Buy MBA now or wait for news on MB updates??

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by MacVirgin2011, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. MacVirgin2011 macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010

    Im new to the world of Mac and I have to say this site is a godsend.

    I'm going to buy my frist Mac. I have spoken with a rep about the MacBook but hearing that MBA is the "next generation of Macbooks" Im thinking I should be looking at one of those.

    Power and memory wise my main tasks are word processing, music, internet, etc - nothing too taxing.

    Is there any suggestion that the standard Macbook will be updated in this quarter? Or is it on the way out completely? For me the fact that it has the superdrive and better specs for more or less the same price as the MBA has just stopped me from going out and buying the MBA now.

    Also could the MBA be updated from the core 2 processor drives to the icores?

    Thanks for all your help. Im kind of addicted to this forum now!
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The new MacBook Air was just released in October, so most of us doubt it will be updated before July. If it is, it might well get the Core i-series chips since the Core 2 Duo has been discontinued.

    It's all just speculation right now since no known leaks are out there, but many of us expect an updated MacBook Pro sometime in Q1 based on Apple's history of making some kind of announcement in January or February. Odds are pretty good that the next version will get the Core i3 or i5 since Intel's new "Sandy Bridge" version of those chips is being officially released this month. Plus, the 15" version already has the previous version of the Core i5, so the 13" is looking a bit long in the tooth.

    That said, for your stated needs, the current MacBook Air is likely sufficient. Are you planning to get the 11" or 13" version?
  3. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    It took Apple a long time to get the i5/i7 going in the MBP. I would not be surprised to see Apple launch the iPad2 and take their time (and milk those better i5/i7 margins) on the MBP and we won't see a Sandy Bridge MBP until this summer.
  4. MacVirgin2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010
    Well that is the next big question.

    Obviously the 11" gives the greater portability but I work on long documents and spend 80% of my working day looking at pdfs, digital journals, word docs etc etc so Im thinking maybe the 13" might be a better bet. The !3" also allows more memory and power but the 11" might be better for the travelling I do.

    On a separate note what is the thinking of the white macbook for the next update? Will it be updated? Im struggling to find any info on the white macbook at all.
  5. iDave macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2003
    I think the white MacBook will be discontinued, replaced by a new model similar to the current 13" MacBook Pro, only without an optical drive or Firewire. I suspect it'll be similar to the Airs only a bit thicker to accommodate a spinning hard disk. At least that's what I hope for. :)
  6. philxor macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2010
    I went through the same dilemma because my 1st gen MBP is getting long in the tooth, although I was debating between the 15" MBP w/i5 or i7, waiting for an updated 13" MB/MBP, or getting the 13" MBA now. I evaluated what I use my MBP for today (similar to you, along with Parallels) and decided the 2.13GHz/4GB MBA was enough to last me a couple of years. My optical drive has been broken for almost 2 years on my MBP so that wasn't necessary.

    I'm using the MBA for work/home and to me the 11" was just too small to use every day.

    I'd go with the MBA now.
  7. Shasta McNasty macrumors 6502a

    Shasta McNasty

    Jan 5, 2010
    Southern Cali
    They are honestly two different types of computers that the true answer to your question is really upon yourself. If you are a "power" user and this will be your only computer i would wait for the macbook pro. If its your 2nd, or you are a light to normal user, than the air would be perfect. Im the latter and i love my air. Easily best computer ive ever used.
  8. stockscalper macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2003
    Area 51
    Well, Intel just announced SandyBridge today and is bragging how great the integrated graphics perform in initial tests. Anatach, says otherwise. It seems Intel's tests were done at the lowest graphic resolution. At higher resolutions graphic performance sucks. Looks like two steps forward and one back.

