Discussion about the complication of the Air refresh

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by PaulWog, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. PaulWog Suspended

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #1
    Let's assume the Air refresh is exactly as it's expected to be with the Core-i 17W processors. Let's assume there's HD3000 graphics, and possible other improvements as well.

    So now we have on the plate in the 13-inch department:

    Macbook <-- Core 2 Duo
    Macbook Air <-- 17W Core i-processors, HD3000
    Macbook Pro <-- Fully capable Core i-processors, HD3000

    I see a problem here.

    #1: The Macbook Air seems to entirely detract from the 13-inch Macbook Pro in terms of performance. Do you think this is going to be an issue? I mean, the only things the Pro will offer over the 13-inch Air really will be a slightly faster processor (though this gap will be minor, if even noticeable for many at all), a larger capacity hard drive (though again, this gap is closing in), a better screen, and a disc drive. So the main two advantages it has running for it is a better screen and a disc drive.

    #2: The Macbook, if refreshed, will simply be competing with the Air and Pro again. I just don't really know how this would work out. The three products all clash in one way or another.

    I mean, we might see something like this:

    Macbook <-- cycled out, or i3 processor only with basic functionality
    Macbook Air <-- i3/i5 on 11-inch, i5/i7 on 13-inch (I hope i5 is just standard on all, but realistically I don't know what Apple will decide to do... it is a business after all)
    Macbook Pro <-- remains the same I presume

    The tight gap between the three might remain for a while? Like up until the next Pro refresh? Or do you think they may introduce a 13-inch upgrade with a graphics performance choice? Ex. a 6490 option on the 13-inch Macbook Pro (increasing the price of the Pro, but changing the gameplan for how things clash).

    I just can't see the Pro 13-inch continuing later on (on the next refresh) with the same integrated graphics as the Air would have. The Pro 13-inch might as well get cycled out soon enough if that's the case (other than the fact that it's a beautiful laptop).
     
  2. mscofield macrumors member

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    Jul 18, 2008
    #2
    Can't forget the MacBook Pro's dedicated GPU, large HDD, ports.
    These are some serious deals for 'pro's' i guess..
     
  3. mrklaw macrumors 65816

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    Jan 29, 2008
    #3
    He's talking about the 13" though. The pro doesn't have a dedicated GPU.

    I think the screen res is a clear positive to the air though. I think that is a significant complication - a pro machine with lower resolution than the air? I hope they address that in the next update.
     
  4. InfernoZeus macrumors newbie

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    Jul 13, 2011
    #4
    The 13" MBPs, which he's mainly talking about, don't have a dedicated GPU.

    Personally, I agree with the OP. I was going to purchase a MBP, but when I realised the MBA would likely have a similarly powerful CPU and GPU, at half the weight, and equal battery life, it was a no brainer, even for the extra $100.

    I imagine that Apple will drop the MacBook this refresh. If not, it almost certainly won't see another. With a slightly lower powered MBA taking up it's place.
     
  5. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #5
    I so look forward to the actual release, so we can argue over facts rather than mere speculation.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    MBP can also take more RAM (up to 16GB) and is a lot cheaper when you configure the MBA to have similar specs (256GB SSD, 4GB RAM etc).
     
  7. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #7
    OP's comments make sense when you consider Steve Jobs' penchant for streamlining product lines.

    I can see the MBA's becoming macbooks....consumer oriented machines. A couple of choices involving screen size, processor, ram and SSD size.

    Drop the 13" MBP's and give the pro moniker only to laptops 15" or larger, which would have the ability to upgrade ram, HD/SSD after sale (like Mac Pros) and have a more powerful discrete GPU.

    But...I can also see a place for the white macbook in a special education only category, like the eMac. Cheaper and clunkier compared to the consumer models, maybe a bit lower powered, but priced sufficiently low to give primary and secondary schools a (for Mac) reasonably priced machine. Besides, could you actually picture a progressive grade school giving a bunch of third graders MBA's?:eek:
     
  8. lukekarts macrumors regular

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    Mar 16, 2009
    #8
    I still think the hierarchy fits. Don't look so much at the specs, just look at the topline facts.

    Macbook - entry level, laptop - moderate portability, moderate performance
    Macbook Air 11 - entry level, ultraportable - great portability, moderate performance
    Macbook Air 13 - top level, ultraportable - good portability, good performance
    Macbook Pro 13 - mid-level, laptop - moderate portability, good performance
    Macbook Pro 15/17 - top-level, laptop - low portability, great performance


    I still see a need for each.

