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View Poll Results: Which 15" Apple portable would you buy?
15" MacBook Air 27 17.20%
15" MacBook Pro 71 45.22%
15" Air-Pro Hybrid 59 37.58%
Voters: 157. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Feb 11, 2012, 09:54 PM   #1
longofest
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Would You Buy A 15" MacBook Air?

I'm wondering what the interest is here on the forums for a realistic 15" MacBook Air. I've done some analysis on my professional blog (TechPerfect) and I think that a 15" MacBook Air would end up looking a lot more like today's airs than today's MacBook Pros.

The gist of what I posted on TechPerfect is that in order to fit the Air form factor, Apple will likely have to stick with 17W TDP CPUs from Intel. Intel has already announced the initial round of mobile Ivy Bridge CPUs, and there are no quad-cores to be found at 17W. While Apple has gotten access to some pre-release stuff before, I highly doubt that Intel will be able to get quad-core in 17W. Also due to thermal, power, and space constraints (even with going to 15"), you're likely to see a loss of dedicated graphics, as dedicated graphics eat up a lot of power and heat. Lastly, you'd likely continue to have integrated RAM, even though Apple would probably bump the number up a bit.

So, that all being said, would you rather buy (details here: use the poll):

1) 15" Air: Dual-core i7 (w/ HT) 3667U @ 2.0GHz, 8GB RAM (not upgradable), Integrated graphics, 256GB SSD Stick
2) 15" Pro: Quad-core i7 (w/ HT) 3720QM @ 2.6GHz, 8GB RAM standard, upgradable to 16GB, Integrated+Discrete Graphics, Hard Drive and Optical Drive remain standard.
3) 15" Air/Pro Hybrid: Quad-Core i7 (w/ HT) 3720QM @ 2.6GHz, 8GB upgradable RAM, Integrated+Discrete Graphics, 256GB SSD Stick (no Optical Drive)

A little further explanation of #3-- No rumor has pointed to this, it's just a wish of mine. But this would be something that isn't quite as thin as an Air, but is thinner than the current Pros.
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 09:58 PM   #2
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I wouldn't, but I said the same thing about not getting the iPhone 4s.
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 09:59 PM   #3
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This may be some indication of general opinion:

If Apple released a 15" MBA, would you buy it?
15' Macbook Air
15" MacBook Air?
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 10:00 PM   #4
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The hybrid. However, remove the discrete GPU (cooling problem) and move it to an external thunderbolt display with built in GPU. 2 kg max, 4 lbs ideally!
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 10:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
I didn't see in any of those threads where anyone bothered to point out that that you'd be loosing 2 cores (4 virtual cores) of computation power. IMO, in addition to gaining others' opinions, I wanted a new thread with a poll that goes into technical discussion regarding the two.
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 10:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by longofest View Post
I didn't see in any of those threads where anyone bothered to point out that that you'd be loosing 2 cores (4 virtual cores) of computation power. IMO, in addition to gaining others' opinions, I wanted a new thread with a poll that goes into technical discussion regarding the two.
I wasn't suggesting those threads as a substitute for this one, but as additional information or insight into users' opinions of the idea of a 15" MBA in any configuration.
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 10:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thundersteele View Post
The hybrid. However, remove the discrete GPU (cooling problem) and move it to an external thunderbolt display with built in GPU. 2 kg max, 4 lbs ideally!
I originally thought that would be a cool idea and even posted about that, and how I liked what Sony was doing with the PowerMedia dock, but apparently the PCIe that goes across Thunerbolt is only 4 lanes wide as opposed to 16 that higher-end graphics cards use, like the current ones in the 15 and 17" MacBook Pros.

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Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
I wasn't suggesting those threads as a substitute for this one, but as additional information or insight into users' opinions of the ides of a 15" MBA in any configuration.
Okay :-) thanks!
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 10:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by longofest View Post
I originally thought that would be a cool idea and even posted about that, and how I liked what Sony was doing with the PowerMedia dock, but apparently the PCIe that goes across Thunerbolt is only 4 lanes wide as opposed to 16 that higher-end graphics cards use, like the current ones in the 15 and 17" MacBook Pros.
Ok, that's an interesting point. I don't know enough about PC internals to understand if and how that would limit the graphics performance.
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 10:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thundersteele View Post
Ok, that's an interesting point. I don't know enough about PC internals to understand if and how that would limit the graphics performance.
Basically, you could only put a lower-end video card on the thunderbolt bus.

