Why does Apple not give us a decent display option on the Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macbook123, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Since I've been trying to decide whether I should switch to the Retina Pro or get the new 13" Air, I've been pondering this single question: why can't Apple offer the Air, in many ways its most modern computer, with a nice IPS panel like it's available in all it's iOS products, iMac, the new Retina MBP, the TB display, the iMac, etc? I just don't get it. I'm not even asking for a higher resolution panel. The only thing I care about is something that looks less washed out than my 2011 Air. Why can I not have this? Just give me a friggin' IPS panel with the same resolution and it'll be the perfect (!) computer for me. It can't be much more expensive and I would gladly pay $500 more for it (while I'm pretty sure it would cost less than $50 for Apple to do this...look at how cheap decent high res IPS panels in 20+ inches sizes are these days...).

    The only two reasons I can think of why they don't do it is because a) (unlikely) they don't put thought into creating their computers, or b) they want to separate the Air from the Pro, so that the Air doesn't cannibalize the market of the Pro.

    Any other reasons you guys can think of?
  2. macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    Im positive your first guess is correct. Apple doesn't put any thought into their computers. :rolleyes:

    Because most people aren't using Airs for graphic intensive tasks. It is meant to be incredibly portable, not a large workstation.
  3. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Huh? So only large workstations can run IPS panels? What is your definition of a large workstation? Anything smaller than a Macbook Air (like an iPad or iPhone) as well as anything larger than a Macbook Air (like a Macbook Pro, iMac)? Odd definition!
  4. macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2012
    They really do need to crank up the resolution - maybe not to Retina, but at least a lot more.

    Even ASUS has managed to put 1080p IPS displays in their 11" and 13" inch Ultrabooks, which are competitors to the Air. Apple is falling behind on that point.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2012
    I would LOVE it if Macbook Air's had 1920 x 1080 resolution! Even the Sony's Z series has that resolution in their 13 inch ultraportables.
  6. macrumors 65816

    Adidas Addict

    Sep 9, 2008
    Resolution's fine, I agree with the OP, it really could do with a better quality panel/display.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2007
    Apple's never been about giving you choice. They keep their configurations simple and try to differentiate their models. It's careful business strategy to maximize profit. Not to satisfy customers needs.

    You see this strategy everywhere, but particularly from Apple. How many times doesn't that low-end config model of a MacBook feel just right, if it wasn't for them not offering a BTO option of better video-card, or something else?

    No, they deliberately prevent you from doing that, so you have to buy the middle-end model instead, which is much more expensive since you have to pay for other default upgrades as well.

    Why people have been swallowing this greedy tactic year after year is surprising.

    Want that MacBook Air model with an IPS screen? Forget it.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Aug 7, 2011
    Liverpool, UK
    Simple. Battery life. If they give you what you want, you'd either half battery life or increase the size of the battery and meddle with portability.

    Neither options are acceptable to me.

    The resolution is fine for me also. And didn't find 2011 so shabby. In fact it's the opposite. The display of my 2011 13" MBA was better than my 2007 MBP. To get what you are asking for, I wouldn't want to compromise on battery life, weight and possible increased heat generation
  9. PCPacMac, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2012
    Profit is THE Reason Apple gives us a **** display in these Macbook Air 13's. You can fit an IPS display or IPS-variant (like Samsung's PLS) in the macbook air just fine and IT WILL SOLVE THE VIEWING ANGLE PROBLEM on these damn notebooks.

    I was hoping the 2012 Macbook Air's would include better screen quality, but no Apple had to screw us all AGAIN. The MBA 11" is better in terms of viewing angles, but 1366x768 is a useless inadequate resolution for me. I need 1440x900 or 1600x900 like the Samsung NP900X3C. Btw, this new samsung series 9 laptop proves you can get GOOD battery life with a IPS-style display screen too.
  10. Bigmacduck, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012

    macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2009
    It is because of battery life

    Apple has not yet offered Retina displays on Macbook Air because of two reasons.
    1. Product Positioning and Price Points
    Skimming the professional market first as the displays are only produced at low volumes first and therefore focussing on a market segment that is less likely to turn every dollar before it is spent. If successful, then the volume goes up and manufacturing costs come down and the product becomes viable for introducing in the mass market = Air's.

    2. Battery chemistry and life.
    High resolution displays draw more power than lover resolution because there are more transistors per panel that need to switch. One example is the iPad 3 Retina, vs iPad 2: while almost offering the same run time as the iPad 2, the iPad 3 has a totally different battery system and capacity. Fully charging an iPad 3 from almost empty to full takes a full night, much slower than a full iPad 2 charge cycle. While that works well for the usage pattern of a tablet, it is not adequate for the usage pattern of a notebook that draws much more power.

    If you charge a LiOn or LiPo battery with a too high current the battery explodes (some impressive videos on youtube). If you charge such a high capacity battery with today's technology of a safe charge current then it takes ages to a full charge.

    The MacBook Pro Retina is bigger and therefore has more space for battery, which is a good workable compromise between battery capacity and charge current.

