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View Full Version : Would you pay $3000+ for a "Premium Range" MacBook Air with the following specs?




Jobsian
Jul 21, 2011, 12:39 PM
The MBA is becoming increasingly mainstream. It used to be a more expensive, niche product, labelled a "premium ultraportable" and it carried a premium price tag, eg $3000+ for top spec in 2008.

I like that more and more are enjoying and we are seeing the fruition of Jobs' vision of the "future of notebooks". Another part of me really wants something more special with the MBA.

Look at this reaction - There's something in the Air (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIV6peKMj9M). Stunning and way ahead of its time.

Would you pay let's say $3000-$3500 for an MBA in a separate "premium" range, with the top spec being, eg:


Custom Intel Core-i7 (GPU disabled). 11" 1.7GHz, 13" 1.8GHz
Nvidia 4xxM/5xxM
512GB high spec soldered SSD
8GB RAM
Higher Res, IPS/OLED Retina
TB and USB 3.0
3G/LTE
Expensive cooling tech...
6hrs battery for 11", 8hrs for 13"


?

Anonymous voting.



hcho3
Jul 21, 2011, 12:42 PM
I am glad you don't work for apple.

PDFierro
Jul 21, 2011, 12:46 PM
No, while those specs would be awesome ... then Apple would be becoming like Sony. I'm fine with what they are doing now.

MovieCutter
Jul 21, 2011, 12:48 PM
No, but I'd pay $3000 for an Air-like 17" MacBook Pro with no optical drive, dual drive option, dual Thunderbolt ports, 2560x1440 resolution, and the latest GPU.

mp0890
Jul 21, 2011, 12:49 PM
really? 3000?

Jobsian
Jul 21, 2011, 12:51 PM
really? 3000?Sounds crazy doesn't it, however the original MBA was $3100 for the top spec iirc!

Jobsian
Jul 21, 2011, 12:52 PM
I should have really added that this wouldn't replace the current range, merely add to it :)

MacRumorUser
Jul 21, 2011, 12:54 PM
You want all those features in the same 11" enclosure/form factor and expect more battery??

Sure we can all want the impossible, but it makes your poll utterly meaningless because what you want is just not possible not because of cost but hardware.

Jobsian
Jul 21, 2011, 12:58 PM
You want all those features in the same 11" enclosure/form factor and expect more battery??

Sure we can all want the impossible, but it makes your poll utterly meaningless because what you want is just not possible not because of cost but hardware.True it's hypothetical, but we're not on the moon here. I imagine a lot of what I listed is already achievable. If you don't think so, then imagine it's the 13" then :)

MastaK
Jul 21, 2011, 12:58 PM
I would just buy the current MBA and use the rest of money in building windows based gaming desktop.

stevenpa
Jul 21, 2011, 01:00 PM
No, while those specs would be awesome ... then Apple would be becoming like Sony. I'm fine with what they are doing now.

Sony already offers something similar minus the SSD capacity at 1k less.

s.hasan546
Jul 21, 2011, 01:04 PM
I'd pay $4000 for a the MBA 11" with built-in verizon LTE, Hi-res Screen, Black bezel, 8 gb ram, 256 gb ssd, and a 10 hr. battery.

FluJunkie
Jul 21, 2011, 01:05 PM
No. Here's the problem I have with your list: I don't want all that.

I want parts of it.

I'd be pleased as punch with the Air if it had 8 GB of RAM. More than pleased with a mild boost to the graphics capabilities. But I don't need an SSD that big, or 4G/LTE connectivity, or a ultra-sharp resolution display.

Jobsian
Jul 21, 2011, 01:07 PM
You want all those features in the same 11" enclosure/form factor and expect more battery??

Sure we can all want the impossible, but it makes your poll utterly meaningless because what you want is just not possible not because of cost but hardware.Moreover, regardless of any current absolute limitation it wouldn't have been utterly meaningless anyway as I only posted the specs, as stated, as an example: I'm interested in a fair gauge as to the numbers of people here who would actually fork out the cost for a more premium spec.

