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View Full Version : Delay on Macbook Air D Update - Maybe for the better! Will you wait till June's WWDC?




Jobsian
Feb 15, 2010, 02:55 PM
While it had been previously disappointing that we haven't yet seen Apple's Rev D Macbook Air, I was thinking that it may well be a blessing in disguise.

Assuming there will be an update, surely the longer we wait, the bigger the spec bump is going to be. After all, if there was going to be a spec bump in December, the same Penryn might well have been expected, however now and with every passing day, I'd be very surprised if a new MBA didn't have Arrandale.

And that goes for most other specs.


I have a feeling, and it is no more than that, that with Steve Jobs' recent quote regarding 2010 Macs that they'll "take Apple to the next level" and the fact that WWDC is a major event, Apple will want to introduce something groundbreaking.

The only question is what are the possible avenues for upgrades if we wait until WWDC? I can think of a few:

A) Major design revision, lighter, great-looking
B) Intel to start cycle 2 of their Arrandale production with lower TDP
C) OLED costs becomes viable and panels less prone to degradation
D) SSD capacity, performance and costs improve, with TRIM technology standardised
E) Higher likelihood of Nvidia/ATI discrete cards as tech improves
F) >4GB RAM viable?
G) USB 3.0 or even an early intro for Light Peak?


Which brings me to the questions in the poll. Now that we've waited this long, we're already deep into February, increasingly part of me is telling me to wait regardless of update or not! However if there is an MBA update soon, I might not have enough willpower to resist :D



norsemen
Feb 15, 2010, 03:49 PM
A) Major design revision, lighter, great-looking

Perhaps, but no evidence yet of that

B) Intel to start cycle 2 of their Arrandale production with lower TDP

No chance, 2011 is the better bet
http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/14/intels-huron-river-32nm-laptop-platform-to-pack-wimax-in-2011/

C) OLED costs becomes viable and panels less prone to degradation

No evidence of OLED becoming available that soon.

D) SSD capacity, performance and costs improve, with TRIM technology standardised

No TRIM support for OSX

E) Higher likelihood of Nvidia/ATI discrete cards as tech improves

As likely as itīs now

F) >4GB RAM viable?

Letīs first get the 4 GB, before we hope for more.

G) USB 3.0 or even an early intro for Light Peak?

Lightpeak is a year away according to Intels president last month at CES. No evidence that Apple will support USB 3.0

PsyD4Me
Feb 15, 2010, 03:51 PM
i'll gladly wait, because as of now my MBA with Runcore is more than capable of handling the web, office documents, SPSS analysis and playing itunes in the background....

Jobsian
Feb 15, 2010, 04:24 PM
B) Intel to start cycle 2 of their Arrandale production with lower TDP

No chance, 2011 is the better bet
http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/14/intels-huron-river-32nm-laptop-platform-to-pack-wimax-in-2011/
True, saw that article myself, however I wasn't referring to Huron-River with its wireless integration, but just a reference i read in the MBP forum to the possibility of Intel bringing their TDPs down as 32nm fab manufacturing improves in efficiency and quality with time. Though I've no personal knowledge of this mechanism.

godslabrat
Feb 15, 2010, 04:38 PM
I don't mind waiting... the warranty for my current laptop (and hopefully my last PC with Windows as a primary OS) expires in May. June would be a perfect time for a replacement to hit the market!

My wish list for Rev. D is fairly short-- 4GB RAM and a graphics card that's equal or better than the current model. A modified hinge and second USB port would be really nice... In truth, I could probably make do with a Rev. C, but since the update is so close, might as well wait it out.

Airforcekid
Feb 15, 2010, 08:05 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

Could it realy be that Apple is holding out for a 256SSD and dropping the HD completly if so I'd be happy with 64 and 128 and I'm happy if it keeps the 9400M but it needs more ram and at least out spec the mini in proccessor power battery life as long as it's 3 1/2 hours I'm happy.

Scottsdale
Feb 15, 2010, 08:26 PM
I don't mind waiting... the warranty for my current laptop (and hopefully my last PC with Windows as a primary OS) expires in May. June would be a perfect time for a replacement to hit the market!

