The Wait Continues - and is becoming exciting: Are your expectations for RevD rising?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jobsian, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Initially the wait for an MBA update was a bit glum. Personally speaking, now that the Core-i's have been released with Apple still not showing their hand, my expectations for any Rev D update are rising and every Tuesday that goes by without as much as a whisper from Apple, I'm becoming increasingly excited.

    Gone are the days where we would have posted only modest updates (mainly RAM) with mostly the same components. Now, while that still wouldn't be out of the question, most of us seem to be thinking more along the lines of Core-i7, a form of discrete graphics etc.

    Week after week, this is actually starting to become enjoyable.

    Apple obviously see it fit not to feel rushed into releasing any update on either their MBA or MBP lines, and with the competition already trading their Core-i's, I imagine Apple wouldn't want to release anything that doesn't tear the attention away from the competition.

    Where USB 3.0 was essentially a pipe dream in any dreamed update just a few months ago, it doesn't seem quite so unfeasible now. Where one of the lower voltage Core-i7s were only a modest probability, they seem more likely now. The same with SSD storage and some form of discrete graphics.

    Maybe there's a major overhaul on the horizon, design change and all? Whatever's up Apple's sleeve, every day that goes by with no change to, I'm expecting something more drastic than just 4GB of RAM if there is to be a RevD MBA :)

    Or does anyone think it possible for Apple at this stage just to stick in a 4GB module and ask us to buy it?
  2. macrumors 68040


    Man I really feel bad for over-optimistic Apple fans like this. They are the ones that get hurt the most when Apple releases minor updates and still trail behind the PC market in specs. How do you think Apple has that absurd amount of cash reserve? they are charging premium prices for old technology by releasing small spec bumps and gradually improving their lineup. They do make great quality products that look beautiful, and are marketing geniuses with a great OS though.... That's how they get you :cool:
  3. macrumors demi-god


    I just want 4GB, so I can use my developer discount before it expires.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    If all they did was release the same form factor and specs except 4GB RAM, even I'd be mighty tempted, though I really want to see other spec updates/lighter materials/better cooling a la other manufacturers recently.

    The Macbook Air is almost the perfect computer for me. Certainly my favourite notebook ever released in the history of computers. Jobs+co hit a home run with the MBA.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/7D11)

    It will have to be fairly decent I expect high end c2d in the air and i3 in the 13 pro.
  6. macrumors demi-god


    I would not be tempted. I want 4GB of RAM, but not enough to dump my perfectly good Rev. C machine for something of nominal difference. In fact, I'd be a little disappointed with Apple.
  7. macrumors 601


    Yes, I feel really bad for me too...

    Onto the point of the thread, and another notch on the belt Jobsian! Definitely as big of a fan as I am... and more willing to start a thread every week declaring his lust for the special "other" or "better-half" in all of our lives in this sad forum section.

    The truth is we're all would be buyers who would dump our babies (current MBA) in a heartbeat for a new "better-half" (v 3,1 MBA) with:

    Larger Breasts = Dedicated Graphics for an impressive show!

    Smarter and can think quick = Core i7-640LM CPU

    Better Memory = More RAM

    More Educated = 256 GB SSD

    Thinner Waistline = Thinner Form Factor

    Long Legs that can Go All Day = 7-hour Battery

    Prettier Face = HD Display

    Longer Hair = Thinner Bezel around “Display”

    Prettier Voice = Dual Speakers and Digital Output

    Polished Nails = Silver Aluminum capped Keyboard Keys

    Smaller Feet = Smaller Footprint with edge to edge Keyboard

    Softer Silky-Smooth Skin = Glass Trackpad

    Okay, maybe that wasn't a good analogy, but everyone should get the point by now. I am going to stop now before it gets me in trouble, but I could have gone on.

