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MBABuyer
May 4, 2011, 09:32 AM
So, I am planning on buying my first mac computer this summer before school starts on September 1st.

I am very interested in buying a fully spec'd out MBA. I would like to wait for the next MBA refresh, but I have to have it for school.

My question is, when do you think the refresh of the MBA will come out? I understand that there have been many rumors about it coming out in late June, but those are "just rumors." Plus, many people think it is really early for an upgrade.

Me and my friends are always debating about this, so if any of you have any idea, concrete reasons, or opinions about when it will come out, please tell them.

Many Thanks,
Swayne Martin



miles01110
May 4, 2011, 09:33 AM
Nobody knows, as always.

MBABuyer
May 4, 2011, 09:36 AM
It seems that some people are very convinced that it will be released in June, some not.

Swayne

palpatine
May 4, 2011, 09:44 AM
It seems that some people are very convinced that it will be released in June, some not.

Swayne

the rumor mill churns on endlessly. no one knows, but it seems to be a little early in the product life cycle for an update, and i wonder how they will get the hot sandy bridge into that cool little body.

the real question, i guess, is how much is it worth it to you right now. isn't the semester almost over? if you have until december, that ought to be plenty of time.

MBABuyer
May 4, 2011, 09:46 AM
My school ends June 3rd.

So, I have till August 30th to get the MBA (when school starts). And, I was planning to wait as long as possible for the next MBA, maybe even up until August 30th?

Swayne

retrorichie
May 4, 2011, 11:06 AM
Here's an idea: You obviously don't need this MBA now, so why don't you wait until August 21st to see what is available and then pull the trigger?

fs454
May 4, 2011, 11:24 AM
Honestly, Apple is in no rush to update the MBAs. The Sandy Bridge platform currently wouldn't offer us much more than we have now. GPU performance will greatly suffer and the C2Ds are hardly a bottleneck whatsoever right now.

I play Portal 2 on my 11" maxed out at 50-60fps, edit Apple Prores 422 footage from my 5D Mark II in Final Cut, and do everything i need to do on the road and have not run into a hiccup.

nebulos
May 4, 2011, 11:38 AM
The Sandy Bridge platform currently wouldn't offer us much more than we have now. GPU performance will greatly suffer and the C2Ds are hardly a bottleneck whatsoever right now.

you're killing me.

fs454
May 4, 2011, 11:41 AM
you're killing me.

Do you own an MBA and have extensive use of a ULV Core i7 machine?


Apple is never about throwing in the newest, most cutting edge tech if it means sacrificing other things, especially performance in a machine which they willingly designed around an older Core 2 Duo CPU so they could offer better graphics performance?

alexandero
May 4, 2011, 11:45 AM
The Sandy Bridge platform currently wouldn't offer us much more than we have now. GPU performance will greatly suffer and the C2Ds are hardly a bottleneck whatsoever right now.

Actually the C2D in the current MBA is what's keeping me from buying a MBA. It has the same speed as the CPU in the 2007 MBP I own, and the one thing I hate most about it is its CPU speed: processing images in Aperture, converting videos, using programming environments, running statistical analysis in SPSS or making music in Ableton Live - it's all CPU bound.

And even if the C2D currently might be sufficient for some people, will it be sufficient for the software available in 2012-2014? Or will Lion, Photoshop CS6, Office 2012 etc. make us regret having bought a C2D?

onthecouchagain
May 4, 2011, 11:51 AM
If there is a refresh this Summer for the Air, I predict it'll be a soft refresh with Sandy Bridge processors, Thunderbolt connectivity replacing the MiniDisplay port, perhaps a better GPU and maybe Facetime HD camera. I don't foresee additions or improvements to much else.

I predict the SSD options will remain the same: 64 GB and 128 GB base for the 11" and 13" respectively. Based on the recent iMac refresh and BTO options, it doesn't look like SSD's have gone down enough for Apple to bump up the standard. Ditto for the RAM. I predict it'll remain 2 GB base RAM all around with the same upgrade options and prices. Hopefully, I'm wrong. I would be disappointed if both the SSD and RAM base standards remained the same, but I wouldn't be surprised.

