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turbineseaplane

macrumors P6
Original poster
Mar 19, 2008
15,799
34,892
Getting to spend some time with a friends MBA today for the first time in a long time on an Air for me and a couple things stand out I thought I'd share:

1. Screen, while not my favorite, as others have stated in here, it's certainly workable despite not being Retina

2. The keyboard feels like the most warm and wonderful and welcoming blanket on a cold day. It invites your fingers to rest, think, press with some feedback and it just feels like a bouncy and feedback filled place of heaven for my hands to translate thoughts to the screen. My accuracy on these older designs goes through the roof and my fingers feel great and not sore after a while. Every time I come back to the last gen KB's I'm reminded of what a misstep both the design and execution of the newer ones are, for me anyhow.

3. Size, mainly the screen. I've been around and had a couple rMB's now and I can't state enough what a bad replacement the 12" models are for the MBA users, just based upon screen size. The extra inch(s) at the 12-13" area of the size range are really important. It may not seem like a lot of difference, but the screen real estate feel and the comfort of the size of the MBA makes a big difference. It's no mystery why the 13" laptop sizes are by far Apple's most popular. It's a sensational sweet spot.

4. Trackpad. I definitely prefer the Force Touch trackpads (mainly of the MBP 2015 generation due to size of them) as I've become very comfortable clicking anywhere and being able to set my desired firmness.

5. Love the ports. Miss the ports. Can we please have some useful ports back Apple? Already plugged in my USB stick 2 times with some files we are working with from my friend's Dad. Dongles required? zero

That's about it for now - Might add some more thoughts as they come to me.
It's not at all hard for me to see why the MBA's are so wildly popular.

You just sort of "know and feel it" when you use one. It's a supremely refined product that's had years of great iterations rolled into it. It has the opposite of the feel of the newer laptops to me. The MBA feels bulletproof and workhorse like.

My overriding thought is: It's a damned shame Apple is too stubborn to pop a Retina screen/Force Touch trackpad on here, give it some more spec bumps and keep it going as the "MacBook: Reliable Workhorse".

Sometimes Apple being so stubborn (and wanting to force iOS on everyone) really works against what many of us want. It sucks sometimes.
 

redgreenski

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2017
209
461
Getting to spend some time with a friends MBA today for the first time in a long time on an Air for me and a couple things stand out I thought I'd share:

1. Screen, while not my favorite, as others have stated in here, it's certainly workable despite not being Retina

2. The keyboard feels like the most warm and wonderful and welcoming blanket on a cold day. It invites your fingers to rest, think, press with some feedback and it just feels like a bouncy and feedback filled place of heaven for my hands to translate thoughts to the screen. My accuracy on these older designs goes through the roof and my fingers feel great and not sore after a while. Every time I come back to the last gen KB's I'm reminded of what a misstep both the design and execution of the newer ones are, for me anyhow.

3. Size, mainly the screen. I've been around and had a couple rMB's now and I can't state enough what a bad replacement the 12" models are for the MBA users, just based upon screen size. The extra inch(s) at the 12-13" area of the size range are really important. It may not seem like a lot of difference, but the screen real estate feel and the comfort of the size of the MBA makes a big difference. It's no mystery why the 13" laptop sizes are by far Apple's most popular. It's a sensational sweet spot.

4. Trackpad. I definitely prefer the Force Touch trackpads (mainly of the MBP 2015 generation due to size of them) as I've become very comfortable clicking anywhere and being able to set my desired firmness.

5. Love the ports. Miss the ports. Can we please have some useful ports back Apple? Already plugged in my USB stick 2 times with some files we are working with from my friend's Dad. Dongles required? zero

That's about it for now - Might add some more thoughts as they come to me.
It's not at all hard for me to see why the MBA's are so wildly popular.

You just sort of "know and feel it" when you use one. It's a supremely refined product that's had years of great iterations rolled into it. It has the opposite of the feel of the newer laptops to me. The MBA feels bulletproof and workhorse like.

My overriding thought is: It's a damned shame Apple is too stubborn to pop a Retina screen/Force Touch trackpad on here, give it some more spec bumps and keep it going as the "MacBook: Reliable Workhorse".

Sometimes Apple being so stubborn (and wanting to force iOS on everyone) really works against what many of us want. It sucks sometimes.

