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southnc
Mar 24, 2010, 07:29 PM
I recently visited my local Apple Store and the news is not good on the current version of the MBA.

One salesperson would only say it is not selling well, whilst another said he could not even remember the last time he sold one!! In the mean time, the other MacBooks (especially the Pro) are flying off the shelves, so to speak.

I tried to get some info out of them on what they thought the next gen MBA would be. None of them had any idea, and some even suggested there isn't too much more they can do with the current framework.

They just kept pushing the iPad as an alternative. (I never use my iPhone for a full browser "experience" and those that plan to use the bigger iPhone - I mean iPad - are in for a real disappointment, imo). I just hope Apple doesn't see the iPad and MBA competing, or that could be real trouble.

Hopefully, we'll get some good news on a refreshed MBA soon.



Chundles
Mar 24, 2010, 07:33 PM
It's a niche product. At our store it sells regularly but not anywhere as much as the stores in the capital cities.

It's a great laptop but it's not great for everyone. Apple designed it this way.

gnr319
Mar 24, 2010, 07:49 PM
Nothing surprising about this. I've said before that the 13 inch macbook pro has become Apple's standard notebook, even cannibalizing the regular macbook.

I remember 5+ years ago that the iBook was the Mac to get for the uninitiated. Today it is the 13in MBP.

cleric
Mar 24, 2010, 08:33 PM
Well with the refurb deals online its hard to believe they would be selling many new ones in the store.

alphaod
Mar 25, 2010, 12:57 AM
The MacBook Air for most people overpriced, underpowered, and just silly.

So it's not for everyone, especially not for folks moving to the Mac platform for the first time. For most people the 13" and 15" MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks, respectively, are the best choice.

kernkraft
Mar 25, 2010, 03:05 AM
I've had two rev A Airs and I liked them a lot, but they had so many issues that in the end, it didn't make any sense keeping them, especially with a 13" unibody MB and a 15" unibody MBP in the household at the time. I agree that the unibody range made the Air pretty expensive and slow. But I still miss typing on the Air. Nice screen (not hyper-mega glossy), very light and slim - an absolute pleasure.

The strange thing is that the Air is, in many ways just like the iPad will be... Anybody would kill it with a cheaper, chunkier and more powerful model as long as it run the same OS. 'Form over content' comes to mind.

Scottsdale
Mar 25, 2010, 08:05 AM
MBA = Premium Computing Experience
iPad = Visually Stimulating Experience

MBA = Input and Output
iPad = Output Only

MBA = Executive Working
iPad = Consumer being Entertained

MBA = Notebook Capabilities
iPad = Less than Netbook Capabilities

MBA = Profit for Apple at Point of Sale
iPad = Profit for Apple via advertising, sales of apps, iBooks, and iTunes content long after iPad is sold.

MBA = Traditional Business Model
iPad = New Business Model

There is plenty of business for Apple to sell both the MBA and iPad. What would Apple rather sell? Probably either. The MBA offers a great profit margin now and loyal computing customers who will upgrade often and keep wanting a premium experience over the standard MB consumer. Also, the MBA allows Apple to focus on business users to get the executive into the mindset of expanding Apple into his or her business model. The iPad offers little margin now, but with every sale it drives more development of apps driving more demand for the iPad with greater margins later. In addition, the iPad drives more sales of apps, iBooks, and iTunes content. Apple isn't making a ton of money off of each content sale, but in the long run the content sales drive more iPad sales driving more app choices driving more iPad sales and so on.

Furthermore, the MBA is the futuristic direction of the Mac notebooks. Apple can use the MBA to leverage its entire Mac notebook lineup and to fully test the usefulness and features intended for the other Mac notebooks. It was the MBA that introduced the unibody case, large multi-touch trackpad, wireless design, feature on portability, removed optical drive, and ultra thin/lightweight form and design yet allowing MB like function. I think Apple will continue to use the MBA for futuristic evolution of its other Mac notebooks. I think the MBA gets 3G, expanded wireless functions (wireless display), docking station capabilities, and perhaps most importantly new display technologies. I see an IPS HD Display as the greatest possibility for the next release, but I don't count out a 3D or OLED display anytime in the future. The display is the obvious place to provide the MBA user an upgraded luxurious experience over the MB. In addition, the costs of components for the MBA has been substantially reduced. Apple isn't going to keep dropping the MBA prices, but will include new technologies to provide a greater value proposition for the MBA buyers.

The MBA will continue to sell to the business user, grad student, college professor, tech enthusiast, lawyer, doctor, traveler, salesperson, tech enthusiast, prosumer, professional on the go, and anyone willing to pay a little more for a premium experience. The iPad is targeted at the consumer wanting to be entertained! It's just that simple... these are two completely different devices with different markets. There is a little bit of overlap, but then there's some overlap between most of Apple's offerings. Everything is designed to give the user the best experience and certain devices focus a little better on some aspects than others. In no way does the iPad reduce the need for the MBA within the Apple Mac business model. Furthermore, I would say that the iPad can actually drive MBA sales. Many non-Mac users will be trying out the iPad. A lot of these people will realize that Apple products can provide a great experience... many of these people will ultimately convert from the dark side and many will want the extreme portability of the MBA. If anything, the iPad sells more Macs than the iPod and iPhone did together.

southnc
Mar 25, 2010, 11:07 AM
MBA = Premium Computing Experience
iPad = Visually Stimulating Experience

MBA = Input and Output
iPad = Output Only

MBA = Executive Working
iPad = Consumer being Entertained

MBA = Notebook Capabilities
iPad = Less than Netbook Capabilities

MBA = Profit for Apple at Point of Sale
iPad = Profit for Apple via advertising, sales of apps, iBooks, and iTunes content long after iPad is sold.

MBA = Traditional Business Model
iPad = New Business Model

There is plenty of business for Apple to sell both the MBA and iPad. What would Apple rather sell? Probably either. The MBA offers a great profit margin now and loyal computing customers who will upgrade often and keep wanting a premium experience over the standard MB consumer. Also, the MBA allows Apple to focus on business users to get the executive into the mindset of expanding Apple into his or her business model. The iPad offers little margin now, but with every sale it drives more development of apps driving more demand for the iPad with greater margins later. In addition, the iPad drives more sales of apps, iBooks, and iTunes content. Apple isn't making a ton of money off of each content sale, but in the long run the content sales drive more iPad sales driving more app choices driving more iPad sales and so on.

Furthermore, the MBA is the futuristic direction of the Mac notebooks. Apple can use the MBA to leverage its entire Mac notebook lineup and to fully test the usefulness and features intended for the other Mac notebooks. It was the MBA that introduced the unibody case, large multi-touch trackpad, wireless design, feature on portability, removed optical drive, and ultra thin/lightweight form and design yet allowing MB like function. I think Apple will continue to use the MBA for futuristic evolution of its other Mac notebooks. I think the MBA gets 3G, expanded wireless functions (wireless display), docking station capabilities, and perhaps most importantly new display technologies. I see an IPS HD Display as the greatest possibility for the next release, but I don't count out a 3D or OLED display anytime in the future. The display is the obvious place to provide the MBA user an upgraded luxurious experience over the MB. In addition, the costs of components for the MBA has been substantially reduced. Apple isn't going to keep dropping the MBA prices, but will include new technologies to provide a greater value proposition for the MBA buyers.

The MBA will continue to sell to the business user, grad student, college professor, tech enthusiast, lawyer, doctor, traveler, salesperson, tech enthusiast, prosumer, professional on the go, and anyone willing to pay a little more for a premium experience. The iPad is targeted at the consumer wanting to be entertained! It's just that simple... these are two completely different devices with different markets. There is a little bit of overlap, but then there's some overlap between most of Apple's offerings. Everything is designed to give the user the best experience and certain devices focus a little better on some aspects than others. In no way does the iPad reduce the need for the MBA within the Apple Mac business model. Furthermore, I would say that the iPad can actually drive MBA sales. Many non-Mac users will be trying out the iPad. A lot of these people will realize that Apple products can provide a great experience... many of these people will ultimately convert from the dark side and many will want the extreme portability of the MBA. If anything, the iPad sells more Macs than the iPod and iPhone did together.
Some good points.

However, whatever they do with the next gen MBA, it better have a much better battery!

I'm not so enthusiastic about the iPad. Apple believes the iPhone's success means it's browser is adequate - it is not. Those getting the iPad will find out why, unfortunately.

Alkiera
Mar 25, 2010, 12:05 PM
Some good points.
Apple believes the iPhone's success means it's browser is adequate - it is not. Those getting the iPad will find out why, unfortunately.

Any specific complaints, Flash aside? My impression was that it's Safari, which I use on a daily basis anyway, both on my Mac and PC. 90% of flash is ad garbage anyhow; the only place I actually use it is youtube and hulu, and not a whole lot there. Are there other issues?

gwsat
Mar 25, 2010, 01:08 PM
The MBA will continue to sell to the business user, grad student, college professor, tech enthusiast, lawyer, doctor, traveler, salesperson, tech enthusiast, prosumer, professional on the go, and anyone willing to pay a little more for a premium experience. The iPad is targeted at the consumer wanting to be entertained! It's just that simple... these are two completely different devices with different markets. There is a little bit of overlap, but then there's some overlap between most of Apple's offerings. Everything is designed to give the user the best experience and certain devices focus a little better on some aspects than others. In no way does the iPad reduce the need for the MBA within the Apple Mac business model. Furthermore, I would say that the iPad can actually drive MBA sales. Many non-Mac users will be trying out the iPad. A lot of these people will realize that Apple products can provide a great experience... many of these people will ultimately convert from the dark side and many will want the extreme portability of the MBA. If anything, the iPad sells more Macs than the iPod and iPhone did together.
I agree but, then, I'm a Mac nerd, too, so what do we know. :)

I am a both a professional and a tech enthusiast, and would have bought an MBA a long time ago but for the appalling failing that its inadequate 2Gb of RAM is not upgradeable. That's why I'm glad that the extended AppleCare coverage I have for my MBP still has some time to run. I hope that by the time it runs out, the MBA will be a lot better than the current version. In the meantime, the iPad doesn't interest me, either, although I understand why many Mac users are enthusiastic about it. From my point of view, though, it is too small to be practical and too large to fit in a pocket. Worse, it has Web access only via a cell phone subscription unless you are near a wifi network you have access to. The final nail in the iPad's coffin for me is that I am a T-Mobile subscriber and the iPad is not compatible with T-Mobile's 3G network.

Scottsdale
Mar 25, 2010, 01:18 PM
Some good points.

However, whatever they do with the next gen MBA, it better have a much better battery!

The least important demand I have is the battery in the MBA. I would prefer losing a half pound of weight rather than double the battery life. To make the MBA's battery life longer, they will have to lose weight elsewhere or lower performance. I will not accept lowering performance further to gain battery life. If tech has changed enough to allow 1/2 pound drop in total weight of MBA, I would gladly take that drop rather than just adding in more battery. The advantage of the MBA is not necessarily its size but more so how lightweight it is for traveling use whether to the couch or on a business trip.

Let's think about the ten hours of battery we can get with the new iPad. The iPad is driving an ARM chip with built on graphics, and driving a 9.6" display. It's essentially the exact same chip and graphics as the iPod Touch. In fact, the iPhone could drive that exact same display. The next iPhone will probably have the same A4 branding on its CPU also, and might even get a more capable graphics system than the iPad has. All Apple has really done is create a large iPod Touch whether anyone wants to admit it or not. The point I meant to get to before typing this paragraph is that the iPad might get us 10 hours of battery, with bluetooth, wifi, 3G and brightness turned down all the way, but it's just an iPod Touch... not a computer! If we want extreme portability and a computer, something has to give. We can get a nice viewing experience with the iPad, and it has a long battery life between charges but we cannot really do work on it... it's pretty to watch, but that's it.

To do computing work, we need battery power. About the best you can hope for is that when Apple uses the Core i7, it goes with an ultra low voltage CPU (Core i7-6x0UM) and solely uses the Intel GMA IGP for graphics. There the MBA can save 38% of its battery for longer life between charges. Apple isn't going to add weight to the MBA, so your hope would be to lose power to gain your battery life? We have seen Intel's GMA in our beloved MBA before, and think how inferior it is to the Nvidia system at 5X the graphics performance... I really believe this would be a disaster and would solidify my decision to abandon OS X and the MBA for the Sony Vaio Z solution. At that point, even the Sony Vaio X would be a better solution. OS X is not able to run graphics, 3D, Flash and HD as efficiently as Windows, so Windows is the better OS to use if we want to do these things on a computer that solely uses Intel's graphics non-solution.

Any specific complaints, Flash aside? My impression was that it's Safari, which I use on a daily basis anyway, both on my Mac and PC. 90% of flash is ad garbage anyhow; the only place I actually use it is youtube and hulu, and not a whole lot there. Are there other issues?

Have you ever tried truly surfing the web with an iPhone or iPod Touch? It's a joke. Look at big publishing and media sites and you cannot get any of the interactive content because it's all in Flash. The problem is the web was developed, for the most part with 98% of Internet access used by Flash capable hardware. It's only Apple that has a problem with Flash. Think about some of the other things Flash does. Flash is used to add graphics introductions on many sites and without Flash the site cannot be accessed. Flash is used to add drop down navigation on many sites, and without a Flash capable device, people cannot browse the site's content (even text based content sites). Flash has been so heavily integrated into the Internet that it's a standard. Ads on sites are the only thing truly problematic for computers because they're not concerned about anything but showing you a blinking ad to gain your attention... for those purposes Flash is a problem, I agree. But ads are not the only thing Flash is used for... Flash shows video content for free via paid for by advertisers - watch a TV show for free on Hulu and suffer through two-and-a-half minutes of commercials OR pay Apple $1.99 for the same exact thing. Pardon me, but it's not worth my money to pay $2 vs watching 2.5 minutes of commercials... 45.5 minutes to watch Lost on Hulu, 43 minutes on iTunes but have to add the time to go buy and start the download and wait for it to begin... net result I actually save time by going to Hulu and I save $2.19 with tax. I will take free any day. There are certain times when I know I will be away from Internet access like on a plane, so I buy movies or shows for those times. The rest of the time, Apple's business model just doesn't work when it comes to selling video content with alternative models out there that don't require users to pay fees.

Apple is selling iPads to sell content, apps, and entertainment, to sell more iPads. This is the model... the iPod solved a problem to allow high quality music playback on the go without taking up any space or being heavy. The Mac gets work done and does all of the other entertainment driven motives people use it for, and allows super fast input via a standard physical keyboard. The iPhone lets us communicate and do brief browsing on the go... the problem with the iPad is it's just for fun and it's not extremely portable and its main purpose of Internet browsing doesn't even allow the user full access to the Internet. I don't see the iPad working for the whole population until the Flash problem gets solved. Apple has talked a few publishers into getting away from Flash, but the rest of the web is "tainted." Apple needs to provide a solution to view the Flash content now... if it's not going to run a Flash plug-in then perhaps Apple needs to write its own app that will display the Flash content. The bottom line is the iPad is going to disappoint a lot of people when they realize just how important Flash is even for navigating the Internet. Flash was installed on 98% of devices that connected to the Internet a year ago... it's good enough for every other Internet device except Apple's and the problem Apple has is it allows content for free on its devices and it wants to charge a fee for the exact same content.

I believe a lot of people will be truly disappointed and will not understand how big the Flash issue is until they use the iPad and discover just what they're missing. And of course, many people will be disappointed that nearly every bit of content that they can view for free on their computer they have to pay for on the iPad. A lot of people are in for a rude awakening.

Alkiera
Mar 25, 2010, 01:40 PM
the problem Apple has is it allows content for free on its devices and it wants to charge a fee for the exact same content.

Apple's reported reason is that Adobe can't manage to make a version of flash that performs well. Adobe has their own related complaints about accessibility to hardware in OSX.


I believe a lot of people will be truly disappointed and will not understand how big the Flash issue is until they use the iPad and discover just what they're missing. And of course, many people will be disappointed that nearly every bit of content that they can view for free on their computer they have to pay for on the iPad. A lot of people are in for a rude awakening.

I am apparently a non-standard user of the www. The vast majority of my web use is for reading text. I read a LOT of online fiction, and also forums like this one. As for missing flash, the browser I'm currently using doesn't have the flash plugin installed; I get an infobar mentioning it on lots of pages, and yeah, I miss the occasional photo on the man macrumor's page, as well as all the ads... but the reason I'm here is to read the text of news articles, and the text in the forums.

I don't play any flash games. I do use hulu on occasion, but mostly at home on my larger desktop screen, where I can sit with my spouse and watch shows together. Same with netflix... which doesn't use flash, but could potentially have an iPhone/iPad video streaming app, I haven't checked. But 'major media sites'? bah. I could not care less.

That's why I said, 'flash aside'. I meant it. Flash is desired by me in a trivial percentage of my web usage.

Bye Bye Baby
Mar 25, 2010, 02:59 PM
I would consider a macbook air. But it is way over priced and way underpowered. It needs an i3/i5 processor and an SSD as standard.

I can live without lots of ports. Wi-fi is great and on a computer of that nature all I need.

But apple needs to up what needs to beupped and down what needs to be downed.

Then I'll pick one up.

Scottsdale
Mar 25, 2010, 04:07 PM
I would consider a macbook air. But it is way over priced and way underpowered. It needs an i3/i5 processor and an SSD as standard.

I can live without lots of ports. Wi-fi is great and on a computer of that nature all I need.

But apple needs to up what needs to beupped and down what needs to be downed.

Then I'll pick one up.

Why do people keep saying the MBA needs a Core i3 CPU? Don't they all realize that is a bottom of the line CPU and the MBA uses a much higher grade CPU? There is no Core i3 CPU at less than 35W TDP. The Core i3 is essentially no better than a Core 2 Duo. It has no boost and only does hyperthreading. These are also lower clock speed CPUs than the i5 and i7 alternatives. These are cheap, low-end, and inferior CPUs, and unless Apple is going to allow the MBA to fry eggs, it's not going to put one of these in an MBA. There is no room to cool it!