The 10 Gbps of bidirectional speed Thunderbolt has is an amazing amount of bandwidth for an external bus, but you have to remember that PCIe 2.x (the version currently employed by Apple I believe) gives 64 Gbps bidirectional for 16 lanes, and high end graphics cards will use that.
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 11:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longofest View Post
1) 15" Air: Dual-core i7 (w/ HT) 3667U @ 2.0GHz, 8GB RAM (not upgradable), Integrated graphics, 256GB SSD Stick
2) 15" Pro: Quad-core i7 (w/ HT) 3720QM @ 2.6GHz, 8GB RAM standard, upgradable to 16GB, Integrated+Discrete Graphics, Hard Drive and Optical Drive remain standard.
3) 15" Air/Pro Hybrid: Quad-Core i7 (w/ HT) 3720QM @ 2.6GHz, 8GB upgradable RAM, Integrated+Discrete Graphics, 256GB SSD Stick (no Optical Drive)

A little further explanation of #3-- No rumor has pointed to this, it's just a wish of mine. But this would be something that isn't quite as thin as an Air, but is thinner than the current Pros.
1 is plausible. Most likely it will have 4GB if it ever comes true, and will boast a hi-res screen from the get-go. I would be tempted to buy this if it was cheap, but it would most likely fall into the executive laptop niche that no one would really buy.
2 is the most probable course that Apple will take. No complaints there. With some luck, hi-res screen will be standard. I can also see Apple squeezing in an extra mPCI-e slot for a blade SSD. But since I have the early 2011, I probably wouldn't buy the refreshed model.

3 is just ridiculous. If the unibody design gets any thinner, it will not be able to support a 45W processor, let alone a GPU to boot. If Apple does go with this "hybrid" design, they will be forced to use the 3612QM or the ULV processors. But, that means you can't have dedicated GPUs. The hybrid will be slower than its 2010 predecessor, not to mention that the entire laptop will be a hot mess that's able to fry eggs at any given time. Sacrifice the majority of the laptop's performance for the sake of thinness, not exactly Apple's motto, is it?
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 06:03 AM   #11
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I'll stick with MBP
The discrete GPU, ports, better cpu, user replaceable ram and the optical drive are all things that are important to me.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 09:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
I'll stick with MBP
The discrete GPU, ports, better cpu, user replaceable ram and the optical drive are all things that are important to me.
I have to agree. Nothing about the Macbook Air is appealing to me. YMMV. I am a Pro user with Pro users' needs. I WANT discrete graphics, better cpu, more ports, a large HD, user upgradeable parts. If you want to move the OD to a plug-in drive to give me more of the above I could live with that.

SSDs are not feasible to many of us who struggle at only having 500 GB or 1 TB of space and long for the day of having a 2 TB drive.

Making the MBP thinner only reduces my options for a tiny benefit. Again, YMMV. I love my MBP as a tool but I am not a fanboi. I can just as easily switch back to Windows if Apple does not want my money. I suspect many Pro Users feel the same.

I -personally- am very interested in Windows 8 notebooks with built-in Kinect 2.0 cameras. Microsoft has stated that Kinect 2.0 will have the ability to read lips. There are many rumors about Windows 8 notebooks with the ability to augment tasks by watching the users movements. I find that very appealing and am interested to see what Microsoft has to offer.

No matter what, 2012 will have some great choices for everyone.