Panch0
Jul 21, 2011, 01:23 PM
Custom Intel Core-i7 (GPU disabled). 11" 1.7GHz, 13" 1.8GHz
Nvidia 4xxM/5xxM
512GB high spec soldered SSD
8GB RAM
Higher Res, IPS/OLED Retina
TB and USB 3.0
3G/LTE
Expensive cooling tech...
6hrs battery for 11", 8hrs for 13"




I would be willing to pay that price, but those are not the features that would get me there. Actually, by the time I bought the TB Display, I'd be pretty close to 3,000 anyway. I'll probably be doing just that next year (I've been on the Ivy Bridge band wagon for a while now).

I think we have already traded the space that would have been available for a discreet GPU for that big freakin' TB chip. I believe that TB is a better feature anyway.

a larger SSD always sounds like a nice to have, but would I pay significantly more to go from 256 -> 512 GB? No, I believe in the cloud and in NAS. 256GB is plenty of local storage (for me).

8GB would be nice.

I think that the current resolutions are 'right sized' for the 11.6 and 13 inch displays. I don't think I want the pixels to shrink much more.

TB makes USB 3 irrelevant. eventually someone will make a port extender that includes USB 3, FW800 and eSATA that all connects to the TB port. Maybe it will even have a monitor built into it, but more than likely not - HDMI or Display port connectors would be more likely.

3G/LTE - well I wouldn't complain if this were included, but I wouldn't pay extra to get it. In the rare case that I have no WiFI available but I do have room to work on a laptop, tethering is acceptable to me. Plus, yet another cellular plan, really?:mad:

Cooler is better - I'd pay for for something like laser cooling, but that's the only thing I've ever heard of that would have any hope of being small enough to fit inside the Air. Pretty sure that's not happening any time soon...

I wouldn't pay more for 6-8 hour battery life. I would pay more for 10-12 hours, maybe even 8-10.

Ijustfarted
Jul 21, 2011, 02:26 PM
$3000 for any laptop is ridiculous.

Jobsian
Jul 21, 2011, 02:26 PM
Agreed with much of your post Panch0. Tbh it's probably a good thing we're not seeing 3G/LTE given the problems we're seeing in eeking more battery in the Airs. Higher res is also a bit overkill, perhaps then just improved displays.

Interesting seeing how many people would pay for a higher end MBA, more than I anticipated!

bniu
Jul 21, 2011, 02:31 PM
if I'm paying $3000 for a notebook, it'd better be a 17" MacBook Pro with a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM.

Maven1975
Jul 21, 2011, 02:40 PM
If I could put OSX on the new Sony Z, I would have been preordered with the 1080p screen already.

KPOM
Jul 21, 2011, 03:13 PM
I think you are missing the point of the original MacBook Air. It wasn't just a $3000 computer for the sake of being a $3000 computer. It was another case of Steve Jobs being a few years ahead of everyone else. Though ultraportables had been tried before, the MacBook Air Rev A was the sleekest design to date, and was one of the first to offer SSD storage of any kind (albeit optional). It was the "next big thing," but it wasn't quite ready for prime time, and Jobs realized it. It was sort of like the original iPod in 2001. It was released to a lot of fanfare but an initial slow reaction (it was Mac-only at that time).

I'm guessing Jobs knew at that point that ultraportables were the way of the future, and he released it as a niche product to tweak the format until he got it right. The Rev B later that year was noticeably cheaper(I got one with a 128GB SSD and NVIDIA 9400m for "only" $2400), much improved, and was the start of the mainstreaming process, which was largely finished with last year's Rev D, and was completed with today's launch of the Rev E. While it took only 18 months to make iPod mainstream, it took over 3 years to do the same with the MacBook Air.

Until some at Apple identifies the "next big thing" in portable computing, it doesn't make sense to release such an expensive toy. Apple makes premium products, rather than luxury products. There's an important distinction between the two.

darngooddesign
Jul 21, 2011, 03:35 PM
$3000 for any laptop is ridiculous.

You must be relatively young.

stevenpa
Jul 21, 2011, 03:40 PM
If I could put OSX on the new Sony Z, I would have been preordered with the 1080p screen already.


http://www.hackintosh.com/. Although that's quite a big chance it doesn't work with the Z.

