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mortenandersen
Aug 6, 2013, 03:31 PM
The answer to this question is perhaps (or probably) obvious for many of the members of this Forum, but I nevertheless will ask it (and please be overbearing with me asking this question):

Is there a chance that the Air (11 and 13) will get a refresh in a couple of months (September/October) which will give these models a more upgraded display? (If not a retina update, so at least another, minor, upgrading of the screen?)

I think those of you who know the Apple history of new and upgrading of models are in a position to answer this with a high degree of certainty.



robvas
Aug 6, 2013, 03:37 PM
No chance.

SpoekGTi
Aug 6, 2013, 04:06 PM
Nope.

It's the same of asking when the new iPads arrive in sept/oct, should i buy new or wait for a possible refresh in march/april, which never comes.

Just buy the thing and enjoy it. If you really want a good screen invest in a 15" rMBP

hakr100
Aug 6, 2013, 04:14 PM
Hmmm. I bought a 2013 13" MBA a few weeks ago because I wanted a nice, lightweight, full-featured laptop that complements my iMac and that I can easily take to meetings and on the road.

I previously had a 2008 Macbook Pro, and it was more than satisfactory for my purposes, albeit heavy (with the charger). The new MBA is a much better laptop, I think, and I haven't noticed anything about the screen that needs "changing."

I'm a professional writer, and I write fairly long documents and also edit a few web pages on behalf of my clients. The MBA is just fine for that, and for my occasional need to edit photos while on the road.

Boyd01
Aug 6, 2013, 05:25 PM
I agree, I had a similar experience coming from a 2008 15" MBP to a 13" 2011 MBA. Last week I traded that for a 2013 11" MBA. The screen is still very nice, although everything looks a litte small to my old eyes.

Still, "retina" would add nothing for me. The screen would still be the same physical size and the fonts would still be tiny. I really doubt I could tell the difference at normal working distance.

robvas
Aug 6, 2013, 05:43 PM
I previously had a 2008 Macbook Pro, and it was more than satisfactory for my purposes, albeit heavy (with the charger). The new MBA is a much better laptop, I think, and I haven't noticed anything about the screen that needs "changing."


It's not a bad screen by any means. However, the $1000+ laptop market is full of machines with IPS screens which are pretty amazing looking. The resolution also isn't very high compared to what else is out there.

Stetrain
Aug 6, 2013, 06:23 PM
No, that isn't very likely. Apple's refresh cycle on the Macbook Air seems to be around 8-12 months, so the fact that they released new models in June suggests that they are going with those until next year.

What we may see however is an updated 13" retina MBP with a thinner and lighter design that's a bit closer to the Air.

For an idea of the form factor that the updated 13" retina might have, you can look at the Asus Zenbook Infinity which will have the same processors (Haswell 28W with Iris 5100) and a similar display:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7035/asus-zenbook-infinity-hands-on-with-the-most-beautiful-notebook-at-computex

axi0m
Aug 6, 2013, 06:34 PM
For the money the screen on the Air is awful, a cheap TN panel that washes out if you aren't looking absolutely directly at eye level. I agree that it is in bad need of an update and waiting a year may not cut it since the competition now offers ultrabooks with IPS screens and faster processors too for the money.

The screen is a very apparent and important factor, because it's immediately apparent and plays a big part in selling the unit. Put a Sony Vaio Pro next to the Air and you are immediately reminded how much better the screen is on it. This isn't a case of iPhone 5 vs 1080p Smartphones, there the difference is absolutely imperceptible, here the difference in screen quality is "kick you in the teeth" obvious. Having worked with about 3 different 2013 model laptops in the last month I can't stress enough how BAD the screen on the air is.

I believe we will get a refresh a lot sooner than before this time, as no way Apple is going into 2014 with that screen. We already have a gen of UltraBooks that come with 1080p+ and by holiday season they will be everywhere and even more newer models too. It won't be billed as a new gen of Air, it will probably come as an upgrade option for the screen to a 1080p panel, with all else remaining the same, and by June next year they will release a MacBook Air retina.

Unless of course Apple thins the 13" Retina pro to the degree that it passes as an UltraBook/Air, but that would still not cover the sub $1500 market.

Stetrain
Aug 6, 2013, 07:20 PM
I believe we will get a refresh a lot sooner than before this time, as no way Apple is going into 2014 with that screen. We already have a gen of UltraBooks that come with 1080p+ and by holiday season they will be everywhere and even more newer models too. [B]It won't be billed as a new gen of Air, it will probably come as an upgrade option for the screen to a 1080p panel, with all else remaining the same, and by June next year they will release a MacBook Air retina.

Apple isn't going to increase the resolution on the Macbook Air to some midway point, it will stay the same until they go to retina.

