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will
Jan 31, 2010, 10:50 AM
My current laptop is 2007 15" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz/4GB/200GB 7.2K disk.

These days I don't do much that taxes the CPU/GPU: I am looking for more mobility, responsiveness and battery life. However, I still need a keyboard and to be able to use Photoshop etc. So I still want a full Mac (not an iPad).

I'm not in a hurry to upgrade, but have been thinking about what Apple could do to make a killer laptop for me. Your usage and therefore requirements will no doubt differ from mine, but hopefully you still find this interesting.

The Air is all about portability and I don't want to change that. The basic specs I'm looking for are all doable in 2010.

Basic Spec

>12" screen with at least 1280x800 resolution
Full-sized backlit keyboard
CPU of similar performance to my current laptop
4GB ram
200GB fast SSD with TRIM
>5 hours battery life in real usage with wireless
802.11n/g/b wireless
<1.4Kg weight
Case remains cool
Quiet fans


The current Air meets the screen, keyboard, weight, wireless and CPU requirement and Apple could easily incorporate 4GB ram. The battery life and cooling should be doable too. Ideally battery life would increase to match the MacBook Pros, but this may not be possible without a weight increase.

SSD prices, performance and capacity are increasing rapidly, so provided Apple add TRIM to OS X there shouldn't be any problem meeting the storage requirement either. You may wonder why I'm so concerned about storage performance, but if you've tried a system with a good SSD drive you'll now what a huge difference it makes. The whole system is very snappy and responsive. TRIM helps to ensure SSDs keep their performance in the long term. If you're not familiar with SSDs I recommend reading http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631

Having got the basic spec out of the way I'm going to look at some reasonable extra features for a new model in 2010.

Desirable Features

CPU with AES acceleration and full disk encryption
2 USB ports
SD Card Reader (like MacBook pros)
3G support


Intel have added AES acceleration to the latest Arrandale mobile CPUs launched in January 2010. This reduces the performance penalty for encryption significantly. Apple should update OS X to support these new instructions as this would significantly improve the performance of FileVault. Many companies now insist their laptop drives are fully encrypted and there seems no good reason why Apple couldn't extend encryption to the entire drive. This would provide extra security for those carrying confidential or critical information. For an example of the difference these new instructions make to performance see http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3704&p=5.

The Arrandale CPUs also provide a useful ~20% performance boost over Penryn (see http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=3705&p=3). However there is a downside: they have graphics on die and can't be used with NVIDIA chipsets. Graphics performance is therefore likely to be lower than with the NVIDIA. Apple have three options:

Accept graphics performance and use standard Arrandale CPUs
Use standard Arrandales with dedicated graphics.
Get custom Arrandales without the integrated graphics and use something external

For the Air I think the first option is by far the most likely. But given the target market for the Air, this shouldn't be too much of a problem (provided the change isn't dramatically for the worse). For the Pro models Apple will have a harder time.

Apple should find a way to squeeze two USB ports into the Air. This helps with many commonplace tasks. For example, you want to sync your iPod and have an external hard disk attached. Or you need to restore your Mac from Time Machine and need to have a hard disk and the OS X DVD attached at the same time.

SD card reader isn't a must, but is convenient for many photographers and a handy way to transfer files or boot a Mac if it gets into difficulty.

3G support would allow the Air to browse the Internet from almost everywhere. Apple are giving the iPad this, so there's no reason they couldn't add it to the Air. To avoid raising the price for users who don't need the 3G, Apple can make it an option, again like on the iPad.

Finally I've listed some features it would be great to see, but aren't likely to be ready this year.

Future Features

OLED Screen
Light Peak or USB3
External Blu-ray Superdrive


OLED screens look fantastic and are very thin and potentially less power-hungry than LCDs. However production volumes are still low and they're very pricey. While I'm crossing my fingers I don't expect to see them on Apple laptops in 2010.

USB2 is now showing its age and higher Firewire speeds haven't been widely adopted. In 2010 we'll begin to see USB3 devices and perhaps the rumoured Light Peak interface. If Apple chooses one of these technologies for future IO it could replace one or both of the USB2 ports I'd like to see on the early 2010 revision. More info on Light Peak from Intel: http://techresearch.intel.com/articles/None/1813.htm

You may think I'm going too far with an External Blu-ray Superdrive, after all no Mac has one yet! I'd like to see Blu-ray available as at least an option on all Macs. This would allow me to watch Blu-rays on my Mac, create backups and transfer large media files. While Time Machine is good for creating continuos backups it would be nice to be able to store a large number of files on optical storage in a separate location from my laptop.

When to Buy?
While there's always new tech on the horizon, but there seem to be a couple of reasonably certain developments during 2010 that will significantly improve the Air from my point of view.

