The AIR as a "shuttle" machine?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ludavico, May 21, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie


    Jun 25, 2007
    I am starting a new project which requires frequent air travel between the same two cities. I am fortunate enough to have a 17" (mid 2007) MBP at home and a brand spanking new i7 15" MBP at the other site.

    I really do not want to lug a MBP on/off the plane anymore and would like an ultra for traveling (mostly).

    I do not expect the AIR to do any heavy lifting, but would like to use it for some media (e.g. video), e-booking and iWork. Also, I really need it for Keynote presentations.

    I really do not want another egg-fryer (already have two of those :D ), and it has to have decent battery life.

    I was thinking of a refurbed 2.13GHz AIR with a SSD...

    I know an AIR update MAY be imminent, but for my needs I do not have to have the latest and greatest.

    Does the current 2.13 AIR fit the bill, especially wrt over-heating?

    P.S. - Not really considering the iPad for now.
  2. macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Maybe you should be considering the iPad even though you aren't???

    Fore eBooks, videos, entertainment, and even iWork/Keynote, the iPad might be perfect for the job. It has a 10-hour battery, and it can do entertainment better than the MBA.

    If I had your setup, I would use an iPad between job sites.

    I use the MBA because I want one computer to do everything. If I had an MBP at two sites, and I just wanted something to travel between, I would use an iPad over an MBA.

    I think you should reconsider the needs again? And look into the iPad.

    I wouldn't recommend anyone pay $1799 for an MBA right now. The value is horrific compared to its same price nearly a full year ago for the exact same price. There is absolutely no way I would buy an MBA right now, so I couldn't advise it to anyone else. If I absolutely had no computer and it had to be an MBA, I would pay $1349 for a refurbished "B" with 128 GB SSD. However, knowing that you have two MBPs, I don't see any need to waste the money on an MBA.

    Hell, throw money out the window, and I will still buy the iPad over the MBA. If you're willing to wait until WWDC, then consider the MBA. There is so much potential added to an MBA at WWDC. For example, Apple might be waiting to update the MBA at WWDC with some gigantic advancements in technology or huge price cuts. Consider a Core i7 CPU at 2 GHz with a dedicated ATI GPU, 256 GB SSD, IPS display, and 3G/4G/LTE card built in. Consider all of that for the same price as an MBA right now for $1800.

    Consider if Apple offers the same C2D and Nvidia 320m at double GPU capabilities, but also offers a 7-hour battery and 3G/4G/LTE along with a 256 GB SSD? Consider a smaller form factor or case change to the MBA? Wouldn't that be better for the same money? Consider the Apple way of charging full price for a year old system without an update. Consider all of the possible changes to the MBA. I couldn't in good conscience recommend anyone buy an MBA right now for any reason. Beyond WWDC, I could at least say well there aren't going to be any changes to it.

    If I had to buy a traveling device right now, and I had two MBPs, I would buy an iPad. If you need it to be a Mac, I would recommend the 13" MBP or even MB. If it had to be 3 lb. and had to be a Mac, I would recommend the refurbished MBA with 128 GB SSD and 1.86 GHz CPU for $1349. I wouldn't pay a penny over $1349 for any MBA right now!
  3. macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2010
    I love my MBA but in your specific case I would go with an iPad.
    You already have two macbook to do the heavy lifting, you just need something for entertainement/lightwork in the airport and on the airplane.

    I think you will be disappointed by the MBA because of the battery life and you don't want to birng the charger with you.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jun 25, 2007
    Thanks, Scottsdale, I was hoping you would ring in. I have been reading your posts, and posts from the other regulars here in the last week with great interest.

    Unfortunately my shuttle device needs to be more of a work machine:
    - I need a real filesystem (with data security),
    - I need to run my apps not available via the App store,
    - I need 3G access to the internet, but not with another monthly expense ( I am already spending $90/month between ATT and Verizon)
    - I need at least one USB (does anyone know what the iPad USB adapter is going to be good for really?)
    - Plus, and maybe I am in the minority here, but after playing with on iPad on several occasions I am not taken with the form factor.