My impression is similar to yours. The 13inch MacBook Air is a damn good notebook. Everything out of the box speaks quality. MacBook Pro would have been great if it had all these ports, same keyboard and a better hinge.
 

Ace2617

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
MacBook Air's were great computers in their prime, and for a lot of people they still suffice today. My aunt has a base model 13", I think a 2015 model. For a brief time, about a year or two, I had an 11" MBA - loved the portability and the computer was rock solid. It handled anything I threw at it, even with just 4 GB of RAM. I eventually moved to a rMBP because the 11" MBA screen was a hindrance for my eyes.

But the 13" in my opinion is still a good computer, and I still see plenty of people using them.
 
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redgreenski

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2017
209
461
MacBook Air's were great computers in their prime, and for a lot of people they still suffice today. My aunt has a base model 13", I think a 2015 model. For a brief time, about a year or two, I had an 11" MBA - loved the portability and the computer was rock solid. It handled anything I threw at it, even with just 4 GB of RAM. I eventually moved to a rMBP because the 11" MBA screen was a hindrance for my eyes.

But the 13" in my opinion is still a good computer, and I still see plenty of people using them.

The only problem is finding a replacement to MacBook Air. For my needs, I simply don't find one in the Apple ecosystem.
 

Ace2617

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
The only problem is finding a replacement to MacBook Air. For my needs, I simply don't find one in the Apple ecosystem.

That's understandable. It's unfortunate if you had hoped to stay within the Apple ecosystem, but as long as you find a tool that works for you, that's what is most important, imo.

I'm somewhat similar -- I'm very hesitant to even consider a retina MacBook or MacBook Pro, mainly because of the keyboards. I won't be upgrading probably for at least two years, though, so when the time comes I'll see what's available.
 
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case2001

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2010
356
52
That's understandable. It's unfortunate if you had hoped to stay within the Apple ecosystem, but as long as you find a tool that works for you, that's what is most important, imo.

I'm somewhat similar -- I'm very hesitant to even consider a retina MacBook or MacBook Pro, mainly because of the keyboards. I won't be upgrading probably for at least two years, though, so when the time comes I'll see what's available.

I feel similar. My MacBook Air 2013 is still fantastic. Looked at the Pro and rMB recently and I cannot give up my machine for them. Hands down this is the best laptop I have ever owned! It is a work of art.
 

redgreenski

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2017
209
461
That's understandable. It's unfortunate if you had hoped to stay within the Apple ecosystem, but as long as you find a tool that works for you, that's what is most important, imo.

Well... I don't have much choice sine I really enjoy OS10. I don't think I will be moving away from Apple ecosystem anytime soon.

I'm somewhat similar -- I'm very hesitant to even consider a retina MacBook or MacBook Pro, mainly because of the keyboards. I won't be upgrading probably for at least two years, though, so when the time comes I'll see what's available.

My feeling is that 2018 MBP will be fixed if not then 2019 has to be. It's unsustainable to have a high failure rate for keyboards and be profitable at the same time. The new MBA 13 inch will last me well beyond that so I will probably give it away to family member.
 

Ace2617

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
Well... I don't have much choice sine I really enjoy OS10. I don't think I will be moving away from Apple ecosystem anytime soon.



My feeling is that 2018 MBP will be fixed if not then 2019 has to be. It's unsustainable to have a high failure rate for keyboards and be profitable at the same time. The new MBA 13 inch will last me well beyond that so I will probably give it away to family member.

That's how I am too. I don't love the 2017 hardware, but because of the software I don't see myself moving away from the Mac. It'll be interesting to see the hardware changes over the next few years.
 
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Mainsail

macrumors 68020
Sep 19, 2010
2,378
3,183
I agree with the OP and many of the sentiments shared in this thread about the MBA. I have a 2014 MBA, and it is a terrific machine....best computer I have ever owned.