    I don't like the wait. In truth, I feel more frustrated with Apple than I ever have with a woman. I have certain expectations, and they’re not that difficult to please. I mean, every other computer company offers spec bump updates about once per quarter. If they don’t offer improvements, the price drops fairly quickly to compensate for the outdated technology. There’s competition in the real world, and that drives prices down and technology upwards. Apple is not good for us to covet their products but it's great for us to own its stock!

    I expected my second v 2,1 MBA to last me six months. I really believed the next update wasn't going to be far between with such a minute update on June 2nd 2009 (and same 2,1 MBA designation since October 2008). I expected to see the next MBA as early as October but definitely no later than Mid-January. Here it is two full months past the "worst case scenario," and I am still desperately seeking the v 3,1 MBA. I will say the $700 price-drop with the slight spec bump was acceptable at the time. Now, I am fed up and I want my real MBA and I don't even care what it costs.

    My expectations have definitely risen, as I feel there is a much greater potential of a substantial update since so much time has passed since the last update. While I would have been happy with another Core 2 Duo CPU, Nvidia GPU, 4 GB RAM, 192/256 GB SSD, and a glass trackpad before the end of January, that is no longer acceptable. I would have even granted Apple a few more weeks into February. Now, we all have to assume it’s taking Apple this long for a real reason. It makes my expectations much higher and I feel like Apple could really be making improvements with Jobs statement about new upcoming Macs being so much better.

    I believe most of us would assume that the graphics is the real change we expect in Apple’s strategy moving forward with its entire Mac lineup. Intel really put an end to the most rewarding update to Macs ever with the termination of using Nvidia GPU/chipsets on Nehalem CPUs. Who could argue a jump of 4X to 5X in graphics performance improvements in Mac notebooks thanks to the 9400m? Apple furthered its reliance on Nvidia by not only incorporating OpenCL to take advantage of the “horsepower” or untapped capabilities of the Nvidia in its OS X 10.6 release, it also used the 9400m across its entire Mac lineup sans Mac Pro! While it still wasn’t a dedicated graphics card, it made a huge improvement over the Intel chipsets and integrated graphics of the past. Intel couldn’t afford to get its arse whipped by Nvidia, so Intel had to play the anti-competitive “BULLY” and push Nvidia out.

    Now, we’re all waiting to see how Apple counters the Intel knockout punch to Nvidia. For those that don’t know, Intel claims Nvidia has no license to provide GPUs/chipsets for Nehalem CPUs. Basically, Intel moved part of the components from the chipset onto the CPU. Then it claimed that Nvidia was no longer needed. This was extremely anti-competitive in nature. In the end, all of the same parts are still included between the CPU and chipset except now both parts have to be stamped “Intel.” It really makes me ill, and I am all for Apple leaving the Intel “party” as soon as it’s able to do so with ARM or ATI.

    I actually believe the MBA’s current Core 2 Duo CPU is PLENTY of horsepower for the MBA. The current limitations in computing come from the drive speed, software, and graphics limitations. Intel makes people believe the only way to a faster computer is via a new CPU. The truth is the C2D CPU isn’t slowing us down but a 4200 rpm HDD is, so is a slower than capable SSD along with bandwidth limitations in drive controllers. Software isn’t taking advantage of the extra processing powers of the GPU via OpenCL and isn’t taking advantage of the dual cores via Grand Central Dispatch. With Snow Leopard, the job is now up to software developers to write software to speed up the software limitations. Faster graphics would lead to a better overall system performance along with a better SSD and better bandwidth via the drive controller.

    The CPU upgrade surely will make an MBA faster but there are other ways. To get this CPU upgrade, Intel expects us to be happy with its Arrandale on Die 45nm GMA IGP. Since Apple has touted the vast improvements of Nvidia over Intel, it’s going to be hard for Apple to get away without providing a dedicated solution now. In addition, the original MBA was so inferior and Apple placed most of that blame off on Intel’s graphics with its marketing of Nvidia’s 4X/5X improvements.

