WWDC or bust for Premium Mobility Macs - What do today's updates indicate? Major Rev?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jobsian, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #1
    The 13" MBP update today was terribly anemic and of course, no MBA update at all.

    Conclusion: Excruciatingly disappointing day for premium mobile notebook users who've been waiting and waiting.

    Then we ask why? Is it really a technical issue with cooling/lack of space to fit in the required modules on Apple's 13" PCBs? While this is a current restriction, I simply refuse to believe this was beyond Apple. Just look at the hulking specs of the MBA-weighted Vaio Z, it torches every other 13" and even bigger notebooks to ashes. Apple simply didn't bother at this stage. Which leads to the next question:

    Why didn't they bother?
    I have two theories, one unpalatable and one exciting:

    A) For the portable market, they don't want to shift too much focus away from the iPad with a stunning new MBA/13"MBP. The App store is Apple's neverending pot of gold and they want maximum focus on their two flagship devices utilizing it including the iPad.

    For consumers like myself who want a top premium portable/ultraportable, the App store may unfortunately become the catalyst that buries our own wishes and in lieu is the cancerous behemoth continuously yielding profit upon profit. Apple, like any other corporation, always prioritises profit anyway (despite any noble declarations otherwise), however never before will this have seemed more apparent. Seeing Apple giving their iPad unprecedented priority with such an enormous focus on the App store made this all too clear. Sometimes I wish they hadn't even made the damn iPhone! (though I love the phone)

    But I hope, and I would predict, it's not this theory, but the following that will be true:

    B) This weak 13" MBP update and no MBA update is a precursor to something special at WWDC. A major revision is taking place for the premium portable/ultraportable, those who want a mobile notebook at top, top spec. As people have mentioned, though sales are lower, the margins are higher, those customers are prepared to pay more. I can't imagine Apple eschewing this demographic.

    I'm going to guess we're going to see something show-stopping at WWDC, perhaps a "one more thing" item after the iPhone HD introductions to again stoke the crowd's ecstasy dwindled by the multiple post-iPhone HD presentations.

    A major MBA revision at WWDC...I only hope!

    If not I'll likely go elsewhere for my 13" premium ultraportable.
     
  2. macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    #2
    WWDC maybe, or Q4 or Q1/11 ...

    Who knows but after today's disappointing news a lot of people are going to stop waiting and buy something else.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    #3
    Maybe it's a technical issue.
    Maybe they're awaiting some part to become widely available.
    With the recent advent of the iPad I could imagine Apple having shifted engineering talent and manpower to the former.

    I'd guess the MacBook Air will take the route of the Mac mini:
    Its main feat was establishing the form factor.
    Now that the earlier shortcomings (heat, underclocking, hinges) have been ironed out, I suppose we will see a less frequent updates. With more opportunistic timing instead of occuring in the usual product cycles (like the MB/MBP). Like with the Mac Mini, basically. I.e., when Apple sees it fit, new parts (CPUs) become available at reasonable price points...

    As if it did matter anyway...
    The MacBook Air isn't bought because of top-notch tech specs.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #4
    I think I know what you mean but I wouldn't entirely agree though I can only speak for myself. My unwritten implication is that it's bought for top-notch specs at a given form factor. If the MBA had an atom processor or ULV processor, as many similar form-factors and Air rivals had only had until late, I wouldn't have been half as interested as I was in the Air.

    Its spec given its form factor, especially Revs B+C, was absolutely phenomenal (less so in today's market).

    I would agree that there are other reasons that the Air is interesting :)
     
  5. eba
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2007
    #5
    The "why" seems obvious to me: Of all the Mac notebooks, the MBA is the one most likely to cannibalize sales of the iPad. We're in for a bit of a wait, I'm afraid.
     
