Retina on future MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Trey M, Mar 23, 2013.


What will happen to Apple's MBA this year?

Poll closed Mar 29, 2013.
  1. Apple will introduce a minor upgrade to the MBA this year

    37 vote(s)
  2. Apple will introduce a retina MBA before the year's end

    15 vote(s)
  3. 50/50

    6 vote(s)
  4. None of the above

    5 vote(s)
  1. Trey M, Mar 23, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2011
    TX, USA
    Call me crazy, but it seems the general consensus is that the next Macbook Air will have a Retina display. At least, a lot of what I've read has included people assuming there will be a Retina display. At first it seems logical, but when you really think about it, I really don't think there will be a retina display in the MBA.

    The Air is a really, really great computer as it stands. I don't think Apple would really benefit by including a retina display on the Air, because the 13'' rMBP is just too similar in comparison.

    For reference:

    Macbook Air:
    Height: 0.11-0.68 inch,
    Weight: 2.96 pounds

    13'' rMBP:
    Height: 0.75 inch,
    Weight: 3.57 pounds

    When it really comes down to it, the machines are very similar EXCEPT for the screen. Which is my point exactly. I think Apple would benefit more by keeping the lower-end MBA without a Retina Display and keep the rMBP at its premium, justifying the price difference between the 2 by including a retina screen with the rMBP, along with a more powerful processor, etc. Even with all of that aside, it seems Apple had to go to great lengths to support the retina screen on both models of the rMBP- what makes people think they would be able to fit a much, much larger battery into the same or a similar enclosure for the Air? Apple has a track record of not sacrificing the user experience (in this case, battery life), even if it means excluding clearly superior technologies in their products (hint: iPhone 4S and LTE). Which, in the end, is probably the best choice for consumers, because battery life makes the difference between a great device and a bad one.

    What do you all think? Do you think we'll see a Retina Air, or will Apple keep the current lineup with minor upgrades later in the year?
  2. macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2013
    My 0.2 cents; They might extend the battery life with the new Haswell platform. Reduce the bezel size around the screen. That will be it. No retina. They cannot support a retina display with the Intel 4600 series graphics.
  3. macrumors 68020

    Nov 3, 2008
    Youre making an argument for why the Air doesnt NEED a Retina display, but lately what consumers "need" and what Apple "wants" have been two very separate things. Yes, the Air doesnt "need" Retina but Apple will sell a heck of a lot more Air's if they would put it in so there's no doubt that its coming if only because it is an easy way to get us to rebuy products we already own. (Just like with the iPad Mini, most Air owners would probably be very tempted to unnecessarily replace their perfectly good Air just for a Retina display).
  4. macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Wrong. The Retina Macbook Pro 13" does it capably on less.
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2011
    TX, USA
    But if they sold a Retina Air, it would considerably eat into the sales of its higher end computer (13'' rMBP), so just the fact that they would be selling more Airs wouldn't really be ideal for them at all. A lot of consumers are going to buy the rMBP and take $300-400 price hit to their wallets just so they can have a Retina display, and Apple knows this.


    I can definitely see the next Air having a significantly increased battery life, with that being one of the selling points for the MBA. Just doesn't seem like Apple should make and sell 2 products that are nearly identical, so they should keep some features exclusive to the MBA and other features exclusive to the rMBP. So, in this case, the Air would benefit from better battery life and lighter chassis while the rMBP would benefit from power, the display, and a few other nice features.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2012
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    They might do the same like the MBPs. Release a radically new design RMBA and keep the old MBA, with the new RMBA $200 more then the standard one
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    I completely agree and have stated as much to others.

    Apple has in the past been completely comfortable in withholding certain features from what they consider their "low-end" products to keep their product lines straight and push people to the more premium models.

    I mean the 13" cMBP never got a resolution upgrade in all the years of its existence even though they were selling the EXACT SAME SIZED 13" MBA with a higher res screen. It also never got discrete graphics or a matte display option. So I think Apple would be perfectly comfortable with keeping the MBAs at the standard resolution for a while.