    I need a notebook not a clipboard.

    Anyway, I feel your pain regarding the overdue AIR upgrade. I agree it is worth waiting for WWDC, but, as you know amigo, I would not get your hopes up. The iPhone is buttering the bread at Apple now, and Google is calling SJ out.

    No way does he lay down for that...
  5. macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    If you could live with the new 13 inch MBP's 4.5 pounds, it should be perfect for you. For $1,199 you would get a 2.4Ghz C2D with NVIDIA 320M graphics, 4Gb of RAM, a 250Gb hard drive, and a 10 hour battery. In the Mac world, that's a lot of bang for the buck. If you carried the MBP in a fitted bag, the bag wouldn't be any bigger than what you would have to have for an MBA. If you carried the bag over your shoulder, you probably wouldn't be able to tell much difference in the weight, either

    Although I love my iPad and think it is very good at what it does, it's not in the same world as the 13 inch MBP in terms of performance and overall usability. I agree, then, that an iPad probably wouldn't fulfill your needs.

    I do agree with Scottsdale, though, that the current MBA is grotesquely overpriced and should be avoided. In that regard, if you can wait for two and a half weeks there is a real possibility that a new MBA will be announced at WWDC; it starts on 7 June.
  6. macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    The 7th is so close I'd wait if at all possible. By then we should all know something either way.

    Doesn't Steve Jobs do a Q and A with press / attendee's during the WWDC ... the MacBook Air has got to be addressed at or before WWDC ... they can't stay quiet about it much longer, (or can they :(

    It's good to be optimistic and hope the longer the wait the more 'stunning' the new MBA will be.

    Remember two short years ago Steve Jobs was quoted as saying "I'm lusting for this" ... what the hell happened? ah, this iPad fever isn't so good ....

    Edit: It is GOOD to see more posts recently from people feeling the weight of their 'main machines' ie: 15/17" MBP's and looking for alternatives, also good to see people stating they need more than the iPad offers ... these are business/creative/mobile people most of who have a budget for a premium ultra portable ... hard to imagine Apple isn't racing to fill this void being the self proclaimed mobile company they are ...
  7. gri
    macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2004
    New York City, aka Big Apple
    I did exactly that though about a month ago. I am traveling heavily in the US and to Europe until June, July and didn't want to wait any longer (didn't want to shlepp my 15 rev A MBP). Got a refurb 1.86 with 128 SSD and love it. Would I buy the i7 with ATI GPU etc. - oh yes), but I think its unlikely to happen at WWDC (too much iPad, iPhone hype going on, Pros not updated etc.).

    But, I would wait nevertheless until WWDC and if nothing happens would go with the above mentioned refurbished option. Hopefully come 2011 and the C2D is dead more will happen...
  8. macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    You know what...your edit just made me think about something. Maybe the wait and silence regarding the Air has EVERYTHING to do with Apple being the "self proclaimed mobile company" that they are. Would it be too far fetched to think that maybe....just maybe....we are going to be pleasantly surprised with a brand new redesign for the Air that pushes the proverbial envelope a little bit further? Maybe it's wishful thinking and I'm just being a daydreamer...but I'm going to keep my fingers crossed! :D

    To the OP: If you definitely want the Air, I'd wait until at least WWDC. If you need something right away though and can't wait, I'd probably go with the 13" MBP as long as 4.5 pounds is an acceptable weight.
  9. macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2008
    Melbourne, AUS
    I use the Air in exactly the same manner as you do,
    i.e. casual video, e-banking, docs and presentations.

    Yes, the Air should fit your intended usage precisely.
    Better yet, even the rev.B base model will be sufficient, you can potentially save a couple bucks more.