And there almost certainly will be no backlight for the keyboard; I think Apple will keep the same body and design. The battery life will either stay the same or improve slightly.

Those are my predictions.

Oldandintheway
May 4, 2011, 11:55 AM
My base model 11" MBA is fine with me. I'll only upgrade for a SD Card reader.

unclet
May 4, 2011, 11:57 AM
Actually the C2D in the current MBA is what's keeping me from buying a MBA. It has the same speed as the CPU in the 2007 MBP I own, and the one thing I hate most about it is its CPU speed: processing images in Aperture, converting videos, using programming environments, running statistical analysis in SPSS or making music in Ableton Live - it's all CPU bound.

And even if the C2D currently might be sufficient for some people, will it be sufficient for the software available in 2012-2014? Or will Lion, Photoshop CS6, Office 2012 etc. make us regret having bought a C2D?

I've posted this in other threads, but it's relevant to your question. I owned a 2009 15" MBP with a 2.53 Ghz C2D processor. Five months ago I sold it to get a 13" MBA with the 2.13 Ghz processor and 4 GB RAM. I thought I'd be sacrificing some performance in Aperture with the change, but I've found that the MBA is more responsive and processes photos better in Aperture than my MBP did. This seems to suggest that the processor isn't the only thing involved, and that the much 320M GPU and SSD make up for a less powerful processor, at least in Aperture.

unclet
May 4, 2011, 12:01 PM
If there is a refresh this Summer for the Air, I predict it'll be a soft refresh with Sandy Bridge processors, Thunderbolt connectivity replacing the MiniDisplay port, perhaps a better GPU and maybe Facetime HD camera. I don't foresee additions or improvements to much else.


How will they include a better GPU? From what I've read the 3000M integrated GPU in Sandy Bridge is not as good as the 320M in the current MBA, and the MBA simply doesn't have room for a dedicated graphics card. Am I right on this, or is there the possibility of a better GPU included with the Sandy Bridge processor?

alexandero
May 4, 2011, 12:09 PM
This seems to suggest that the processor isn't the only thing involved, and that the much 320M GPU and SSD make up for a less powerful processor, at least in Aperture.

Thanks for the note. A SSD definitely helps, but watching my CPU load via the menu bar app "iStat menus", I frequently see my cpu load hitting 100% for noticeable 20sec or more, caused by a single process/app.

E.g. launching the IDE RubyMine 3.1 with one small project (followed by the standard indexing that happens when you open a project) takes 75sec on my MBP, and during this time the CPU load hovers between 50%-100%. If I'd replace my HDD by a SSD, I'd constantly hit the 100% CPU load and would end up with a launch time of approx. 50-60sec. But no less.

alexandero
May 4, 2011, 12:18 PM
I predict the SSD options will remain the same: 64 GB and 128 GB base for the 11" and 13" respectively. Based on the recent iMac refresh and BTO options, it doesn't look like SSD's have gone down enough for Apple to bump up the standard. Ditto for the RAM. I predict it'll remain 2 GB base RAM all around with the same upgrade options and prices.

Moving from 2GB to 4GB standard causes the hibernation file on disk to grow by these 2GB, which is a lot on a 64GB SSD. Therefor they might only bump the base ram on the 13". Besides that, the price for SSD upgrades might fall a bit, and they might shave $50 off the base price as not having to buy a GPU saves them a bit of money.

Although, with the current decline of the US$, they might only reduce the price when priced in EUR/Yen, an maybe even have to raise the US$ price by a bit (partly caused by the expensive Renminbi, the currency they pay their factories in).

nebulos
May 4, 2011, 12:23 PM
Do you own an MBA and have extensive use of a ULV Core i7 machine?

no, i don't. i only know the Airs on paper, but i know that pretty well.

as was just mentioned, even the standard voltage C2Ds in the MBPs are a bottleneck for a lot of standard audio and video work.

am i wrong?


Apple is never about throwing in the newest, most cutting edge tech if it means sacrificing other things, especially performance in a machine which they willingly designed around an older Core 2 Duo CPU so they could offer better graphics performance?

see, you just equated 'performance' with 'graphics performance'. it happens all the time in this forum.

it can drive a guy crazy.

fs454
May 4, 2011, 12:35 PM
no, i don't. i only know the Airs on paper, but i know that pretty well.

as was just mentioned, even the standard voltage C2Ds in the MBPs are a bottleneck for a lot of standard audio and video work.

am i wrong?




see, you just equated 'performance' with 'graphics performance'. it happens all the time in this forum.

it can drive a guy crazy.


