Don't expect a revolution on October 20th.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Spacekatgal, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. Spacekatgal macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2009
    I've had two Macbook Airs, a Rev A and a Rev C. They were great machines for the time. I'm really excited to see a Rev D come out, but I've become convinced it will not be the power machine I'm looking for.

    Here is my three part argument.

    1. Think about the market for the MBA.

    Living here in Boston the only time I've seen Macbook Airs are with college students, always girls, that do not strike me as technical. It seems to me from this forum that the other part of the audience is older, travels a lot, doesn't play games, and primarily uses it for business tasks like word processing and spreadsheets. I don't think power user really figures into the market for the MBA.

    2. The success of the iPad

    I know many people here dislike the iPad, but it's hard to argue with its success. Long battery life and a high amount of portability is part of the reason for this. I think Apple will look at what makes the iPad successful, and will move these concepts to the MBA. I would expect a smaller screen to save weight and battery, a negligible upgrade to 4 gigs of RAM, and a glass trackpad.

    3. Evolution, not revolution.

    I think we all expect the look of the machine to change - which is why I don't think the internals will have been upgraded much. Look at this year's Mac Mini. It looks different, but internally it's pretty much the same. Apple did the same thing when they moved to the unibody style. It looked totally different, but the internals were essentially the same as the previous generation.

    Apple will do the bare minimum they have to do to keep the MBA usable. They will not be revolutionizing it to compete with the Vaio Z, as much as I'd love to see it.

    I've learned from owning the 13 inch Macbook that I'm willing to trade weight for the ability to do PS/IL work, have a battery that lasts all day, and play games. Also, I just cannot go back to the crappy MBA screen. I will always be a giant fan of the MBA, because I think it's a brilliant machine. But you can admire something without owning one. I think it's unlikely they'll deliver the droid I'm looking for.

  2. skate71290 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    Don't take this personally but i do hope you are wrong, I would love to see a 15.4" i5 MBA, or well basically a 15" MBP sans Superdrive! I'm waiting until next Wednesday to see what happens and it will decide if I get a 15" MBP or a new MBA, I need a powerhouse notebook with a larger than 13" 1280 x 800 resolution, but I don't want to sacrifice the awesomeness of the MBA!
  3. Spacekatgal thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2009
    Oh, yeah. I would LOVE to be wrong on this one. It would make me deliriously happy. I'd be buying one that day. ^_^

    Apple's a pretty consistent company though. They use the same playbook. Is there a precedent for Apple completely remaking a machine and making it extremely powerful? The iMac, I suppose.

  4. skate71290 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    What revision of the iMac are you referring to? The move from C2D to i3/i5/i7? Well the only way I see it, is that Apple had to move to the ix range, if C2D wasn't going to be EOL by the end of this year we would probably still be seeing C2D in the bottom end iMacs, but looking at the change in the iPod lineup this year, I really do believe they are running out of ideas, especially the iPod Shuffle, what the hell was that! I hope Steve impresses us with next Wednesday's event, but I'm just dreaming really, I'm going to be pretty disappointed like i was with the iPod Classic... Oh wait there was no revision ;) :(
  5. Adidas Addict macrumors 65816

    Adidas Addict

    Sep 9, 2008

    Well my thought out answer to your post is:

  6. Spacekatgal thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2009
    I guess the slow move from the original iMac to the modern one. It wasn't exactly a power box at first, now it's a better value than the Mac Pro. It's not exactly analogous, though.
  7. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    I don't think it will be anything too spectacular
    One thing I would like to see is hdmi outlike the mac mini has.
    Of course the newer processors and a discrete video card on the 13
    My 2 year old dell has hdni out and it is used all the time. I wishi it had the and i chip to utilize wireless hdmi out.
  8. skate71290 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    The change from the White, Plastic iMac to Aluminium? I thought that was a stroke of genius from the engineering department, which does happen once in a while when Macs are concerned ;) yes the iMacs are incredible, the value is great for a good all-in-one, i guess with the MBA, the biggest problem is that it is for a niche market: the students and people who want an affordable Mac that is useful for day to day purposes purchase the 13" MBP, and the rest buy 15"/17" MBPs, the MBA owners are those that can afford to sacrifice power and battery life for the lightweight and thinness of the notebook and are willing to pay extra, it is, by no means, good value for money. This Wednesday we could see a huge game changer as Stevie unveils a whole new line-up of Mac Notebooks, styled the same way as the MBA with External Superdrives, and nw chassis designs, but again i like to drift off Zach Braff style and live in a fantasy world ;)
  9. theappleguy macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    Having had a MacBook Air Rev A for just over two years and now a 13-inch MacBook Pro I have made a number of observations:
    1. If you compare the SSD MacBook Air to the MacBook Pro, both will perform basic tasks such as web browsing, basic image editing, word processing and other everyday tasks equally (assuming you are within the 2GB of RAM).
    2. The MacBook Pro 13-inch is more powerful and this is noticeable when it comes to video editing, Aperture, games. Additionally, it doesn't overheat to the same extent which means less slowdowns.
    3. However, there are still tradeoffs - in reality, the MacBook Pro 13-inch is still frustratingly slow when it comes to high end tasks like bulk image processing, rendering video etc. Hence, it does not replace a desktop and the benefits it has over a MacBook Air are not as great as some would claim.

