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Old Sep 3, 2013, 06:54 PM   #1
theuserjohnny
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How could Apple improve the Macbook Air?

Hey guys, I just recently got a Macbook Air yesterday!

Mainly got it for the all-day battery life. I have days where I'll start work at 4am and then have to go to school from 11am-9pm and I wanted to get a great laptop with a small footprint.

I love my Retina Macbook Pro but I felt it was to heavy and the footprint was to large for my liking when I have it alongside my books for class.

The tapered design is also great!

I've been trying to use this sucker and see how the battery life is and all I can say is WOW! Tomorrow will be my first real-world test with the battery life and I'm excited.

Now that Apple finally have the Intel chip to truly deliver all day battery what would you insist they improve on next?

For me personally there were two things that I would love to see them change within the coming years!

1.) reduce the bezel around the display (thick for my liking)
2.) increase the resolution (only if they can maintain battery life)

If Apple can reduce the bezel and increase resolution while marinating battery life I think they'll have something special in their hands.

Other than that I think they've nailed everything!
- small form factor (light/easy to carry)
- all day battery (good job on intel)
- i/o ports (USB 3/thunderbolt)
- wifi (ac)
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 07:16 PM   #2
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1TB SSD
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Higher rez screen
Same battery life
Same size
(agree on the bezel)
Integrated LTE
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 07:23 PM   #3
createture
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reduce the bezel.

it would be nice if the Air and MBP had near-zero bezel screens. maybe just a few mm's on top for the camera.

8GB RAM as standard
HDMI out
at least 1080p resolution
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 07:56 PM   #4
Mrbobb
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I have a theory about the thick bezel, is made that way to give the lid a razor edge and enhances the illusion of thinness. If they take the LCD all the way to the edge then the lid's edge will have to have the same thickness as the LCD panel and will make the lid look fat.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 08:18 PM   #5
HarryWarden
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Biggest thing for me would to at least improve the display so that it's true HD (1080P) resolution. They should be able to do that without affecting battery life much as the 13-inch is already close to that.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 08:28 PM   #6
Atomic Walrus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryWarden View Post
Biggest thing for me would to at least improve the display so that it's true HD (1080P) resolution. They should be able to do that without affecting battery life much as the 13-inch is already close to that.
I'm sure it's technically reasonable, but OS X can't handle that kind of UI scaling at the moment effectively. A 1920x1080 (and it's a 16:10 ratio, which most of us want to keep, so actually 1920x1200) resolution at 13" is going to make the UI too small to deal with for the majority of users.

Apple's existing HiDPI solution only works with resolution doubling, so that would mean you could only realistically run at scaled 960x600, which is far too small/large (depending on how you look at it) to be usable.

Desktop OS's in general need to seriously and quickly improve how they handle scaling.

For me the appropriate upgrade path for the Air's display is to go to high quality IPS at the same resolution. A retina Air seems unlikely to me for several reasons, the most significant being the battery cost and the massive confusion between the rMBP and rAir that would exist. What's the difference between an rMBP and an rAir? Not enough to justify the existence of both.

In the long run I don't believe both can exist... a few years down the line I expect to see the 13" Air replaced by a lower spec rMBP that can deliver similar battery life. The Air's form factor was impressive originally, but no longer seems like anything special compared to the rMBP's smaller footprint and far better cooling solution. In fact I can see plenty of arguments for it being outdated compared to the rMBP.

Apple's laptop line is going to get smaller to be more in line with the phone and tablet lines. One laptop with a range of power, size and capacity options. Basically the exact model for their desktop line, which includes only 1 machine in a number of sizes and configurations.

The exception is if the 13" air can somehow become even lighter. With the rMBP only 0.5lbs heavier, the 13" Air would need to get into the 2-2.5 lbs range for its name to make sense again.

Last edited by Atomic Walrus; Sep 3, 2013 at 08:44 PM.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 09:11 PM   #7
sofianito
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Originally Posted by Atomic Walrus View Post
The exception is if the 13" air can somehow become even lighter. With the rMBP only 0.5lbs heavier, the 13" Air would need to get into the 2-2.5 lbs range for its name to make sense again.
To be more precise, the difference is 0.61 lbs. It sounds small but I could note it when lifting each one...
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 09:54 PM   #8
theuserjohnny
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Oh I found another thing that I think they can improve on... the speakers. Now I'm not looking for state of the art sound but they can at least make it sound better.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm just use to the 15 inch but something seems off about the Air speakers.