You have to remember we're talking an ultraportable notebook that Apple doesn't fully intend to be a video/audio workstation or a gaming rig, but they get it close enough with the c2d+320M combo to offer something different than everyone else.

I honestly believe Apple is going to skip Sandy Bridge with these, it's totally likely. I need to run to a meeting but i'll be back to discuss further.

CHSeifert
May 4, 2011, 12:40 PM
I doubt Apple Will update the MBA before Ivy Bridge is here in early 2012 simply because sandy bridge is a larger chip size than ivy bridge and therefore runs hotter. Also the built in GPU is weaker than what MBA currently has.

Ivy bridge will provide cooler CPU and a GPU matching what the MBA currently have !

Not sure a sandy bridge MBA will even interest me :)
Waiting for ivy bridge MBA !!!

nebulos
May 4, 2011, 12:54 PM
with the Air, i think, the traditional intention has been to make a use-able computer, on a basic level, in the smallest package possible.

certainly, this does not mean audio/video work, but neither does it mean gaming.

when Apple went with the 320M, many concluded they simply found the then Intel IGP alternative unsatisfactory. (one could argue there might have been other reasons?)

the question is, unsatisfactory for what? watching HD movies? or playing 3D games?

if the 3000HD can handle everything outside of games, then it seems to me the only reason not to go Sandy Bridge is to hang on to the gamers. I'm not sure how big a share of Air customers that represents. (of course, we're not talking hardcore gamers, but enthusiasts.)

but even if that represents a big chunk, there is also a big chunk that would migrate to the Air for increased CPU power. a lot of content creators don't necessarily need the power (and weight) of the 2011 MBP, or want to shell out the cash.

the form factor of the Air is, i think we can all agree, amazing. coupled with the high res displays, new Sandy Bridge processors, and a much lower starting price than the Pros, this machine, i think, could indeed truly become the flagship model for Apple.

i am dreaming, but this dream could come true, and many say it will, as soon as June.


... that's not to say the wait is anything but excruciating.

nebulos
May 4, 2011, 01:00 PM
(mistake)

retrorichie
May 4, 2011, 01:20 PM
Also I will remind you folk that the core 2 duo models that are in all Apple products have already been discontinued by Intel. They are only continuing manufacturing for whatever final orders were placed in April. So unless Apple is planning on holding several quarters worth of inventory which on face value sounds kind non-Appleish from a supply chain perspective, all models will have to be updated with SB. Ivy Bridge is not due out until Q1 2012 at the earliest (http://www.engadget.com/2011/04/12/intel-roadmap-charts-rollout-dates-for-ivy-bridge-cedarview-sa/), and of course delays are always possible.

Long story short, there's no way that Apple is skipping SB for the MBA.

MBABuyer
May 4, 2011, 02:14 PM
Looking at the picture below, it is easy to tell that they are completely switching out of the C2D, right? And since Sandy Bridge (pink color, and blue color) is very prominent, it could very well become a part of the MBA.

I am just trying to figure out, based on this information, when a sandy bridge update would come?

Click on image to enlarge

Swayne

nebulos
May 4, 2011, 02:22 PM
Looking at the picture below, it is easy to tell that they are completely switching out of the C2D, right? And since Sandy Bridge (pink color, and blue color) is very prominent, it could very well become a part of the MBA.

I am just trying to figure out, based on this information, when a sandy bridge update would come?

Click on image to enlarge

Swayne

might want to start by looking at mobile CPUs.

anyways, i don't think that type of information is enough to determine, for example, June vs October.

if you have researched this question, you've seen that basically the only rumors out there point to June.

you will also have realized these are guarantees of nothing.

no?

letoast
May 4, 2011, 02:45 PM
This is specifically refuted by what they've done with the 13" MBP, and even in that machine, they realistically had the option to include a discrete GPU.