  6. macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2010
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    HK
    #6
    Don't forget Vaio Z is much thicker than MBA and even MBP. Also, Vaio Z is using aluminium + carbon fibre compared to aluminium unibody of MBA. Last but not least, Vaio Z has up to 6 hours battery life which in real usage, it will be at max. 4 hours. But, the new 13" MBP has up to 10 hours battery. Although in real usage it may has only 6 - 7 hours, but still, is more than Vaio Z.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    #7
    Don't think so. Why should they even worry about cannibalizing iPad sales? Firstl, the MBA is a niche product anyway. Being offered at an entirely different price point than the iPad, it would put a totally negligible dent into iPad sales anyhow. Secondly, it's not like Apple problems selling the iPad. They have problems with churning out enough units to satisfy customer demand so that they had to postpone its international launch today. Finally, would selling MBAs instead of iPads be a bad thing? The absolute margin should be higher on the MBA.

    In fact, I'd rather argue that the more affordable iPad will cannibalize sales of MacBook Airs (being more expensive)... In this regard, wouldn't the logical thing to do be: releasing a revised Air as soon as possible? :p
     
  8. macrumors member

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    Los Angeles
    #8
    I agree one the first part but I think Apple realizes that the iPad is the next gen comp (although I don't see it as a comp now). This is the direction of technology and the Air is just a thin macbook. I see the Air being discontinued in a couple or years.
     
  9. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #9
    Nice thread here Jobsian. Good post.

    I believe, after thinking about it for 36 hours, that the MBA will get C2D and Nvidia 320m. I believe it's a good thing. I don't believe Apple would use a different chipset and Arrandale ULV CPU in the next MBA. I also believe the Mac mini, iMac 21.5" and MB will all get C2D and Nvidia GPU.

    The biggest problem I have here, is why didn't they do this last October? Or January? Or February? Or March? Seriously, why this long for these updates?

    In the end, we're probably going to get around 30% CPU gains from the same SL9x00 CPUs by reducing the throttling. We're also going to get about an 80% gain in graphics performance which is great. We are definitely going to get 4 GB of RAM in the high-end at least. There will probably be either 192 or 256 GB SSD available although maybe BTO. I also believe either a glass trackpad or something new in the trackpad. I wonder if Macs might get a glass trackpad that allows multitouch with an iPad/iPhone OS like experience by clicking on the trackpad just like the display's an iPad except controlled via a trackpad not requiring user to touch the display itself but doing the same thing... seems obvious to me.

    This will provide us a much better experience than an Arrandale Core i7-9x0UM ultra low voltage CPU maybe even with a 310m with dedicated RAM. It will provide us a better experience than an Arrandale Core i7-6x0LM low voltage CPU with sole use of Intel's GMA IGP for graphics. Truly, the C2D is what is giving us the best graphics within the confined space of the MBA. People want to compare the Sony Vaio Z, because it weighs three pounds like the MBA, but it's over an inch thick! That space is critical for cooling the system!

    I think we're going to be disappointed to expect anything else except maybe a new display tech (although I expect that might be in the update featuring a new form factor).

    I expected this kind of update to the MBA if it came in January (or last October when I predicted it, LOL). However, I will be surprised if we do get an update that features anything great or even the need for an announcement.

    I suspect that Apple moved forward with the MBPs first because they sell a lot more than the MBAs. I suspect the 320m Nvidia GPU/chipset, with C2D updates to the MBA, MB, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac all between now and WWDC. Apple will want to use this new Nvidia GPU/chipset in all its Macs that use the 13" Mac mobility chipset and mainboard.

    I would bet that if there's a great new Mac introduced at WWDC it will be the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro needs an update, and that's sorta the right place to introduce a new Mac Pro design with complete update. In addition, I believe Apple will introduce two new LED ACDs at WWDC (one will be a 27" LED ACD, and the second will be approximately a 32/34" LED ACD) and it will also introduce a new AppleTV type product. Furthermore, I believe the smaller iPad speculation is true, and a 6" iPad will be introduced at WWDC. There is no reason for Apple to focus on the Mac notebooks at WWDC, as there's nothing new in terms of innovation or technology (just some spec bumps). Not all of this will happen, as it's not Apple-like to overwhelm us with new products to buy.