My wish list for Rev. D is fairly short-- 4GB RAM and a graphics card that's equal or better than the current model. A modified hinge and second USB port would be really nice... In truth, I could probably make do with a Rev. C, but since the update is so close, might as well wait it out.

I think your wish list is extremely fair... more so than most fan lists. I don't believe a second USB port will make it to the MBA though. I think the only issue is the graphics, and I like how you sum it up, "...better than the current model."

While it had been previously disappointing that we haven't yet seen Apple's Rev D Macbook Air, I was thinking that it may well be a blessing in disguise.

Assuming there will be an update, surely the longer we wait, the bigger the spec bump is going to be. After all, if there was going to be a spec bump in December, the same Penryn might well have been expected, however now and with every passing day, I'd be very surprised if a new MBA didn't have Arrandale.

And that goes for most other specs.


I have a feeling, and it is no more than that, that with Steve Jobs' recent quote regarding 2010 Macs that they'll "take Apple to the next level" and the fact that WWDC is a major event, Apple will want to introduce something groundbreaking.

The only question is what are the possible avenues for upgrades if we wait until WWDC? I can think of a few:

A) Major design revision, lighter, great-looking
B) Intel to start cycle 2 of their Arrandale production with lower TDP
C) OLED costs becomes viable and panels less prone to degradation
D) SSD capacity, performance and costs improve, with TRIM technology standardised
E) Higher likelihood of Nvidia/ATI discrete cards as tech improves
F) >4GB RAM viable?
G) USB 3.0 or even an early intro for Light Peak?


Which brings me to the questions in the poll. Now that we've waited this long, we're already deep into February, increasingly part of me is telling me to wait regardless of update or not! However if there is an MBA update soon, I might not have enough willpower to resist :D

I am with you Jobsian, every day makes Arrandale a far greater certainty for the MBA.

Core i7-620LM/640LM
Nvidia 330 with Optimus enabled
4GB RAM
192GB to 256GB high-end SSD (low end gets 128GB SSD)
Glass Trackpad

I don't think this update will include a design change. When we get the design update I predict a new display technology introduced in MBA - OLED, HD, or 3D. I expect the next update will take the MBA through these changes and other Mac notebooks may follow suit with a more "Air" like cases.

I will buy the next MBA as long as it has 4GB RAM and any graphics system that's "equal to or better than the current model."

Core 2 Duo, Nvidia 9400m(or successor), 4GB RAM (no other updates) = buy

Core i7-6x0LM, Nvidia 3xx/ATI4xxx, 4GB RAM (no other updates) = buy

Core i7-6x0LM, solely using Arrandale IGP, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, weigh 2lbs, glass trackpad, OLED display that also does 3D and HD (without glasses), 12-hour battery, reduced footprint, and a price reduction to $999 = NO BUY

Just kidding, but the point is sole use of the Arrandale IGP, IN MY OPINION, would kill the entire point of the MBA being a capable Mac. I don't believe Apple will be happy with the IGP graphics either. Apple has spent a lot of money taking advantage of technologies focused on superior graphics to Intel's IGP, and I don't expect Apple to cave in given it knew the likelihood Nvidia wouldn't be providing chipsets for future Macs.

I actually believe Apple still could produce an MBA update with C2D and Nvidia GPU/chipset... but it's less likely as each day goes by without an update. In my eyes, a C2D update in all low end Macs would still be sufficient with Nvidia GPUs. Just like Apple's last update to iMacs.

Looking at Apple's update strategy over the years, an update now makes a lot of sense at least for the MBPs. Apple updates at least one major product nearly every fiscal quarter to capitalize on sales for that and deep into the next quarter. Apple last had a major product update during early fiscal Q1 2010 with the iMacs. Those represent extra sales as holidays already equal big sales due to iPods/Macs being great Christmas gifts. We're now dead in the middle of Q2, and to spur sales for Q2 an update now would give a full six weeks of MBP sales and that would push strong through the third quarter when iPhone gets updated. We will probably see a complete lineup of Mac updates that follow the MBPs with the same graphics and Core i CPUs.