    As a rule of thumb a standard rechargeable battery reaches the highest life time if the current to charge it is about the same as the current consumed in the discharge (that is not marketing, that is chemistry). So translated into hours of battery life (and demonstrated on the iPad3) a battery run time of 9 hours mandates a charge time of almost the same = 9 hours.

    So I would love to have a Macbook Air with a battery run time of 12 hours, but I would not want to wait 10 hours to have it fully recharged again.

    So here my call to action:
    for all the bright undergraduate and gradient students out there:
    Move to the study field of battery chemistry and you may make developments that truly change the world. Not just for MacBook Air's, but also for banking who needs better batteries to consume solar energy charged during the sunny day during the night.
  11. macrumors 65816

    May 4, 2012
    What, you mean starting threads on the Internet doesn't accomplish the same thing? Who knew?
  12. macrumors regular

    Feb 22, 2011
    London, United Kingdom
    lol I love the internet.

    in my mind though the screen on the air is one of the best. I use the 11.

    I'd like an anti glare option as I have the MBP 15 anti glare and it's an outstandning screen.

    what I don't want is less battery or less portability, so if apple can add better screens without screwing those things up then great.
  13. macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
    The resolution is fine for me but IPS would be nice, even as a BTO option.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2011
    I'm not upgrading from my early-2011 13" MBP until Apple releases a retina 13" MacBook with an IPS panel. Preferably a 13" Air, but that may be a distinguishing feature for the Pro going forward. Who knows?
  15. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010

    Vizio and ASUS also have 1600x900 displays available in their 14/13" models. Dell and Vizio have managed to put in larger size displays in similar footprints to Apple (Dell puts a 13" screen in a format slightly larger than the 11.6" Air, and Vizio's 14" model is about the size of the 13.3" MacBook Air). The Vizio models look really nice and I think they are a great option for someone looking for a Windows Ultrabook. With competition heating up I think the next generation MacBook Air will likely see some higher resolution choices, such as 1600x900, maybe in the 11".

    With all the focus on "Retina" displays, I was a little surprised that the MacBook Airs didn't see a resolution bump (though not surprised at all that "Retina" was limited to a single model of Pro to start with). However, my guess is that since it is selling well, Apple decided not to mess with success. The form factor is less than 2 years old, so I don't expect a major redesign next year, either (though the current form factor could support a resolution bump).
  16. macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    i really don't see the big fuss at this point. do people want the higher resolution just for the spec bumps and to say mine is better than yours? on my 11" air i have absolutely no problems with the res or the quality of the display. its great and it works as it should - as a great portable device.
  17. macrumors 65816

    Adidas Addict

    Sep 9, 2008
    It's mainly the 13" MBA screen that's poor, awful viewing angles and washout.
  18. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    On the 11", some additional real estate could be nice for displaying windows, etc. 1600x900 would make it easier to manage two applications on screen at the same time.
  19. macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2011
    A task doesnt need to be "graphic intensive" in order for it to have color accuracy or durability.

    I think the current Air is a fantastic workstation for much of my photography needs but I do feel that a thin glass screen like the new MBP (not necessarily Retina) would be fantastic.
  20. macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    While I surely wouldn't argue if they offered me a slightly larger res on my 11'' - ideally through minimizing the bezel - it's worth noting that the actual picture itself, at least in terms of black/white level and contrast is pretty damn respectable.

    (check the charts half way down the page)
  21. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Did you even read the original post??

    If anything, the only thing sucking up more battery would be higher resolution. But I'm not asking for higher resolution. I'm asking for IPS. Are you saying that the iPhone and iPad have ****** battery life? No? Good, because they have IPS panels.

  22. macrumors 68000


    Aug 7, 2011
    Liverpool, UK
    I was trying to give you broader arguments, particularly as many people are calling for retina MBAs at present. You chose to focus on one aspect. Ok. Good luck. But as I said higher up, IPS would probably increase the weight. Which is not acceptable to me as an MBA owner. My perspective. Take it or leave it.


    PS. 70% of answers are focussing on the same points I made so perhaps we"re all superficial with your original post or you are not very clear
  23. macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I don't work at Apple. I don't know what the executives, developers, engineers, supply chain experts, etc. thought about when they manufactured this year's MBA.

    Did they just not care about their careers or their work? I doubt it. This never gets us very far.

    Did they decide to distinguish the MBA from the Pro line by refusing to change the display? I doubt it. They used the same displays from last year for every computer besides the MBPr.

    I'd hazard to guess that there were all sorts of cost, production scale, weight, power, and other issues to consider, and they decided to put those off until the next update. Whatever. It is still a beautiful screen, even if it is a bit washed out.

    The problem with having a retina display iPad is that nothing looks good anymore :) That doesn't mean it is all bad or not "decent."
  24. macrumors 6502


    May 23, 2012
    me too :D
  25. macrumors G4

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    There is a problem with the viewing angles on the 13 inch Air? I've been using my 2010 Air since I got it in December 2010, and I never noticed!

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