CDs/DVDs.

Apple refreshed the 2012 model in each of the following three years, but kept the external design largely the same.

Arment sees value in the 2012 to 2015 model's array of connectivity options, including a pair of Thunderbolt and USB-A ports, an HDMI port, a SD card slot, and a MagSafe power adapter that breaks away safely if it's tripped over.

2015 15-inch MacBook Pro

By comparison, the 2016 and later MacBook Pro has two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports that handle power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA, resulting in Apple removing dedicated USB-A, HDMI, SD card, and MagSafe connectivity from the notebook.

He added that the 2012-2015 keyboard has a "crowd-pleasing design" and that the trackpad strikes a "great balance between size and usability."

2016 and later MacBook Pro models have a slimmer keyboard with a second-generation butterfly mechanism that has less key travel than 2012-2015 models, and a larger trackpad that is closer to the keyboard.


Apple packed a smaller 76 watt-hour battery pack into the latest MacBook Pro models, and while the notebooks are rated for up to 10 hours of battery life between charges, there were several early complaints in real-world usage.

All of these changes generated some controversy within the Apple community, particularly among professionals, so Arment's opinion is sure to resonate with some users, including among customers who refuse to upgrade.

Despite some early complaints, however, the MacBook Pro appears to be selling very well for Apple. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Mac set a new all-time revenue record of $25.8 billion in the 2017 fiscal year, with sales fueled primarily by "great demand" for the MacBook Pro in particular.
We sold 5.4 million Macs during the September quarter, up 10 percent over last year, and gained significant market share as the global market contracted by one percent, according to IDC's latest estimate. This performance was fueled primarily by great demand for MacBook Pro, and Mac revenue grew 25 percent to a new September quarter record.
For now, Apple continues to sell the 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro in a single configuration with a 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, and integrated Intel Iris Pro graphics for $1,999 in the United States.

Full Article: "The best laptop ever made" by Marco Arment

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral)

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