Also there have been rumors of iLife '10 (and maybe iWork '10) being updated soon. I believe the software could hold up the MBP to wait to finalize both iLife '10 and new MBP together; think about how much extra it costs to track sales and ship software after the computers. And people don't want the hassle of having to wait three weeks to update their software so just wait until the update is ready if close. Also, Apple could be even waiting on finalization of 10.6.3. Since it seems very close to the update, even that could be the delay. I expect an MBP update very soon... whether the MBA waits until June and the WWDC, I am not sure but seems possible.

Maks
Feb 15, 2010, 08:46 PM
I won't comment on a wish list since there are a dozen other threads on here for that, but I will say that if a 13" MBP w/out a Superdrive is available first, I'd jump right on that. Otherwise, I'd welcome a MBA w/4G of RAM.

Scottsdale
Feb 15, 2010, 10:41 PM
I won't comment on a wish list since there are a dozen other threads on here for that, but I will say that if a 13" MBP w/out a Superdrive is available first, I'd jump right on that. Otherwise, I'd welcome a MBA w/4G of RAM.

I would have bet a year ago that the MBPs would lose their optical drives within three updates. I feel Apple sorta lost the battle to drop optical drives with the emergence of Blu Ray being so coveted by the pro users and those who want entertainment computers. I still feel in the long run, the MBPs will lose their optical drives and look a lot more like an "Air" than a Pro.

To me, the weight is the most important factor now that I have used the MBA for a few years. I love how thin it is, but I wouldn't care if it didn't go any thinner. At the same time, I would appreciate dropping a half pound. I think Dell and some of the other companies have focused too much on thin, and that's not the overall difference in the MBA that makes it so portable. It's the 3lb weight that makes the MBA incredible. Plus the tapering makes it feel like its super thin while using and carrying. The overall design is still best on the market, bar none.

I wouldn't want to add a half pound to gain even three hours of battery between charges. 3lbs is the weight that it's incredible at and makes a gigantic difference in the way it feels versus a MBP. In fact, if I had an option to go same battery life and same form factor for 2.5lbs or double battery at 3lbs, I would select the 2.5lbs over the extra battery life at 3lbs. That would be a great option for those to buy who want it.

steamtoy
Feb 15, 2010, 10:52 PM
I won't comment on a wish list since there are a dozen other threads on here for that, but I will say that if a 13" MBP w/out a Superdrive is available first, I'd jump right on that. Otherwise, I'd welcome a MBA w/4G of RAM.

You read my mind!

Icaras
Feb 15, 2010, 11:03 PM
I would have bet a year ago that the MBPs would lose their optical drives within three updates. I feel Apple sorta lost the battle to drop optical drives with the emergence of Blu Ray being so coveted by the pro users and those who want entertainment computers. I still feel in the long run, the MBPs will lose their optical drives and look a lot more like an "Air" than a Pro.

I am one of those who support blu-ray, but I feel that Apple could always ditch the optical drive anyway, and just provide it as a CTO option. Either take a blu-ray drive or take a second internal SSD or HDD, or take nothing at all and make the MBP that much more appealing by dropping the price on it further.

I don't know. Is it because that move might overcomplicate the product line? I think we've reached a turning point where Apple could do so many things at this point (and not just to the Macbook Line. There is opportunity in the iMacs and Mac Minis for sure). Enough to satisfy just about everyone with their specific needs.

theLimit
Feb 15, 2010, 11:19 PM
Along with Core i series processors, 4GB of RAM, and equal to or better than current graphics, there are some small things that have worked their way into Apple's products that I'd like to see in the Air.

I'd like the button-less trackpad of the current portables.

I'd like the combined audio in/out port of the 13" MBP.

I would also like to see audio output enabled over Mini DisplayPort.

And of course, the obligatory niche feature that Apple will never implement, bi-directional MDP over the entire Mac range.