Interestingly, the MBA has evolved somewhat over time, and there really isn’t any reason why it can not continue to evolve as Apple’s entry level laptop. As I recall, here is a list of improvements to the MBA since 2010:

Introduction to Present (2010-2017)
  • Numerous Processor and GPU updates
  • RAM on base model from 2GB to 8GB
  • Battery Life improved from 7 hours to 12 Hours
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • Replaced Mini Display Port with Thunderbolt 2
  • Entry price dropped from $1299 to $999
The following are simple future updates that Apple could make that would breath new life into the MBA:
  • Replace TN display with IPS HD Display
  • Replace Thunderbolt 2 port with Thunderbolt 3 port
  • Ongoing Processor and GPU updates
For my purposes, I would rather purchase a reliable and proven MBA with the above evolutionary updates than take a chance on the current rMB and MBP. The reported keyboard failures make them a non-starter for me at this time. Perhaps, Apple will get this issue fixed in the next year or so. Fortunately, I really don’t need to replace my MBA for a couple of years......so, I can wait it out for a while.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Haswell
Jul 29, 2008
64,420
46,857
In a coffee shop.
Getting to spend some time with a friends MBA today for the first time in a long time on an Air for me and a couple things stand out I thought I'd share:

1. Screen, while not my favorite, as others have stated in here, it's certainly workable despite not being Retina

2. The keyboard feels like the most warm and wonderful and welcoming blanket on a cold day. It invites your fingers to rest, think, press with some feedback and it just feels like a bouncy and feedback filled place of heaven for my hands to translate thoughts to the screen. My accuracy on these older designs goes through the roof and my fingers feel great and not sore after a while. Every time I come back to the last gen KB's I'm reminded of what a misstep both the design and execution of the newer ones are, for me anyhow.

3. Size, mainly the screen. I've been around and had a couple rMB's now and I can't state enough what a bad replacement the 12" models are for the MBA users, just based upon screen size. The extra inch(s) at the 12-13" area of the size range are really important. It may not seem like a lot of difference, but the screen real estate feel and the comfort of the size of the MBA makes a big difference. It's no mystery why the 13" laptop sizes are by far Apple's most popular. It's a sensational sweet spot.

4. Trackpad. I definitely prefer the Force Touch trackpads (mainly of the MBP 2015 generation due to size of them) as I've become very comfortable clicking anywhere and being able to set my desired firmness.

5. Love the ports. Miss the ports. Can we please have some useful ports back Apple? Already plugged in my USB stick 2 times with some files we are working with from my friend's Dad. Dongles required? zero

That's about it for now - Might add some more thoughts as they come to me.
It's not at all hard for me to see why the MBA's are so wildly popular.

You just sort of "know and feel it" when you use one. It's a supremely refined product that's had years of great iterations rolled into it. It has the opposite of the feel of the newer laptops to me. The MBA feels bulletproof and workhorse like.

My overriding thought is: It's a damned shame Apple is too stubborn to pop a Retina screen/Force Touch trackpad on here, give it some more spec bumps and keep it going as the "MacBook: Reliable Workhorse".

Sometimes Apple being so stubborn (and wanting to force iOS on everyone) really works against what many of us want. It sucks sometimes.

Great post and I agree with every word.

The only problem is finding a replacement to MacBook Air. For my needs, I simply don't find one in the Apple ecosystem.

Agreed.

I feel similar. My MacBook Air 2013 is still fantastic. Looked at the Pro and rMB recently and I cannot give up my machine for them. Hands down this is the best laptop I have ever owned! It is a work of art.

Likewise; my 2014 MBA is easily the best computer I have ever owned, too - reliable, fast, powerful, portable, with an excellent battery life.

I agree with the OP and many of the sentiments shared in this thread about the MBA. I have a 2014 MBA, and it is a terrific machine....best computer I have ever owned.

Interestingly, the MBA has evolved somewhat over time, and there really isn’t any reason why it can not continue to evolve as Apple’s entry level laptop. As I recall, here is a list of improvements to the MBA since 2010:

Introduction to Present (2010-2017)
  • Numerous Processor and GPU updates
  • RAM on base model from 2GB to 8GB
  • Battery Life improved from 7 hours to 12 Hours
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • Replaced Mini Display Port with Thunderbolt 2
  • Entry price dropped from $1299 to $999
The following are simple future updates that Apple could make that would breath new life into the MBA:
  • Replace TN display with IPS HD Display
  • Replace Thunderbolt 2 port with Thunderbolt 3 port
  • Ongoing Processor and GPU updates
For my purposes, I would rather purchase a reliable and proven MBA with the above evolutionary updates than take a chance on the current rMB and MBP. The reported keyboard failures make them a non-starter for me at this time. Perhaps, Apple will get this issue fixed in the next year or so. Fortunately, I really don’t need to replace my MBA for a couple of years......so, I can wait it out for a while.