    Anyways, it's not as bad as I thought initially, and it seems really obvious that we're going to get an MBA that looks the same with the same SL9x00 CPUs and Nvidia 320m GPUs/chipset. This is Apple, and they're about innovating, but all of that is focused on the iPad products. With the MBA, it seems that Apple is going to use the same logic board with components as the other 13" MBP, MB, and same chipsets/GPUs used in iMac 21.5" and Mac mini.

    I am guessing late this year or early next year will be the next real transformation of the MBA. At that time, Apple will be forced to move beyond the C2D and Nvidia chipsets... maybe Apple will skip Arrandale there and wait for what's next.
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    #10
    Forumers here also have to realize the Vaio Z is on par with the 13" MBP volume-wise. Clearly Sony's cream of the crop laptop is undeniably the cream of the crop of ultraportable laptops.
     
  11. macrumors 65816

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  12. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #12
    If Apple sticks with the same form factor, and uses the same C2D and Nvidia 320m as the 13" MBPs, I guarantee it by WWDC. All Apple is doing is giving the MBPs their moment and time to be produced first, because the 13" MBP is Apple's most popular Mac. Now if the MBA were to truly get a form factor change, you could be correct. I have to believe Apple is truly disgusted with the Intel GMA IGP and chipsets to be so willing to stick with C2D and Nvidia. The Intel GMA IGP is simply incredibly inferior to the Nvidia 9400m even... so a 320m at 80% improvement is a great deal for us. I don't see Apple changing the MBA and going with Core iAnything until Intel's next round of chip improvements utilizing 32nm on all DIEs on chip. Also, Intel's roadmap calls for canceling the Core 2 Duo at the end of 2010. At that time, Apple will have to choose, suck it up and go with Intel, switch to AMD, or Cortex A9 for the MBA...

    I see an update as soon as the production facilities have room for it after the MBP sales cool down and initial demands are met. I expect a quiet update in the store bringing us C2D SL9x00 CPUs with 30% improvement in benchmarks (reducing throttling) and 80% improvement in graphics performance with a 320m. I also see 4 GB of RAM, glass trackpad, and no other improvements until the "big" update (with new display tech and more).

    I would be glad to be wrong and see a Core i7-640LM with a dedicated Nvidia 310m graphics solution w/1GB VRAM, two RAM slots for up to 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, glass OLED display inside a multitouch trackpad adding iPad like capabilities to the MBA's trackpad, OLED/3D displays with super high resolution, BluRay support, new form factor dropping weight by 1/2 lb, thinner case while .25" at thickest point, USB 3.0, LightPeak, MDP, HDMI, DVI (all in one small port tray with rotating port selection), Intel wireless display tech, aluminum-capped keyboard keys, surround sound, digital out, 3G/4G/LTE built in, and a 32" LED ACD comes with the MBA as a docking station setup, free iPhone, free iPad, 24-hour battery, Flash w/API support, and how about unlimited iTunes content for the life of the product... all for $999! But I don't think any of this is happening with this update. I think the 13" MBP shows us exactly where Apple is going with the MBA update, and I believe there's no reason to wait any longer for an update that could have been given to us last October, if not last June.
     
  13. macrumors newbie

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    #13
    I think the next update of MBA will be more or less the same as the new 13" MBP. Comparing 2009 13" MBP and the current MBA, their specs are very similar. The differences are only CPU (faster in MBP), HDD (air: 4200 rpm vs MBP: 5400 rpm) and the slots which does not exist in MBA.

    The next MBA will have only C2D CPU and the same graphic card as the new 13" MBP, unless there is a new form factor providing more space and heat treatment.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #14
    I just have to mention I few things from your post Scottdale

    The GMA HD is actually not that bad in performance in comparison...
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Graphics-Media-Accelerator-HD.23065.0.html

    "In some games, the GMA HD is even as fast as a GeForce 9400M / ION chipset. On average it should be as fast as the HD 3200 / 4200 by ATI and therefore allow the user to play older and less demanding games in low settings. The driver support is still not as good as for Nvidia and AMD graphics cards."