    Therefore I come to the following conclusions:

    1. The MacBook Air is ideal for those doing basic tasks (99% of the population) and those that can afford a separate desktop and don't need portable power.
    2. The MacBook Pro 13-inch is ideal for those that need portable power on a regular basis or can't afford a separate desktop.

    Depending on what happens with the MacBook Air over the next six months, I will probably sell my MacBook Pro at the beginning of next year and replace it with a new MacBook Air (more portable) and a new iMac (more power). Give the MacBook Air 4GB RAM, larger SSD options, even a minor bump in speed and sort out the heat issues, and it will be the ideal portable for the bulk of the population (whether they realize it or not). Then again, both lines could merge for the ultimate compromise between power and size/weight. :)
  10. ProstheticHead macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    The MacBook Air would be a great machine at half the price.

    That's all Apple needs to do.

    No changes, no upgrades, just chop the price in half.

    October 20th Spoiler Alert Done.
  11. Spacekatgal thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2009
    I agree with every word you just wrote here. Of course, I'm reaching the opposite conclusion for my needs - but I think you're dead on in this analysis.
  12. n2arkitektur macrumors member


    Jun 25, 2010

    I think you may be more right than you know. You've made a very sound analysis. Given the news of today the MBA is going to be smaller, less powerful, and cheaper.

    I have always noticed at the Apple Store how it is tween girls looking at the MBA. All I could think was, "You don't even know what to do with it." It may be true that boppy girls and executives are the market for the MBA.

    We can only hope that the MBP's will get smaller and lighter sans the superdrive.

  13. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Great post. I think you're bang on right.

    That is sad news unless a thinner lighter 13" MBP launches the same day.

    My question is why get a 13" MBP now. The Sony Z was recently on sale for $1199, it's 50% lighter, more powerful, more ports, ssd, higher res screen, great keyboard, hdmi, express card, with similar battery life.

    I like osx like everyone, but there is great features in windows too. Osx is my preference yes, but if Apple is going to step out of the (13") ultra portable computer market it's time people started voting their wallet.

    13" MBP as it is now - not worth it.

    13" MBP with an i5/i7 upgrade and no other improvements still not worth it. I'll take the 50% less weight, power and ports and better display any day.

    Don't settle for less and let Apple build on their 45 billion cash, demand more and make them use some of that cash to get the hell back into the ultra portable market.
  14. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 8.12; MSIEMobile6.0) Sprint T7380)

    The Apple Insider news is interesting. More wedge shape can't mean thin end gets much thinner, it almost has to mean thick end is if not thicker, at least not losing any size? thick enough to get a strong enough hinge in there. That plus more "defined" less "curved" left/right edges suggests more jacks are possible. Great. All 3 practical considerations have been juggled (ergonomics to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, jacks and general cramming of the volume).... instrad of just that last consideration sweeping the others off the table..

    I don't care about the memory's form, how much capacity does it have?

    Sounds like my wait may have been worth it!

    Now, how legible is that 11.6" screen?
  15. blairh macrumors 68040


    Dec 11, 2007
    This article pretty much makes me 99.9% sure we will see a new MBA Wednesday.

    I think I just need to hear Steve break it down with respect to the guts before I really make any judgments. From the Apple Insider article I think we are going to see something very different from Apple with respect to how the drive within the MBA will essentially affect battery life, etc. No, I'm not predicting a huge bump a la MBP but I think Apple realizes that the iPad is a runway success in part because it's so lightweight and lasts for so long on a single charge.

    I was hoping for less than 2.7 lbs but if the article is right I'll gladly take that. So excited!
  16. loby macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2010
    Probably true about the smaller MBA, but it saddens me because the MacBook Air was the final decision for me to cross over to the Apple world with it's 13" screen. An 11" screen is getting too close to the ipad and might not do well to compete with the smaller laptop trend, unless it has a reduced price tag. Once ipad's become fully functional computers and not "toys", we will probably seen the last days of the MBA line.

