Yesterday we wrote the new Apple MacBook Pro uses NVIDIA Optimus technology, but today ARS Technica reveals Apple's new laptops use another approach that differs from Optimus in two ways:
The first is that the switching is all handled automatically by Mac OS X without any user intervention (though there is actually a System Preference to deactivate it, if you choose). Apps that use advanced graphics frameworks such as OpenGL, Core Graphics, Quartz Composer or others will cause the OS to trigger the discrete GPU. So, when you are reading or writing Mail, or editing an Excel spreadsheet, Mac OS X will simply use the integrated Intel HD graphics. If you fire up Aperture or Photoshop, Mac OS X kicks on the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M.
The second way that it differs from Optimus is that the integrated graphics are powered down when the discrete GPU is active. This saves even more power than Optimus does, leading to a stated battery life as long as nine hours.