Intel's 32nm Arrandale CPUs are the first on the 32nm and not as efficient as they might be. I'd expect the second wave of 32nm CPU in the middle of 2010 to have lower consumption (e.g. 18W TDP rather than 25W at the reasonable speeds). As the Air is very sensitive to power consumption this could usefully increase battery life. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nehalem_(microarchitecture)#32_nm_processors for current Arrandale models.

Intel have announced they'll be launching a new generation of SSDs later in 2010 in capacities up to 600GB. I expect SSDs to rapidly increase in capacity while decreasing in price during 2010.

Assuming Apple updates the Air early in 2010 and then around the middle of the year I suspect the second 2010 update will be significantly stronger than the first. It may even be worth waiting until early 2011.

Overall I think it will be an interesting twelve months for the Air.



iDisk
Jan 31, 2010, 11:30 AM
The Air is all about portability and I don't want to change that.

You say this but then you somehow forget your OWN words, cause you follow-up with the following



The basic specs I'm looking for are all doable in 2010.

Basic Spec

>12" screen with at least 1280x800 resolution
Full-sized backlit keyboard
CPU of similar performance to my current laptop
4GB ram
200GB fast SSD with TRIM
>5 hours battery life in real usage with wireless
802.11n/g/b wireless
<1.4Kg weight
Case remains cool
Quiet fans


The current Air meets the screen, keyboard, weight, wireless and CPU requirement and Apple could easily incorporate 4GB ram. The battery life and cooling should be doable too. Ideally battery life would increase to match the MacBook Pros, but this may not be possible without a weight increase.

SSD prices, performance and capacity are increasing rapidly, so provided Apple add TRIM to OS X there shouldn't be any problem meeting the storage requirement either. You may wonder why I'm so concerned about storage performance, but if you've tried a system with a good SSD drive you'll now what a huge difference it makes. The whole system is very snappy and responsive. TRIM helps to ensure SSDs keep their performance in the long term. If you're not familiar with SSDs I recommend reading http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631

Having got the basic spec out of the way I'm going to look at some reasonable extra features for a new model in 2010.

Desirable Features

CPU with AES acceleration and full disk encryption
2 USB ports
SD Card Reader (like MacBook pros)
3G support


Intel have added AES acceleration to the latest Arrandale mobile CPUs launched in January 2010. This reduces the performance penalty for encryption significantly. Apple should update OS X to support these new instructions as this would significantly improve the performance of FileVault. Many companies now insist their laptop drives are fully encrypted and there seems no good reason why Apple couldn't extend encryption to the entire drive. This would provide extra security for those carrying confidential or critical information. For an example of the difference these new instructions make to performance see http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3704&p=5.

The Arrandale CPUs also provide a useful ~20% performance boost over Penryn (see http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=3705&p=3). However there is a downside: they have graphics on die and can't be used with NVIDIA chipsets. Graphics performance is therefore likely to be lower than with the NVIDIA. Apple have three options:

Accept graphics performance and use standard Arrandale CPUs
Use standard Arrandales with dedicated graphics.
Get custom Arrandales without the integrated graphics and use something external

For the Air I think the first option is by far the most likely. But given the target market for the Air, this shouldn't be too much of a problem (provided the change isn't dramatically for the worse). For the Pro models Apple will have a harder time.

Apple should find a way to squeeze two USB ports into the Air. This helps with many commonplace tasks. For example, you want to sync your iPod and have an external hard disk attached. Or you need to restore your Mac from Time Machine and need to have a hard disk and the OS X DVD attached at the same time.

SD card reader isn't a must, but is convenient for many photographers and a handy way to transfer files or boot a Mac if it gets into difficulty.

3G support would allow the Air to browse the Internet from almost everywhere. Apple are giving the iPad this, so there's no reason they couldn't add it to the Air. To avoid raising the price for users who don't need the 3G, Apple can make it an option, again like on the iPad.

Finally I've listed some features it would be great to see, but aren't likely to be ready this year.

Future Features

OLED Screen
Light Peak or USB3
External Blu-ray Superdrive


OLED screens look fantastic and are very thin and potentially less power-hungry than LCDs. However production volumes are still low and they're very pricey. While I'm crossing my fingers I don't expect to see them on Apple laptops in 2010.

USB2 is now showing its age and higher Firewire speeds haven't been widely adopted. In 2010 we'll begin to see USB3 devices and perhaps the rumoured Light Peak interface. If Apple chooses one of these technologies for future IO it could replace one or both of the USB2 ports I'd like to see on the early 2010 revision. More info on Light Peak from Intel: http://techresearch.intel.com/articles/None/1813.htm

You may think I'm going too far with an External Blu-ray Superdrive, after all no Mac has one yet! I'd like to see Blu-ray available as at least an option on all Macs. This would allow me to watch Blu-rays on my Mac, create backups and transfer large media files. While Time Machine is good for creating continuos backups it would be nice to be able to store a large number of files on optical storage in a separate location from my laptop.