Windows has some fairly decent dpi scaling, even better with the new 8.1 update coming soon. OSX doesn't really handle dpi scaling except by going to double-resolution ("retina" aka "HiDPI") mode.

Putting a 1080p (or actually 1920x1200 because the Airs are 16:10) screen would just make text, buttons, and menus tiny and hard to use.

They could keep the resolution the same and upgrade them to nice IPS displays with the same laminated glass as the retina MBPs and they would be much nicer machines to use.

axi0m
Aug 6, 2013, 07:27 PM
Apple isn't going to increase the resolution on the Macbook Air to some midway point, it will stay the same until they go to retina.

Windows has some fairly decent dpi scaling, even better with the new 8.1 update coming soon. OSX doesn't really handle dpi scaling except by going to double-resolution ("retina" aka "HiDPI") mode.

Putting a 1080p (or actually 1920x1200 because the Airs are 16:10) screen would just make text, buttons, and menus tiny and hard to use.

They could keep the resolution the same and upgrade them to nice IPS displays with the same laminated glass as the retina MBPs and they would be much nicer machines to use.

Sounds plausible, if OSX can't scale text independently or only doubles every pixel etc. Then the interface would indeed be too small and non user friendly.

I would love for it to get an IPS upgrade, the TN panel in mine is horrid.

PDFierro
Aug 6, 2013, 07:30 PM
For the money the screen on the Air is awful, a cheap TN panel that washes out if you aren't looking absolutely directly at eye level. I agree that it is in bad need of an update and waiting a year may not cut it since the competition now offers ultrabooks with IPS screens and faster processors too for the money.

The screen is a very apparent and important factor, because it's immediately apparent and plays a big part in selling the unit. Put a Sony Vaio Pro next to the Air and you are immediately reminded how much better the screen is on it. This isn't a case of iPhone 5 vs 1080p Smartphones, there the difference is absolutely imperceptible, here the difference in screen quality is "kick you in the teeth" obvious. Having worked with about 3 different 2013 model laptops in the last month I can't stress enough how BAD the screen on the air is.

I believe we will get a refresh a lot sooner than before this time, as no way Apple is going into 2014 with that screen. We already have a gen of UltraBooks that come with 1080p+ and by holiday season they will be everywhere and even more newer models too. It won't be billed as a new gen of Air, it will probably come as an upgrade option for the screen to a 1080p panel, with all else remaining the same, and by June next year they will release a MacBook Air retina.

Unless of course Apple thins the 13" Retina pro to the degree that it passes as an UltraBook/Air, but that would still not cover the sub $1500 market.

But Apple is going into 2014 with that screen. There's no arguing that. They would have changed it in the June refresh.

AXs
Aug 7, 2013, 12:03 AM
There's always a possibility that they will update a certain model at anytime, but I don't think they will update the Air 3 months after release. The Air's screen does exactly what it needs to do - run crisp display (though not compared to Retina) and use minimum power.

I can see the screen being improved to 1080p in the near future when they can sort out the power consumption issues... but not before next year's launch, and perhaps only when they implement 14nm chips.

mortenandersen
Aug 7, 2013, 05:32 AM
Stetrain wrote:

"Putting a 1080p (or actually 1920x1200 because the Airs are 16:10) screen would just make text, buttons, and menus tiny and hard to use.

They could keep the resolution the same and upgrade them to nice IPS displays with the same laminated glass as the retina MBPs and they would be much nicer machines to use."



When I wrote in the opening post about the possibility (hopefully) of a minor upgrade of the Air's screen, I was just having in mind a "nice IPS display" and perhaps also some of the others developments in screen technology of the past years.

I see the risk of having 1080p (or something like it), because the text and icons could just be too small, and that the OSX doesn't have the capacity to enlarge the text in a gradual way (?). Or I am wrong on this point?

BTW: I think the Air 13 has 16:10, but I think the Air 11 is closer to 16:9. Is this correct?

Personally, I find the 16:9 kind of rectangularity much more "stylish" or esthetically appealing to me.

Finally: Some of the posts say that the screen is fine, while others that it is bad. Different personal standards, or good and bad screens? So far I have been satisfied with the Air 11 display, provided that I keep the good/preferred viewing angle relatively constant. An IPS display could make this "demand" of a constant viewing angle less important, I suppose.

GekkePrutser
Aug 7, 2013, 05:50 AM
Putting a 1080p (or actually 1920x1200 because the Airs are 16:10) screen would just make text, buttons, and menus tiny and hard to use.


Only the 13" is 16:10, the 11" is 16:9.

That said, I agree with your comment, it's retina or nothing. I don't see them investing in IPS screens when retina is so close.