    I may be a little biased though because unlike most here I actively do NOT want a retina display. I actually bought the current 2012 MBA instead of waiting for Haswell on the off chance that the next MBAs are retina in which case I will hold onto this computer for the foreseeable future.

    My current MBA is quite wonderful. There are only two things that could make it more wonderful: more battery life & a smaller footprint.
  8. macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    Iowa, USA
    I did exact the same thing. I just bought it this week and am absolutely loving it! No regrets here. I see myself in a great position. If Apple does happen to do Retina MBAs, I'll be happy with the model I currently have. It will be the "perfected" version of the 2010-2012 run, whereas the hypothetical rMBA would be a revision-A product (which I don't want to mess with, especially going in to college where I need a reliable computer).

    Conversely, if Apple only does a minor revision, I won't be missing out on much and get to enjoy my awesome 2012 MacBook Air. So hooray for that :)
  9. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    They do right now with the HD4000 on the 13" rMBP, so why not the HD4600?


    Why do you actively not want a Retina Display (vs. merely being indifferent as to whether it has one)? I'd easily jump back to the MacBook Air 11.6" model if it came with a Retina Display. I used several MacBook Air model from February 2008-December 2012 but switched to the 13" rMBP. I like the screen a lot, but miss the portability of the 11.6". If they can pull it off with minimal weight gain, sign me up.
  10. macrumors 68020

    Nov 3, 2008
    I have a prejudice towards the "Apple would never cannibalize themselves" argument because it seems to never be true.

    iPod Touch ate iPod sales
    iPad Mini ate iPad sales
    MacBook Pro 15/17 ate Mac Pro sales
    MacBook Air ate MacBook Pro 13 sales

    Apple cares about eating the competitors marketshare a lot more than they care about eating their own. So introducing a Retina Air may cut into rMBP13 sales but it would probably cut deeper into competing UltraBook sales, and I'd assume thats much more important to them.
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2011
    TX, USA
    I would certainly hope so! I feel that would honestly be the best choice for consumers, but I just don't know if Apple would do that.


    I mean if Apple really did come out with a Retina Air that was cheaper than the 13'' rMBP, had good battery life, and the capacity to drive those graphics smoothly, then maybe you're right. Because that would be a ridiculously great device, and with it being cheaper than the rMBP, it'd be the best seller by far.

    But you realize, Apple has to make all of the above true or else that device is a failure. I really don't think that device is ready in 2013, maybe not even till later in '14. For consumers to even consider it it'd have to be cheaper, as well, and I don't think they can just package all of that up and sell it for $1299. But who knows! It'll definitely be interesting to see how it unfolds.
  12. macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2009
    What I see Apple Planning! lol

    There is a chance Apple will introduce a rMBA. think about it.
    the rMBP is for People who need it. Such as professionals etc.
    A rMBA would be for everyday users, such as myself. If it doesn't happen this year then most likely next. I really hope this year, since I am planning on upgrading this year.

    compare the prices:
    MBA Base 13":$1200
    rMBP Base 13":$1500
    MBP Base 13":$1200

    Apple is never worried about killing one of their own products, they always say if you don't kill your own product another company will.

    Also pay attention to the fact that a lot of devices have gone retina. Except the MBA. All iOS devices, MBP (they introduced another version to replace the original.)

    This is the new line up I think will happen:
    MBP 13" Base Model: $1000-$1100 (Maybe) or (Education only)
    rMBA 11" Base Model: $1000
    rMBA 13" Base Model: $1200
    rMBP 13" Base Model: $1500
    rMBA 15" Base Model: $2200

    They will kill the MacBook Pro off completely or keep the 13" for education or as a entry level base model at a cheaper price. Reasons: Every other computer has lost the optical drive, has went to flash for standard storage, except the mini and iMac because people use these to store items and SSD's are really expensive still.

    By keeping these price points they will not steal any customers from the rMBP, they will just give the customers that use the entry level computer the retina screen on a rMBA.

    The rMBP will be for Professionals and the rMBA will be for ordinary people, who do everyday things like check Facebook, email and watch youtube. Which the MBA is already good at!