When to Buy?
While there's always new tech on the horizon, but there seem to be a couple of reasonably certain developments during 2010 that will significantly improve the Air from my point of view.

Intel's 32nm Arrandale CPUs are the first on the 32nm and not as efficient as they might be. I'd expect the second wave of 32nm CPU in the middle of 2010 to have lower consumption (e.g. 18W TDP rather than 25W at the reasonable speeds). As the Air is very sensitive to power consumption this could usefully increase battery life. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nehalem_(microarchitecture)#32_nm_processors for current Arrandale models.

Intel have announced they'll be launching a new generation of SSDs later in 2010 in capacities up to 600GB. I expect SSDs to rapidly increase in capacity while decreasing in price during 2010.

Assuming Apple updates the Air early in 2010 and then around the middle of the year I suspect the second 2010 update will be significantly stronger than the first. It may even be worth waiting until early 2011.

Overall I think it will be an interesting twelve months for the Air.

Why 2 usb ports???

Why SD card reader???

Apple will have SD Card reader adapter once the iPad comes out and that will be compatible to the Air & MacBook which have none.

The Air is about simplicity, why have all these "Personal" options on this notebook???

Only thing I can see going into the air is lightpeak at the end of this year (cause that's when lightpeak will be ready) & 3G probably (Lightpeak will have adapters also)

Apple already has a full size keyboard for ALL NOTEBOOKS

12" screen???..... To close to the 10" screen iPad now.... Plus Apple wants consistency 13" +2 = 15" +2 =17" .... Apple is about details even when you can't notice them.

This Notebook is designed for the "Wireless, portable user" .... It doesn't have pro features cause it's not a pro... If Apple wanted the Air to be a "pro" product then they would have done so already....

As far as 4GB Ram goes, Apple is redsigning the internal casing of the MacBook Air for the 32nm Arrandle chips , I'm also sure that Apple keeps a "complaints list" or as apple would say a "next features list" and will likely upgrade ram and have larger ssd in the next revision.

People complain about the Air from their donkey holes... Apple's goal of the next Air is to have a either lighter notebook or at least same weight and fix the top 3 complaints .... and depending who you talk to will be either

RAM
LARGER DRIVES
Cooling System or Display

This thread is Inane and not very adroit :cool:

/THREAD :)

PS .... MROOGLE is your friend

OH YEAH AND IF ANOTHER PERSON SAYS "I WISH USB 3 WAS HERE" THEN THEY HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT USB 3 AND LIGHTPEAK!!!! GOOGLE LIGHTPEAK... WHAT COMPANY ACTUALLY PUSHED THE INITIATIVE OF LIGHTPEAK BEING MAINSTREAM SOON??? WHAT CEO WENT TO PAUL OTILENNE AND SAID LETS WORK ON LIGHTPEAK TOGETHER??? APPLE HAS INVE$TED MUCH INTO LIGHTPEAK (WHICH WILL BE LAUNCHING DURING Q4 OF 2010) GEEZZZZZZZZ PEOPLE GET EDUCATED ABOUT THINGS YOUR ASKING FOR. WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND APPLE AND WHAT THEIR DOING BEHIND THE SCENES WITH OTHER TECHNOLOGY CAUSE THAT INFORMATION IS VERY MUCH SO PUBLIC!!!

......................................

APPLE HAS 3 TYPES OF CUSTOMERS

HYPED UP, DOESN'T KNOW ANYTHING REALLY ABOUT STEVE OR APPLE, BUT LOVE TO TALK LIKE THEY DO aka newbies

THEN YOU HAVE KNOWLEDGEABLE USERS WHO'VE BEEN WITH THE COMPANY FOR YRS 5 or more and Have understanding to some degree

THEN YOU HAVE THE TECHNICAL EVANGELISTIC NERD/GEEK WHO ADORES APPLE AND HANGS ONTO EVERY WORD THE COMPANY CREATOR SAYS

I say all this to say a person thread tell you what category they fall into

............................................

OH YEAH LAST I HEARD INTEL IS NOT DESIGNING SSD's THAT FIT THE AIR...... NOW THIS COULD CHANGE CAUSE APPLE IS REDESIGNING THE CASING THAT THE AIR CURRENTLY HAS AND APPLE COULD INADVERTENTLY ALLOW THIRD PARTY INTEL SSD'S IN-THERE..... ALSO AGAIN APPLE GETS ALL THEIR SSD'S FROM SAMSUNG THE TWO COMPANIES HAVE A CONTRACT TOGETHER FOR ANOTHER YR OR TWO..... WHY DON'T YOU GO TO SAMSUNGS SSD WEBSITE AND SEE THEIR PRODUCT ROADMAP CAUSE IT IS AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC.