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will
Apr 17, 2010, 06:43 AM
I want to replace my 2007 MBP with a MacBook Air, so I'm keen to see new model. I was disappointed when Apple didn't update the Air this week. However, I can think of a big technical reason to delay the update: the power efficiency of Intel's current 32nm Arrandale CPUs.

If we consider the current Air, it uses 1.86 GHz (SL9400) or 2.13 GHz (SL9600) Core 2 Duos with 6 MB on-chip L2 cache. Both these CPUs are built on a 45nm process and have a TDP (thermal design power) of 17W. There are no faster Core 2 CPUs available at this TDP.

If we look at the new Arrandale CPUs, the fastest CPU available with a similar TDP is the 18W Core i7-640UM, which runs at only 1.2 GHz. Admittedly this includes graphics, but if Apple stuck with Intel's integrated graphics, performance would be worse than the existing GeForce 9400. If we couple this with the much lower clock speed of the Arrandale CPU (1.2 GHz) compared with the existing Core 2 CPU (2.13 GHz) I think it's clear such an upgrade wouldn't be an improvement. The Arrandale does have hyperthreading and Turbo Boost, but that isn't enough to compensate for its huge clock speed disadvantage.

In summary an Air built with current Arrandale CPUs would either be slower or more power hungry than the existing one. So there is no good reason to release a new Air at this time: yes 4GB of ram and larger SSDs would be nice, but Apple will save them for a proper revision.

What happened to the hope part you ask? The bad news is that Intel's current 32nm process isn't yet very efficient, the good news is there is plenty of scope for improvement. To quote Anandtech: "...we see that idle power for Intel's 32nm part isn't very good. It's actually worse than the 45nm Lynnfield platform from earlier this year. Intel confirmed that there is a lot of optimization that has to happen with Arrandale. It looks like there are some silicon level tweaks that are on the roadmap to be implemented but we won't see them until the middle of 2010." (Arrandale review at Anandtech (http://www.anandtech.com/show/2902/4)).

Apple will still need to decide what to do about graphics, but having a faster CPU with good power consumption would be a big step forward.

There is always the possibility Apple could discontinue the Air, but I'm choosing to be optimistic. I think we'll see a significant update to the Air this summer.



chrono1081
Apr 17, 2010, 07:10 AM
I don't think Apple will discontinue the air. Its too popular.

Macrumors is the only place it seems unpopular. I saw more MBA's out in the wild back home then I ever thought I would.

I myself cannot wait for an update to the air. Give me 4 gigs of ram and I'm sold.

koyou
Apr 17, 2010, 08:50 AM
I'm considering to switch to mac recently since I've enough troubles with windows. I was thinking to buy a MBA due to its size/weight, but chose to wait the next update. However, I am now struggling between the new 13" MBP and the current MBA. I have no idea why Apple didn't refresh MBA together with the MBP since there should not be more difference in the spec between them. I will buy it immediately if Apple update the current MBA to 4 GB, 320m and ssd as standard with up to 7 - 8 hours battery life. And I think most of the people who are waiting the update will buy the new MBA as soon as it's released.

Personally, I believe the next update of MBA will come very soon because there should be significant drop in sales due to the new 13" MBP. Otherwise, I will assume that Apple discontinues the air.

Let's see if it would happen in June.

Scottsdale
Apr 17, 2010, 09:17 AM
I'm considering to switch to mac recently since I've enough troubles with windows. I was thinking to buy a MBA due to its size/weight, but chose to wait the next update. However, I am now struggling between the new 13" MBP and the current MBA. I have no idea why Apple didn't refresh MBA together with the MBP since there should not be more difference in the spec between them. I will buy it immediately if Apple update the current MBA to 4 GB, 320m and ssd as standard with up to 7 - 8 hours battery life. And I think most of the people who are waiting the update will buy the new MBA as soon as it's released.

Personally, I believe the next update of MBA will come very soon because there should be significant drop in sales due to the new 13" MBP. Otherwise, I will assume that Apple discontinues the air.

Let's see if it would happen in June.

I believe Apple will use the same model for the MBA that has been successful since October 2008. Apple uses one base chipset/configuration system across five products (13" MB, 13" MBP, 13" MBA, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac). Since Apple sells the most 13" MBPs, it was wise and obvious to introduce that update first. When Apple gets caught up with demand for the 13" MBPs, I suspect it will start production of the MBAs, MBs, Mms, and 21.5" iMacs. The MB, Mm, and iMacs are all due for an update too.

The one thing that could throw off the current strategy is if sales expectations are not high enough for the MBA. However, with the reports here and those I have personally heard, I believe the MBA is a 4 GB RAM update away from being much more successful. I don't believe Apple will go with ultra low voltage CPUs giving us less power and performance, and I don't believe Apple will stick us with sole use of Intel's GMA for graphics. So it seems that the C2D SL9x00 and Nvidia 320m are what's in the pipeline for the MBA. We just have to be patient for an update. The longer the wait takes, let's say it's after WWDC, the more likely Apple skips the last Nvidia chipset update and goes straight to Intel or AMD.

Intel is done making Core 2 Duo CPUs at the end of 2010. Apple is going to be forced to update all of its C2D Macs in early 2011. A year from now we should be on to the next MBAs or even two updates into the next MBA. Either way it seems that Apple will most certainly update the RAM and drive space. Those are the two reasons most cite for not buying an MBA, and Apple has to be listening to those reports which are obvious and all over these forums.

gwsat
Apr 17, 2010, 01:57 PM
A year from now we should be on to the next MBAs or even two updates into the next MBA. Either way it seems that Apple will most certainly update the RAM and drive space. Those are the two reasons most cite for not buying an MBA, and Apple has to be listening to those reports which are obvious and all over these forums.
What most worries me about what Apple might do to update the MBA is simply substitute 4GB of hard wired RAM for the current 2Gb. I know from my own experience that I can easily run Fusion and Windows 7 in Unity mode with 6Gb of RAM but cannot do so with only 2Gb. I have yet to see anybody unequivocally represent that they have been able to do so with 4Gb of RAM. Thus, I would hesitate to pay the high price of an MBA but not know for sure that it would do what I needed it to do.

Alchematron
Apr 17, 2010, 02:42 PM
10" Air

Built in 3G or 4G

Matte screen

Silver keys

Silver or black casing option

And I am so friggin in! :D

Scottsdale
Apr 17, 2010, 07:23 PM
10" Air

Built in 3G or 4G

Matte screen

Silver keys

Silver or black casing option

And I am so friggin in! :D

I pray to God no 10" display. But it's obvious the iPad is Apple's netbook alternative so there is no way in Hell we're getting a 10" MBA. I believe we're at least 20X more likely to get a 15" MBA than a 10" MBA.

I would like 3G/4G. I would pay $500 extra for some aluminum capped silver keyboard keys. Seriously, I have thought about having them produced from a Chinese supplier. About $500 is the minimum and that's if every key is the same shape. Obviously would be almost nothing to make a bunch of them. The setup fee is the major cost outlay. The aluminum is inexpensive.

It would be nice if Apple used a black aluminum to differentiate further the coolness of the MBA over other Macs/ultraportables.

I need 4 GB of RAM in the short run or two RAM slots for the long run. 4 GB is enough for OS X and Windows 7 now, but with apps requiring more and more resources/RAM, 8 GB would be better for a two or three year primary machine. I also want a glass trackpad. And an Nvidia 320m with the same SL9600 seems like a given. The lack of USB 3.0 will be a huge disappointment.

uluvbs
Apr 17, 2010, 10:42 PM
how do we know for sure that the i7-640UM wouldn't be as fast as the SL chips?

iMacmatician
Apr 17, 2010, 11:05 PM
how do we know for sure that the i7-640UM wouldn't be as fast as the SL chips?Massive clock speed difference when Turbo Boost isn't used.

Scottsdale
Apr 18, 2010, 01:08 AM
Massive clock speed difference when Turbo Boost isn't used.

Plus, the SL9x00 CPUs could be de-throttled. I believe the TDP savings from the 320m, or even underclocking the 320m so the CPU could run full out, would be options. I can see Apple advertising 30% faster CPU performance from the same SL9600 CPUs, and 80% faster GPU performance. So, we can get even faster performance from the same SL9x00s... why wouldn't Apple go this route especially since the 13" MBP got the C2D and Nvidia 320m. We definitely wouldn't do well with an ultra low voltage compared to where we could be with the SL9x00 CPUs. Either C2D or Core i7 will be best in the MBA in low voltage variants.

.summerfree
Apr 18, 2010, 01:48 AM
Hmn...purely speculating here, but what are the chances that we could see some AMD action in the next MBA revision? Taking into consideration that "Apple&AMD in 'advanced discussions'" rumor, perhaps AMD's working on something better for the MBA than Intel can provide.

Plus, the SL9x00 CPUs could be de-throttled. I believe the TDP savings from the 320m, or even underclocking the 320m so the CPU could run full out, would be options.

Sounds plausible. Seeing the 13" MBP's 10 hour battery in the next MBA revision would be nice to see too!

JonTok
Apr 18, 2010, 02:08 AM
How exactly could Apple get the 10-hour 13in MBP battery inside an MBA? Surely that's just fantasy. A 5-hour battery (and I mean the full 5 hours) would be enough for me, plus a bigger SSD. But wouldn't 4 GB of RAM mean people would run more apps at the same time and thus cause serious overheating? Isn't that one reason why the MBA has stuck at 2GB RAM? I'm worried that the existing 2 GB is not enough for Aperture 3 and have a few other things open at the same time.
Incidentally, at the two Apple stores I went to today in Tokyo, all the English keyboard 13 in MBPs were sold out - I asked about English keyboard MBAs and they said of course we have them - I was even offered a 10% discount but I don't think that's enough as it's currently about 25-30% overpriced for what it is. I will get the new 13 MBP and hope that Apple does something at some point with the MBA that doesn't mean EOL as it's a thing of beauty.

will
Apr 18, 2010, 05:34 AM
So it seems that the C2D SL9x00 and Nvidia 320m are what's in the pipeline for the MBA.

I have considered this option, the downside is that Intel don't currently make a 17W TDP Core 2 Duo faster than the 2.13 GHz SL9600. I can't see Apple shipping a new update with the same CPUs: it would look awful from a marketing point of view.

Given the 45nm (P1266) process is already mature and Intel are focused on 32nm (P1268) Core i parts I doubt Intel will be working on a new stepping of the C2D SL series. However, Intel have made parts specifically for Apple before. Perhaps we'll see Intel eek out another speed bin, creating a 2.4 GHz SL9800 on the existing E0 stepping? Given the price of the Air, CPU price isn't that big an issue. The current SL9600s are around $300 officially, but Apple no doubt pays less. If Intel could make a 2.4GHz part at a reasonable premium it could make sense for Apple.

This doesn't change the fact that C2D is now last generation tech. The 32nm Arrandale parts have the potential to offer better performance and lower power consumption, once the P1268 process is more mature. The fact that Apple won't want to use Intel's IGP does complicate things though, as the IGP adds to the power budget, whether you want it or not.

So I agree that your approach could well be the right one at present. Perhaps the next Air update will be C2D with GeForce 320m.

will
Apr 18, 2010, 05:56 AM
how do we know for sure that the i7-640UM wouldn't be as fast as the SL chips?

Arrandale's advantage over Penryn at the same clock speed varies, but even if we take a heavily multi-threaded CPU-bound benchmark it isn't enough to close the clock speed gap.

To give an example, we can compare the Penryn MacBook Pro with the new Arrandale one in Geekbench. Geekbench is a pure CPU benchmark, it doesn't look at graphics or general OS performance. Geekbench scores scale linearly and larger numbers are better, so a score of 2000 is twice as fast as 1000.

Intel Core 2 Duo P8800 @ 2.66GHz - 3739
Intel Core i7 M 620 @ 2.67GHz - 5423
GeekBench results for MacBook Pro (http://www.primatelabs.ca/blog/2010/04/macbookpro-benchmarks/)

That's a 45% increase in a very CPU-intensive benchmark.

Looking at Photoshop as a real world example of a CPU-intensive process we can take Macworld's recent benchmark results. In the Photoshop test a 2.53 GHz Penryn takes 48 seconds and a 2.4 GHz Arrandale takes 43 seconds. If we adjust for clock speed that makes the newer CPU 18% faster.
Macworld MacBook Pro benchmark results (http://www.macworld.com/article/147273/2010/04/benchmarks_corei5mbp_15in240ghz.html?lsrc=top_1)

Returning to the original question, a 1.2GHz Core i is going to be slower than a 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo. The C2D has a 78% clock speed advantage. Yes, it is throttled somewhat and the Arrandale CPU can use Turbo Boost, but neither of these things are going to close such a large gap.

will
Apr 18, 2010, 06:13 AM
Hmn...purely speculating here, but what are the chances that we could see some AMD action in the next MBA revision? Taking into consideration that "Apple&AMD in 'advanced discussions'" rumor, perhaps AMD's working on something better for the MBA than Intel can provide.

AMD isn't currently competitive in mobile CPUs, especially low voltage ones. That may change in 2011 with the arrival of Llano, but that's a long way off. If Apple are considering AMD CPUs I'd expect it to be for cheaper desktops. AMD will sell you a quad core Phenom for under $100.

Sounds plausible. Seeing the 13" MBP's 10 hour battery in the next MBA revision would be nice to see too!

I don't think we'll see 10 hours in the next Air, but longer battery life should be possible. Apple claims 10 hours for the 13" MacBook Pro on a 63.5 watt-hour battery. The current Air has a 40 watt-hour battery. So the Air's 40 Wh battery ought to be able to deliver 6-6.5 hours on the same basis if a new model uses similar internals to the 13" MBP. Given the Air should have a more efficient CPU, 7 hours shouldn't be out of the question.

In order to achieve 10 hours life, the Air's battery would likely have to be almost 60 Wh. I don't think this is compatible with the size/weight of the Air.

justit
Apr 19, 2010, 11:25 AM
I don't think we'll see 10 hours in the next Air, but longer battery life should be possible.

Something has to give, to make up for more space. Apple doesn't go backwards making mobile devices thicker than before.

Even of the battery were super optimised to get 6 solid hours, it's paultry compared to apple's own standards of advertising 10 hours (new MBP 13" and iPad).

iMacmatician
Apr 19, 2010, 11:50 AM
I have considered this option, the downside is that Intel don't currently make a 17W TDP Core 2 Duo faster than the 2.13 GHz SL9600. I can't see Apple shipping a new update with the same CPUs: it would look awful from a marketing point of view.They've done that only twice in my memory: October 2005 PowerBooks and March 2009 iMacs (which was a CPU update but a really tiny one). For both updates I have the feeling that Apple was backed into a corner (PowerBooks with no G5 and a stagnant G4, iMacs with no faster mobile dual-core CPUs) and did what they could. Note that the next updates in both cases were larger than normal (MacBook Pro, quad-core Core i5/i7).

If the upcoming revision to the MacBook Air uses the same CPUs, I don't think Apple will be content and so I think they will try to give a large bump the next update. Concerning the AMD rumor, 20 W dual-core Llano or 30 W dual-core/quad-core Llano looks good for 2011.

Scottsdale
Apr 19, 2010, 11:55 AM
I have considered this option, the downside is that Intel don't currently make a 17W TDP Core 2 Duo faster than the 2.13 GHz SL9600. I can't see Apple shipping a new update with the same CPUs: it would look awful from a marketing point of view.

Given the 45nm (P1266) process is already mature and Intel are focused on 32nm (P1268) Core i parts I doubt Intel will be working on a new stepping of the C2D SL series. However, Intel have made parts specifically for Apple before. Perhaps we'll see Intel eek out another speed bin, creating a 2.4 GHz SL9800 on the existing E0 stepping? Given the price of the Air, CPU price isn't that big an issue. The current SL9600s are around $300 officially, but Apple no doubt pays less. If Intel could make a 2.4GHz part at a reasonable premium it could make sense for Apple.

This doesn't change the fact that C2D is now last generation tech. The 32nm Arrandale parts have the potential to offer better performance and lower power consumption, once the P1268 process is more mature. The fact that Apple won't want to use Intel's IGP does complicate things though, as the IGP adds to the power budget, whether you want it or not.

So I agree that your approach could well be the right one at present. Perhaps the next Air update will be C2D with GeForce 320m.

No, Intel isn't going to make another SL9x00 Core 2 Duo. Intel has a roadmap showing no more C2D CPU advancements and complete stoppage of the C2D production at the end of 2010. I think we will get the SL9600 in the high-end MBA and Apple will give us up to a 30% clock speed/performance advantage by de-throttling the CPU. You realize that the MBA's CPU is currently throttled? Apple doesn't have to change the CPU to give us more performance gains. In addition, a 30% advantage is better per clock speed as an upgrade to Arrandale. As long as it's faster to the end user, we will love the gains. The marketing factor is there as 30% faster will be how Apple markets it. I don't see any way Apple goes to an ultra low voltage SU C2D CPU. Maybe in Arrandale if Apple wanted to give it a dedicated graphics card. When Apple cannot select to include an integrated chipset/GPU with the Intel CPU it will be more likely to need to save TDP with the CPU to add a dedicated GPU. Apple isn't going to get many upgrade buyers by moving from a 2.13 GHz CPU to a 1.6 or worse yet 1.2 GHz Arrandale. The marketing improvements are most important. People will be ecstatic with a little CPU boost, little GPU boost, 4 GB of RAM or more, and a bigger SSD!!! Apple doesn't have to do a lot with this update other than do no harm. Harm seems to be an ultra low voltage CPU in terms of performance and loss of the idea of performance by going backwards in clock speed.

In 2011, when Apple cannot fall back on a C2D CPU, it will have to choose an Intel C2D successor, either another Intel CPU or an AMD CPU, or even something else (probably further off from an ARM Cortex A9 - but in the long run an SoC model could find its way into Macs - especially an Apple branded CPU in Macs). With the AMD rumors, and the ATI advantages and potential for a complete system, Intel may have just screwed itself by denying the Nvidia chipset/GPU license to move forward. Intel was so hellbent on getting the chipset/GPU business back with its CPUs, like it lost from Apple, that Intel may have just cost itself ALL of Apple's business. Not just losing out on the GPU/chipset but by losing out on every CPU too. I imagine Nvidia lost its license due to Intel wanting to be inside of Apple's Macs with GPU/chipsets. What a mistake if the end result is Apple leaving the Intel for AMD... making Intel lose more than just the GPU/chipset but also the most grand CPU loss too. I believe there is a lot of value in branding just to be inside of the Mac. That is a lot of business/money. The "bully" often loses the big picture when trying to get business back by not competing but by forcing out competitors. I would certainly welcome a new MBA with an AMD CPU and more importantly an ATI graphics system! I certainly hope Apple is seeing something in AMD's roadmap that shows an improvement in the entire system's performance - meaning it includes the ATI graphics potentials with the CPU to gain the biggest advantages by switching away from Intel. Although, certainly any ATI advantage is gigantic over the GMA IGP included with Intel CPUs.

For now, I expect C2D SL9600 at a 30% advantage and an Nvidia 320m with at least a 50% graphics performance boost. That would be in an update before or at WWDC. Beyond WWDC I guess anything is possible. I just don't see it taking long at all to upgrade the MBA, MB, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac with the same model as used in the 13" MBP. So if it's beyond WWDC I guess Apple could be moving forward to the future of the next MBA (meaning Arrandale or AMD/ATI or whatever). We just have to remember that Core 2 Duo is only going to be around for another eight months. Apple will surely use that to determine what CPU it's using in this update based upon when the update is finally ready.

SkippyThorson
Apr 19, 2010, 01:03 PM
10" Air

Built in 3G or 4G

Matte screen

Silver keys

Silver or black casing option

And I am so friggin in! :D

Then you want a P-P-P-P-Powerbook! :)

.summerfree
Apr 19, 2010, 04:22 PM
I don't think we'll see 10 hours in the next Air, but longer battery life should be possible. Apple claims 10 hours for the 13" MacBook Pro on a 63.5 watt-hour battery. The current Air has a 40 watt-hour battery. So the Air's 40 Wh battery ought to be able to deliver 6-6.5 hours on the same basis if a new model uses similar internals to the 13" MBP. Given the Air should have a more efficient CPU, 7 hours shouldn't be out of the question.

Yeah, 6-7 hours would be a reasonable and acceptable improvement in the next revision. The current MBA's battery life has always been the dealbreaker for me, considering that every other laptop in the Apple lineup advertised 7 hours.

cyberwolf777
Apr 19, 2010, 05:39 PM
Fact: In the past, every single update of the MB, MBP and MBA also included a CPU upgrade.

I believe that Apple actually has a really hard time improving the MBA, especially looking at how it stuck with the C2D processors with the 13" MBP.

Now, working with the assumption that Apple continues this policy of making a CPU upgrade a necessary criterea for releasing an updated model, this could mean three things for the MBA:

1) Intel Core i7 ULV 640UM ULV + Intel HD graphics

The reduced power consumption and updated processor are very nice BUT I doubt that Apple would go that way. Offering inferior graphics, even in an ultra-portable model, would mean that the price of the MBA would have to drop - something Apple clearly doesn't want, especially considering that the MBP 13" with its phenomenal battery could eat up a large chunk of the MBA's market share.

2) No MBA update until Q3/4 2010

Without an improved CPU available from Intel, Apple will probably not update the MBA for a whole while now. The MBA Rev. C is still a nice product and sales could probably still be stable for the next half year or so. Apple could wait what happens in the NVIDIA-Intel licensing dispute or work on another solution to improve the MBA. Until then, there could be no incentive for Apple to upgrade the MBA.

3) Custom Intel Core 2 Duo LV + (underclocked) GeForce 320M

Apple, in its quest for basing the MBA on a more up-to-date platform, convinces Intel to develop a custom LV Penryn, based on the SL9600, with 2.26 or even 2.4Ghz. With the GeForce 320M GPU, a glass trackpad, 4GB RAM and a 7hrs battery this could make a nice update! Given that Apple decided that the 13" MBP will continue to utilize C2D CPUs for very good reasons, and given the fact that Intel had developed a custom CPU for the MBA before, this update seems likely.

Scottsdale
Apr 19, 2010, 06:11 PM
Fact: In the past, every single update of the MB, MBP and MBA also included a CPU upgrade.

I believe that Apple actually has a really hard time improving the MBA, especially looking at how it stuck with the C2D processors with the 13" MBP.

Now, working with the assumption that Apple continues this policy of making a CPU upgrade a necessary criterea for releasing an updated model, this could mean three things for the MBA:

1) Intel Core i7 ULV 640UM ULV + Intel HD graphics

The reduced power consumption and updated processor are very nice BUT I doubt that Apple would go that way. Offering inferior graphics, even in an ultra-portable model, would mean that the price of the MBA would have to drop - something Apple clearly doesn't want, especially considering that the MBP 13" with its phenomenal battery could eat up a large chunk of the MBA's market share.

2) No MBA update until Q3/4 2010

Without an improved CPU available from Intel, Apple will probably not update the MBA for a whole while now. The MBA Rev. C is still a nice product and sales could probably still be stable for the next half year or so. Apple could wait what happens in the NVIDIA-Intel licensing dispute or work on another solution to improve the MBA. Until then, there could be no incentive for Apple to upgrade the MBA.

3) Custom Intel Core 2 Duo LV + (underclocked) GeForce 320M

Apple, in its quest for basing the MBA on a more up-to-date platform, convinces Intel to develop a custom LV Penryn, based on the SL9600, with 2.26 or even 2.4Ghz. With the GeForce 320M GPU, a glass trackpad, 4GB RAM and a 7hrs battery this could make a nice update! Given that Apple decided that the 13" MBP will continue to utilize C2D CPUs for very good reasons, and given the fact that Intel had developed a custom CPU for the MBA before, this update seems likely.

I disagree. I believe Apple can effectively market a new MBA with the same SL9600 CPUs at a 30% improvement over the old ones. Apple uses the TDP saved from using the 320m to allow that de-throttling of the CPU. In addition, the 320m could give us an improvement while still greatly improving the GPU performance.

In addition, Apple puts 4 GB of RAM and a larger SSD in the high-end model, and it sells more MBAs than it ever has in the past. The RAM limitation and drive space are the two main factors would be MBA buyers are taking the pass and are buying an MB/MBP and iPad instead.

Apple could however make us wait out this update if sales don't warrant an update. However, with the comments I read and hear about the MBA, I believe just an update to the RAM and drive space would quadruple sales. So many people just cannot accept 2 GB of RAM in 2010. If it waits out this update, it would probably go with an AMD CPU and ATI graphics. Otherwise, going to Intel HD graphics is the same thing as it could have done right now. I guess we're going to get 2X the HD graphics performances on the next generation Intel chips, but it's still going to be grossly inferior to Nvidia's offerings. The AMD transition could be a factor right now... I guess.

cyberwolf777
Apr 20, 2010, 03:33 AM
I believe Apple can effectively market a new MBA with the same SL9600 CPUs at a 30% improvement over the old ones.

Oh, I totally agree with you that Apple could do that. All I was saying is that there is just no precedence where Apple released a Macbook (Air, Pro, ...) update without updating the CPU. Probably because there was always a better one available - which is just not the case now, as the SL9600 is the last C2D LV and using the i7 ULV poses similar problems as with the 13" MBP!

Of course Apple could update the MBA based on the SL9600, but maybe they have some sort of policy not to release an update without updating the CPU? Who knows...:rolleyes:

I'd rather that somebody had found a prototype of the next MBA in a bar instead of the next iPhone.

gwsat
Apr 20, 2010, 09:24 AM
I'd rather that somebody had found a prototype of the next MBA in a bar instead of the next iPhone.
When I first saw the news reports of the mysterious iPhone prototype, I,too, was disappointed that it hadn't been a prototype MBA instead. Great minds and all that. :)

gimmi80
Apr 20, 2010, 10:25 AM
When I first saw the news reports of the mysterious iPhone prototype, I,too, was disappointed that it hadn't been a prototype MBA instead. Great minds and all that. :)

They don't need viral marketing for the MBA. Whatever machine they will present, given 4Gb of Ram and the new Nvidia, I'll (and most of us will) be in, no time.

iPhone is at the fourth generation, probably they expect some slow down in sale (as everybody as at least one in his pocket already) and they set up one of the best viral marketing campaign ever.

Little Endian
Apr 20, 2010, 10:47 AM
meh...Apple will probably be able to make a 4 pound 13" MBP by the time the hardware is available to make a faster and more affordable MBA. By next year the ipad will get faster with added features as well, making the MBA seem even more out of place.

i can see the air surviving if Apple can somehow manage to make one under 3lbs and perform nearly as well as a MBP 13". I have used an air before (loaned from a friend) and loved it, but I would never purchase one myself as the tradeoffs in performance and features don't justify the price. I would rather spend the money on the best 13" or 15" MBP and complement it with an ipad.

But then again if I had the money and no sense I would have an ipad, MBA, MBP 15"/17", an imac 27" and a MacPro so that I may have the right device for every single possible situation I may encounter. Sadly though the Air would probably be the easiest to drop from that lineup.

jlblodgett
Apr 20, 2010, 11:57 AM
I still say the MBA is a very marketable machine.

Unfortunately, other than it's form factor and the SSD, there really isn't anything to sway a person to the MBA over the other machines.


There is not much needed to make ME rush out and buy a macbook air immediately.

More RAM
Glass trackpad

Those two things alone = instant sale for me.

zap2
Apr 20, 2010, 12:00 PM
I'm with you hoping...the Air is a very sexy device, and since the MBP 13'' doesn't have i3, the differences between the MBP and MBA are less then they could be, so I'll be watching in the coming months!

jdechko
Apr 20, 2010, 12:53 PM
I disagree. I believe Apple can effectively market a new MBA with the same SL9600 CPUs at a 30% improvement over the old ones. Apple uses the TDP saved from using the 320m to allow that de-throttling of the CPU. In addition, the 320m could give us an improvement while still greatly improving the GPU performance.

In addition, Apple puts 4 GB of RAM and a larger SSD in the high-end model, and it sells more MBAs than it ever has in the past. The RAM limitation and drive space are the two main factors would be MBA buyers are taking the pass and are buying an MB/MBP and iPad instead.

After seeing what they did with the 13" Pro, I think this is the most likely course of action for Apple, assuming they refresh the Air soon. I'd be very happy with this upgrade.

Scottsdale
Apr 20, 2010, 03:52 PM
They don't need viral marketing for the MBA. Whatever machine they will present, given 4Gb of Ram and the new Nvidia, I'll (and most of us will) be in, no time.

iPhone is at the fourth generation, probably they expect some slow down in sale (as everybody as at least one in his pocket already) and they set up one of the best viral marketing campaign ever.

I think that is true. As long as Apple upgrades to 4 GB of RAM and a larger SSD, people will upgrade and the MBA will sell better than ever before (even better and faster than the $999 original MBAs were sold/dumped after the debacle).

I really don't believe there is a better CPU than the SL9600 and Nvidia 320m right now that will fit in an MBA with a dedicated graphics along with a Core i7-640LM. And I don't want to go with sole use of the Arrandale's GMA IGP. That would be devastating.

Apple really has nowhere to go except the SL9600, unless it can get Intel to make one more bump to a 2.26 GHz SL9700. That would be even better, but would Apple be able to run it without throttling?

Think of how great the MBA could perform if the SL9600 ran without throttling and the 320m was only a 50% bump over the 9400m. That would surely fit within the constraints of the MBA's cooling system and energy limitations. Add with that 4 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD, and a glass trackpad... the MBA would sell better than ever before. No nonsense replies about the iPad here, because the iPad doesn't do work/creation, OS X, or Mac applications.

Malice604
Apr 20, 2010, 05:05 PM
Intel made a "custom" CPU for the first Air, what's to stop them from making an i7-640LM (4M, 2.13-2.9GHz) without the IGP (which is not on-die, just in the CPU package, making it doable). 25W TDP? lower memory bus speeds, etc..

Perhaps this is why we are waiting for the new Air, still?

I will NOT buy a new Air if it does not have an i7 processor in it. The Air is Apple's technology flagship, to old tech in it is ... ridiculous. If it was designed to a price point, like the MBP13 is, then I could see it, but it's not.

iMacmatician
Apr 20, 2010, 05:28 PM
Intel made a "custom" CPU for the first Air, what's to stop them from making an i7-640LM (4M, 2.13-2.9GHz) without the IGP (which is not on-die, just in the CPU package, making it doable). 25W TDP? lower memory bus speeds, etc..PCIe and memory I/O are on the IGP.

Also the "special" CPU for the first MacBook Air already existed but nobody wanted it except for Apple.

Raje
Apr 20, 2010, 05:35 PM
Intel made a "custom" CPU for the first Air, what's to stop them from making an i7-640LM
The fact that they did not make custom CPUs for the bestselling line of Macbooks. I don't think Intel has any intention of making custom CPUs for apple and that is why apple is talking with AMD. I could see some great products come out of a collaboration between AMD and Apple(unique processors and unique GPUs seem very likely)

PsyD4Me
Apr 20, 2010, 05:55 PM
The fact that they did not make custom CPUs for the bestselling line of Macbooks. I don't think Intel has any intention of making custom CPUs for apple and that is why apple is talking with AMD. I could see some great products come out of a collaboration between AMD and Apple(unique processors and unique GPUs seem very likely)

AMD, damn, who would of thunk it!
i always remember them to be as a cheaper solution in consumer pc's

Malice604
Apr 20, 2010, 06:00 PM
The fact that they did not make custom CPUs for the bestselling line of Macbooks. I don't think Intel has any intention of making custom CPUs for apple and that is why apple is talking with AMD. I could see some great products come out of a collaboration between AMD and Apple(unique processors and unique GPUs seem very likely)

Custom for high $ laptop = sense
Custom for best selling laptop = no sense. If the assembly line made that many, it would be a standard offering.

Apple needed the custom variant for their machine, as they appear to now. Precedent has been set.

Malice604
Apr 20, 2010, 06:13 PM
PCIe and memory I/O are on the IGP.

Also the "special" CPU for the first MacBook Air already existed but nobody wanted it except for Apple.

Sigh on that, though we are saving on external memory controller power then, aren't we? No external south bridge would mean no power requirements for one.

As for no one wanting one, perhaps a more positive way to look at is that Apple wanted first dibs, so they took the early model.

How about ways that it WILL work instead of WON'T?

hoogen82
Apr 20, 2010, 06:23 PM
I think read some articles a few days back that apple was looking @ AMD and ATI graphics? How much of it do you think holds good in case of a MBA... I never heard anything about it from MBA users... would like to hear some opinions from MBA regulars... Any feedback from Scottsdale is what I most love reading...

Raje
Apr 20, 2010, 06:39 PM
Custom for high $ laptop = sense
Custom for best selling laptop = no sense. If the assembly line made that many, it would be a standard offering.

Apple needed the custom variant for their machine, as they appear to now. Precedent has been set.

It makes sense if the standard offering isn't what they wanted as in the case with i3/i5/i7 where Apple wanted integrated Nvidia graphics and Intel only has offerings that allow for use of the Intel IGP

iansilv
Apr 20, 2010, 09:10 PM
I would really like to see a 15.4" display- same size as the MBP at 15".

Raje
Apr 20, 2010, 09:51 PM
I would really like to see a 15.4" display- same size as the MBP at 15".

A 15" screen kinda defeats the purpose of an ultraportable:p

iansilv
Apr 21, 2010, 02:44 AM
A 15" screen kinda defeats the purpose of an ultraportable:p

No way man- fake the air, keep everything the same, but increase it's overall width and height to accomodate the larger screen, while maintaining the thinness of the current one.

I guess I just think my mbp could ditch the optical drive and shed some thickness and weight that way.

cyberwolf777
Apr 21, 2010, 05:32 AM
I would really like to see a 15.4" display- same size as the MBP at 15".

there was a rumor about this a year ago: http://www.macrumors.com/2009/01/16/15-macbook-air-under-development/

With optical drives being less and less necessary, a MBA even with a 15" or 17" screen would make sense. Just imagine a 17" MBP, strip it of the optical drive and the dedicated graphics, reduce the ports to 1xUSB 3.0, 1xFW800, Audio out (optical) and an SDHC card slot; then use a ULV CPU and throw in 3G - and you'll have a portable dream machine which could weigh as little as 4-6 pounds.

But yeah, back to more realistic talk:

The updated MBPs are only a small evolution and not a new machine so maybe Apple wants to introduce the next MBA at a special event???

As I wrote in a previous post, I still believe that a new MBA will for the forseeable future continue to use a C2D processor, albeit a custom one, most likely running at 2.26 or 2.4Ghz.

Also, since the MBP 13" has become a serious competitor for the MBA, I believe that Apple will make every effort to distinguish the next MBA from the 13" MBP. This could include:

- introducing a higher-res screen (1440x900) and/or a matte option
- a Micro-SIM slot and integrated 3G HSPA+
- abandoning the HDD version of the Air (then only having one base model; 2.26Ghz/128GB SSD at $1599)

But whatever the other specs will be, Apple needs increase RAM to 4GB and increase battery life to at least 7hrs. Otherwise the Air is dead.

houttbe
Apr 21, 2010, 06:43 AM
My guess is that Apple will merge the 13" MBP and the MBA models towards the end of this year, basically getting rid of the DVD in the MBP chassis and using the large/long duration battery in a thinner enclosure.

All options are open as to CPU - Intel, AMD, Apple proprietary.

But they need to keep MBA ticking over till then.

iMacmatician
Apr 21, 2010, 07:00 AM
Sigh on that, though we are saving on external memory controller power then, aren't we? No external south bridge would mean no power requirements for one.Can Arrandale even work without the memory controller?

How about ways that it WILL work instead of WON'T?I'm being realistic here.

cyberwolf777
Apr 21, 2010, 10:38 AM
My guess is that Apple will merge the 13" MBP and the MBA models towards the end of this year, basically getting rid of the DVD in the MBP chassis and using the large/long duration battery in a thinner enclosure.

I am a bit doubtful about that. The 13" MBP has replaced the MB as the main consumer laptop from Apple. There's many people who have a 13" MBP as their only machine and wouldn't wanna miss the integrated optical drive.

Building MBPs without an internal optical drive will IMHO therefore probably not happen in the next 2-3 years; and if then they'll start with the "real" professional laptops, like using the extra space to fit a quad-core i7 + GeForce GTS 360M or Quadro FX M with all the additional cooling etc. necessary into the 17" enclosure.

The MBA has its own niche and also from an economic standpoint it would make sense for apple to capitalise on it. If Apple merged the MBA into the MBP 13" then they would still have to sell it at MBP 13" price points (then apple forgoes profit becuase people who are willing to spend more on a portable machine don't need to) or they'd sell less and lose market share if they increased the price of the MBP/MBA merger compared to the current 13" MBP.

If Apple kept the MBA competitive specs-wise at a $1499+ price point, however, they could not only sell some to people who would otherwise consider the 13" MBP, but also appeal to more people in general by keeping two seperate models.

Malice604
Apr 21, 2010, 11:05 AM
In the Athlon days, I was a big AMD supporter, but after so many CPU failures, I went back to the Intel camp and stuck with that.

To put it in an Air? If I'm paying for a premium product, I expect the premium brand inside (please no AMD flame war, you know what I am saying).

Moving more in the iPad direction, but with OSX and a keyboard, makes sense to me. Touch screen with hinges that allow the computer to fold flat either closed or with the keyboard behind the screen (which would disable it, so you don't mash random keys while trying to hold it).

I agree that it has to stay at the 13" size, though higher resolution on a matte display would be great.

How about an SD card slot? Those are nice and thin. I don't have any interest in 3G, since I am happy to tether to the iPhone when necessary.

mrderik
Apr 21, 2010, 12:21 PM
Greetings -

As a long time lurker I understand that 'speculation' gets carried away here on occasion.... But after the iPhone 4g photos I think it's pretty obvious that a 'new' MBA design would clearly be an All Black 'ceramic' case. Throw in a separately controlled OLED 'Apple' on the cover and now you're talking Wow factor. I would even 'speculate' that the entire cover (at least the front and maybe even the back) would have a translucent ceramic coating over the black background and sandwiched in between would be an 'monocolor oled screen' similar to the walkmans of a couple years ago. This would cause to entire cover to act like a screen saver with waves, pulses, and the like. (You could even utililize it as a type of touch activated effect or rudimentary touchscreen tablet. With a choice of OLED colors - blue, red, or green.....

Who gives a rats behind what specific processor is in it. The MBA is about WOW and (should be) Apple's halo computer product. (No, I don't consider the iPad a computer.) So imo you're just wasting time 'discussing' power factor and wattage of this vs that or how many USB ports it has.

USB is, likewise, old think. I expect to see, in the not too distant future, a wireless, or more likely, a 'contact transmission' technology incorporated. Think 'fist bump' to transfer data from one device to the other. But that'll be a couple more years out.

D.

Malice604
Apr 21, 2010, 12:36 PM
The MBA is about WOW and (should be) Apple's halo computer product.

Spot on. Still want i7 though :)

Kingcodez
Apr 21, 2010, 12:55 PM
More RAM and a glass trackpad, I'd definitely consider switching.
CPU speed isn't really important, just that there are good fast aftermarket SSDs available.. The Intel x18 will work with the air right?

nukiduz
Apr 21, 2010, 01:02 PM
Greetings -

As a long time lurker I understand that 'speculation' gets carried away here on occasion.... But after the iPhone 4g photos I think it's pretty obvious that a 'new' MBA design would clearly be an All Black 'ceramic' case. Throw in a separately controlled OLED 'Apple' on the cover and now you're talking Wow factor. I would even 'speculate' that the entire cover (at least the front and maybe even the back) would have a translucent ceramic coating over the black background and sandwiched in between would be an 'monocolor oled screen' similar to the walkmans of a couple years ago. This would cause to entire cover to act like a screen saver with waves, pulses, and the like. (You could even utililize it as a type of touch activated effect or rudimentary touchscreen tablet. With a choice of OLED colors - blue, red, or green.....

Who gives a rats behind what specific processor is in it. The MBA is about WOW and (should be) Apple's halo computer product. (No, I don't consider the iPad a computer.) So imo you're just wasting time 'discussing' power factor and wattage of this vs that or how many USB ports it has.


D.

Given the new iPhone's design, you think it is obvious that the MBA will sport a ceramic case and an external OLED mini screen? Are you serious? In which way do you think it is obvious? What has any Apple product to do with superfluous, battery-draining flashy effects like the ones you describe? What's the point of a shell being also a rudimentary tablet?

I am sorry man, but I disagree with absolutely everything from the quoted post.

mrderik
Apr 21, 2010, 01:38 PM
Malice604 - Fair enough - faster IS still better...

nukiduz -

The rudimentary tablet function is probably not likely - I agree it's not sellable.

A separate OLED Apple logo - a very low power consuming no-brainer.

OLED 'organic flow' case, mabey a waste of power but atleast my 'speculation' doesn't lack vision.

Know what else a translucent ceramic case allows? A solar panel under it.....
(And to save you the time, yes I understand the small footprint means ONLY a maximum of about 17w of solar 'assist'.)

The point is, I doubt there is a reply in any management level discussion in that company that starts with, we can't do that because....

Apple is all about 'vision'. Where's yours?

D.

nukiduz
Apr 21, 2010, 02:01 PM
I could agree that Apple is all about vision but unnecessary cosmetic changes that add no functionality is so not Apple-like. Their computers, specially the MBPs, are the perfect example of simplicity and effectiveness, which is the secret of a good design. The MBA obviously has a big wow factor but it is primarily designed to be a powerful yet light notebook, and there is room for it to improve: it needs to be lighter, have a better battery life, a glass trackpad, more RAM and better CPU. I would also like a SD card reader and another USB port but that would ask for a case redesign, which would also be welcome.

cyberwolf777
Apr 21, 2010, 02:07 PM
Apple is all about 'vision'. Where's yours?


Apple's also all about profit.

I agree with you on management, though. Without a certain "can do" attitude, all these :apple: products that we are addicted to wouldn't have been possible.

But you gotta make a profit, too. While such a computer as you are describing it is certainly realistic in the long-run (which you realise when following the developments closely) and it is important that Apple invests so much into R&D so it can be on the forefront of new technologies, right now production cost would be so high that the computer would have to be sold at price point where it just wouldn't sell and Apple would loose a fortune.

Raje
Apr 21, 2010, 05:31 PM
Given the new iPhone's design, you think it is obvious that the MBA will sport a ceramic case and an external OLED mini screen? Are you serious? In which way do you think it is obvious? What has any Apple product to do with superfluous, battery-draining flashy effects like the ones you describe? What's the point of a shell being also a rudimentary tablet?

I am sorry man, but I disagree with absolutely everything from the quoted post.

+1

surgedc5
Apr 21, 2010, 06:49 PM
I pray to God no 10" display. But it's obvious the iPad is Apple's netbook alternative so there is no way in Hell we're getting a 10" MBA. I believe we're at least 20X more likely to get a 15" MBA than a 10" MBA.

i would buy a 15" mba immediately if they release one

Stuntcar
Apr 21, 2010, 10:38 PM
JUST STARTED THIS AS NEW THREAD


I need to buy a new ultralight for travel by 30th April.
I was hoping a new MBA would have been released with the MBP upgrades.

I am buying a machine with view to 3 year life cycle. How redundant is the MBA now, let alone by mid 2013. My current Vaio T series is kaput - I want to purchase a new machine by next Friday (4/30) to have it up and running for travel the next week.

Not sure about being suckered into buying an already obsolete MBA or just go with the current Vaio (the current one has been great).

Open to advice.

SC