And another who says that the MBA is the best computer they have ever owned.

Once Apple gave the MBA a spec update and a battery improvement in 2013, the MBA because the best workhorse computer in their line-up.

Given what I have read about the new rMB, I am not in any hurry to transition at any time soon; I'd far prefer an improved MBA.
 
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mj1108

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2007
642
481
California
Likewise; my 2014 MBA is easily the best computer I have ever owned, too - reliable, fast, powerful, portable, with an excellent battery life.

And another who says that the MBA is the best computer they have ever owned.

Just want to throw my 2 cents here in agreement. My 13" 2013 MBA is the best computer I have ever owned. It all just works. Never had a problem with it in the 4 1/2 years I've had it.
 

redgreenski

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2017
209
461
Just want to throw my 2 cents here in agreement. My 13" 2013 MBA is the best computer I have ever owned. It all just works. Never had a problem with it in the 4 1/2 years I've had it.

Yup reliability is so important. I left thinkpad line due to numerous keyboard reliability issues for MacBook Air 2014 and I never looked back. That thing survived two major juice spills and still worked like a champ for 3 years until the 3rd spill finally killed it few weeks ago.
In the meanwhile I got hooked on OS10 and Windows 10 became a spyware for Microsoft advertising. Apple is the only company I trust not to sell my computer usage habits for ads so they need the to continue making good computers.
 
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interessiert

macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2012
201
171
After MBA Jony Ive destroyed the following laptop generations. Since several years I would like to upgrade from my MBA 13" early 2011 but keyboard functionality, multiple ports and a good size/weight relation keep me still close to it - so we have to wait they turn their strategy back to principals of MBA concept, but I am not so confident about it...

They love their TouchBar - we would be happy with a simple Touch ID sensor, they wish to make it slim like a paper - we would prefer several ports (like Thunderbolt 2/3, USB A, SD-Card) for compatibility reasons of our professional equipment we've already bought over the last years and a working time of 14 hours :)
 
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cincygolfgrrl

macrumors 6502
Apr 2, 2012
346
227
Somewhere In Time
After MBA Jony Ive destroyed the following laptop generations.
It's wishful thinking, but maybe it wasn't Jony—he was off playing architect and lost sight of the MacBook line. Now he's back and maybe he'll fix the mess.

Apple computers should have the absolute best keyboard in the world! The company has lost it's way trying to be thin. There is a limit; Apple have exceeded it.

I continue to use a 2011 11" MBA for most of my typing tasks, It has the best keyboard ever. We all know it's shortcomings vis-a-vis 2017-18 technology, but for tasks short of rendering 4K video it's the perfect computer.

It's so nice to see a positive thread about the MBA, thanks turbineseaplane.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Haswell
Jul 29, 2008
64,420
46,857
In a coffee shop.
I like my 11" Air. The keyboard is surprisingly good for a thin laptop, and I am very picky about keyboards.

I do wish that it was a 16:10 aspect ratio though.

It's wishful thinking, but maybe it wasn't Jony—he was off playing architect and lost sight of the MacBook line. Now he's back and maybe he'll fix the mess.

Apple computers should have the absolute best keyboard in the world! The company has lost it's way trying to be thin. There is a limit; Apple have exceeded it.

I continue to use a 2011 11" MBA for most of my typing tasks, It has the best keyboard ever. We all know it's shortcomings vis-a-vis 2017-18 technology, but for tasks short of rendering 4K video it's the perfect computer.

It's so nice to see a positive thread about the MBA, thanks turbineseaplane.

What can I say?

I am typing this on my 11" (CTO) MBA, easily the best and most reliable computer I have ever had the privilege to own.

Actually, I'd buy another in a heartbeat if they were still available.....
 

interessiert

macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2012
201
171
... Fortunately, I really don’t need to replace my MBA for a couple of years......so, I can wait it out for a while.

I've been waiting since latest 2014 to replace my early 2011 MBA 13" - but no way up to now!

Seems they fear to push "old" MBA with newest technology, because same time they would confess they put MBP and MB to dead end ;-)
 
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