MacBook Air NOT doing well sales wise in local store

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by southnc, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    #1
    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.
     
  2. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    #3
    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.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    cleric

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #4
    Well with the refurb deals online its hard to believe they would be selling many new ones in the store.
     
  5. macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    上海 (Shanghai)
    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    kernkraft

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #7
    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.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    #8
    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.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    #9
    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?
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #11
    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.

    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.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    #12
    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 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.
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    i(am in the)cloud
    #13
    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.
     
  14. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #14
    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.
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #15
    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.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Detlev_73

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Location:
    Roswell, GA
    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 65816

    numbersyx

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2006
    #18
    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...
     
  19. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #19
    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!
     
  20. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    #20
    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.
     
  21. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #21
    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)
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #22
    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
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #23
    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.
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    North West Georgia
    #24


    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
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #25
    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.
     

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