    - The Macbook will still attract students, who want a desktop replacement in terms of features (cd drive), entry level pricing, and the ability to use OSX!
    - The Air 11 will attract people on the move, who need something ultraportable, and are less worried about performance
    - The Air 13 will attract people on the move who need performance
    - The Pro 13 will attract people who want a functional all round laptop with a bit more performance than the standard MB.
    - The Pro 15/17 will attract people who want a performance laptop/desktop replacement.

    I don't think it matters if specs are similar, people buy laptops on size more than anything, and having a comprehensive selection is no bad thing.
     
  9. paulyras macrumors 6502

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    Singapore
    #9
    I'm pretty confident that all things being equal, apple's content to let the white macbook die on the vine.

    I can't imagine they sell many, so why dedicate manufacturing lines to something that more represents the past than the future (the one legacy of previous designs).

    My guess is there will either be a refresh and renewal of the line with multiple processor and color options or else the air will just swallow it's share over time and it will eventually go the way of the dodo.
     
  10. mrklaw macrumors 65816

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    Jan 29, 2008
    #10
    no it isn't.

    13" MBP is £100 more expensive when upgraded to 256GB SSD, compared to the high end 13" MBP upgraded to 4GB RAM. Close enough in price to be a wash pretty much

    and if the refreshes include 4GB RAM as standard, the air will be £180 cheaper than the equivalent MBP. and the CPU will mean its closer in performance.

    The 13" MBA almost renders both other 13" macbooks obsolete. The standard 13" MB is close enough in price that I'd take the faster, lighter, better battery MBA over it. The 13" pro is similar in price, slightly faster, but with a lower res screen. If you don't need the superdrive I'd take the MBA any day.
     
  11. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #11
    Yes, but this still goes against simplicity of product lines, considering the degree of overlap between the three models. The people who are familiar with the mac line can figure out which laptop they need with some diligent thought and research, but can you imagine the potential confusion for a first time buyer?
     
  12. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #12
    It currently outsells the iMac, Macbook Air and Macbook Pro (not that I am a fan, but that's a fact)
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    How are people able to buy Windows laptops then? There are thousands of different ones! After all, we are talking about three different 13" Macs and a total of five different models. IMO those confusion talks are rubbish. That is why the sales people exist, they are there to help you to select the best Mac for your needs (or just force you to the most expensive one :p). Then there are forums like MR as well which are totally unbiased.

    Finally, Apple is offering more than one laptop at the same time and yet people are complaining about having too big selection. All three lineups still have their market.

    11" MBA can't replace the $999 MacBook. I think the reasons for this are obvious enough so I don't need to repeat them. While $200 may sound like lunch money for some, it really is a lot money for a student for example. If you can save $200 and get a computer that is adequate for you, why not. Money doesn't grow in trees. That is why the 13" MBP isn't the number #1 option for everyone. If 13" MBP was dropped to $999, then sure, the MacBook could go.

    13" MBP and 13" MBA aren't too similar either. The $1299 MBA is great but what if you need more than 128GB of storage and you can't afford the extra $300 for 128GB of more storage? After all, that is $2.3 per GB. $1199 MBP gets you 320GB HD which is more than any MBA as of today offers without 3rd party SSD. Sure, it's an HD, not an SSD, but the fact that SSDs aren't mainstream should be enough to explain this: they are simply too expensive. Not everyone wants to fork out +$400 for 256GB SSD when 250GB HD can be had for less than $50. Yes, I know the performance difference is dramatical but so is the premium of an SSD. Personally, I don't find 256GB SSD to be worth $400, the difference isn't that huge. 128GB for $200 is still okay for OS and apps but more than that would get me a netbook or tablet for instance.

    For some the 128GB SSD is sufficient but there is a huge user base who needs/wants more than that but can't or don't want to pay $1599 for that. Or they need more than 256GB, which means MBA isn't an option at all. I'm ignoring external solutions now because they would just make it more complicated. If you buy a laptop, especially MBA, I doubt you want to have an external HD connected to it 24/7. For the 13" MBP vs 13" MBA debate, you could throw in the RAM and ODD argument too, as well as faster CPU and upgradeability.

    I'm not trying to underestimate any machine by any means. Like I said, they all have their market and users, thus there is no reason to eliminate any of them. If someone really finds the lineup so confusing that he can't make up his mind or ask help from sales staff or forums, then it might be better to just buy an iPad, or no computer at all. Besides, I have never heard any newbie saying that the lineup is so confusing (unless "what should I buy threads" count).
     