Then again due to the form factor I'm not sure how they would improve on it but I would hope they could do something to give it a little more "umph".

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic Walrus View Post
I'm sure it's technically reasonable, but OS X can't handle that kind of UI scaling at the moment effectively. A 1920x1080 (and it's a 16:10 ratio, which most of us want to keep, so actually 1920x1200) resolution at 13" is going to make the UI too small to deal with for the majority of users.

Apple's existing HiDPI solution only works with resolution doubling, so that would mean you could only realistically run at scaled 960x600, which is far too small/large (depending on how you look at it) to be usable.

Desktop OS's in general need to seriously and quickly improve how they handle scaling.

For me the appropriate upgrade path for the Air's display is to go to high quality IPS at the same resolution. A retina Air seems unlikely to me for several reasons, the most significant being the battery cost and the massive confusion between the rMBP and rAir that would exist. What's the difference between an rMBP and an rAir? Not enough to justify the existence of both.

In the long run I don't believe both can exist... a few years down the line I expect to see the 13" Air replaced by a lower spec rMBP that can deliver similar battery life. The Air's form factor was impressive originally, but no longer seems like anything special compared to the rMBP's smaller footprint and far better cooling solution. In fact I can see plenty of arguments for it being outdated compared to the rMBP.

Apple's laptop line is going to get smaller to be more in line with the phone and tablet lines. One laptop with a range of power, size and capacity options. Basically the exact model for their desktop line, which includes only 1 machine in a number of sizes and configurations.

The exception is if the 13" air can somehow become even lighter. With the rMBP only 0.5lbs heavier, the 13" Air would need to get into the 2-2.5 lbs range for its name to make sense again.
I think depending on what Apple does with the Retina line up later this year will help determine what direction they are heading.

For me personally I think that it's quite the opposite. I think that the Macbook Pro's will turn into the Air.

Last year they already slimmed down the 15/13inch Macbook Pro lineup and if the rumors are true about the 15inch dropping the dGPU I think Apple will slowly yet surely redesign the Pro to match the tapered design of the Air.

I think that as Intel improves CPU efficiency (power/battery life) and continue to improve on their iGPU and combined with improvements to display quality/power consumption I can see Apple eventually having a 15inch Macbook Air.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 10:01 PM   #9
Atomic Walrus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theuserjohnny View Post
Oh I found another thing that I think they can improve on... the speakers. Now I'm not looking for state of the art sound but they can at least make it sound better.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm just use to the 15 inch but something seems off about the Air speakers.

Then again due to the form factor I'm not sure how they would improve on it but I would hope they could do something to give it a little more "umph".

----------



I think depending on what Apple does with the Retina line up later this year will help determine what direction they are heading.

For me personally I think that it's quite the opposite. I think that the Macbook Pro's will turn into the Air.

Last year they already slimmed down the 15/13inch Macbook Pro lineup and if the rumors are true about the 15inch dropping the dGPU I think Apple will slowly yet surely redesign the Pro to match the tapered design of the Air.

I think that as Intel improves CPU efficiency (power/battery life) and continue to improve on their iGPU and combined with improvements to display quality/power consumption I can see Apple eventually having a 15inch Macbook Air.
I disagree about the form factor, but I agree with the core concept. The MBP is going to get smaller, lighter and thinner, but I don't think the tapered form factor is going to go forward in the main line. I have to be honest... I have the Haswell MBA right now and compared to my time with the rMBP (at the store) this Air is the chassis that feels outdated.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 11:02 PM   #10
swingerofbirch
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I agree re: the bezel and reducing overall dimensions, which would also reduce the bezel around the keyboard. I always loved the 12" PB's look, with the the keyboard that went all the way to the edge.