WardC
Jul 21, 2011, 03:53 PM
I just wish Apple would include a handle, like they did on the Mac Portable:

http://bobarno.com/thiefhunters/wp-content/uploads/mac-portable-handle.jpg

nebulos
Jul 21, 2011, 04:16 PM
$3000 for any laptop is ridiculous.

++++++++1

... unless you're a PRO that NEEDS crazy specs.

... also, why would you disable the GPU as opposed to using GPU switching? because you want 2 hours of battery life? oh, okay.

iRun26.2
Jul 21, 2011, 04:18 PM
I really didn't even need to look at the features. I just voted 'Yes'.

Fernandez21
Jul 21, 2011, 04:23 PM
Not $3,000, but $2,000? Sure would.

mokeiko
Jul 21, 2011, 04:47 PM
I would pay Apple $3k to get rid of the Air's thick, ugly bezel.

Anonymous Freak
Jul 21, 2011, 05:01 PM
Custom Intel Core-i7 (GPU disabled). 11" 1.7GHz, 13" 1.8GHz
Nvidia 4xxM/5xxM
512GB high spec soldered SSD
8GB RAM
Higher Res, IPS/OLED Retina
TB and USB 3.0
3G/LTE
Expensive cooling tech...
6hrs battery for 11", 8hrs for 13"



The top-end one right now is $1700. That's for a 1.8 GHz Core i7 (on either screen size,) 4 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD. Figure add $600 to make the SSD 512 GB (the same incremental cost as on the MacBook Pro.) You're up to $2300, using Apple's own pricing. Another $200 to move to 8 GB RAM, and you're up to $2500.

The only Apple product right now that is configurable with either Intel graphics or discrete graphics in the same basic model is the Mac Mini. You pay $200 to get a better CPU, more RAM, and the discrete graphics. (In this case, a rather low-end Radeon 6630M, though.) Apple is not using nVidia right now on any product, for reasons unknown, so figure you're not going to get that, period. But you might get the low-end/low-power Radeon 6630M. Call it $100, since there are other things in the Mini upgrade to drive up the cost. We're at $2600, using Apple's own established pricing plus a guess.

USB 3.0 won't happen until Intel supports it. Once Intel supports it, it will be standard. So it's useless to talk about it at all right now.

The screens are already higher-res than any of the other Mac displays Apple makes, but for the sake of argument, let's toss in a "one step higher" screen, higher quality. For the 15" MacBook Pro, you pay $100 more for just higher resolution, or $150 more for higher-res plus anti-glare. Let's assume that the cost add of anti-glare equals the cost of being higher-quality 24-bit IPS, so add $150. We're now up to $2750.

The battery is already at the max technology can provide in the form factor. Adding a discrete GPU will decrease it somewhat, so asking for more battery life will involve a form factor re-do. Let's assume they do away with the tapered edges and give it squared-off edges like the Pro series. That will add a little bit more usable space inside without having to increase thickness. I'll go on a limb and declare that would be enough to slip in slightly more battery to hit your numbers. Let's also tack on $50 for the extra battery capacity. $2800.

Expensive cooling tech? Whatever, if they redesign it, they're going to have to redesign it and the cooling. Calling this a wash.

3G/LTE? Not likely, although it is clamored for. If we use the iPad pricing, we could expect to see 3G add $130. Now we're up to $2930. When we add in the fact that it would require quite a bit of re-jiggering and possibly extremely expensive increased tech for the higher-density RAM and SSD chips needed to support 8 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD in the existing rough form factor, it would probably add more than $70.

So $3000 is *NOT* an unreasonable price to ask of Apple for what you ask, or at least the parts that have any hope at all of happening.

Would *I* pay it? No. I've paid $3000 for a laptop before (first-generation MacBook Pro.) I won't again. It has served me well for over 5 years now, and my wife will continue to use it until it dies; but even now, there are very few things it cannot do, with five year old hardware. I also have an original MacBook, which cost $1000 new a few months after the MacBook Pro. There is almost nothing the Pro can do now that the MacBook can't. Yes, when they were new, then-new games made a big difference; but for the use-case of them now, they are basically identical. And at this point, I have abandoned both as my primary portable, using a $500 iPad.

