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macbook123
Feb 3, 2008, 08:00 PM
Just saw the MBA in the store for the first time and the one thing that immediately surprised me is its thick bezel. Much thicker than the MBP and thicker than the MB even. What could be the purpose of that? I mean it can't be necessary for the inbuilt isight, as the other two Apple laptops have that too. I was thinking it would make sense for an ultra-portable to squeeze as much functionality as possible into a small space. So why not either 1) keep the 13.3 inch screen and make the footprint of the laptop smaller (which could still easily accommodate a full size keyboard) while all space is efficiently used, or 2) increase the screen size to 14 inch while keeping the footprint at what it currently is (I'm just roughly guessing that it could accommodate a 14 inch screen)?

Any ideas for why Apple chose this wide bezel?



djejrejk
Feb 3, 2008, 08:03 PM
No one on this board can answer this question... why not ask steve?

sjobs@apple.com

macbook123
Feb 3, 2008, 08:07 PM
Well, perhaps others will have an idea. I thought there may be some technical reason for this (like there being bits of hardware squeezed next to the screen), or some design reason, like wanting to look retro like laptops from long time ago?

Anyway, I don't want to sound negative as this really seems a supreme laptop. Just the bezel surprised me a little.

kuwisdelu
Feb 3, 2008, 08:09 PM
The top (screen) portion of the MacBook Air needed to be at least as wide as it was because the bottom (keyboard) portion needed to be that thick to accommodate all the electronics in it while keeping the notebook as thin as it is. Whether the screen size could have been increased to match better...I have no idea. There may be lots of electronics stuffed into the bezel, too...but I haven't seen enough pictures of that area to tell. If anyone knows about this on the MacBook, that would tell you, because the regular MacBooks have the same bezel. The only one that does is the MacBook Pro. My guess is that if they could realistically increase the screen size without increasing the overall size of the notebook, they would have. But I don't know if they could, and if they could, I don't know why they don't.

aiongiant
Feb 3, 2008, 08:11 PM
i think it's drawn from the ipods
it's also a good way to make it look and feel "smaller" than it really is

macbook123
Feb 3, 2008, 08:15 PM
Good points. Could it be that the footprint needed to be as big as it is because of all the electronics in there, but that the major screen manufacturers make 13.3 inch screens, not 14 inch ones? So they had to go with the wider bezel for reasons of lack of supply?

meagain
Feb 3, 2008, 10:51 PM
I figured it was for support/stability of the screen since it's so paper thin. Needs some structure. While I don't mind the thickness on the top/bottom - it would've been nice to slim down the sides/width of footprint a tad.

My husband has a Toshiba R500 and the screen literally bends. Apparently it's designed to deal with that. The display on that is appalling btw.

California
Feb 3, 2008, 10:57 PM
Yeah, I vote structure. Probably has to be wider to prevent easy breaking/bending issues.

ryanmcd02
Feb 3, 2008, 11:09 PM
I didn't look at the parts break-down too closely, but could another incentive to have left the bezel wide be related to the airport antenna?

uber gorilla
Feb 3, 2008, 11:10 PM
I don't got no gripes with the wide bezel... I guess it kinda makes the MBA look old-school, but old-school is hot these days, innit? Think about the whole the '80s revival: Transformers, RBK Pumps, fluoro, 9-inch high-heels for chicks, people making the switch to Mac again...

;)

tony-in-japan
Feb 3, 2008, 11:22 PM
With Apple’s plan to move onto aluminum, glass and LED screens for all their products, is it not possible for Apple to go for bezel-less designs (of course barring the iSight and other sensors which, I suppose, could go at the bottom near the name or :apple:)? I saw a concept design on here somewhere from another maker and it looked awesome.

I think that bezel-less screens are the future of laptop design. Are some big-screen TVs not going this route?

The bezel on the current MBA (apologies if I offend anyone) looks a little 80s-ish in my opinion... :o

kockgunner
Feb 3, 2008, 11:25 PM
maybe to differentiate between lower and higher end models. Even though the Air isn't that cheap, it still isnt 'pro' performance wise

southpaw17
Feb 3, 2008, 11:32 PM
I am not sure, but I'd assume that the macbook and the air use the same screen. It makes tons of sense for the company to use the same screen so they can get more of the same parts from a company and not have to have four different sizes of portable screens going around. That is my guess. If they need the size to fit everything in the bottom, it makes sense to use a screen they are already using.

macenforcer
Feb 3, 2008, 11:34 PM
Haha structure. Its aluminum people. My bezel is 1/4 as thick on my plastic thinkpad.