    Many have speculated that Nvidia has developed Optimus specifically for Apple’s Mac line of computers. In addition, Nvidia can still take advantage of the Intel IGP to greatly improve the battery performance when its own dedicated graphics are not needed by the system. This has led to some great stats being released about much improved performance and battery capability improvements. However, a Mac mini rumor this week implies as I have suggested that the Nvidia GPU/chipset might live on in Macs. While a computer like the MBP has to get a Core i5/i7 CPU to at least save some face, the MB, MBA, and Mac mini could do just as well with a C2D and Nvidia GPU/chipset at the helm.

    However, the longer this plays out, the more likely that Apple is going Core Arrandale CPUs across its Mac line with its next round of updates. That leads to two possibilities for the MBA. One, the MBA loses the Nvidia GPU/chipset and only gets Intel’s IGP for graphics. The second is a dedicated graphics card. With that dedicated graphics solution, the Intel on chip IGP could be turned off or it can be used via hybrid graphics like Optimus. ATI has a similar solution in the works and provides much better dedicated graphics cards. However, an Nvidia 310m would probably be just about right in the MBA (but we could all pray for a 330 GT and accept a 310). That would add about 25% improvement over the current 9400m in the MBA. Add with that the 20% potential CPU improvement and 4 GB of RAM, and we have a heck of an MBA potential with the next update!

    However, nothing is guaranteed with Apple. I will be happy with 4 GB RAM, Core 2 Duo CPU, Nvidia 9400m successor, and a glass trackpad, but I am hopeful for and would pay for much more… I just hope Apple wants my money in this 2nd Fiscal Quarter 2010!

    I would gladly pay for a powerful MBA with an Intel Core i7-640LM CPU (25W TDP, 4MB L3, 2.13 GHz to 2.93 GHz Boost), Nvidia 330 GT (Optimus preferred), 4 GB RAM (an option to bump to 8 GB for $600 more), 13+" HD display (16:10 aspect ration with a 1440x900 resolution), 256 GB SSD (how about an Intel upgrade for $500), new port selection (USB 3.0, Mini Display Port, Digital Audio [instead of analog]), better camera, better speaker(s), silver aluminum capped keyboard keys, 5-hour battery…

    I am hopeful for the best, I am expecting much less, and I am prepared for even the worst – MBA EOL. If Apple doesn’t want my money, Sony can have it. I will be glad to buy a Sony Vaio Z maxed out if Apple cannot upgrade the MBA. With the Core i5 CPU, Nvidia 330 GT, 4 GB RAM, aluminum shell, 256 GB quad SSDs, and etc… it’s the MBA I really want!

    That is 35 minutes of my life I will NEVER get back. I hope at least one person appreciates it or two people can point out my ignorance and help me learn something from a mistake or two!
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Apple cares as much about the Macbook Pro update as you care about the next mac mini update. Right now they are focused on one thing: not screwing up the iPad launch. After that, maybe the attention will turn back to Macs.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Terrific summary of the state of play Scotts, your contributions are always appreciated! I'm also eying (or should that be...ayeying? :p ) the Vaio Z. Its spec is almost too good to be true, mirroring many of our "dream" MBA update spec list, though unfortunately without USB 3.0

    Another thing we have to bear in mind that I've only recently realised is that the Vaio Z's SSDs are non upgradeable by the looks of things (though I haven't seen explicit confirmation of this). So we'd be tied in to whatever stock SSD manufacturer they've chosen, and I highly doubt they're going to be Intel X or OCZ Vertex!

    In any next MBA update I'll likely not care that much about the SSD Apple chooses, and hope they use a more ubiquitous connector. Regardless, I'd get the lowest spec SSD/HDD config (that comes with the best CPU/RAM/Graphics spec) and go aftermarket with Runcore/Intel/OCZ etc.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    I still maintain that the MBA does not need a tremendous upgrade to be very marketable.

    It needs a newer/faster processor.
    It needs more RAM.
    It needs the new glass trackpad.