    Definitely NOT going to happen. Cortex is an ARM processor not x86 which means no OSX or any other software built for it. The only thing this would allow is the iPhone OS on it. would you really want that on the Air?
     
  15. gri
    macrumors 6502a

    gri

    Joined:
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    #15
    I doubt/am afraid it won't be WWDC. They have 1.) The NEW iPhon;e 2.) iPhone/Pad OS4; 3.) The new medium sized iPad; 4.) one last thing - new Mac Pros... Maybe new MB.
    1 & 2 seem almost certain, the rest is rumor. MP are overdue, Laptops have just been updated, the iPad is the new mobile "computing", "ultraportable" device so I agree with others - why distract from that with a sexy new MBA? Unless they call it "everything mobile" or something alike. But - the MP are the flagship high end Pro computers, so WWDC would be a good venue. MBA is a niche.

    So - I wish it will happen, I assume it will be later in 2010 or early 2011 (if at all). I am going to get a refurbished one now (too much traveling in the next 8 weeks for my 4 year old MBP) and the new one whenever it comes out.
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #16
    I thinks all of the above is a very good call.
    (then again, Apple do love to pleasantly surprise.)
    your intention to buy a current model refurb is also a great idea.
    just the other day here in Aus on ebay an as-new MBA 2.13 with SSD fetched Au$1950 - just $400 below new price.
    THe Air certainly holds value well
    And whether or not they are 'old' technology, they still fly
     
  17. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #17
    BS. You're reading non-scientific data and most importantly all of those studies are with Windows OS which is completely different. You are drinking some Intel KoolAid.

    If the Intel GMA IGP included with Arrandale even came close to the 9400m, don't you believe Apple would have been happy to go with it rather than moving to the 320m? It would have been a lot easier to just give us all Intel Core i series CPUs with their own GMA IGPs. The problem is they have no ability to compete when it comes to graphics... they cannot even compete with nearly two year old Nvidia GPUs. Nevermind the fact that the Nvidia 320m is an 80% improvement over the 9400m.

    We all know the ARM Cortex A9 isn't X86... nobody ever said it was. I do believe that at some point Apple will switch away from Intel, and the reason is Intel wants to play bully. It's better to get away from such a company especially when they're the supplier of the most expensive parts of your electronics components. Don't count Apple out from changing the way we do everything with computers. The way of just bumping the CPU specs doesn't truly give the user a better experience. Our experience could be so much better if software and graphics performances were improved greatly. The CPUs are plenty powerful enough for the next five years. Apple doesn't have to run x86... it can change everything, and it will eventually if the numbers make sense of it. With the development of the iPhone OS, Apple is quickly learning how to provide users a better experience via observation of material usually used by an x86 computer to perform (whether playing games on a computer, watching video, or etc). Apple will also learn how to make this same style of OS on its own system-on-a-chip silicon that also provides creation computation and not just observation on the devices. If you think Apple doesn't have this tech in its vision, you better go read some more about the companies Apple has acquired and the technologies Apple is using to change how computers are used and operate for the end users.

    Seriously, don't limit your scope of Apple and the Mac to x86, as that's a huge mistake!
     
  18. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #18
    It seems obvious to me that the entire 13" mobility product line will get the same update as the 13" MBPs. Apple uses one chipset/graphics set across its entire line of 13" MBP, MB, MBA, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac. Look at how the 9400m has been used in all of these same devices. Why would Apple change strategy now? Part of Apple's strategic model is to use economies of scale not just to build each product better and at lower costs but to make one chipset model/logic board development work across all of its entry level and 13" mobility devices.