  14. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    In the c2d era, the differences between the mba and mbp13" were the same as they will be with i5s. They both had the nvidia 320m, but the mba had a worse processor , just like the new airs will have. The fact that the air is getting sandy bridge doesnt mean it will compete with the mbp in terms of performance, plus it will have a worse graphics card, and costs more.

    The truth is, now and after the refresh you keep paying a small bonus for the portability of the mba, sacrificing performance. For small use like email and ms office and videos etc, the air is fine, you dont need something more. But on the other hand, if the 11" screen is too small for you, you must pay 1300$+ for a 13" air. Why not just get an ssd macbook/mbp for 1200? It will be faster and cheaper.

    So my point is: if you dont care about having the thinnest laptop, ou dont need a macbook air!


    Sent from my iPhone using safari.
     
  15. mrklaw macrumors 65816

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    #15
    or if you want a decent resolution screen but don't want to pay for the 15" MBP, then the 13" air might be perfect even if you don't need portability and lightweight - providing you can manage without the power.

    We need to avoid pigeonholing too tightly - the air isn't just a roadwarriors laptop, it has other values too.
     
  16. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #16
    i wouldn't get too worked up about it. we have a potential redesign in 2012, and they may again send the lines in different directions.

    mbp 13=more hdd, upgradable ram, upgradable drive, optical drive, more ports, faster processor, lower price, bezel-less screen, and backlit keyboard. not everyone needs or wants the air. it is a solid alternative. why does everyone want or expect apple to reduce options for customers?

    the mbp 13 is obviously the pro line straggler, but i could see this changing in 2012. the mba has been dragging along for a while now with an older processor, and now we are finally seeing it leap ahead. product cyles take a while to play out, but that doesn't mean we ought to all be crushed into just two lines.
     
  17. P0stalTek macrumors 6502

    P0stalTek

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    Feb 25, 2011
    #17
    I tend to agree. Choice is rarely a bad thing, and consumers that can't be bothered to do their own research before purchasing such a major item will find no sympathy from me ;)
     
  18. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

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    May 17, 2011
    #18
    I have a 2010 13.3" MacBook Air. For CPU-non-intensive uses, such as surfing the internet, emailing, word-processing, light-weight numerical computing, etc, the Air is a great machine. As I noticed, it even outperforms my 2010 6-core Mac Pro for surfing the internet! (This is probably due to the slow network and/or the SSD in the Air.) Of course, it cannot be compared with the Mac Pro in many many other things. What I am trying to say is that the Air is a very good machine for ordinary daily uses.
     
  19. kolax macrumors G3

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    #19
    The 13" Air has a better screen than the 13" Pro. Higher resolution (1440x900 v the 1280x800 on the Pro). It also doesn't have a sheet of glass over the front, taking away most of the glare issues that the 13" Pro has.
     
  20. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #20
    Agreed. It is also marginally easier to take with you from room to room.:rolleyes:
     
  21. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #21
    resolution is lower on the mbp, but i actually prefer the glossy mbp over the dull mba :)

    again, it is great to have choice.
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #22
    MBP has better color gamut though, the resolution isn't everything.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3991/apples-2010-macbook-air-11-13inch-reviewed/5

    In general the MBA wins though.
     
  23. kolax macrumors G3

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #23
    I owned a 13" Air for a month, and used it along side my 15" MacBook Pro. I couldn't see any improvements in my Pro's screen from the "higher colour gamut". In fact, because of the lack of glare, the Air's screen displayed much richer blacks and more vivid colours.

    This whole "larger colour gamut" is just a marketing thing..
     
  24. da3dl3us macrumors member

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #24
    Honestly, the ONE thing the mbp 13'' needs to make itself the best all-round laptop for its size is a dedicated video card (at the level of a 540m). That's all. And there is room for it, so I don't understand why this is an issue. Especially with a "Pro" as part of it's title.

    If it had that, I would be jumping on the mbp 13'' instead of the mba 13'' without a question.

    It's annoying you have to jump to the heavier mbp 15'' to get a decent dedicated video card in the mac lineups.
     
  25. mrklaw macrumors 65816

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    Jan 29, 2008
    #25
    a dedicated video card that kills the battery life.

    They need decent flexible switching, encourage apps to use QuickSync and perhaps have one version that has a discrete GPU for those that want to game

    HD3000 is a good little chip for general usage, HD playback, video encoding etc.
     

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