Tech firms seem to be slowly moving away from the idea that devices should run "hot and fast" and are instead moving to a "cooler and slower" way of thinking. Is this what you want?
This is highlighted by the latest iFixit teardown of Apple's 15" Core i5 Macbook Pro. This latest incarnation of the 15" Macbook Pro device sports a 77.5 Wh battery, which is only a 6% capacity boost over the older 73 Wh battery found in the previous 15" Macbook Pro, but the new model can squeeze out 2 hours, or 22%, extra battery life.
Conclusion, the new model isn't being pushed as hard as the earlier models.
You're starting to see the same thing in other areas of tech too. Graphics cards, in particular ATI GPUs, run significantly cooler than earlier models. Less power means less heat to get rid of, which in turn improves stability and increases component lifespan.
Note: Unfortunately the same can't be said of NVIDIA's Fermi GeForce 400-series line, but the company is playing catchup and so has to squeeze as much performance as it can out of its silicon.
Even CPUs are significantly cooler than they once were. Compare the thermal characteristics of a six-core Core i7 part to something like the old Pentium D and you'll wonder how Intel has managed to cram so much into so little a die without making the whole processor glow red.
Hard drives are another are where power efficiency has become a selling point. Why? Because reliability here is a key factor. A 20% increase in driver performance is negligible (especially compared to what solid state drivers have to offer), but a 20% increase in reliability is very welcome.
I know that quite a number of Hardware 2.0 readers like to squeeze as much performance out of their kit as possible, and I know that many of you go to great lengths to do this, even when it means shortening the lifespan of that component or device. On the other hand, the average user doesn't really care about getting the most out of something. If anything, these users prefer to have better battery life, less heat, less noise and longer component lifespan over turning all the dials to "Max Power" and flipping the "Turbo" switch.
If I think back ten years or so, even average users were crying out for "more power" and "more speed" from their hardware. Now that cry has died down to a whimper, restricted to marginal market segments, such as gamers or those involved in handling a lot of mulltimedia. Even a cheap PC can handle quite demanding tasks such as high-definition video and casual gaming, so we've come so far along the Moore's law curve that until we see a change in how we make use of technology, the average user doesn't really need more power.