    Do those three things, and nothing else and I would buy in a minute.
  11. macrumors regular

    I agree id buy it with those few upgrades, because I really want to move away from windows. Scottsdale your posts are awesome and very informative. I hope we dont see the MBA go away, and I hope they have something to stack against the Sony VAIO Z. It seems almost like Sony came out with that product on purpose to target the Apple MBA and MBP. Maybe I ma wrong, being new to the Apple game. I find it fun that we wait, but impatient all the same. As of right now I dont want the ipad, but if apple updates there computers soon, I may look at it as a side purchase. But I already have an ipod touch, not sure what i could do with ipad. Not like I am going to go running with the ipad on my arm lol!

  12. macrumors member

    ditto'd. I am waiting ("patiently" might be an exaggeration...) for the next update of the MB line...Air etc. I'd buy the current Air if it weren't for the fact that it's due for an update, so anything they do in RevD is just icing on the cake.

    Here that Steve? I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU MONEY! The longer you wait, the longer it is until you get it.
  13. macrumors 6502

    I have money in hand waiting for the MacBook Air revision . . . are you listening Apple?
  14. macrumors 6502a


    You're right, they are a pretty small company with not much cash reserves. They can't handle more than one thing on their plate at once. :rolleyes:
  15. macrumors 65816

    It doesn't matter how much money they have in cash reserves. If you look at previous product launches, they have always focused their attention like a laser on the new product so it sends a single message to the public. Right now that message is you need an ipad and here's when to buy it. An engineer could show Steve a shiny, new Macbook Air model right now and I doubt it would see the light of day until the wifi+3G ipad was successfully launched.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    crApple doesn't care. They most certainly will NOT release an MBA that is an actual computer and ruin any of the iPad sales

    I read over your post just now and it struck a lightbulb :rolleyes:
    Yes, I believe this is called a lack of multitasking :D
  17. macrumors 601


    Apple operates on margins... Apple makes far more money per MBA sold than per iPad sold... Apple would rather sell an MBA than a MB, iPad, or even 13" MBP. Apple will make more money on the MBA... it's a gold mine!

    I agree Apple wants to sell a lot of iPads, but it isn't stupid and will gladly sell a $1799 MBA over a $499 iPad.
  18. macrumors 65816

    They'll gladly sell a MBA, but they're not going to launch a new MBA at least until after the wifi+3G iPad launch. Analysts estimate Apple selling 5 million ipads in 2010 alone. I'm sure they're hoping it'll take off like the iphone, which is on track to sell 33 million units in 2010. Similar price level to the iphone, has a non-data plan option, and it's a "gateway drug" to more Apple purchases. The iPad will be the focus for the next couple months.
  19. macrumors member

    i am getting tired of waiting. might just have to buy some new golf clubs instead.
  20. macrumors 6502

    I'm pretty tired of waiting myself, I have a umbp 2.66ghz 09 model atm but I am really considering getting a mba if the rev d is good enough and i've been waiting a few months now and nothings showed up! i dont mind apple telling us about it and releasing it a few months later but i'd at least like to know what i am waiting for!
  21. macrumors 601


    I am very no "extremely" close to buying a Sony Vaio Z. I really want a new computer. It's not that the MBA isn't capable of doing what I want, it's just that I feel like I have had the exact same computer since the MBA was updated in October 2008. Some buyers, like myself, just want to update their computers more often than every sixteen months. The June 2009 update wasn't an update at all. It is still a version 2,1 MBA. Most people call it a "rev C" but in reality it's no such thing!

    I will probably buy an iPad the day it's released, and I hope it keeps me "busy" enough to wait off until June. But the truth is, I don't feel there is any reason not to buy a Windows 7 computer. Windows 7 is truly as good as OS X, and it has tenfold more availability for applications on the platform.

    In addition, the Vaio Z is really much more powerful than a MacBook Pro, yet it's the weight of a MacBook Air. It's hard to ignore a Core i7-620M CPU, 8 GB RAM, Nvidia 330 GT graphics, 256 GB SSD (or up to 512 GB), BLU RAY, seven or eleven hour battery, and a Carbon Fiber option! It starts at $100 more than the upper end MBA, but with options provides nearly anything the buyer wants. It's not as thin as the MBA, but the weight of the MBA is its biggest advantage!