Its there because they wanted to make the laptop LOOK think with the thin outer edges. Realistically they could have just cut off the thin edges and made it smaller but then it wouldn't LOOK thin would it.

happyslayer
Feb 4, 2008, 12:33 AM
I noticed on the www.ifixit.com article where they dismantel the MBA, that it shows the screen bezel being held together with some type of adhesive/glue, not screws. It is possible that they needed a larger surface area for the glue to properly hold it together. Also, having just played with one at the store yesterday, it is very sturdy (little if any flex) so I would go with the structural support argument as well.

macbook123
Feb 4, 2008, 01:20 AM
I am not sure, but I'd assume that the macbook and the air use the same screen. It makes tons of sense for the company to use the same screen so they can get more of the same parts from a company and not have to have four different sizes of portable screens going around. That is my guess. If they need the size to fit everything in the bottom, it makes sense to use a screen they are already using.

No, the MBA display is LED backlight, the MB is not. But the more I think about it (and read posts on this forum) it seems that the best explanation is that the decision was simply based on non-availability of larger (e.g. 14 inch) screens.

macbook123
Feb 4, 2008, 01:24 AM
I don't got no gripes with the wide bezel... I guess it kinda makes the MBA look old-school, but old-school is hot these days, innit? Think about the whole the '80s revival: Transformers, RBK Pumps, fluoro, 9-inch high-heels for chicks, people making the switch to Mac again...

;)

It seems to me that it would be very much against Apple philosophy to sacrifice performance for design in this way. A smaller screen just to seem more '80's like? No.

kuwisdelu
Feb 4, 2008, 01:50 AM
I'm going to go with happyslayer's structural support idea. Seems to make the most sense, considering Apple's obsession with aesthetics and build quality, that they did it for structural reasons.

butterfly0fdoom
Feb 4, 2008, 10:26 AM
I think supply and structure were the two main reasons. Probably cheaper for Apple to buy 13.3" LED-backlit LCDs in massive bulk for MBs and MBAs and more structurally sound for such a thin LCD panel

wtd
Feb 4, 2008, 12:49 PM
I concur - it's the LED backlight that needs the extra electronics. The MacBook Pros have them (LED backlights), whereas the MacBooks do not, and though they have a thin bezel, they have more square inches to work with, and they're significantly thicker than the MBA, so there's more cubic space behind the backlight, too.

And if you take a look at Sony's TZ line -- with a very similar, ultrathin, glossy, 13.3" LED backlit display -- it appears they took the same, larger bezel route.
http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=3956

The MBA's bezel looks slightly larger that the Sony, but I'd guess that it's still mostly the LED, as opposed to keyboard (otherwise, why not put in a 14"?) or structure.

profiteor
Feb 4, 2008, 01:19 PM
I have a Sony Vaio G1 that I bought in a moment of bad taste. It's this little 12" laptop, 1kg weight, etc. The TZ is actually big compared to the G series.

... Anyway, it too has a LED backlit screen, but has a standard thin bezel like most modern laptops. The screen on that machine is also kaput, because the case is flexible carbon fiber. It broke itself opening, going into my bag, and well, OK, I was a bit of a klutz with wiping the screen down.

The MBA's bezel? I'd wager it's not all electronics. It's mostly structure. The MBA feels like a vault compared to that Vaio.

kuwisdelu
Feb 4, 2008, 01:46 PM
I have a Sony Vaio G1 that I bought in a moment of bad taste. It's this little 12" laptop, 1kg weight, etc. The TZ is actually big compared to the G series.

... Anyway, it too has a LED backlit screen, but has a standard thin bezel like most modern laptops. The screen on that machine is also kaput, because the case is flexible carbon fiber. It broke itself opening, going into my bag, and well, OK, I was a bit of a klutz with wiping the screen down.

The MBA's bezel? I'd wager it's not all electronics. It's mostly structure. The MBA feels like a vault compared to that Vaio.

In that case, I'm all for the wide bezel :)

clayj
Feb 4, 2008, 02:06 PM
I agree with the comments about the wide bezel being more for structural integrity than anything else. But don't forget that the lower deck of the MBA can't really get any smaller... since the top deck (the screen part) has to be the same width, the bezel becomes a necessity unless you use a different size of screen, which isn't practical for reasons already mentioned.

Until we start seeing "slablet" computers (slab + tablet) which consist of a slab of circuitry with a glass screen sandwiched on top, we will necessarily find ourselves constrained when it comes to cosmetic features of consumer electronics devices.

koshper
Feb 4, 2008, 02:28 PM
Haha structure. Its aluminum people. My bezel is 1/4 as thick on my plastic thinkpad.

Its there because they wanted to make the laptop LOOK think with the thin outer edges. Realistically they could have just cut off the thin edges and made it smaller but then it wouldn't LOOK thin would it.


I agree with this guy, somebody has already said on this forum that the air seems to levitate because of the tapered edges and I think this is why apple went with the extra width.