My next portable, if I decide that an iPad won't suffice, will be a minimum-spec Air. *MAYBE* I'll increase the RAM to 4 GB, if Apple doesn't default to that whenever I get around to upgrading.

(Now, my desktop on the other hand......)

Jobsian
Jul 21, 2011, 05:17 PM
Whoa, great write-up and actually detailed analysis, unlike my stab in the dark. RE the discrete GPU and battery decrease, are you also factoring in a (hypothetical) disabled Intel GPU?

And I can see what you mean about your desktop...screamer!

mariov
Jul 21, 2011, 05:29 PM
My MBA was $999 and is already perfect, thanks.

Jobsian
Jul 22, 2011, 02:15 AM
Would love to hear more opinion from long-timers here eg Scotts/Hellhammer/Gwsat etc!

torbjoern
Jul 22, 2011, 02:47 AM
The MBA is becoming increasingly mainstream. It used to be a more expensive, niche product, labelled a "premium ultraportable" and it carried a premium price tag, eg $3000+ for top spec in 2008.

I like that more and more are enjoying and we are seeing the fruition of Jobs' vision of the "future of notebooks". Another part of me really wants something more special with the MBA.

Look at this reaction - There's something in the Air (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIV6peKMj9M). Stunning and way ahead of its time.

Would you pay let's say $3000-$3500 for an MBA in a separate "premium" range, with the top spec being, eg:


Custom Intel Core-i7 (GPU disabled). 11" 1.7GHz, 13" 1.8GHz
Nvidia 4xxM/5xxM
512GB high spec soldered SSD
8GB RAM
Higher Res, IPS/OLED Retina
TB and USB 3.0
3G/LTE
Expensive cooling tech...
6hrs battery for 11", 8hrs for 13"


?

Anonymous voting.

My Air is already close to or within my definition of "Premium Range", and I'm no hipster, so I don't care if it's mainstream or not. However, the price was nearly $2700 where I live, so yes - I would certainly get those extra specs if I only had to shell out $300 extra.

Anonymous Freak
Jul 22, 2011, 09:57 AM
Whoa, great write-up and actually detailed analysis, unlike my stab in the dark. RE the discrete GPU and battery decrease, are you also factoring in a (hypothetical) disabled Intel GPU?

And I can see what you mean about your desktop...screamer!

Yes. Disabling the Intel GPU won't SAVE any battery life. The discrete GPU will absolutely use more power than the integrated, no matter what. Someone did a comparison of the MacBook Pro, which has BOTH Intel and discrete graphics, comparing the battery life when you force Intel graphics only vs. when you force discrete graphics only. (Which forces Intel graphics off.) There was a more than 15% battery life cut. (From about 7 hours to a little less than 6.)

Although rather than completely disabling the Intel graphics, it would just make more sense to use switching graphics like the MacBook Pro. The CPU has graphics on it, might as well use them when you can to save power.

Finally, the processor allocates power dynamically between the CPU and GPU as needed. If you disable the graphics completely, it will just allow all of the power to be used by the CPU, allowing maximum Turbo Boost as often as possible, with this being especially true on the low-power CPUs in the Air. So you may not see *ANY* improvement in battery life, it may be *ONLY* the decrease, since your CPU/GPU will use the same amount of power - just dedicated solely to the CPU instead of split - while the discrete GPU uses extra power.

Cynicalone
Jul 22, 2011, 10:03 AM
Retina would be nice.

bloodycape
Jul 22, 2011, 11:11 AM
I would pay Apple $3k to get rid of the Air's thick, ugly bezel.

I would agree with the smaller bezel(is very possible in the 13in Air as LG has a thin bezel IPS screen in their P330 laptop), but not at 3k. Better yet, Apple should move to the 13in model down to 13.1in and use the 1600x900 and 1080p 8bit TN displays the Vaio Z offer, and make the bezel and whole device smaller. I'd pay 2.1k for Air like that with a 256gb ssd and USB 3.0(we have a couple usb 3.0 externals at work that I would see a nice speed boost with a 3.0 capable notebook).