There are no Core i5 CPUs that are labeled "low voltage" as the current MBA CPUs. There is an ultra low voltage CPU, but even it's inferior to the current offerings. If Apple wanted to go ultra low voltage, there are better Core i7 CPUs to do the job at the same 18W TDP.

There are two chips that replace the current SL9400 and SL9600 Penryn C2D CPUs used in the MBA and they are... Core i7-620LM 2 GHz *boost to 2.8 GHz and Core i7-640LM 2.13 GHz *boost to 2.93 GHz. These are the replacement CPUs for the current MBA CPUs. These cost less than the Core 2 Duo CPUs they replace.

So unless Apple completely changes direction with the MBA, they will NOT be shipping with a Core i3 or even Core i5 CPUs.

http://www.intel.com/products/processor/index.htm

Right hand side shows Core series mobile CPUs.

PracticalMac
Mar 25, 2010, 04:18 PM
Nothing surprising about this. I've said before that the 13 inch macbook pro has become Apple's standard notebook, even cannibalizing the regular macbook.

I remember 5+ years ago that the iBook was the Mac to get for the uninitiated. Today it is the 13in MBP.

I wonder how much is due to lack of FireWire on the current MB?

Of course there is a performance advantage in the MBP 13" too.

Detlev_73
Mar 25, 2010, 04:37 PM
Why do people keep saying the MBA needs a ...

Because people are fickle, and they say they "need" something faster, that they "need" an optical drive, that it's too "slow", the list goes on and on. I love my MB Air, and actually sold off my 1 year old Macbook because it was too heavy, and I didn't "need" an optical drive.

And folks, before you go off responding emotionally and saying "speak for yourself blah blah blah...", I am; keep your rants, raves, and Micro$oft fanboy comments to YOURSELVES, creeps.

gwsat
Mar 25, 2010, 05:06 PM
Because people are fickle, and they say they "need" something faster, that they "need" an optical drive, that it's too "slow", the list goes on and on. I love my MB Air, and actually sold off my 1 year old Macbook because it was too heavy, and I didn't "need" an optical drive.
I agree that anybody who is fair minded has to acknowledge the appeal of the Macbook Air. I would love to have one myself but for its unfortunate inability to accept RAM modules. Because the Macbook Air is limited to its hardwired 2Gb of RAM, it simply wouldn't work for me. I customarily run Windows apps in a Fusion virtual machine in Unity mode on my Macbook Pro because it has 6Gb of RAM. But when it had only 2 Gb of RAM it won't handle my needs. Obviously, the Macbook Air wouldn't work either. The bottom line is that I really do "need" something the Macbook Air can't deliver: more that 2Gb of RAM, a lot more. But I hate that it doesn't give us that.

numbersyx
Mar 25, 2010, 05:30 PM
It had the wow factor when it first debuted due to its slenderness and weight but that's faded now and its limitations mean that it's use is for a very small sector of the market. I'm interested to see how much the iPad will replace it esp. with iWorks being tailored for it...

Scottsdale
Mar 25, 2010, 05:42 PM
Because people are fickle, and they say they "need" something faster, that they "need" an optical drive, that it's too "slow", the list goes on and on. I love my MB Air, and actually sold off my 1 year old Macbook because it was too heavy, and I didn't "need" an optical drive.

And folks, before you go off responding emotionally and saying "speak for yourself blah blah blah...", I am; keep your rants, raves, and Micro$oft fanboy comments to YOURSELVES, creeps.

Completely missed the nature of my post. The point was precisely that a Core i3 in the MBA would make it the laughing stock of the computing world! Seriously, that CPU is junk... the MBA has a much nicer series CPU filled by a Core i7-6x0LM.

My point is that when people don't understand the technology they're asking for, they don't know if they need it or not. And, if someone is going to make a statement proclaiming they want something, they should do their research and understand what the hell they're asking for.

People would be much better off with a Core 2 Duo CPU and an Nvidia GPU than a Core i3. The Core i3 would require more energy, run hotter, die faster between charges, offer less tech, offer less graphics performance, and miss out on the boost and faster clock speeds capable in the Core i7 Arrandale mobile CPUs. Needless to say, Apple would save some money on the CPU costs for the MBA, and the MBA could double as a frying pan!

southnc
Mar 25, 2010, 06:18 PM
Some good points discussed here.

I think the real issue is what exactly IS the MBA's mission?

I think we can all agree that it's mission certainly includes very low weight and sleek design, reliable, SSD memory, decent battery life, and can run OSX reasonably well.

Personally, I could care less if the graphics are the old GMA or the performance prevents it from running intense graphics programs; that is what the iMac (Pro) and, to a certain degree, the MBPs are for.

I simply cannot imagine the MBA being anyone's sole machine - it should be a supplementary computer that can be conveniently taken anywhere. The fact that is was designed to link to another Apple computer's DVD drive is proof of that, imo.

Regardless, as this thread originally pointed out, they really need to update this unique computer; the 13" MBP is definitely breathing down it's back - an that computer is certainly good enough to be one's sole computer.

gwsat
Mar 25, 2010, 07:27 PM
It had the wow factor when it first debuted due to its slenderness and weight but that's faded now and its limitations mean that it's use is for a very small sector of the market. I'm interested to see how much the iPad will replace it esp. with iWorks being tailored for it...
Apple will no doubt sell a bunch if iPads. Nevertheless I am bothered by a number of what to me at least are problems:


1. Lacks a keyboard
2. Has too small a screen for serious applications
3. Is too large to be carried in a pocket
3. Requires a cellular subscription for Internet access unless you are within range of a useable wifi network
4. iPad 3G is not compatible with T-Mobile 3G network (my carrier)

halledise
Mar 25, 2010, 08:53 PM
I would consider a macbook air. But it is way over priced and way underpowered. It needs an i3/i5 processor and an SSD as standard.

I can live without lots of ports. Wi-fi is great and on a computer of that nature all I need.
Then I'll pick one up.

when you actually own an Air it becomes a different story.
I purchased my Rev C 2.13 when it first came out when the Aus$ was weak compared to the US$, only to find a few months later the price dropped $500.

shrugged the shoulders said 'damn' a couple of times but adjusted pretty quickly and I'm still happy cos it's worth every penny and does everything I need it to.