It gives the illusion of being slimmer and their thickness boast is able to start from a crazy 0.4cm.

considering how eager they were to make it look as slim as possible i'm convinced of this.

kuwisdelu
Feb 4, 2008, 03:08 PM
Personally, I have no idea how the screen size would affect whether the computer looks thin or not. There are four other laptops in this room around me right now, and I just looked at them, and if anything the ones with wider bezels look *thicker* unless it's just me.

I think structual support + electronics space + availability gave Apple compelling reasons for the bezel.

Consultant
Feb 4, 2008, 03:42 PM
If you actually read the dissambly guides you would know it's necessary due to the thinness of the edges.

Before the misconceptions get out of hand:
LED screen = no inverter board = less electronics

maybe to differentiate between lower and higher end models. Even though the Air isn't that cheap, it still isnt 'pro' performance wise

MacBook Air is benchmarked faster than PowerMac G5 Dual Core 2.5ghz (geekbench).

macbook123
Feb 4, 2008, 04:43 PM
I agree with this guy, somebody has already said on this forum that the air seems to levitate because of the tapered edges and I think this is why apple went with the extra width.

It gives the illusion of being slimmer and their thickness boast is able to start from a crazy 0.4cm.

considering how eager they were to make it look as slim as possible i'm convinced of this.

Can somebody help me understand these statements? I just can't see how a thicker bezel would make the laptop appear thinner. What do the two have to do with each other? If you look at the screen from the front, you don't see the laptops thickness. If you look at it from the side, you don't see the screen, so it wouldn't matter if the bezel were thinner. So you guys must be referring to some optical effect when looking at the screen from 45 degree angle or so? If that's the case, what in your opinion is the optimal bezel size for making a laptop appear slim? Let's say the bezel would take up 90% of the total surface area, and the screen 10%. Would this make the laptop appear super slim and sexy?

Doesn't make any sense to me...

akm3
Feb 4, 2008, 06:56 PM
Can somebody help me understand these statements? I just can't see how a thicker bezel would make the laptop appear thinner. What do the two have to do with each other? If you look at the screen from the front, you don't see the laptops thickness. If you look at it from the side, you don't see the screen, so it wouldn't matter if the bezel were thinner. So you guys must be referring to some optical effect when looking at the screen from 45 degree angle or so? If that's the case, what in your opinion is the optimal bezel size for making a laptop appear slim? Let's say the bezel would take up 90% of the total surface area, and the screen 10%. Would this make the laptop appear super slim and sexy?

Doesn't make any sense to me...

What they are saying is, the screen has a certain required thickness. They wanted it to APPEAR thinner, so by making the bezel bigger, the edges past the minimum required thickness could be tapered to a narrower point, thus appearing thinner.

tony-in-japan
Feb 4, 2008, 08:00 PM
Can somebody help me understand these statements? I just can't see how a thicker bezel would make the laptop appear thinner. What do the two have to do with each other? If you look at the screen from the front, you don't see the laptops thickness. If you look at it from the side, you don't see the screen, so it wouldn't matter if the bezel were thinner. So you guys must be referring to some optical effect when looking at the screen from 45 degree angle or so? If that's the case, what in your opinion is the optimal bezel size for making a laptop appear slim? Let's say the bezel would take up 90% of the total surface area, and the screen 10%. Would this make the laptop appear super slim and sexy?

Doesn't make any sense to me...

You are getting confused.

The key here is ‘when the laptop is closed’ and you are looking at it from the front edge. If you look at Apple’s photo of the Macbook Air when it is closed and floating on the shadow, the edges look thin. To be able to ‘taper’ (definition: diminish or reduce in thickness towards one end) the edge of the MBA and claim that it is 0.16" you would need to extend the bezel/frame on the inside of the screen more. Without this, the LED screen would be within the 0.16" area and that would structurally unsafe.

It makes sense now why the bezel is so thick: because they needed to ‘taper’ the design to give the optical illusion that it is ‘thin’. But it is only 0.16" for 1mm of length that actually gets bigger because it is ‘tapered’.

So it is not really ‘thinovation’ but more like ‘thin-illusion’.:rolleyes:

Personally, a non-tapered design (thicker edge) with smaller bezel/footprint would have been a more practical choice (one which I would have probably purchased... maybe:cool:), but Apple’s wanted to take the ‘wow’ factor route.

LizKat
Feb 4, 2008, 08:12 PM
I don't got no gripes with the wide bezel... I guess it kinda makes the MBA look old-school, but old-school is hot these days, innit? Think about the whole the '80s revival: Transformers, RBK Pumps, fluoro, 9-inch high-heels for chicks, people making the switch to Mac again...

;)


yeah you are right. But,,,, 80s revival, heck. The 1840s!! Those Necco Wafer colors on the 3rd generation nanos...