    I'm happy with the CPU graphics combo and total performance in the current MBA line. Down the road if Apple chooses to go with a low power SandyBridge processor tests will bear out how much, if any, performance boost the new chip gives.
  9. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009

    For the tasks you do both machines will be about equal. You aren't doing anything that will really push the CPU or the hard disk. That said the air will feel slightly faster to you than the macbook does due to its flash storage. The air is a series of compromises they make to get it to be thin and light. If you need a thin and light computer because you are travelling alot with the computer then get the air. If you rarely or never travel with it then I would get a refurb macbook. I just returned my 13" air and got a used macbook pro. It definitely is larger and heavier but other than that it was cheaper and is a better laptop in every way. That would be even more true if I put an aftermarket SSD in it to give it flash storage
  10. MikePA macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2008
    No offense intended, but people have been asking this question since the first computer was invented. While the specifics change, the question doesn't, i.e., "Should I wait for the next version of X?"

    1. No one on any public discussion forum knows what will be in the next version of X.
    2. Only you know what you need to run on the next version of X.
    3. Most often, what you WILL run is simply a guess based on what you are running now.
    4. The next version of X will ALWAYS have better specs than the current version X or be less expensive or both.
    5. Very few people, if any, are capable of evaluating the impact of a specific hardware change on their workload, e.g., the CPU PROJECTED to be in the next version of X will be twice as fast or, worse yet, the bus speed will be twice as fast. How would that affect what you do?

    All devices have certain design criteria. One of the main MacBook Air design criteria is small size and low weight. There's no inside information contained in the previous statement. That's obvious by looking at the product. Thin, light, small that's the MBA that's why it doesn't have a built in Superdrive. Are you looking for thin, light and small? If not, why look at an MBA? Do you need a built in Superdrive? The MBA is not for you.

    The larger laptops, from every vendor, will almost always have better specs than the smaller, lighter, thinner laptops. Why? Better specs usually means faster CPUs, more memory and bigger hard drives. What do these imply? More power and more heat which means bigger batteries and fans. You want a laptop with the best specs, don't look at an MBA.

    There is no perfect laptop because we all have different requirements. If you travel 50 weeks out of the year and are tired of lugging a full sized laptop through the airport, along with your carry on luggage, will you have the same requirements of a game developer who travels once a year and spends most of their time at a desk? Of course not.

    Only you can define what your needs are, how much you have to spend and when you need the device.
  11. MacVirgin2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010
    I'm glad I helped you get that off your chest...

    I'm thinking that I might go for the standard white MB. I've defo decided a 13" would be better than a 11" for me so that means either the 13" MBA or the 13" white MB. The fact it has a superdrive and the better specs for better money swings it for me. I guess I just wont be as cool as the cool kids.
  12. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009
    the white macbook is by far the worst value. Get the macbook pro, it doesn't cost much more and you get ALOT more

    better screen color gamut
    sd card slot
    firewire 800 port
    4gb ram instead of 2gb
    aluminum case
    backlit keyboard
    included cleaning cloth for the display
    external battery meter (LEDs)
    IR reciever for apple remote
    ambient light sensor to dim display automatically depending on light conditions

    those differances are definately worth the $200 more the pro costs
  13. fibrizo macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    Wow a cleaning cloth? Seriously? I have to say that if I was on the edge in deciding the cleaning cloth would have tipped me over lol

    But to be honest, I think if you can get a macbook plastic for 799, it's the best deal for many people. The people I recommend that model to usually could care less about all those features. ie they don't own or use an apple remote, complain when the screen gets brighter or darker automatically, never use the laptop in the dark and heck usually don't move the laptop and leave it plugged in, have no idea what gamut is, use mostly the web and word, and would have no idea what to plug into the firewire port (they barely get usb).

    Granted I personally own a pro, but for the vast majority of computer users who don't care about something other than price and it working well, the macbook is a good choice if you can get it cheap. Remember these people can look and and purchase base model HP + Dell laptops happily without retching.
  14. MikePA, Jan 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011

    MikePA macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2008
    Some things should be common sense, but they are not.

    Sadly, far too many people think their requirements should apply to everyone and when someone disagrees, they ridicule. 'better specs for better money' [more money?] is a subjective statement, not objective.
  15. Mac Composer macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2010
    1. Macbook Air -- great machine but no way to upgrade the components if that's a factor. You're paying extra here for the lightweight components.