As Scottsdale and others have alluded to, Apple have matched processor, L2 cache, memory, graphics, fast ssd to produce a snappy little number which you don't quite realise how good until you own it for a few weeks.

For seriously CPU hungry tasks, use a desktop - for everything else, there's the Air.

A netbook it ain't - a portable fully functional computer it is.

I'll be in the queue for the next Rev later in the year for sure ;)

have 2 mates - one a journo, the other an author - both use the Air exclusively for their work and the journo only ever hits the iMac for video rendering

gwsat
Mar 25, 2010, 09:20 PM
when you actually own an Air it becomes a different story.
I purchased my Rev C 2.13 when it first came out when the Aus$ was weak compared to the US$, only to find a few months later the price dropped $500.

shrugged the shoulders said 'damn' a couple of times but adjusted pretty quickly and I'm still happy cos it's worth every penny and does everything I need it to.

As Scottsdale and others have alluded to, Apple have matched processor, L2 cache, memory, graphics, fast ssd to produce a snappy little number which you don't quite realise how good until you own it for a few weeks.

For seriously CPU hungry tasks, use a desktop - for everything else, there's the Air.

A netbook it ain't - a portable fully functional computer it is.

I'll be in the queue for the next Rev later in the year for sure ;)

have 2 mates - one a journo, the other an author - both use the Air exclusively for their work and the journo only ever hits the iMac for video rendering
I hear you. I just wish that I could use a Macbook Air but until Apple comes up with a model that allows RAM to be upgraded I'm out of luck. Too bad, but there it is.

rotorblade69
Mar 25, 2010, 09:34 PM
MBA = Premium Computing Experience
iPad = Visually Stimulating Experience

MBA = Input and Output
iPad = Output Only

MBA = Executive Working
iPad = Consumer being Entertained

MBA = Notebook Capabilities
iPad = Less than Netbook Capabilities

MBA = Profit for Apple at Point of Sale
iPad = Profit for Apple via advertising, sales of apps, iBooks, and iTunes content long after iPad is sold.

MBA = Traditional Business Model
iPad = New Business Model


Furthermore, the MBA is the futuristic direction of the Mac notebooks. Apple can use the MBA to leverage its entire Mac notebook lineup and to fully test the usefulness and features intended for the other Mac notebooks. It was the MBA that introduced the unibody case, large multi-touch trackpad, wireless design, feature on portability, removed optical drive, and ultra thin/lightweight form and design yet allowing MB like function. I think Apple will continue to use the MBA for futuristic evolution of its other Mac notebooks. I think the MBA gets 3G, expanded wireless functions (wireless display), docking station capabilities, and perhaps most importantly new display technologies. I see an IPS HD Display as the greatest possibility for the next release, but I don't count out a 3D or OLED display anytime in the future. The display is the obvious place to provide the MBA user an upgraded luxurious experience over the MB. In addition, the costs of components for the MBA has been substantially reduced. Apple isn't going to keep dropping the MBA prices, but will include new technologies to provide a greater value proposition for the MBA buyers.

The MBA will continue to sell to the business user, grad student, college professor, tech enthusiast, lawyer, doctor, traveler, salesperson, tech enthusiast, prosumer, professional on the go, and anyone willing to pay a little more for a premium experience. The iPad is targeted at the consumer wanting to be entertained! It's just that simple... these are two completely different devices with different markets. There is a little bit of overlap, but then there's some overlap between most of Apple's offerings. Everything is designed to give the user the best experience and certain devices focus a little better on some aspects than others. In no way does the iPad reduce the need for the MBA within the Apple Mac business model. Furthermore, I would say that the iPad can actually drive MBA sales. Many non-Mac users will be trying out the iPad. A lot of these people will realize that Apple products can provide a great experience... many of these people will ultimately convert from the dark side and many will want the extreme portability of the MBA. If anything, the iPad sells more Macs than the iPod and iPhone did together.



The more I try to look at an iPad to full fill a role in the future for me the more I look at an air. And the over all problem is lack of flash.
But to me the Air is the future. Do you see the MBP's becoming Airized and the Air Being EOL in totality? Leaving the iPad to fill the shoes of the air, for worse I know it can't but its apples call. The underlined portion above is me. I think that a Updated MBA for me and the iPad for the wife would be the best bet right now. She gets something to IM Chat Twitter and surf anything that requires flash she can borrow my Air. I get A notebook that can actually be used on the web and can do the business, she gets an ability to surf the web.
So in some aspect your right the iPad will sell an Air. But a 15"MBP airized will sell an MBA or 13"MBP Airized. 15" MBP airized for me 13MBP Airized for her.


Chris

gwsat
Mar 25, 2010, 09:52 PM
Do you see the MBP's becoming Airized and the Air Being EOL in totality? Leaving the iPad to fill the shoes of the air, for worse I know it can't but its apples call.
Although you asked this question of Scotsdale, I wanted to comment, too. Like you, I can't see Apple dropping the Air out of its lineup in favor of the iPad. The iPad, even if it did get "Airized" (nice word, by the way), has too many deficiencies for business use, it seems to me. It's very cool but it's designed for consumers, not business users. I think that most business users would insist that any device they used have the features of a real computer, not a jumped up smart phone.

rotorblade69
Mar 25, 2010, 10:30 PM
Although you asked this question of Scotsdale, I wanted to comment, too. Like you, I can't see Apple dropping the Air out of its lineup in favor of the iPad. The iPad, even if it did get "Airized" (nice word, by the way), has too many deficiencies for business use, it seems to me. It's very cool but it's designed for consumers, not business users. I think that most business users would insist that any device they used have the features of a real computer, not a jumped up smart phone.


No worries, all thoughts and input is welcome. I agree with you and scottsdale that the iPad is a consumer device. When I heard that it used an iPhone iPod Touch Processor just bumped up in speed I was instantly saying "WTF UH What is the point then". I see the point of the iPad. But I also in the iPad an infant, a device in its infancy stage. Much like the very first generation iPod, that has essentially grown up to become the iPod Touch.
What I'm saying is that a business user would be more willing to drop the coin on the Pro model and have the clout.
Some have said that Apple might drop the Air and do the whole Airized 13" and 15" Pro models to get rid of the stigma of the first gen airs problems. We can all agree they F'ed it in the A the first time around with the integrated graphics.