Part of me wants to say I'd like a hard glass display; although, I know so many dislike the glare. I just find it's so easy to keep clean on my MBP, and I feel like it's sturdier. I also like the black contrast on the MBP against the display.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 11:06 PM   #11
Spacial
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Mine could use a hi res display, it's dull low res is worse than expected. But if the screen was better it might kill off the MBP sales.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 11:23 PM   #12
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15"+ model (52 year old eyes would be so happy)
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 11:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swingerofbirch View Post
I always loved the 12" PB's look, with the the keyboard that went all the way to the edge.
I could never pinpoint what it was that I loved about the 12" PB so much, but I think that's exactly it. A keyboard that took up all of the space gave the computer that much more personality. I wouldn't mind a wider keyboard, narrower bezel, and a slightly smaller display on my 13" Air.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 11:33 PM   #14
Memole
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The improvement would be
  • IPS panel
  • add 15" option
  • 8GB of ram as base model but add option for 16GB
  • Better Speakers
  • Thinner bezel
  • Anti Glare option
  • Offer in black color too
  • Better Cooling

And this improvements could be done easy if apple wanted to at least with a IPS display and make a 15" MBA
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 11:37 PM   #15
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For me:

1. Another Thunderbolt port or add a HDMI Port
If I have a Mini-Displayport to DVI that already uses up a TB port,
and I can't have a free one if I need to connect to a external TB drive.

2. Higher Resolution Screen
Although it is still higher than the non retina 13 inch MBP, it would be
nice to have those extra pixels.

3. Black Border around the screen.
It makes it so much easier to focus in on your work if it's black. Take
Photoshop CS6 or Logic Pro X for example. Dark - easier on the eyes.

4. Black Aluminum like the iPad minis
Again with the dark, I like it. I had a BlackBook for a period of time
and the black was awesome.
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Old Sep 3, 2013, 11:47 PM   #16
flynz4
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Originally Posted by Mrbobb View Post
I have a theory about the thick bezel, is made that way to give the lid a razor edge and enhances the illusion of thinness. If they take the LCD all the way to the edge then the lid's edge will have to have the same thickness as the LCD panel and will make the lid look fat.
This is exactly correct. I've written about this many times on this forum... and finally gave up saying it over and over.

It is part of the "optical illusion" of making the MBA look thinner than it actually is. Quite effective.

/Jim
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 12:01 AM   #17
Aylan
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Originally Posted by Mrbobb View Post
I have a theory about the thick bezel, is made that way to give the lid a razor edge and enhances the illusion of thinness. If they take the LCD all the way to the edge then the lid's edge will have to have the same thickness as the LCD panel and will make the lid look fat.
And room for the awesome trackpad!
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 12:44 AM   #18
Doublea6
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I gotta say an igzo display.
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 01:39 AM   #19
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Retina with the same battery or better than mid-2013. We are probably talking 3-4 years from now lol.
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 04:51 AM   #20
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Realistically :
- same form factor (wouldn't change a thing)
- retina
- option for 16Gb of RAM although I believe 8Gb is and will be plenty for a MBA and its target audience, even a couple of years down the road
- 512Gb SSD as standard (which will happen as a matter of course as SSD prices continue to drop)
- LTE

Way out there :
- multiple-day battery life
- wireless charging
- retina +
- foldable to ipod size
- makes coffee (so no need for Starbucks)
- the sky's the limit...
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 06:29 AM   #21
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1680x1050 screen, that's all I ask for, I don't want or care about retina screen.
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 07:04 AM   #22
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I would love if Apple could put the thunderbolt and microphone port on the same side, like they did with the Macbook Pros. It kinda grates on my how my mini-display to VGA adaptor goes in the right side, but the audio cable has to go in through the left, resulting in an unsightly stethoscoping effect.

A way to include a sd-card in the 11" version would be great as well, given how the thunderbolt display doesn't come with one either.

It also took me a while to realise that the wedge shape of the Air was cunningly designed to give the illusion of the Macbook floating off the table, though I wonder if this actually results in less useable space. Compared to the more oblong-shaped Pros, it seems like the Air has much less room for batteries and ports?
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 09:32 AM   #23
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The MacBook Air looks like it use an extra port.

Can't really do anything about the battery, unless they use more dense battery.
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 09:56 AM   #24
Compile
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My list.
1) retina
2) quad core with same battery life.
3) $500 or free!
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 10:34 AM   #25
Lord Hamsa
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There's always room for improvement as technology improves. Figure the top priorities are:

* Lighter
* Thinner
* Longer battery life
* Faster
* Improved display
* Improved storage

I don't think "more ports" is going to happen - they tend to get in the way of the other design goals, and the ethic seems to be leaning toward network/cloud based solutions rather than plugging things into ports whenever possible.
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