In fact, some of the competition is already doing full retina resolutions, such as the ZenBook Infinity (http://www.anandtech.com/show/7012/asus-zenbook-infinity-28w-haswell-with-iris-5100-graphics-2560-x-1440-panel), even though it's not out yet it will be coming soon. So I don't think Apple can wait very long.

----------

Stetrain wrote:
Finally: Some of the posts say that the screen is fine, while others that it is bad. Different personal standards, or good and bad screens? So far I have been satisfied with the Air 11 display, provided that I keep the good/preferred viewing angle relatively constant. An IPS display could make this "demand" of a constant viewing angle less important, I suppose.

Screen quality is a fairly exact science, and can be fully measured, however some people would value certain aspects more than others.

I think the MBA screens aren't actually that bad compared to other ultrabooks, compared to the HP 9470 for one, with its 1:200 contrast ratio, or Dell's stuff which has super bad colour gamuts. The red background I had on my external screen looked purple on my Dell sitting beside it :) And calibration didn't help, the colours just simply aren't there on those cheap Dell/HP panels. At least Apple does the colours right. And the viewing angles are actually OK for a TN panel. Most Anandtech reviews of business notebooks/ultrabooks are like: "Great laptop but the screen drags it down", the MBA screen is simply not that bad.

But compared to other Macs the MBA's are the worst of the crop. I think it's this that causes that, people using different screens they're comparing them to.

And yes the 11" is indeed 16:9

newdeal
Aug 7, 2013, 06:13 AM
Apple needs to get the price of the pro down because it is their best seller but the retina hasn't taken off because of the price. They want to phase of the cMBP. They will likely keep the air as a low end, drop the price a bit on the retina, discontinue the cMBP and keep it like that for many years

mortenandersen
Aug 7, 2013, 07:05 AM
Only the 13" is 16:10, the 11" is 16:9.

That said, I agree with your comment, it's retina or nothing. I don't see them investing in IPS screens when retina is so close.

In fact, some of the competition is already doing full retina resolutions, such as the ZenBook Infinity (http://www.anandtech.com/show/7012/asus-zenbook-infinity-28w-haswell-with-iris-5100-graphics-2560-x-1440-panel), even though it's not out yet it will be coming soon. So I don't think Apple can wait very long.

----------



Screen quality is a fairly exact science, and can be fully measured, however some people would value certain aspects more than others.

I think the MBA screens aren't actually that bad compared to other ultrabooks, compared to the HP 9470 for one, with its 1:200 contrast ratio, or Dell's stuff which has super bad colour gamuts. The red background I had on my external screen looked purple on my Dell sitting beside it :) And calibration didn't help, the colours just simply aren't there on those cheap Dell/HP panels. At least Apple does the colours right. And the viewing angles are actually OK for a TN panel. Most Anandtech reviews of business notebooks/ultrabooks are like: "Great laptop but the screen drags it down", the MBA screen is simply not that bad.

But compared to other Macs the MBA's are the worst of the crop. I think it's this that causes that, people using different screens they're comparing them to.

And yes the 11" is indeed 16:9

I really appreciate both this quoted post and the other posts - they have given much valuable knowledge about displays (at least to me, as I am not a person with such technological education).

I have used a friend's MBA a few times for writing and editing text, and I am now in a situation where I shall decide whether to buy and MBA 11" or a Windows PC. At present there are not that many Windows machines to consider, because both Acer, Samsung and others have discontinued their 11" models - and have not made some new ones, at least not yet. And Sony Vaio Pro 11 is a possibility, but IMO it seems at present too risky regarding the fan noise and wobbly display, among other possible issues.

I will therefore ask GekkePrutser and other knowledgeable persons about their evaluation of the Air's display (11") when it comes to rendering text/letters in Word. (My friend no longer has his Air, so I cannot check this out for my self now.) Contrast and brightness are important for me. So I would be glad if you please would bring your evaluation about working with text, somewhat along the same lines of evaluation as was being done regarding colors in previous posts.

Thanks a lot in advance!

oneMadRssn
Aug 7, 2013, 08:57 AM
Windows has some fairly decent dpi scaling, even better with the new 8.1 update coming soon. OSX doesn't really handle dpi scaling except by going to double-resolution ("retina" aka "HiDPI") mode.

Putting a 1080p (or actually 1920x1200 because the Airs are 16:10) screen would just make text, buttons, and menus tiny and hard to use.

This isn't really correct. I haven't used Windows 8.1 yet at all, but Windows 7 and Windows 8 had pretty awful dpi scaling. Some apps were simply not compatible, some elements would not scale at all, so you end up with big font next to oddly shaped buttons where things don't line up quite right. It's getting better as apps are updated, and you say that 8.1 is much better so I'll take that at face value.