Oh and yes I have heard the sentiment many a time from many different retailers about the air. From Micro Center, Best Buys sales personnel tell me that they sell very few airs. I have had Apple store employees state (NOT in store by the way) its drooled over, but most are very skeptical about it due to what they hear from their friend who had the original first gen air. The customer would state that their friend couldn't even watch you tube it would freeze up. Hard to sell them something that has the same name and the same look (exactly the same look by the way) that their good friend had such a nightmare over or even sold at such a loss.


Just for clarification:
Air > Bye bye
13" 15" MBP > airized No optical.
iPad > becomes in apples mind a ultra portable, or in their mind a netbook replacement. I am not saying it is something that should be done needs done or will be done, just something Apple might consider.


Oh and thanks i've got a dozen or so.
Airized
Airish
Aired
Aired Out
Airing


Chris

Scottsdale
Mar 26, 2010, 01:53 AM
I'm not so enthusiastic about the iPad. Apple believes the iPhone's success means it's browser is adequate - it is not. Those getting the iPad will find out why, unfortunately.

Precisely, the iPhone can not have a fully capable browser and live with it, because it's a PHONE first and foremost. The iPad is sold as a consumer device that offers a better experience than a netbook, but a netbook can surf the entire web. This Flash issue isn't as simple as asking NYTimes.com and WSJ.com to migrate from Flash to HTML5 and h.264.

The more I try to look at an iPad to full fill a role in the future for me the more I look at an air. And the over all problem is lack of flash.
But to me the Air is the future. Do you see the MBP's becoming Airized and the Air Being EOL in totality? Leaving the iPad to fill the shoes of the air, for worse I know it can't but its apples call. The underlined portion above is me. I think that a Updated MBA for me and the iPad for the wife would be the best bet right now. She gets something to IM Chat Twitter and surf anything that requires flash she can borrow my Air. I get A notebook that can actually be used on the web and can do the business, she gets an ability to surf the web.
So in some aspect your right the iPad will sell an Air. But a 15"MBP airized will sell an MBA or 13"MBP Airized. 15" MBP airized for me 13MBP Airized for her.


Chris

I see the Air as always pushing the limits of ultra-portability yet able to do full-fledged work. When the MBPs get "Airized" the MBA will further explore the limits of extremely lightweight and futuristic computing. Wherever the idea or concept of the ultra-portable Mac goes, the MBA will have been the original inspiration whether it's called an MBA or not. Let's not worry about the name or design, let's worry about Apple taking care of the needs we have for power and performance, yet the wants we have of extreme ultra-portability. I am sure the iPad will give Apple ideas for the Mac notebooks whether it's something physical or the software or business model. But the role of the MBA isn't going anywhere. We're a nice market segment willing to pay more money for not just the OS X experience but also the lightweight yet fully capable Mac experience. I see a bright future for the essence of the MBA's role. I see EOL of the MBA brand as irrelevant to our demands.

Deanster
Mar 26, 2010, 12:27 PM
I've had my MacBook Air Rev. A since the first week they came out, so it's a little over two years old now.

I've been deeply surprised by this computer, and that my complaints aren't where I thought they'd be. I thought processor speed, hard drive space and ports would be my issues.

The processor is just fine. I use it for web, e-mail, MS Office, Keynote for both creating and presenting large, graphically complex presentations, iTunes, iCal, and chat. It's plenty fast. Not earth-shattering, but my desktop is a 27" i5 iMac, and I don't find that the Air's speed bothers me at all.

The hard drive is plenty big. I don't keep much on my Air. Just my current folder, which is rarely more than a gig or so, and another ~20-30 gigs of iTunes music/movies/TV shows that I dump onto the Air from my iMac before a trip. I find myself wishing for the 64Gig SSD, in fact, as size is so much not an issue that I'd happily trade size for speed. More on that later.

Ports - ports have turned out to be not a problem. I have the external CD drive, and have used it twice, both times to install MS Office. Otherwise, it sits on the shelf. I have the ethernet dongle, and have used it a couple times, either to speed up network transfers at home, or when traveling where there was only an Ethernet connection. I'd rather have GigE onboard, but it's never been an issue. A couple times I've had to unplug a memory stick to put in another USB device, but having only one USB port hasn't been a big deal. Lack of Firewire is also not a hassle, much to my surprise.

So, the three that I'd expected to be a problem really haven't been. At all.

Surprisingly, my big complaints about my MBA are: slow hard drive, slow charging, rapid discharge when sleeping, and the crappy speaker.

Slow hard drive - it's not as bad as I thought it might be, but I really want the SSD model. It was price-prohibitive when I bought mine, but geez...

The battery life on the MBA is... OK. Nothing special, but until the unibody MBP's and their crazy-long battery life arrived, the MBA was in the same general category as other laptops. But recharging takes FOREVER. The discharge-recharge cycle is really long, and makes it painful to risk letting the battery get low. This means my most-mobile computer is most likely to be tethered to a power source.

Similarly, after a day or two in my computer bag, asleep and untouched, my MBA is likely to have 30% battery remaining... so it's again needing to be tethered to a power cord.

The speaker sucks. I know it's an ultra-thin laptop, and that compromises abound, but geez... it's worse than standard Macbook speakers, which are some of the worst in any laptop on the market. The jump up to the 15/17" MBP is amazing - these have great speakers.


Long story short... My MBA has been a great little computer. It's fast, capable, and truly multi-functional. The screen and keyboard are full-sized, and excellent. The power issues are really the only thing keeping it from being the best laptop I've ever owned. My primary concerns turned out to be non-issues.

and I'll be getting an iPad, not to replace my MBA, but to replace my Kindle, and then to have a long-battery-life companion to the MBA. I don't look at the iPad as a competitor to the MBA, but as a really good complement - iPad for browsing, fiddling, and minor edits in a long-life, super-portable format, and MBA for typing, desktop apps, and 'real' work.

gwsat
Mar 26, 2010, 01:23 PM
Lack of Firewire is also not a hassle, much to my surprise.