Apple is never about throwing in the newest, most cutting edge tech if it means sacrificing other things, especially performance in a machine which they willingly designed around an older Core 2 Duo CPU so they could offer better graphics performance?

retrorichie
May 4, 2011, 02:46 PM
Usually the mobile versions get released a few months after the desktop versions.

nebulos
May 4, 2011, 02:56 PM
This is specifically refuted by what they've done with the 13" MBP, and even in that machine, they realistically had the option to include a discrete GPU.

well, in the 13 MBP, it seems the graphics performance of the Sandy Bridge CPU + IGP is on par, sometimes better, than the C2D + 320M, so, in this case, they didn't really sacrifice graphics power.

the 13 MBP uses a more powerful CPU than the MBA would, so, the weakness of the IGP, which can be carried by the Pro's CPU, would be expected to show more in the Air. this, as i understand it, is the problem.

for example, see the 13" Samsung Series 9 for a worst case scenario. In fact, this seems to be a good model for the potential 11" Sandy Bridge Air.

mbmosher
May 4, 2011, 04:36 PM
If they can squeeze thunderbolt, core ix, and offer a 512gb SSD upgrade I would buy one this summer. A backlit keyboard would be icing on the cake. Graphics is not as important to me as processor power for rendering video and images.

I don't know about a summer release though, apple seems to have a slower update schedule for the MBA, and it seems like they would be unlikely to do it during the Back to School event profits-wise. C2D clearly has to be replaced soon though...

Either way, I'll be getting something over the summer for school next year.

nebulos
May 4, 2011, 05:37 PM
... I don't know about a summer release though, apple seems to have a slower update schedule for the MBA, and it seems like they would be unlikely to do it during the Back to School event profits-wise. C2D clearly has to be replaced soon though...

there seems to be no such thing as an update schedule for the Air. this model was neglected for quite some time and all but discontinued before the 2010 update. for one, the MacRumor's Buyer's Guide, in my estimation is pretty much worthless here.

how do you know Apple won't increase their profit margin by going Sandy Bridge? they no longer have to buy a separate (integrated) video card and Intel's list prices for the CPU's themselves are about the same for the 2010 C2Ds and the ULV/LV Sandy Bridge CPUs. (yes, i assume the 2010 CPUs have come down in price by now.) just a thought.

letoast
May 4, 2011, 10:40 PM
Fair enough... thanks.

well, in the 13 MBP, it seems the graphics performance of the Sandy Bridge CPU + IGP is on par, sometimes better, than the C2D + 320M, so, in this case, they didn't really sacrifice graphics power.

the 13 MBP uses a more powerful CPU than the MBA would, so, the weakness of the IGP, which can be carried by the Pro's CPU, would be expected to show more in the Air. this, as i understand it, is the problem.

for example, see the 13" Samsung Series 9 for a worst case scenario. In fact, this seems to be a good model for the potential 11" Sandy Bridge Air.

Scottsdale
May 5, 2011, 12:33 AM
Incredibly ridiculous posts in this thread... really. All of the inaccuracies are really absurd, and those false points don't help anyone learn anything or make qualified decisions.

OP, wait and see. If it's updated, buy the new one or better yet save money and get a most likely far superior Nvidia-based MBA on clearance at Apple.com. Apple typically reduces the price on old models by 25% when clearing out to make way for new Macs.

jamisonbaines
May 5, 2011, 07:29 AM
i use a mid 2007 mac mini. as of today the mba processor is pretty much the same, which translates to me not buying.

so if the sandy bridge update has graphics better the gma950 i'm sold. (+thunderbolt, and an 8 gb ram option please!)

MBABuyer
May 5, 2011, 09:33 AM
Some quotes from other articles:

"After a highly successful first run of the ultra-light notebook that was introduced in October last year, it looks like Apple is ready to begin replacing them. According to reports and speculations, Apple will begin production of the next generation MacBook Air notebooks next month. Beginning this year, shipments of the MacBook Air notebooks have been slowly declining, and dropping even more when Apple introduced the new MacBook Pro notebooks. As you know when a company stops restocking supplies of an old product, it usually signifies the arrival of something new.