    2. MBP - slightly heavier, more options to upgrade. Wait for the upgrade if this is your choice.
  16. MacVirgin2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010
    Hi guys

    Thanks for all the replies.

    Here is where Im at:

    White Macbook - Its the most economical option. For the power and memory (and superdrive) it is still prob my best option. Aesthetically its not as appealing as the others but for the low power tasks I mainly carry out it would be fine. I also watch a lot of Seinfeld and Curb DVDs on my current laptop so the fact it has a superdrive makes it an option. But its plastic.

    Macbook Pro - This was never really an option for me considering I always see it as mainly for the professional photo and movie making guys. More expensive (but then again as someone commented you get what you pay for regards the specs). The major issue for me is the updates to be announced in this quarter and I really need this laptop ASAP.

    Macbook Air - This was my only choice when I wanted a 11". After reading around it would seem that the 13" would be better for my work (academic research) - which opens up all the options above really. Still the fact that it would seem to be the "future" of Apple's vision and it has the more modern components makes the 13" Air is where I'm leaning at the moment.

    You can tell I'm from the world of humanities compared to the other guys in here that are more from the world of science!
  17. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009

    The macbook pro isn't really for pros at all, its just a better macbook. Even better than that its cheaper than the air. The air doesn't have more modern components than the macbook or the macbook pro...both use the same battery technology, same screen technology (although the pros screen is better), same graphics chip, same cpu technology (although the macbook and macbook pro are faster), same unibody construction, same aluminum as the pro...the only thing that is different is that they have switched to flash storage and a higher resolution screen. IMO the higher res screen does nothing for me except makes it harder to read text and the flash storage is really nice but you can remove the hard drive and add flash storage to a macbook or a macbook pro if you want. The macbook is more economical than the pro, but the air is the least economical of all. The macbook isn't more economical than the pro if you take into account the fact that if you multitask much at all you will want 4gb of ram which will have to be added to the macbook pro, if you put photos on it you will need to buy an SD card reader and carry it around with you, and the resale value will likely go down if they discontinue the plastic macbook. If the pending revision of the macbook pro is scaring you off think about this:
    1. The current macbook pro is still a better computer than the current air except its bulk.
    2. The white macbook will probobly be updated at the same time as the pro or eliminated all together.

    Other downside of the white macbook pro is the fact that the keys are white, go into best buy and look at one they always look filthy.

    In the end buy what you want. I just returned a 13" air and got a pro...I bought the 13" air to replace my iPad and the iPad I originally bought to replace a last gen macbook pro. I have owned a bunch of these things and imo the macbook pro is the best. The air was nice also, but much more expensive than the pro and it lacked many of the features that make the pro a nice laptop (backlit keyboard, ambient light sensor etc). If you are doing acedemic research I will assume that you need to give presentations from time to time. Buy an apple remote and you can control your presentations from the remote...but only on the macbook pro because its the only one that has an IR sensor. Need to finish a paper late at night before the deadline, the macbook pro will dim the screen to a non-eye straining level automatically, the keys will light up so you can see what you are typing none of the other ones do that. Need to open a large powerpoint file, while you have word open, are searching the web and listening to the 4gb of ram in the pro would help keep that running smooth compared to the regular macbook. Don't rule the pro out due to cost, the base pro is still $100 less than the base air and has far more features than the air or the white macbook
  18. size100, Jan 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011

    size100 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2010

    MBP versus MBA screen.
    Screen resolution is a preference, but most people will like the higher resolution screen of the MBA.

    Backlit keys are also a preference. He may not need them. But, some people on this forum will dump MBA for lacking this feature. For me, its tacky, annoying, and not needed.

    As far as auto-dimming, lots of users will turn it off. Including myself.