Apple pretty much invented dpi scaling in OS X. Remember, one of the biggest advances of OS X 10.0 was vector graphics, and the ability to scale all the UI elements smoothly and efficiently with very little input needed from the individual developer.

The high-dpi you mentioned isn't about scaling so much, it's just higher-resolution source art; so that when it is scaled up, it doesn't look blurry. It's not about the scaling itself, it's about starting with a good source.

The retina macbooks handle dpi scaling very very well because the framework (or ability) for it has essentially been in there since 10.0; just not implemented in the settings the way we have today. I think it's quite well done and elegant the way it is today:
http://km.support.apple.com/library/APPLE/APPLECARE_ALLGEOS/HT5266/en_US/HT5266_2-mbp-retina_13inch-001-en.png

So adding a 1920x1200 resolution to the Airs would be just fine, and all the UI elements would scale perfectly.

So getting back to the OPs initial question: I doubt it will happen. Others have mentioned, maybe Apple would do a mid-cycle BTO option of "high-res" screen or something (like they used to do with the cMBP), but I also think it's unlikely.

B...
Aug 7, 2013, 09:15 AM
I hope not.

Tarrou8
Aug 7, 2013, 11:45 AM
No chance this calendar year. Waiting till Broadwell in 2014 to upgrade the Air's screen seems the most logical route. Although they could introduce a higher res BTO option next year with the refresh as incentive to buy. A major issue for Apple adding a high quality IPS screen on the Air, is that it would likely severely cannibalize sales of their existing 13" rMBP. The only thing holding the Air back from being the dominant ultraportable on the market and demolishing the rest of the field is its dated screen. The sooner this glaring flaw gets remedied the better.

sonicrobby
Aug 7, 2013, 11:47 AM
There is like a 0.05% change, if even that...

GekkePrutser
Aug 7, 2013, 11:56 AM
I have used a friend's MBA a few times for writing and editing text, and I am now in a situation where I shall decide whether to buy and MBA 11" or a Windows PC. At present there are not that many Windows machines to consider, because both Acer, Samsung and others have discontinued their 11" models - and have not made some new ones, at least not yet. And Sony Vaio Pro 11 is a possibility, but IMO it seems at present too risky regarding the fan noise and wobbly display, among other possible issues.

I will therefore ask GekkePrutser and other knowledgeable persons about their evaluation of the Air's display (11") when it comes to rendering text/letters in Word. (My friend no longer has his Air, so I cannot check this out for my self now.) Contrast and brightness are important for me. So I would be glad if you please would bring your evaluation about working with text, somewhat along the same lines of evaluation as was being done regarding colors in previous posts.


Thanks :) In terms of the 11", I personally found it a bit too small for easy text editing. The high DPI coupled with the non-scalability of Mac OS makes it the smallest UI on any Mac right now. Of course you can zoom the text in Word but the UI elements such as menus, toolbars etc can't be scaled. I actually got rid of my 11" for this reason. I found it too hard to work with. Mind you, I do do a lot of Xcode which needs lots of space, and part of it was me getting sick of turning toolbars on/off constantly to get the most out of that small screen.

In terms of what's good for text, I really love my 13" retina MacBook Pro. The crisp definition of the text, the dynamic resolution scaling so you can have high DPI when you need desktop space and nice large text when you're just writing. I really love it. Especially for text because it doesn't require any special 'retina' compatibility. Besides this the screen is also better in almost every other way. The only real problem is the ghosting but luckily mine is not affected at all. And the scrolling isn't as smooth but it personally doesn't bother me at all.

It does add a lot of weight though over the 11". And it's more expensive although I got mine at a good deal, I imagine you can find one cheaply especially when the new ones come out. But I expect the new ones will be a lot smoother in terms of animation.

AXs
Aug 7, 2013, 12:02 PM
No chance this calendar year. Waiting till Broadwell in 2014 to upgrade the Air's screen seems the most logical route. Although they could introduce a higher res BTO option next year with the refresh as incentive to buy. A major issue for Apple adding a high quality IPS screen on the Air, is that it would likely severely cannibalize sales of their existing 13" rMBP. The only thing holding the Air back from being the dominant ultraportable on the market and demolishing the rest of the field is its dated screen. The sooner this glaring flaw gets remedied the better.

I'm not so certain that Broadwell will be released next year. You never really know when it comes to Intel, but from what I've read there are some issues migrating to 14nm chips.

Might be 2015 before Broadwell/DDR4 goes mainstream... which would more likely see the Air get an external makeover

mama-exo
Aug 7, 2013, 05:10 PM
Yeah I think that the MacBook Air 2013 will be like the iPad 3 in that you know a retina version is coming out. But people won't be able to buy it if they just bought this one.