    However, you mentioned you want 'decent battery life', how long are you expecting the battery should last?
    The Air's can easily reach 3hrs of productive time, the 4th would be a stretch.

    Extra tip: Just don't reach for a rev.A.;)

    P.S. Not interested in an iPad anytime soon, I love my Air :rolleyes:
  10. macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    If you wait, you'll get better battery life with the new ULV processor.

    Otherwise, an MBA will be perfect for you.
  11. macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I agree that an iPad would be in many ways redundant to an MBA. If I had an MBA I would not have bought an iPad. I bought an iPad because there are limits to how far and how often I want to move my 6.5 pound MBP. I use my iPad as an adjunct to the MBP and the combination has worked well. Nevertheless, the iPad is not a replacement for a genuine computer. My daughter is an IT professional. She works as a program developer for an insurance company. Recently, her husband gave her a 64Gb iPad for her birthday. She loves it but nevertheless characterizes it as a "toy." Although I think the iPad is more capable than any toy, I can't argue very strenuously against my daughter's characterization.
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jun 25, 2007
    Thanks all, great feedback.

    Makes sense to wait a couple of weeks, but, geesus, it doesn't make sense to get overly optimistic given Apple's track record. We have all been left at the altar before...

    Still, battery life is an issue for me, so I will definitely wait.

    Would someone kindly describe who the bloody AIR is designed for? I would have thought my needs would be ideal.

    Can't imagine its targeted for sales guys or technical sales support...

    Doesn't make sense for university students either.

    Who needs only 3 hours of battery time and 1 USB in such a sleek, low- weight package? :confused:
  13. macrumors 68040


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
    ^^^ I do :)

    Apart from the battery I love every aspect of my MBA.

    It is my primary machine for:

    Yeah, I dream of 4gb ram and a 6-8 hr battery but as it stands- I love this machine as much as the first day I replaced my mbp. The lack of ports- no big deal IMO. The whole concept of air is utilizing a full computing experience in the smallest form factor available. My wallet used to be thick to carry, until I replaced it with a thin cc/clip replacement.

    You will carry with you as much as your bag/wallet/computer will allow. I retained myself to carry my needs, and not my wants.

    I use the cloud 50% and my 128ssd 50%. Lean and trim.

    I paid 2400 for my MBA I believe, and do not at all regret that- tech changes daily but my 1.8 is still serving my needs very very well. iPad- not so much. I think it is too gimped to be even mentioned as a MBA subsidy/replacement.

    My advice, wait until the announcement- or lack there of, then pull the trigger on the Air- you'll be very happy IMO.
  14. macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    I have an MBA and an iPad, yet don't feel that they are redundant. They each serve their own purpose. Even though the iPad doesn't fit in your pocket, I feel like it replaces my iPhone/iPod more than it does my MBA.
  15. macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2009
    I would love an air. I've an iMac at home but unfortunately work uses only Hp/Compaq machines and vista, so I've a 10" (ish) laptop that is small and light(ish) but frustrating to use due to poor processing. Youtube is blocked, so no distractions there.

    For my work (outlook, word, excel, powerpoint, SAP) with travel every second week (car or plane) the MBA would be perfect balance of weight and power. No need for photoshop or video editing. Iphoto would deal with my limited work photo needs.

    So I'd have thought there'd be plenty of people who'd like the balance between function and weight of an MBA.

    But I agree that it's way overpriced and needs a revision.

    I also am not going to believe that my branch of corporate america is going to switch over to macs...sadly..