    I see a quiet update to the MB, MBA, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac following the exact same model as Apple has used in the past. It doesn't make sense for Apple to offer a completely different MBA with an entirely different component makeup. In addition, Apple is focused on the iPads and iPhone OS right now. It will do the minimum required to keep its Macs going. The iPads and iPhones are selling more Macs, so Apple doesn't have to keep innovating with the Macs if it keeps innovating with iPhone OS products.

    Yes the iPhone will be the focus of WWDC, but Apple could introduce any number of products as I have mentioned before. Could it introduce a new MBA there? Sure, but why if it's just going to be the same old case, CPU, and Nvidia GPU/chipset. So if it's updated at WWDC it will just read the new specs off on one Keynote slide just as it did last year at WWDC. I believe the MBA is in for a bigger update, but that should be the next update when Apple is forced to move away from C2D and the Nvidia chipset/GPU model.

    Look at the past, and tell me why Apple would completely change its strategy with any of the 13" mobility products? The 13" MBP, MB, MBA, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac (20" iMac before it) have had the exact same chipset/GPU and CPU types for the last few years. There is no reason to believe it will take Apple more than a few months to get the production ramped up to update all of the internals of these products to the same C2D and Nvidia 320m as the 13" MBPs just received. Any speculation beyond that is just hope. With Intel ending the C2D products at the end of 2010, it makes a lot of sense to believe the MBA will get a bigger update in 2011 or even late 2010. There is no reason not to stimulate sales now with a C2D and Nvidia 320m chipset that are already ready to go and just need to be setup for an MBA production run.
     
  19. gri
    macrumors 6502a

    gri

    Joined:
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    #19
    I leave the speculation to you as the advanced expert with insight as demonstrated by your many appreciated posts. Couldn't it be that Apple may skip to update the MBA now and update later in the year along the line of the 13' MBP (as you suggested) when the C2D is running out? Could be an update late 2010 with higher specs in the 15', 17' MBP and a change of procesor in the 13' MBP and MBA. Might be a silent MBA update in between. However, the end of the C2D in late 2010 actually means that inevitably an update of the 13' MBP must happen and that might be carried over to the MBA (or they drop both, which I doubt). We will see if the silent update of the MBA is worth it. I may skip that one and see what happens late 2010 (now since I ordered the refurnished one) or jump on than.
     
  20. macrumors 65816

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    #20
    WWDC big announcements - new iPhone running OS4 and G5 PowerBooks :D
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    #21
    Some pretty good discussion here. Tough to imagine Apple going with core i technology since they specifically forwent it in the 13" refresh. On the other hand, tough to see them sticking with the same SL9600 2.13 chip after a 1 year upgrade cycle. Also, if Apple was planning on keeping the Air on the old program, why wouldn't they have just released them along with the MBP's last Tuesday?

    As such, I'm inclined to lean towards a more radically new Air this summer. Intel's second gen of ULV CPUs could yield a compelling boost in portability and performance. As far as IGP performance, isn't Air's 9400M somewhat throttled compared to the MBP? This could potentially allow Apple to utilize Intels IGP without a noticeable drop in performance. At the same time, I wouldn't put much more than even money on any of this happening.

    Beyond internals, the 4th Air refresh could very well see some form factor updates. A glass screen, buttonless trackpad, slightly updated keyboard (the mbp keyboard is already slightly different from the AIR), and maybe some other changes.
     
  22. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #22
    Well, I am no "advanced expert" but I do believe I understand technology and business strategy (btw, I consult on technology and business strategy for smaller companies). If Apple didn't have a history of utilizing the same CPU/chipset/GPU in all of its 13" mobility products, one could make a strong argument against my case. The problem is the MBA has been successful since following the other 13" mobility products (not just 13" products but all that use the same CPU/chipset/GPU strategy - MBA, 13" MBP, MB, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac). I am calling them 13" mobility products because three of the five represent Apple's complete 13" mobility product offerings and the other two are based on the same exact components.

