To the dismay of some users, Power Nap -- Apple's whimsically named, sleep-like power state which quietly polls for updates -- was curiously absent from Mountain Lion's official release yesterday. Today though, the company rolled out an SMC update which adds Power Nap to recent, compatible Macbooks.
Similar to Intel's Smart Connect, Power Nap is a low-power state which provides a minimal amount of power to periodically download new email, notifications, sync calendars, reminders, contacts and more. While on AC power, the power state also allows downloading and installing security updates, backups, indexing and other battery-draining tasks, all while pretending to be asleep. During these tasks, power-napping Macbooks will appear as though they are on stand-by to their owners; however, between those updates, Macbooks will effectively be asleep.
The list of Power Nap-compatible Macbooks is a short one. Mid-2011 and 2012 Macbook Airs qualify while the Retina Macbook Pro quietly makes the cut. One of the requirements for Power Nap is all-flash storage, which possibly accounts Apple's narrow model selection. By comparison, Intel's Smart Connect happens to also be very particular about what hardware it'll work with too, limiting compatibility to Ultrabooks with Intel Wi-Fi cards and SSDs.
Users have reported the SMC update makes their Macbook sound like it is about to lift-off from Cape Canaveral, at least during the installation process. Don't worry though -- this is typical with many firmware updaters and the fan noise should return to normal after rebooting.
A full list of what Power Nap can do can be found on Apple's support website.
The MacBook Air sports a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor that Turbo Boosts up to 2.8GHz, 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, 128GB of flash storage and integrated Intel graphics. It is still extremely thin and lightweight at only 0.68-inches at the thickest part and 2.96 pounds. The MacBook Air carries a 13.3-inch diagonal LED backlit display, operating at 1440 x 900 with a 16:10 aspect ratio.
The Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display is equipped with a third generation Intel Core i7 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, 8GB of DDR3L 1600MHz RAM, 256GB of flash storage, Intel HD 4000 Graphics, a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 650M GPU with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and a built-in FaceTime HD camera. It sports a SDXC card reader, HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, MagSafe 2 power connector and a dual Thunderbolt ports.
Read expert reviews, pros & cons, and product information about Apple MacBook Air 11.6 inch Summer 2011 - Core i5/i7. There are 60 reviews available so far.
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