  16. macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I understand. The iPad really is a highly useful device within its sphere, so I might have bought one, even if I had owned an MBA. In fact, getting an iPad has in no way lessened my desire for an updated MBA. That's why I am still obsessing over what kind of an update we will get for the MBA and when it will come. There's no way to know until it happens, though, which reminds me of a famous quote. In a 1939 radio speech, Winston Churchill said of Stalin's super-secretive Soviet Union, "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. . . " Does that remind you of anybody we talk about a lot here?:)
  17. macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    I have the 2.13ghz MBA that you are considering and I think it would be ideal for your needs. Fair enough the battery life isn't quite as good as the Macbook/MBP but you are getting a thin/light machine which is still really powerful and the SSD makes it really fast at doing most things. Might be worth waiting until next month to see if an improved model is released but I doubt you would be disappointed with the current model! [​IMG]
  18. macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    But look at the value of buying an MBA right now... it's a horrific value. Apple absolutely rewards the Mac buyer buying as close to the day after a new update release as possible. Apple punishes the Mac buyer that's not willing to wait for the next update.

    A buyer in June 2009 got an MBA with a 2.13 GHz CPU, 9400m, 128 GB SSD, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 13" LED-backlit panel, and etc.

    I am going to guesstimate the pricing then of the components in June 2009 vs. Now. This is a hypothetical presentation of costs meant to illustrate the costs in making the MBA in June 2009 vs. Now.

    Component = June 2009 >>> Now
    C2D CPU = $350 >>> $220
    Nvidia 9400m = $200 >>> $160
    128 GB SSD = $400 >>> $220
    2 GB DDR3 RAM = $40 >>> $20

    This shows that the cost to Apple is certainly higher at the beginning so it's a better value to buy the MBA as close to the date after the release date as possible.

    The reason is Apple is getting a price break on components over time as the components become "old" technology cheaper to produce. If Apple reduced the price of Macs over time to retain the same profit margins, it would be a fair value proposition for the buyer at any time during any Mac's product life-cycle.

    When Apple updates the MBA, it will become a good value proposition again. Apple typically uses the same price on a Mac over time just upgrading the components again giving it the same profit margin as when the product was last updated. Now the MBA has been a different product for several reasons.

    Since Apple didn't have a low-cost secondary computing device like a netbook or iPad last June, it dropped the price of the MBA to give people a chance to buy the MBA. However, the MBA wasn't originally intended to be used as a secondary Mac device. It was the original MBA's failures that forced Apple to dump them which drove a new market for the MBA. People who bought the MBA for $999 where amazingly happy with the system because of the unique value proposition for a market that wasn't originally intended.

    All of this led to the MBA's value dropping tremendously with each new update. The rev 2,1 buyer in May 2009 were paying $2499 for a new MBA with 128 GB SSD and 1.86 GHz CPU. Just a few days later, Apple provided a faster 2.13 GHz CPU along with 128 GB SSD for a $700 price drop. Apple absolutely PUNISHED those buying the MBA at the end of the life cycle, and Apple absolutely REWARDED those buying the MBA at the beginning of the life cycle. The MBA has followed this trend because it uses extremely high-tech components that are smaller and faster and making tech smaller is expensive.

    I hope Apple actually reverses trend with this next MBA update. I want Apple to re-assess the purpose of the MBA. Since the iPad now exists for the secondary/netbook type computing market, the MBA can resume its role as a primary Mac that has the capabilities of a MB yet is as light as Air. To make this happen, Apple needs to give it more technology, new technology, that is faster but uses lower energy, and has more drive space and RAM in smaller spaces than in a traditional MB.

    I hope Apple raises the price with this next MBA update, but if Apple raises the price of the MBA it will be forced to offer even greater technology to ensure the proper value proposition from MBA buyers who want a primary Mac in their MBA.

    I hope Apple re-introduces the BTO system allowing customers to spend more money and get the best technology available. Then these customers will be getting the most current tech for their money now... as that product ages, the buyers will be getting older tech for their same dollars unless Apple ever decides to reduce the price of Macs as they age. I think people would be disappointed with the current MBA even if Apple lowered the price right now. It would open the market more to a larger audience, but it would reduce the high quality nature of the MBA. I want an MBA that is as powerful as is possible given its current space limitations. I want to be able to spend more money to ensure I get the best components possible. I want Apple to re-position the MBA back to a luxury device that provides those who want an ultraportable the performance of a MB in a design that's super ultraportable.
  19. macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2008
    Melbourne, AUS
    Ditto w/ your daughter's categorization.