    Now, it is possible Apple will skip this update for the MBA and use the MBA as the launching platform for the next series of CPUs and chipsets for 13" mobility products. Of course Apple could have gone with C2D and a 320m Nvidia chipset as early as last October... but why introduce this MBP update now with such components? It does seem that Apple will be forced to upgrade the 13" mobility products by the end of the year, so waiting is possible. The 13" MBP had to be updated, as did the other MBPs. That product is Apple's number one seller (13" al. MB/MBP), and not upgrading it was creating backlash and bad speak about Apple. So the 13" got what it could have got six months ago, this week. Does that tell us Apple is going to wait with ALL of the other 13" mobility products? Will it really wait for the MBA, MB, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac updates? The MBA is nearly eleven months old with no real update since October 2008. The other products were updated over six months ago already meaning they're due. If Apple just finalized this 320m and C2D strategy, why wouldn't it implement it with all of the 13" mobility products? The way production works is equipment is all moved to make the new equipment and then they go forward with the new tech. I would bet Apple is done making 13" mobility products with 9400m GPU/chipsets. I would bet the stockpile is there, and when the stockpile runs low, and when the new 13" MBPs demand is being met, Apple will focus on getting the other 13" mobility products updated.

    Possible Apple can do anything, but with the iPad and iPhone OS 4.0 products in general being Apple's focus, do we really think Apple would have bigger plans for the MBA, now, in six months? I wish, but Apple has stopped everything else so it can focus on iPhone OS 4.0 products. Why not update the MBA now if the products are all ready and you can build one series of product lines easier? It is a lot less expensive the way Apple uses one component set for all of its 13" mobility products. Why not go ahead and call it a day with all of your products and spur more sales (and some disappointment will be there no matter what)? Leave real innovation for early 2011 when Apple must move beyond C2D with the 13" mobility product lines. Why make the MBA lover wait when all the MBA buyers truly NEED is 4 GB of RAM?

    Hell, the 9400m and C2D CPUs are fine. Where is our real problem, the RAM and drive space. Beyond that, the MBA needs some innovation that doesn't cost real money. Maybe Apple waits to introduce a new display in the MBA at WWDC, but I still see the MBA being updated by WWDC. In looking at Apple in the past, they have just used this strategy and it works for Apple. They save in production costs, development costs, and even software costs which all gives its products stability and ease of implementation of features like h.264 hardware acceleration and OpenCL with one GPU across all of the 13" mobility product line.

    Apple can do anything it wants, but right now it seems less concerned about the Mac and more concerned about its iPhone OS products set to revolutionize the world. Jobs vision is to sell every family in America an iPad or two... he just doesn't have the focus with the MBA.
     
  23. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #23
    Possible, but is it like Apple to do this? Apple has failed with the original MBA which used a radically different strategy than the other 13" mobility products. I believe you are wishfully thinking... it doesn't make sense given Apple's proven business model with all of the 13" products using the same internal makeup chipset, series of CPUs, GPU, and logic board.

    I would be happy to be wrong IF Apple can give us an MBA with a dedicated graphics solution. If this new product uses Intel's Arrandale Low Voltage or Ultra Low Voltage CPUs how does Apple make a dedicated card work? Why would Apple use a different strategy with the MBA when the Arrandale CPU with its GMA IGP wasn't good enough for the 13" MBPs? Apple couldn't put a dedicated graphics solution in the 13" MBP, so how does it make it happen in the MBA? I don't believe it's cost based but rather a decision to make one component set across all 13" mobility Macs (okay financial based). But I believe that decision was made because Apple couldn't make a dedicated solution work in the MBA and/or possibly other 13" mobility products (13" MBP, MB, MBA, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac). It would seem that the MBA would be the smallest space to cram a dedicated graphics solution and try to cool it.

    Remember, SJ says that the graphics on the Intel Arrandale CPUs are not sufficient. When we see independent studies, they show the Intel GMA IGP included in Arrandale CPUs are about a 50% drop from the 9400m. Now also remember that the 320m gives us an 80% boost in performance and a 35% drop in TDP. It makes a lot of sense that Apple made this decision for the 13" MBP based on ALL of its 13" mobility products including the MBA.