But recharging takes FOREVER. The discharge-recharge cycle is really long, and makes it painful to risk letting the battery get low. This means my most-mobile computer is most likely to be tethered to a power source.

Similarly, after a day or two in my computer bag, asleep and untouched, my MBA is likely to have 30% battery remaining... so it's again needing to be tethered to a power cord.
Deanster -- An interesting post, thanks. Nevertheless, I have only quoted the parts that I will be responding to.

I have recently confirmed that the lack of a FireWire port should not be a big deal. Until recently my first and only external hard drive was a 250Gb FW 800/400 drive I got from OWC more than 5 years ago. It is still in daily use as a network drive. Recently, though, I got a super lightweight (9.5 Oz) 640Gb Toshiba USB drive to use as a backup device for Windows 7 running in a Fusion virtual machine on my Macbook Pro. I found it at Amazon and, in the immortal words of Gilda Radner's Roseanne Rosannada, "It was rill chip." :) (I use Time Machine and a Time Capsule to backup the OS X side of my Macbook Pro.)

After getting the Toshiba USb drive setup I discovered to my delight that it is plenty fast using only USB 2.0. Early results lead me to believe that it will be just what the doctor ordered.

The serious drain of your MBA's battery, even when it's in sleep mode, would worry me. I have found that my 2007 model MBP's battery retains its full charge even after it's been asleep for a couple of days.

I am hoping against hope that Apple will either upgrade the MBA or offer a super lightweight "Airized" 13 inch MBP. If I could upgrade the RAM to 8Gb on one of then, so that it could comfortably run Fusion and Windows, I would buy it in a minute.

Would it be possible to use another computer's DVD drive via a USB connection to install software from a DVD onto a MBA, or is a dedicated external drive required.?

Alkiera
Mar 26, 2010, 02:26 PM
The battery thing is odd. I too have a RevA MBA, bought the first weekend they were out. Mine rides in my backpack all the time, and very rarely do I notice significant power loss while it's asleep.

Is it possible it's not actually sleeping, just turning the screen off?


I agree it can take awhile to charge, which is unfortunate, but I tend to leave it plugged in overnight, and that's usually enough for my daily usage at the moment.

Deanster
Mar 26, 2010, 07:04 PM
It's definitely sleeping. Screen dark, I hear the hard drive head park, the sleep LED pulsates, etc.

It is weird, and it may be unique to my MBA - I perhaps should have taken it for warranty work when it was in-warranty.

I also charge overnight, but it's notable that I rarely take my MBA anywhere without the charger riding along.

I think the hard one for me is when I put the run-down MBA on the charger at noon, come back at 3pm, and find that it's only at 75%... I've owned a couple dozen laptops, and have had the MBA for more than two years, and it STILL catches me by surprise, cuz it's so far outside my expectations. Not sure if the Rev. B/C models are better in this regard.

Would I buy a Rev. D MBA? hard to say... with an iPad in hand, I might be more likely to go for a 13/15" MBP, and figure that the iPad is for lightweight high-mobility situations, and the larger screen/better speakers of the MBP is for more-general use away from home. But we'll need to see.

PsyD4Me
Mar 26, 2010, 08:49 PM
it needs a case redesign, otherwise the shiny black MBP's are more cooler looking and eye catching in the store

gwsat
Mar 26, 2010, 09:02 PM
it needs a case redesign, otherwise the shiny black MBP's are more cooler looking and eye catching in the store
The thing I like best about the MBA is it's case design. I love its thinness and light weight. If so many other of its features weren't substandard by current standards, I would have one by now. What aspects of the MBA's case design don't you like?

chrono1081
Mar 27, 2010, 05:21 AM
I cant WAIT to get a MBA myself. Its the perfect machine for me.

I'm not surprised that its not the hottest seller. Like others have said its a niche product, and an excellent one at that. For the person who travels a lot and needs more then a netbook this thing is perfect. I almost walked out of my bestbuy with one today but I'm holding on for the refresh.

BeachChair
Mar 27, 2010, 01:00 PM
I would love to be a MBA owner some day, but the fundamental stuff like ram, batteri, trackpad and heat/noise management has to be brought up to the MBP standard I'm become used to.

Huubster
Mar 27, 2010, 02:13 PM
I simply cannot imagine the MBA being anyone's sole machine - it should be a supplementary computer that can be conveniently taken anywhere. The fact that is was designed to link to another Apple computer's DVD drive is proof of that, imo.

When I look around me most friends and family use their computer to browse internet, write email, write the occasional letter, manage their digital photos, do some multimedia things and maybe chat. Except for the lack of internal storage space the Rev C MBA is more than decently specced for that. (I desperately wait for the rev D though)
I got the (stupid) Super Drive to discover that I use it once every 4 months on average.
Now I am sidetracking, but I think that optical drives are a species due to be extinct. Declining sales and disappointing success of Blue Ray are proof of that. Its just the movie and music industry who desperately try to shove the shiny disks down our throats instead of becoming inventive on the internet.

The MBA is my one and only primary computer. My job is technical and IT related.

mashinhead
Mar 27, 2010, 03:18 PM
This isn't surprising at all. I used to work at an apple store and this was obviously the pre-ipad days and i had a hard time even recommending it then. Remember the ipad keynote when Steve was talking about netbooks just being cheaper slower laptops, well thats what an MBA, except it's not cheap at all. I think with the intro of the ipad this product will die, its only attribute is that its thin and light. It's not powerful enough to even run most software well, it can't tap the app store, and its not cheap. Whats the point? I meant you can find them on ebay for like $600, if that's any indicator. I feel real bad for the people that bought the first gen one.

JoeG4
Mar 27, 2010, 04:01 PM
The MacBook Air is like a cross between Netbooks and notebooks; it is low power and has a large screen.