    4gb has been discussed many times on this forum and aside from people saying 'get 4gb cause you can't upgrade later' lots of people will never use more than 2gb and getting 4gb for students is not a MUST. You can open a lot before you hit that 2gb barrier. Its beyond normal use for most people. Opening what you just said will probably not hit the 2gb barrier.
  19. MacVirgin2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010
    Thanks for the great replies!

    Well I'm not completely sure what to do now. I hadnt looked properly at the pro and now that I've been doing a bit of research it looks like it could be the best option. Obviously the upcoming update is what is putting me off it slightly as I need a new laptop ASAP and its likely to be a few months yet until the new models are available for purchase.

    For the money, however, the pro seems the best option. Its worth saying that this will be my only machine and so the extra specs are very attractive. It seems to me that a lot of people are buying the Air as their 2nd machine.

    Furthermore it looks like you are really paying for portability over anything else with the Air. Or are the reduced specs just the reality of a smaller and lighter machine? I guess they are.
  20. size100, Jan 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

    size100 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2010
    Do you need a light up keyboard?
    Do you need firewire?
    Do you need auto-dimming?
    Will you ever want to upgrade to 8gb ram?
    Is 1400 versus 1200 going to break the bank?
    Is a higher resolution screen important to you? or looking at that link posted, which screen would you prefer?
    Does size and weight matter to you?
    Do you do proc intensive things were the clock speed hit will hurt you?
    Do you have the plan and money to upgrade MBP to SSD?
    With the SSD in the MBA it will feel a lot faster than MBP for a lot of tasks compared to the 5400rpm hd on the pro. You will be aching to put a SSD in the MBP. Which will set you back a few hundred.

    As far as the MB, I don't think its worth paying a premium for a laptop that is made out of plastic.
  21. MacVirgin2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010
    Hi Size

    I take it then you would recommend the Air? The back lit keys and dimming screen are luxuries rather than neccessities but the fact that it has a superdrive is a plus. Would I notice such a difference in not having the SSD?
  22. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    If you can get to a brick & mortar Microcenter store, the MBP13 is $999. So it's more like $1000 vs $1400 in cost comparison of the base MBP13 vs 4GB/128GB MBA.

    I ended up choosing the MBP13 since it was to be my sole personal system. I have use for firewire (transfers from DV camcorder) and 8GB ram (I use Parallels sometimes), so those were a factor as well as the fact that 128GB wasn't quite enough for my needs (which would bump the MBA13 to $1700 vs $1000 for the MBP13). Add another $90 to the MBA for an external Superdrive if you feel you'll need one. Even adding $450 to the MBP13 for a 240GB SSD, which I haven't felt a strong need for in my usage, I'm still at a significant savings with the MBP.

    Also, with Microcenter, if you watch the website for your local store you might be able to snag an openbox for another $100 savings. The tradeoff is it is something someone else returned in their 7 day return period; you lose maybe a week of Applecare. Microcenter re-images the system so it's as-new and you can inspect it before committing to purchase. This is what I did in November and have been very happy with my choice.
  23. size100, Jan 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

    size100 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2010
    That is a very good point. Forgot about that deal. My microcenter is at 10% tax though and I get edu or EPP thats why i forgot about it.

    I wasn't recomending either. The way you answer those questions should sway you in one direction or another. There are people on this forum that have backlit keybaord as one of the most important features of a laptop. I turn backlit keys and dimming screen off. The other poster didn't care about the increased resolution of the screen. Some people love the resolution. Some people don't care about the size either. Some people carry it around often and the extra size and weight can be annoying.

    SSD is a HUGE upgrade from a 5400rpm hd. Most people getting a MBP will want to upgrade to SSD eventually if they know what's good for them. I've also seen quite a few HDs fail on laptops, they don't take well to being moved around. If I got another MBP i'd upgrade it to an SSD eventually. Which would increase the cost a few hundred.
  24. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Ouch. 6% sales tax here at Microcenter or Apple online order. B&M Apple store is 7% or 8% depending on which one I go to. I have EDU and EPP discounts available, but they both were still higher.

    Indeed. Waiting for price/GB to drop down some more.

Share This Page