According to an analyst, who checked with suppliers and system builders, the next generation MacBook Air notebooks are said to be running on Intelís latest Sandy Bridge microprocessors, integrated Intel graphics and will be packing the new Thunderbolt high-speed port as well. The new models are also said to enter mass production in late May, which backs up previous rumors about Apple being ready to officially announce and ship the new MacBook Air notebooks in June."





If you're eager for a featherweight Mac laptop with enhanced I/O and the latest Intel CPUs, you may not have to wait that much longer. Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has told AppleInsider that Apple is set to begin mass production on new models of the MacBook Air in May. The new Air will sport a Thunderbolt port as well as Intel's latest Sandy Bridge microprocessors and integrated Intel graphics. Kuo's assertions are based on checks with system builders and other suppliers in the region.

A May production date would make sense for several reasons: it corroborates earlier reports for a June launch of an updated MacBook Air, but more importantly, it means that Apple's hottest laptop would be refreshed in time for the back-to-school buying season, which typically begins in late June/early July. Kou's assertion about the new MacBook Air gains some additional weight based on his track record; he accurately predicted the 11.6-inch MacBook Air three months before Apple unveiled it.

MBABuyer
May 5, 2011, 09:55 AM
The above article quotes are what I am hoping for.

Anybody else think it will pan out like they say it will in these articles?

Thanks,
Swayne

MBABuyer
May 5, 2011, 12:35 PM
Best Article:


Apple to begin production of Thunderbolt MacBook Airs next month

By Kasper Jade
Published: 11:00 AM EST

Apple next month will reportedly begin manufacturing the first updates to its rejuvenated MacBook Air line as the company looks to maintain the impressive sales momentum generated by the ultra-thin notebooks and limit the market opportunity for would-be competitors hoping to wedge their foot in the door.

Sales of the aggressively-priced 11.6- and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs got off to a hot start following their introduction last October, with Apple assembling roughly 1 million units within their first quarter of availability. During those three months, consumers reportedly chose the new MacBook Airs at a one-to-two ratio to the company's more established MacBook Pro offerings, making for one of the company's most successful Mac product launches ever.

However, shipments of the Airs declined 51 percent sequentially during the first calendar quarter of 2011 -- including a 40 percent month-over-month decline in February -- as Apple introduced new MacBook Pros that caught consumers' eyes, according to Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has proven sources within the Cupertino-based company's Far Eastern supply chain.

Kuo tells AppleInsider that his latest round of checks with suppliers and system builders in the region reveals that MacBook Air shipments are set to rebound during the current calendar quarter, fueled by an upgrade to Intel's latest Sandy Bridge microprocessors, integrated Intel graphics, and the expected adoption of the new Thunderbolt high-speed I/O technology that made its debut on MacBook Pros earlier this year.

Specifically, he said the new models will "go to mass production in late May," which corroborates an earlier report that cited reliable sources as saying Apple would be ready to publicly announce and ship to consumers MacBook Airs with Sandy Bridge processors during following month of June.




The upgrade should help boost Apple's overall notebook shipments between 5 percent to 10 percent sequentially for the current quarter, according to Kuo, reversing a 5 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, which he notes was still less than the 11% average decline for notebook shipments from the top 6 OEMs worldwide during the same period.

In moving to Intel's 32-nanometer (nm) Sandy Bridge architecture, the mid-2011 MacBook Airs will jettison two-year-old Penryn-based 45-nm Core 2 Duo chips for the chipmakers' new line (below) of low-voltage and ultra-low-voltage Core i5 and Core i7 chips, which sport between 3MB and 4MB of Smart Cache and support a theoretical maximum of 8GB of internal system memory.




Should Apple follow its current trend of using ultra-low-variants for the 11.6-inch MacBook Air and low-voltage ones for the 13.3-inch models, consumers can expect to see new 11.6-inch MacBook Airs sporting 1.4GHz to 1.6GHz Core i5 and Core i7 chips and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs with 2.10 and 2.30GHz Core i7 processors.

In a report shared with AppleInsider last week, Kuo also noted that production of Apple's legacy white MacBook model has been on a steady decline since the start of the year, with shipments falling 10% and 50% in February and March, respectively. As such, it's likely that Apple will similarly need to make some form of announcement regarding the future of this offering sometime in the coming months.