2017 or 2018 MacBook Air?

2017 MacBook Air or 2018 MacBook Air?

  • 2018 MacBook Air

    Votes: 31 62.0%
  • 2017 MacBook Air

    Votes: 20 40.0%

  • Total voters
    50

Ray15

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 7, 2019
7
3
Hello,
I’m a college student and I’m trying to decide with MacBook Air to get. I’m not interested in the pros.
My biggest concern is reliability. I want something that will be with me for at least 4 years. So my issue is the 2018 mba keyboard-I don’t want to be dealing with keyboard issues but I really like the display. Also I’m concerned about the age of the 2017. I would probably get the upgraded CPU and 256 ssd. But I’m worried that the 2017 MacBook Air won’t being getting updates and won’t be able to run the software I need for college.
Should I take the risk and go for the 2018 Air? Also if there’s an issue will Apple fix it without AppleCare? Or should I go for the 2017 MacBook Air and risk dealing with outdated software?
 

Macdctr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
614
294
Ocean State
If your biggest concern is reliability then go with the 2017 MBA. Even though the 2017 does not have the retina display you will find this laptop to be more reliable than the new 2018 MBA. Go with the i7 2.2 GHz CPU and 8GB RAM when ordering though. The SSD can always be upgraded so if you start off with a 128GB or 256GB SSD you can always upgrade to the NVMe M.2 with much higher capacity storage than what Apple could offer.

I myself would not risk spending over $1k and hope the whole time that I won't have issues with the faulty designed keyboard Apple went with for their current laptops.... especially if you're going to be using your laptop a lot for writing reports and such... not worth it in my opinion.
 

Ray15

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 7, 2019
7
3
If your biggest concern is reliability then go with the 2017 MBA. Even though the 2017 does not have the retina display you will find this laptop to be more reliable than the new 2018 MBA. Go with the i7 2.2 GHz CPU and 8GB RAM when ordering though. The SSD can always be upgraded so if you start off with a 128GB or 256GB SSD you can always upgrade to the NVMe M.2 with much higher capacity storage than what Apple could offer.

I myself would not risk spending over $1k and hope the whole time that I won't have issues with the faulty designed keyboard Apple went with for their current laptops.... especially if you're going to be using your laptop a lot for writing reports and such... not worth it in my opinion.
Do you think I’ll be fine software wise though, at least for 4 years? I occasionally run virtual labs and it requires adobe flash, etc. I just wanna make sure it’ll last that long.
 

Macdctr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
614
294
Ocean State
Do you think I’ll be fine software wise though, at least for 4 years? I occasionally run virtual labs and it requires adobe flash, etc. I just wanna make sure it’ll last that long.
I can run VMWare Fusion on my 2015 i7 MBA and have not had any major issues. I also use Lightroom to work on my photos from time to time and have not had any issues using my MBA... I have upgraded my MBA with NVMe M.2 drives which improved drive performance by close to 3x over Apple's SSD so I'm sure that helps as well. It helps that the cost of NVMe drives are cheaper than comparible Apple drives...
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,732
1,983
If you're getting the 2017 it's a safe bet that you're good software-wise for 4 years, but be aware that the next version of MacOS won't support 32 bit apps, so if you're concerned about application support today I would consider that too.

You can of course stay on Mojave, but eventually Apple will stop releasing security updates.

If reliability is key, I'd take the 2017 in a heartbeat.
 

Ruskes

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2019
135
37
MBAir is a working beast.
Treat it well and it will last you.
Personal experience...>> the key board is the most used and can get dirty or even have a liquid spill.
Buy a $6 Transparent keyboard cover (Amazon).
Today the storage is not so relevant so 125GB is enough, you can always use Internet storage's, or even buy cheep 2 TB external drive for our library of Photos and Videos.
 
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sg9

macrumors member
Jan 7, 2019
42
24
I wish they just put the 2015 pro display inside previous Air and force trackpad. It would be a true classic. Those bezels still look better then most thinner plastic ones on modern win laptops.
 

Ray15

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 7, 2019
7
3
I wish they just put the 2015 pro display inside previous Air and force trackpad. It would be a true classic. Those bezels still look better then most thinner plastic ones on modern win laptops.
Agreed!
[doublepost=1549569136][/doublepost]
If you're getting the 2017 it's a safe bet that you're good software-wise for 4 years, but be aware that the next version of MacOS won't support 32 bit apps, so if you're concerned about application support today I would consider that too.

You can of course stay on Mojave, but eventually Apple will stop releasing security updates.

If reliability is key, I'd take the 2017 in a heartbeat.
Is that going to apply to all macbook products, or just older ones?
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,732
1,983
Agreed!
[doublepost=1549569136][/doublepost]
Is that going to apply to all macbook products, or just older ones?
32 bit transition? All MacOS devices will cease to support 32 bit apps when 10.15 comes out. That's the current plan anyway.
 

Ray15

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 7, 2019
7
3
If you're getting the 2017 it's a safe bet that you're good software-wise for 4 years, but be aware that the next version of MacOS won't support 32 bit apps, so if you're concerned about application support today I would consider that too.

You can of course stay on Mojave, but eventually Apple will stop releasing security updates.

If reliability is key, I'd take the 2017 in a heartbeat.
Also, just being honest, I don’t really know that means
32 bit transition? All MacOS devices will cease to support 32 bit apps when 10.15 comes out. That's the current plan anyway.
Sorry I don’t really know that much about it:( if I just keep the mba 2017 updated 64-bit apps should still run on it for a couple years though right?
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,732
1,983
Also, just being honest, I don’t really know that means

Sorry I don’t really know that much about it:( if I just keep the mba 2017 updated 64-bit apps should still run on it for a couple years though right?
All good. Take a bit of time and make a list of the specific apps you need or think you will need and we’ll be able to tell you if they look problematic.