Scottsdale
Feb 15, 2010, 11:35 PM
I think we've reached a turning point where Apple could do so many things at this point (and not just to the Macbook Line. There is opportunity in the iMacs and Mac Minis for sure). Enough to satisfy just about everyone with their specific needs.

I agree. I have about ten different possible ideas for where the MBA could go... and I have no clue which way Apple will go. Except I am sticking with either OLED/HD/3D displays ending up in the next MBA when its form factor changes.

I always count the little things as the reasons I justify for buying a Mac. Well, it has a backlit keyboard. Well I like the way the trackpad works. Oh, it looks beautiful without any ports showing. Well, the aluminum feels great. Well the power cable is better with mag-safe adapter. I like the way the keyboard feels. I even like the way the Apple logo lights up. Or even the software differences... with OS X and especially iLife '09. I think about switching to a Sony, but oh I couldn't use iPhoto to find people through facial recognition. It's all the little things that add up that make Apple's products so cool.

I think Apple could call the current low-end MBA a MacBook and sell it for $999. Then give about four configurations that focus on different segments of the market. Allow BTO options all the way to $4k for the ultimate MBA. I understand why Apple dropped the prices on the MBA during the last update in June 2009. Apple didn't have a competitor in the netbook (secondary computer) market, so it dropped the prices and held prices low by configuring only two options. Now that the iPad is ready to takeover those roles, so the MBA should really be focused at use as a primary Mac... but why limit it to that??? There are parts of the market that will not pay more than $1000, and they can do just as well with a base MBA. There are others that want every configuration option, and those people would pay $4k for the same computer with all the bells and whistles. There is no reason to believe Apple wouldn't want to capitalize on the MBA margins available with BTO options. I hope we eventually see this sort of component BTO option model making its way to Apple.com. I know many diehard MBA fans that would go full out and pay the extra for a black-aluminum "MBA Ultimate."

Jobsian
Feb 16, 2010, 04:34 PM
Core 2 Duo, Nvidia 9400m(or successor), 4GB RAM (no other updates) = buy

Core i7-6x0LM, Nvidia 3xx/ATI4xxx, 4GB RAM (no other updates) = buyI think I'd be very tempted on the first option but would probably wait until WWDC if it was only that. 2nd option is a certain buy for me.



Core i7-6x0LM, solely using Arrandale IGP, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, weigh 2lbs, glass trackpad, OLED display that also does 3D and HD (without glasses), 12-hour battery, reduced footprint, and a price reduction to $999 = NO BUY
Haha I'd say the same actually! For me it's about conveying in the strongest possible terms that while I love Intel's CPUs and I welcome their attempts to enhance their IGPs, I would simply not buy a laptop without an Nvidia/ATI option regardless of every other possible benefit. Yes I guess elbowing Nvidia out of the integrated chipset market was a calculated business decision (regardless of any antitrust ruling - they've already successfully applied the brakes on Nvidia's 200m etc), but I personally find that practice quite odious.

Jobsian
Feb 16, 2010, 04:58 PM
Another point, it's interesting Scottsdale that you're usually quite conservative with your spec predictions yet with the display you're more out on a limb (OLED, 3D etc), but i agree on that principle.

I don't think the Macbook Air line was ever intended as a run-of-the-mill notebook, it has an X-factor. On its introduction, this was its revolutionary form-factor and weight that was quite a bit ahead of its time - eg only now are other manufacturers catching up in the MBA's unique spec/weight compromise, eg Adamo (not XPS). They still haven't caught up with its astonishing looks imo.

The MBA is a premium notebook (look at the base prices on Apple's site). It's Apple's platinum notebook. Yeah it's expensive but it's damn good.

I have a feeling (no more than that) that along with spec bumps, we'll see something X-factor if Apple unveil a new MBA at WWDC. Whether it's eg the display, or new manufacturing material or fan-less cooling etc, I've no idea, but I do hope Apple smoke us all like they did with the Air's original introduction:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYKKz1ezBJI

That performance by Jobs combined with what they'd actually designed has got to make for surely one of the most exciting tech announcements ever!