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Old Feb 12, 2012, 09:44 AM   #13
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I need discrete graphics, quad core CPU, and a whole lot of storage for my needs so this might be a pass if this were true.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 10:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodo123 View Post
3 is just ridiculous. If the unibody design gets any thinner, it will not be able to support a 45W processor, let alone a GPU to boot. If Apple does go with this "hybrid" design, they will be forced to use the 3612QM or the ULV processors. But, that means you can't have dedicated GPUs. The hybrid will be slower than its 2010 predecessor, not to mention that the entire laptop will be a hot mess that's able to fry eggs at any given time. Sacrifice the majority of the laptop's performance for the sake of thinness, not exactly Apple's motto, is it?
I don't see it as ridiculous. With that model, you are dropping the Hard Drive as well as the Optical drive, which means the battery can be repositioned and the front can be tapered just like the Airs.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 11:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longofest View Post
I don't see it as ridiculous. With that model, you are dropping the Hard Drive as well as the Optical drive, which means the battery can be repositioned and the front can be tapered just like the Airs.
No, thermal restrictions make it ridiculous, as I stated in my comment before. I didn't even mention the lack of an ODD (which I hate btw), or dropping of the HDD, or anything regarding features, because they'll all be useless if the body itself cannot handle the heat that they generate. If the body gets any thinner than what it is now, then it is impossible to build a laptop that you have described because it will simply be too hot.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 11:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thundersteele View Post
The hybrid. However, remove the discrete GPU (cooling problem) and move it to an external thunderbolt display with built in GPU. 2 kg max, 4 lbs ideally!
I could - mostly - get behind that. As most of my discrete GPU use is plugged into an external, it would work for me. Although I would miss doing video work from the couch, I probably wouldn't miss the hot lap!
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 11:36 AM   #17
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Option 3 is simply retarded. If they do something like that they will hemorrhage professional customers.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 05:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodo123 View Post
No, thermal restrictions make it ridiculous, as I stated in my comment before. I didn't even mention the lack of an ODD (which I hate btw), or dropping of the HDD, or anything regarding features, because they'll all be useless if the body itself cannot handle the heat that they generate. If the body gets any thinner than what it is now, then it is impossible to build a laptop that you have described because it will simply be too hot.
The back would probably be pretty close to the same thickness as the MBP now... the thinness comes from the tapered design. With the back retaining a decent amount of thickness, it could retain some key fans to keep the body cool, drawing air in through the side ports and keyboard and out through the back. Remember, in the hybrid design, we're not talking about needing this to be AS thin as a MacBook Air... just thinner than a MacBook Pro, which could just mean a tapered design.

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Option 3 is simply retarded. If they do something like that they will hemorrhage professional customers.
I appreciate your opinion, but why? Is it the lack of optical drive or the lack of hard drive?

I personally think that they'd hemorrhage professional customers more if they went a pure-Air route. That being said, I don't think Apple is too concerned about their professional users.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 07:53 PM   #19
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I don't like the iPad and Airs can not do everything I want a notebook to do.

If Apple kills the MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro I'll be bummed.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 08:05 PM   #20
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I don't like the iPad and Airs can not do everything I want a notebook to do.

If Apple kills the MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro I'll be bummed.
Same.

I think Apple realizes how annoyed people would be at the Macbook Pro losing its position as a portable, powerful laptop.

In order of things Apple is likely to do:

1) Phase out the optical drive- Apple's pushing the move to digital, cloud-based services and away from physical media, and given how much less often the optical drive is actually used this seems likely. Phasing out the optical drive would clear out a lot of space that could make the Macbook Pro lighter, more powerful, and/or have a longer battery life. Knowing apple, the result will most likely be a combination of the first two. Expect them to offer an external drive option, though.

2) Phase out the hard disk in favor of flash-based memory- With the air, this was done out of size restraints, and I can see them doing it with the Macbook Pro as well, though for the purposes of size and reducing TDP that could go towards CPU/GPU usage. If it's possible, I can see them offering 512 GB options. While this option seems likely, I seriously doubt Apple would compromise on the sheer amount of disk space relative to price and a few seconds of boot time to make their laptops thinner.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 09:03 PM   #21
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Apple can not make a MBA 15" in the same form factor as the 11 & 13. Not unless they change the material to Titanium or some other super alloy. I had the 13" MBA, and if you pick it up with one hand at the very corner you could see and feel the entire unit bend ever so slight. If they do that with a 15", good luck...
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 09:18 PM   #22
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If "Airising" means losing the optical drive and HDD in favour of a SATA 3 blade SSD or something similar, that would be great. Or at least wouldn't bother me.

If "Airising" means cutting back on CPU/GPU, I'll be very disappointed.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 09:24 PM   #23
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Yes.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 09:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
I'll stick with MBP
The discrete GPU, ports, better cpu, user replaceable ram and the optical drive are all things that are important to me.
I agree...I don't want to have to carry around a external DVD or anything for that matter just to have a complete machine...
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 10:21 PM   #25
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I agree...I don't want to have to carry around a external DVD or anything for that matter just to have a complete machine...
Why would you need to carry one around? Are you really going around in public burning discs?
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