MacOS 10.12.3 Beta 4 Warns of Display Brightness Draining MacBook Pro Battery Power

macOS 10.12.3 beta 4 new battery life feature

Finally, we’ve got some increased visibility around how our MacBook Pro’s battery gets affected by screen brightness.

A new feature introduced in the recently launched fourth beta of macOS 10.12.3 has a “Display Brightness” alert that shows up if your screen is set to a brightness of more than 75%.

Clicking the warning will automatically reduce screen brightness to 75%.

The power usage alert system is not new to this beta, but Apple has added screen brightness as part of its functionality.

The new MacBook Pro 2016 didn’t get off to a very good start last year. Battery life issues plagued it from the very beginning, and that problem escalated as we drew near the end of the year. In fact, the problem got so bad at one point that Consumer Reports wasn’t even recommending the MacBook Pro 2016 with OLED Touch Bar as a preferred laptop.

That changed after Apple pushed the macOS 10.12.3 beta 4 last week, and the site now includes the new laptops in its recommendations. According to the report:

“With the updated software, the three MacBook Pros in our labs all performed well, with one model running 18.75 hours on a charge. We tested each model multiple times using the new software, following the same protocol we apply to hundreds of laptops every year.”

Consumer Reports retested three models to arrive at this decision: two 13-inch models (one with Touch Bar and one without) and a 15-inch model.

Despite problems with battery life, the MacBook Pro 2016 series laptops have been selling fairly well. According to a Slice Intelligence report published in November, MacBook Pro 2016 generated more revenue than any other laptop in 2016.

In fact, in the first five days of being available online, the MacBook Pro 2016 line generated 7X the revenue that the MacBook 2015 did over a similar period. The 2016 models also generated the same as 82% of the 2015 model’s entire sales, but in just five days after it was ready for orders.

As far as innovations go, the MacBook Pro 2016 isn’t really an iconic laptop. Bringing in the Touch Bar was definitely something new, but for a company with Apple’s reputation, there didn’t seem to be much in the way of revolutionary features. As a matter of fact, that they didn’t bring touch capability to the new MacBook Pro was disappointing.

But Apple is very clear about its plans to keep laptops separate from tablets and smartphones. It’s clearly not targeting the hybrid segment like other device makers like Lenovo or even Microsoft are. It’s a big market, but Apple apparently wants a clearly defined line to exist between the more mobile devices like iPhone and iPad, and what are essentially desktop devices like the MacBook Pro.

Will that ever change? Not likely, if Apple continues its line of thinking. But with all their device sales figures showing negative growth in 2016, they may well reconsider their market position and try to adapt. So far, they’ve kept their device segments as distinct as their operating systems, but if 2017 can’t turn things around for Apple device sales, they may be forced to consider alternatives.

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