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Apple MacBook sleep indicator set to human breathing rhythm

updated 06:50 pm EDT, Fri August 27, 2010

Dell misses mark, times LSD to strenuous activity

In a nod to Apple's attention to detail and human engineering, Flood Light describes how Apple got its sleep status indicator right, while Dell got it wrong. A July 2002 patent for a Breathing Status LED Indicator describes how the blink rate of a sleep status LED would be timed to a slow breathing rhythm. The blink rate of current Mac notebooks falls within the average respiratory rate of an adult -- between 12-20 breaths per minute. For example, the blink rate of the MacBook Pro 15in late 2008 is exactly 12 cycles per minute.

Dell laptops have a sleep indicator as well, but fail to get the timing to a calm breathing rate. Dell instead uses 40 cycles per minute, which is close to the average respiratory rate of an adult during strenuous exercise. Dell's sleep light is more indicative of a race, missing the human engineering mark that Apple precisely hits.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. OkieDoc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    OK, I'm a fan boy. But please, this is ridiculous

  1. Iritscen

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not ridiculous, but...

    Didn't we all figure this out by now, just watching our Macs blink softly while asleep? :-) Neat to see confirmation of it, though.

    P.S.: Sorry to be that guy, but I have to say, "indictor", really? I was staring at that word for a good while, wondering why I'd never seen it before.

  1. Bermy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    That is what I call some serious attention to detail

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    When you spend as much on R&D as do Apple, this is the kind of clever attention to detail you end up with. Does Microsoft even have any "Human Interface Guidelines"? You can bet that low cost producer Dell won't have.

  1. space-e

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ambient light and noise

    I put tape over all LEDs, power standby lights, power strip lights in the room I sleep in.

    I wish that my MacBook had a software preference to control the level of the Sleep Indicator LED, as well as a similar separate control for the green/yellow LED on the AC Adapter. They are SO bright in a nice dark room.

    I've read that artificial ambient lighting and sound affects deep sleep. I could never fall asleep with my laptop screen on while it's next to my bed.

    I am glad hard drives have gotten quiet enough that I don't hear them spinning anymore....

  1. rickcj

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This just in!

    PC manufacturers look to incorporate human breathing sleep indicators in all future models.

  1. herojig

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It blinks?

    Never paid this any attention. Not sure u even need this, if u raise the lid and it's off, press the big button. If you close the lid when it's on, it's on when u raise the lid. My wife has a macbook, and I don't think she's ever rebooted it on her own in two years of everyday use (I get that job, for updates and whatever). So the the macro attention to detail is also something to talk about... a machine that just is...without having to think about it.

  1. mytdave

    Joined: Dec 1969


    who cares?

    Granted, I enjoy the sleep indicator on Macs, and the attention to details is great, but I don't sit and watch it for hours on end, so who cares? ...And this comparison to Dell - how do we even know if Dell was trying to mimic a slow breathing pattern? Maybe they just made a basic blinkin' light.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. horst

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What you're saying

    We have to wait twice as long with a Mac as with a Dell to tell if it's sleeping.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    too much attention?

    Attention to detail is only good if it actually has any useful benefit. I can't say I've ever felt any sense of 'ooooh' over the sleep indicator on a mac, or that any other PC's indicator for that matter. Wow, some blink. Some pulse. The excitement is....yawn.

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