    What do you guys think?
  13. Guest

    Dec 7, 2010
    Honestly I just want
    -Price drop
    -More RAM
    -Better battery

    Retina display for a MBA isn't really on my wishlist.
  14. macrumors 68020

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    Eventually Apple will have retina across the board, it will separate them from the field:cool:
  15. macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    At this point the 13" rMBP is basically the closest that they can get to a retina Air with current CPU/GPU/battery/screen technology.

    I do think that the Airs are in need of a screen update, but I could see that being a move to higher quality laminated displays without an increase in resolution.

    Retina could follow in a couple of years as screen and battery tech allow it.
  16. macrumors member


    Mar 15, 2013
    United Kingdom
    I think Apple will introduce a retina MBA before the year's end if they don't I'll eat my hat. :p
  17. macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2012
    I'd rather them kill the bezel and give us more real estate that way. Slap a 12" into the 11" chassis. I'd buy this minute.
  18. macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2010
    I believe the MBA will get a retina screen in 2013. I'd rather see an option for more memory, but retina would probably sell better than adding another 8GB to it.
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2011
    TX, USA
    That's a really great way to look at it. I agree because I really don't think they could just add a Retina display to the Air and just call it a day without having to really re-engineer the entire laptop and potentially make it thicker to accomodate the battery, etc. It'd also be nice to see some sort of laminated display like you were saying, who knows. But I definitely think we'll see a Retina Air or something similar in 2 years, but like you said, I just don't think we're there YET in 2013.
  20. macrumors 68000


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Want some tabasco with that?

    I think you're right. Also worth noting is a pretty major difference between the 13" rMBP and MBA that people often overlook is the cpu. The MBA uses intel's ULV cpus (17w), but the rMBA uses intel's "regular" laptop cpus (25w-45w depending on model). This difference seems minor, but it actually reaches far as it affects the necessary battery size to hit apple's target battery life.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    IMO, Apple will not put the Retina display on the MBA. Reason being is what would be the use of the 13" rMBP?
  22. macrumors member


    Mar 15, 2013
    United Kingdom
    The thinner the MacBook Pros get the more likely it is Apple will eventually merge the two lines leaving Apple with just one laptop in two screen sizes.

    If the goal is to make a laptop as light and thin as possible it doesn't make sense to make one heavier and thicker than the other just to preserve the MacBook Air. These are my thoughts at least. :D
  23. macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2012
    I love my MBA, although mine is just a mid 2012 production, I would definitely look to upgrade if they update it with Retina (definitely would be a plus if they did the flushed blacked out bezel like on the MBP).

    Although the different in size between the MBA and MBP is minor, I can still feel a big difference when picking each one up. So in my case, I would never purchase a MBP.
  24. macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2009
    The rMBP is still more powerful than the MBA.

    There are already 17 ultrabooks with a 1920x1080 resolution, which is far more than the 13" MBA and nearly double the number of pixels than the 11" MBA.

    In June 2012, when the current MBA was released, there was only one ultrabook with such a display resolution: the Zenbook Prime, which had just been released. Now, there's a bunch of them, and the number is increasing fast.

    Later this year, there will be ultrabooks with resolutions even higher than 1920x1080. In August 2012, Samsung showcased a Series 9 featuring a 2560x1440 display. At CES 2013, in January, Acer announced that it will release an ultrabook featuring a retina-like resolution later this year, equipped with the Haswell processor.

    Well, Apple may or may not release a retina MBA this year. If it doesn't, it won't be the first one to release an ultra-thin laptop with such a high resolution, as other manufacturers will take the lead. If it does, it will cannibalize the 13" rMBP sales.

    But sales of the 13" rMBP will be cannibalized anyway -- isn't it better for Apple to have them cannibalized by a rMBA instead of some Windows machines?
  25. macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2012
    13" YES - 11" doesn't really work...

    Thats's what to say... 13" would be a wonderful product beneath rMBP 15" - the rest is to be done by iPad Mini with Retina or an overworked (lighter) iPad Retina :) we hope soon :) (Apple will do the best for every hardware-branch - for sure)

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