    With the presumption of 'trying to be productive'.
    I just don't understand why would an Air owner go for the iPad.
    - Less than full OS X experience
    - there is no full-sized keyboard
    - comparatively heavy in perspective

    It is obvious that Steve didn't introduced the iPad as something that professionals will use in a serious manner. In fact, it's quite the opposite, where you will be lounging around at your comfy home and maximizing the benefits of seamless computer entertainment experience.

    Now, some may argue that the iPad has the iWork suite, as well as limitless possibilities w/ the Apps, it's just not there yet. Maybe in the future, definitely not this time of history. Who knows if someone can came up with an even more innovative use of the iPad that even Steve & Co. couldn't have thought so?!

    Yes, you are correct.
    It doesn't make much sense to 'predict' Apple's potential launch dates.
    IMO, there's only three scenarios:
    - If you need it, then go for it;
    - But if you think you can still hang in there for a little bit longer, then of course, you can delay your purchase. Keep in mind, there is always a 'new launch tomorrow' for everyday you delay. Worst scenario, it launches the next day after you bought it.;
    - Tech enthusiasts, of course, wait till there's a new one. Time is not of concern.

    For the battery life, I got round it by adjusting my user mentality.
    Think of using the Air in 'sessions', rather than whether it will last the whole day.
    Maybe it's just me, but I found it difficult to sit in front of computer 4hrs straight and work non-stoppingly. The Air is still a very capable machine to outlast one normal user's session.
    It's a little bit of an ostrich policy here. But hey, get the work done, get paid, and you can buy any number of Air in any rev. you want:cool:

    The Air largely exists in a world that is not ready for it's intended usage atmosphere.
    No cloud, no wireless, still cables everywhere, plug that plug this...
    So, in the meantime, either the tech geeks (who solve everything by themselves); or the CEOs (who has everything solved for themselves).

    It is quite an ideal machine for university students (when you ignore the price tag and you don't think so much in concepts like Performance/Price, value for money, bang for the buck kind of mind)
    It only needs to get done what needs to be done.
    Notes, full-sized keyboard for noting, email, youtube.
    It is light, and I hate carrying around things that I don't need. It's a garrr moment for me.
    (Obviously, I can go on and on, but I think I will save myself from Scottsdale-esque reply :))

    The Air is still a very capable machine for those who think like Steve, there's only a couple of things that matters, and it's good at those.
    I dare say, the Air has Steve's vision built into it.
  20. macrumors 604

    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    The iPad would be better for the reasons that there would be more battery life, it would be lighter, and you already have to workhorses. You just need someone to help you into their back:D
  21. macrumors 65816


    Jan 1, 2002
    Sandy Eggo - MacRumors Member since 1-1-2002
    Agreed. I would lay down serious money for an updated MBA. At LEAST give it 4Gb RAM in the (hoped for) revision. It would be the PERFECT portable computer for me, and I would slap Windows 7 on it and have the best of both worlds on a beautiful machine. Come ON already, Apple!!!
  22. macrumors 604

    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    These are the changes I reckon that should happen to the MBA:

    1. Better battery life.
    2. Bigger/better SSD.
    3. More RAM.
    4. An extra USB port.
    5. A glass trackpad like the MBPs.
    6. More powerful processor.

  23. macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    I like that list, but I'd reorder it:

    1. More RAM
    2. Bigger/better SSD
    3. More powerful processor (graphics first whether integrated or discrete, then cpu)
    4. An extra USB port
    5. A glass trackpad like the MBP's
    6. Better battery life
  24. macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2004
    +1. Just give is something!!!!!
  25. macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I agree that Apple's number one priority in any MBA update needs to be more RAM. I just hope that the MBA design team (if any) thinks so, too.

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