    I really don't care about the money. When the June 2009 update came, I was happy with the drop in price, but now I want the real MBA that I dream of. It's not like I am expecting that much, and I am willing to pay extra for every option I want. I could understand Apple's reasoning to drop the BTO options on the June 2009 MBA as it wanted to be able to compete in a poor economy AND MORE IMPORTANTLY NOT HAVING A NETBOOK COMPETITOR. However, now I believe it's time to move on with solidifying the MBA's placement as a primary Mac capable notebook. The iPad ensures Apple competes with and takes advantage of secondary portable tasks, while the MBA provides an ultraportable experience with a notebook level of performance.

    I am sick of waiting. I want it now, but I might be able to hold off if I had an iPad to play with. If the iPad is disappointing, which I believe it will be since it cannot even surf the web, I will probably buy a Sony Vaio Z to hold me over until we get an MBA capable of 2010 technologies... meaning one with 4 GB of RAM and a dedicated graphics solution. If an MBA update doesn't happen before WWDC, or if the update happens and is still stuck with 2 GB of RAM, or only has Intel's GMA IGP for graphics, I will have done the right thing to buy a Sony Vaio Z in the first place! I truly hope Apple doesn't disappoint us all this time, AGAIN. It's just too long of a wait for a "dud" update.
  22. macrumors regular


    I am not so sure this is true. We can learn a lot from history when we take the time to read it.

    Check the launch pattern for the iPhone, which at the time was the most important thing the company had done up to that point in their minds.

    It was announced in January 07, and launched at the end of June 07. In between the two events, the MP, MBP, MB, ACD and ATV were all updated. Most significantly, one of the highest volume product lines, the MBP was updated approximately 3 weeks prior to the launch of the iPhone, and the MB updated about 6 weeks prior to launch.

    The MBA and the MBP will be updated just as soon as they can get them out the door. The delay is not related to the iPad launch. Apple can't afford to sit back for nearly 4 months (from January 19th (ish) date of announcement of January 27th event until the end of the honeymoon after the 3G launch) and let their competitors eat their lunch.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    I just hope an Air update happens soon. I've just sold my MBP and am currently without a notebook. I have money ready and waiting for a new portable, but I can't wait forever. If Apple don't update their portables this month, I'll have to turn somewhere else, at least for a while. Apple took too long for my liking with the last iMac update, so I ended up with a $700 i5 Hackintosh to tide me over. My portable situation may end up going the same route, unfortunately.
  24. macrumors 65816

    Yes, we can. So MB and MBP were updated 3 & 6 weeks before the iphone launch with minor C2D chip upgrades and memory bumps. So April 3 minus three weeks is... this week. Where's our new MBA?

    1 out of 4 people surveyed said they'd postpone another Apple purchase in order to get an iPad. For Apple to make that trade they really want a successful iPad launch. They're looking to take over a huge % of the the ereader market from Day 1 and pick up a whole new batch of switchers who may have been too stubborn to give up their PCs or their old cell phones for an iPhone, later driving them to pick up MBs or MBPs or iMacs. I believe from now until the 3G+wifi launch the only Apple ads you'll see on TV will be iPad ads, the prime front spots of the Apple stores will be for iPads, and, unfortunately for us, no new shiny laptops until the iPad is deemed successfully launched.
  25. macrumors regular


    I agree with most of what you say. You're right, the majority of the marketing efforts will go towards the new product. I struggle with the concept that Apple will deliberately sacrifice the sales of their best selling computer line for nearly a quarter more. Once the iPad is launched, then the followup of the 3G, and the wifi in ROW (Rest of World), it will be a month or more of Apple not wanting to dilute the spotlight on the new product. Which translates into a June launch for the MBA and MBP - a full year between updates. The iPad is not enough of a reason to do this - there's more to the story.

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