It’s almost certainly a non-issue, I just mentioned it because you mentioned you were concerned about software support. That’s the biggest potential headache I can see, but it’s only really going to be a big issue if you’re set on a particular version of a particular app and that version is 32 bit.

I use non-subscription LightRoom 6. LR6 is 64bit but there is an associated app bundled in that is 32 bit. When macOS 10.15 comes out I will likely need to either throw money at Adobe every month and subscribe (unlikely), or migrate to an alternate photo management suite (the most likely option), or stick with Mojave 10.14.

So even though I suspect I will have an issue, it’s something I can work around easily enough.
 

sg9

macrumors member
Jan 7, 2019
42
24
I found cs6ServiceManager to be 32bit, so likely no Adobe CS6 application will be supported.
 

Ray15

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 7, 2019
7
3
All good. Take a bit of time and make a list of the specific apps you need or think you will need and we’ll be able to tell you if they look problematic.

It’s almost certainly a non-issue, I just mentioned it because you mentioned you were concerned about software support. That’s the biggest potential headache I can see, but it’s only really going to be a big issue if you’re set on a particular version of a particular app and that version is 32 bit.

I use non-subscription LightRoom 6. LR6 is 64bit but there is an associated app bundled in that is 32 bit. When macOS 10.15 comes out I will likely need to either throw money at Adobe every month and subscribe (unlikely), or migrate to an alternate photo management suite (the most likely option), or stick with Mojave 10.14.

So even though I suspect I will have an issue, it’s something I can work around easily enough.
Not specifically apps but I have to be able to use respondus, protorio, basic browser stuff like and adobe flash player. Microsoft office and Dropbox are probably the only apps that I would be using that don’t come with the laptop.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,732
1,983
Not specifically apps but I have to be able to use respondus, protorio, basic browser stuff like and adobe flash player. Microsoft office and Dropbox are probably the only apps that I would be using that don’t come with the laptop.
I'm too familiar with Respondus or Protorio. If you have peers who use this programs on macOS then I would ask them if they know of any specific issues. If you don't know anyone running those on macOS then I'd start a thread here for those apps specifically, someone will know I'm sure.

The alarms bells you need to be aware of are people telling you "Don't upgrade past version x.y!!".
 
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Ray15

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 7, 2019
7
3
I'm too familiar with Respondus or Protorio. If you have peers who use this programs on macOS then I would ask them if they know of any specific issues. If you don't know anyone running those on macOS then I'd start a thread here for those apps specifically, someone will know I'm sure.

The alarms bells you need to be aware of are people telling you "Don't upgrade past version x.y!!".
Okay thank you for your help! I think I’m probably going to try to get the 2017 version just to be safe.
 

Macdctr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
614
294
Ocean State
Since I'm running the latest version of Mojave I'm using VMWare Fusion 11 Pro and Windows 10 PRO (x64) for my occasional windows needs...
 

Bazza1

macrumors member
May 16, 2017
85
73
Toronto, Canada
I upgraded my 7 year old Air (which was running all the applications I needed just fine - albeit not ones that were consistently resource heavy. I just wanted to move up to the 13" screen and a larger RAM and SSD - reliability wasn't an issue) to the 2017 one last Spring.
I had heard a newer version was expected in the fall, but rumours I had heard (losing legacy ports, losing MagSafe, butterfly keyboard, "ooh, look! Retina screen!", and, oh yeah, price) really didn't appeal to me. So glad I went with 2017. Absolutely no issues, and while Apple may eventually change how they build software and will change their OS making older units obsolete, that's something Apple'ites have grown used to. It just forces users on a regular, expensive upgrade track. Still, I can't see that 4 years is an unreasonable expectation for your Air to function (given my experience) - and the internal differences between the 2017 and 2018 are not enough to suggest you're in danger of losing out by buying the newer - less tested - 2018.
 

AlexJoda

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2015
758
579
If I need a really good mobile display to read something or look at photos/videos I take my 12.9 iPP (gen 2 but that has the same display as the gen 3 but without the nasty rounded corners). This display is miles ahead of any laptop display in my opinion.

Because of that I choose the 2017“ MBA. It is mainly for doing work orientated stuff with it. If I need to do some more intensive work with it I use a 27“ external display anyway (that is sadly not possible with an iPad by now). So the display is not key selling point for a MBA in my opinion compared to all the other advantages/disadvantages of the 2017/2018 model....
 
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AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
11,117
7,758
Austin, TX
Potentially look at 2017 Macbook Pro (non-touchbar) models as an alternative. The device is an absolute screamer but has the gen 2 butterfly keyboard.
 

EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2015
778
1,574
I can run VMWare Fusion on my 2015 i7 MBA and have not had any major issues. I also use Lightroom to work on my photos from time to time and have not had any issues using my MBA... I have upgraded my MBA with NVMe M.2 drives which improved drive performance by close to 3x over Apple's SSD so I'm sure that helps as well. It helps that the cost of NVMe drives are cheaper than comparible Apple drives...
I thought the drives in the 2015 Air were proprietary.

You’re telling me you can swap in a random Samsung NVMe SSD?
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Sep 15, 2013
7,346
5,196
I would get the 2018 MacBook Air, also get Apple Care and you’ll be good to go. The new Air has had a big upgrade vs the older one.