    I can say that it is just as possible for Apple to not even deal with the MBA if sales aren't strong enough to warrant an upgrade now. If it cannot sell a certain number of MBAs with an update to C2D and Nvidia, then wait until sales warrant an upgrade. However, we can all read the posts and the number one reason people are not buying an MBA is the lack of RAM... it has NOTHING to do with the C2D CPU or Nvidia 9400m GPU. The number two reason for not buying an MBA, the lack of drive space. Apple can update the MBA to 4 GB of RAM, a 192/256 GB SSD, and use the same C2D, new Nvidia 320m, and even boost the performance of the current CPU by de-throttling it. It all makes sense to boost sales now and offer this small MBA update now to what seems to be the two reasons people aren't buying the MBA as it currently is. I believe Apple could triple MBA sales just by upgrading the RAM and offering more drive space options. Add to that less throttling of the CPU, so it can market 30% performance boosts, and a new 320m with 80% graphics boost, and we have a real update. Then, take some time and focus on how to make a really great MBA with amazing innovative updates when the iPhone OS 4.0 products have all been released and there is a break in the action.

    Maybe I am looking at this all wrong? It seems to make sense to me though.
     
  24. gri
    macrumors 6502a

    gri

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    #24
    It makes perfect sense. I only wonder if - given all the attention and focus shift to the iPad and iPhone OS - they are doing it until WWDC or just let it sit and offer a major upgrade come the end of C2D. In fact, they probably have to work on it already if the end of the CPU is 7 months out. I wish you were completely right and we see a RAM/Disc upgrade by WWDC but I am afraid that all the iPhone/iPad stuff AND the not yet upgraded MP make more sense (with new LED screens for example - how old is Apples 30 inch screen by now, 5 years?) for Apple right now. An upgraded MBA (even if silent) might drive people away from the iPad. But offering a completely new 13 inch family say in January 2011 or Q4 for the holiday season once C2D dies might warrant good publicity ("The NEW 13' inch Macs: MB, MBP and MBA..."). We will see.
    In the meantime I am starting my Europe traveling season with the refurbished MBA I ordered yesterday, at the same time waiting for the real upgrade we all want but enjoying the weight AND improvements over my now 4 year old first gen. MBP
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    #25
    One could just ask: What's wrong about the MacBook Air, in its current incarnation?

    To me, the answer is quite simple: Battery life and thermal envelope.

    When you consider that the Air is aggressively marketed as a mobile device ("ultraportable"), 5 hours are nothing. Especially when compared to the 10 hour upgrade the MBP 13" just got, or to the many Windows netbooks around there. And while baseline performance seems just alright to me, I have the feeling that my MacBook Air chokes (throttles) on demanding video playback (H264), Flash and the like.

    A possible solution could be just as simple:
    Replace its guts with even lower voltage (ULV) components.

    I still believe there might be a market for a portable Mac (running a full-featured Mac OS X, as opposed to the iPhone OS on the iPad) that is optimized towards portability instead of performance ("Pro" line) or price (MacBook white). Low voltage components seem well suited to that. However, I strongly doubt Apple will be making a step backwards and release a MacBook Air with lower performance than its predecessor.

    Are the necessary components available?
    I.e., does Intel make an ultra low voltage CPU providing at least the same performance as the current one?

    The current generation MacBook Air uses a Low Voltage CPU
    with 1.86GHz (Core 2 Duo SL9400) or 2.13 GHz (SL9600, respectively) with a 17W TDP. The fastest ULV CPU currently officially available from Intel is the Core 2 Duo SU9600 with a 10W TDP, clocking at 1.6GHz. Seeing that the SU9600 was released slightly more than a year ago, its next iteration could just be around the corner. And it could be just what Apple is waiting for: A CPU providing the same performance as the current MacBook Air, but at a lesser power draw.
     

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