5 or 6 years ago it would've been perfect for me. Back then, I never used my laptop for anything meaningful. Now, I actually do work on them and thus have to carry around this 7lb monster XD

gwsat
Mar 28, 2010, 02:43 PM
When I look around me most friends and family use their computer to browse internet, write email, write the occasional letter, manage their digital photos, do some multimedia things and maybe chat. Except for the lack of internal storage space the Rev C MBA is more than decently specced for that. (I desperately wait for the rev D though)
I got the (stupid) Super Drive to discover that I use it once every 4 months on average.
Now I am sidetracking, but I think that optical drives are a species due to be extinct. Declining sales and disappointing success of Blue Ray are proof of that. Its just the movie and music industry who desperately try to shove the shiny disks down our throats instead of becoming inventive on the internet.

The MBA is my one and only primary computer. My job is technical and IT related.
If rev D has slots for memory modules instead of hardwired RAM, I will buy one. For the moment, though, my needs make the rev C MBA unacceptable because of its 2Gb RAM limitation.

You mentioned your Super Drive, which gives rise to a question: Is it necessary to use a dedicated external DVD drive with the MBA or would it be possible to somehow use the DVD drive in another Mac to install new software on an MBA?

gglockner
Mar 28, 2010, 04:17 PM
Is it necessary to use a dedicated external DVD drive with the MBA or would it be possible to somehow use the DVD drive in another Mac to install new software on an MBA?

You can share a drive in another Mac or Windows computer:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1777

You can also install software by copying the disk images to a USB flash drive.

miniConvert
Mar 28, 2010, 04:23 PM
The Macbook Air is a fantastic machine but it's an incredibly niche product. It's important that it forms part of Apple's notebook lineup, but I doubt it ever has been, or ever will be, a big seller. Its price should justify continued development.

I'll certainly continue to buy them.

gwsat
Mar 28, 2010, 05:42 PM
You can share a drive in another Mac or Windows computer:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1777

You can also install software by copying the disk images to a USB flash drive.
Thanks so much for the link! It gave me just the answer I was looking for. That was the first good news I had read about the MBA in awhile.:)

Scottsdale
Mar 28, 2010, 10:40 PM
The Macbook Air is a fantastic machine but it's an incredibly niche product. It's important that it forms part of Apple's notebook lineup, but I doubt it ever has been, or ever will be, a big seller. Its price should justify continued development.

I'll certainly continue to buy them.

When it gets the brand MacBook "Pro" label printed on it, it will surely sell much better. Apple uses the MBA to introduce new technology, and the design has to be the future of MBPs (first ones without optical drives). We all know Blu Ray is a "bag of hurt" so Apple doesn't want to sell it even as a BTO upgrade for huge margins. So for Apple's strategy, an optical drive will become meaningless and ultimately be removed from the MBPs. In truth, the DVD/CD "SuperDrive" is nearly useless and most people have a BluRay (backwards compatible DVD/CD player) in another Mac or computer to use when needed for app install. In the future, downloads of apps or USB drives will probably be used to distribute apps. I could even see Apple maybe providing an external SuperDrive for the first few revisions of MBPs without them internally.

But I believe the MBA's design will find its way into future Mac notebooks. Apple specifically developed the MBA to test new technologies and prepare them for the MBPs. This is of course all my opinion, but I think the past proves that Apple has big plans for this form factor. I am sure Apple will make it a lot different, but as someone else has declared it, "Airized" the MBP will become one day.

I see the MBA taking ultraportability to the extreme once the MBPs get "Airized." I believe the people willing to pay a premium for extreme portability yet MB like power will always (relative term) have a Mac product to buy that will suit their wants and needs.

pmichellon
Mar 29, 2010, 05:30 AM
I bought the Macbook Air one month ago. It's the 2.13 Ghz / 128 Go SSD version.

Being a PC user as well, all I can say is that I'm very happy with the Air. I have hard times to understand why people complain about this laptop. I spend most of my time in airports and hotel rooms. Since I have this computer, I can work, skype my family, surf on the internet, update my website, ... without having to carry heavy hardware anymore. Unlike most PCs, it boots very fast and turns off in 2 seconds. 2 Go of RAM is more than enough. Even Photoshop CS3 runs perfectly (heats the Air after an hour but again to edit several pictures, it is ok). Even the battery is ok. One can easily watch a full movie and work after that.

I was waiting for the iPad announcement but when I saw what this new product would be, I decided to go for the Air immediately. No regrets ! Adding the optional keyboard and potentially a camera to the iPad would make the whole thing heavier than the Air.

I must admit the original price for the Air is high. But I bought it second hand from someone who could not get used to Mac OS X. I paid 1200 USD and bought an Appelcare contract for less than 120 USD. Found the Superdrive for 45 USD. I guess you can get more featured loaded laptops for the same price but nothing so thin, classy and easy to use. ;)

gwsat
Mar 29, 2010, 11:40 AM
I bought the Macbook Air one month ago. It's the 2.13 Ghz / 128 Go SSD version.

Being a PC user as well, all I can say is that I'm very happy with the Air. I have hard times to understand why people complain about this laptop. I spend most of my time in airports and hotel rooms. Since I have this computer, I can work, skype my family, surf on the internet, update my website, ... without having to carry heavy hardware anymore. Unlike most PCs, it boots very fast and turns off in 2 seconds. 2 Go of RAM is more than enough. Even Photoshop CS3 runs perfectly (heats the Air after an hour but again to edit several pictures, it is ok). Even the battery is ok. One can easily watch a full movie and work after that.

I was waiting for the iPad announcement but when I saw what this new product would be, I decided to go for the Air immediately. No regrets ! Adding the optional keyboard and potentially a camera to the iPad would make the whole thing heavier than the Air.

I must admit the original price for the Air is high. But I bought it second hand from someone who could not get used to Mac OS X. I paid 1200 USD and bought an Appelcare contract for less than 120 USD. Found the Superdrive for 45 USD. I guess you can get more featured loaded laptops for the same price but nothing so thin, classy and easy to use. ;)
I agree that the MBA's ergonomics and extreme light weight are impressive indeed. I would be perfectly willing to pay Apple's premium price for one of them but for its extremely limited 2Gb of RAM. I recognize that you and many others don't need more RAM for the apps you run. Unfortunately, though, I need any Mac computer I buy to be able to run Windows in Unity mode in a Fusion virtual machine. Alas, I have learned the hard way that 2 Gb of RAM is simply inadequate to allow me to do that satisfactorily.