    Other than the hinge and over heating problem, the MacBook Air is perfection as far as design and innovation. Change for the sake of change is meaningless, for going to pointed edges etc. to give the sense of something "new" is a waste to a design that already cannot be matched. The current MBA design is the best I have seen since laptop-netbooks have come out over twenty years ago.

    All the current MBA needs is a little upgrade to newer technology with an affordable price and it would dominate the market as the superior netbook/laptop...ever.

    But again, I believe Steve desires to extinct the PC style desktops and laptops and be the innovator once again for the "new" or next generation computer age. Remember, he launched the gui-graphic he desires to launch the "touch" technology age...
  17. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    I'm not seeing how they could pack anything into an 11" MBA that would be enough for serious use. Especially when looking ahead to 10.7. I'd rather see the 13" and use new hardware to free up physical space to fix the overheating problem.
  18. PittAir macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    Don't be so sure we won't see something, using existing technology with a few novel tweaks, that takes the ultraportable space in a different direction.

    With the iPad, Apple said: "OK, the majority of people surf the net, use email and facebook, and watch media on their computer. Let's make something that does that very well."

    Ask yourself, honestly, what do you do when you travel, road warrior? You email, edit documents, give presentations, and manage spreadsheets. You need integration with Office, and you need to be able to rapidly type things and get documents to and from your device.

    Sure, there are a minority of us who are computer guys, who need to code, do video editing, remotely manage networks, etc. Apple is saying to this (very small) minority: "Guys, we love you, but use your Macbook Pro for what you do."

    For the vast majority of us who travel for work, and have a powerful desktop at home and/or work, we need a device: (1) that we can type on, (2) that manages documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with the most popular office suites, (3) that easily gets items to and from our desktops +/- the cloud, (4) that is very light and small but not cramped, (5) that has a long battery life.

    Netbooks don't do that. The ipad, as much as I love it (I have two) doesn't do it. The Macbook series is too big and heavy, and for that reason I have an Air. But the Air has heat issues which make it suboptimal, as we all know.

    The device we will see on Wednesday will likely do it in spades, with my guess being that the major heat issues will be addressed in a novel and really cool way.
  19. blairh macrumors 68040


    Dec 11, 2007
    Well said Sir.
  20. Mhkobe macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2009
    I must say that you are quite misguided, the MacBook Air can be used by power users, but not gamers. Gamers tax the CPU, and GPU constantly, killing the battery. Power users (like myself) use the machine primarily for powerful programs like Xcode (work, and hobby) and Cinema 4d (hobby) that tax the hardware only when the user demands. My MacBook Air can be used to do reasonably fast Compiles, and Renders that seriously tax the hardware, but only momentarily. The Macbook Air is perfect when I travel, and any other time because I only tax it for short moments. I think there are a lot of people like me out there who are not old, or a young girl going to college. That said, I do agree with you that Apple will probably focus more on that young college girl audience etc.
  21. Undo Redo macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    think different

    I'd like to see Apple do away with the Air as a luxury overpriced notebook. A new 11" MacBook Air should sell for around $899, perhaps replacing the current white MacBook.

    I think those who are interested in the smaller notebooks are less likely to demand lots of power. So make the 11" model a little slower and less expensive, not fancier and pricier. With a nice design, good trackpad, full-size keyboard and sharp screen, it could be much better than a typical netbook. And it aught to be, for three times the price.

    Just look what Apple has done with the iPad by pricing it right...millions of units sold per month. :)
  22. Spacekatgal thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2009
    I've definitely used Xcode a lot on my MBA, but didn't really find it powerful enough to work with Photoshop and IB at the same time. That's one small subset of Xcode though, it was fine for compiles. So, I'd agree with you mostly. For someone just doing coding and not IB work, it would probably be great.
  23. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I agree fully with everything you have said. Furthermore, I don't think the OP can see that many actual MBA users have these types of uses... and most of us actual users have a different agenda and usage pattern than the OP has experienced or foreseen. For example, she sees her needs met by an MBP not an MBA, and she has admitted it fully...

    Real world experience with actual MBA users tells me that the MBA is nothing like the iPad. Most of the iPad users I know don't care about the MBA, and most of the MBA users I know cannot stand the iPad. The MBA is for real users who want a full computing experience. I find the iPad to be a joke of a device, and I find the MBA to be the most incredible computer ever, bar none. However, I have different expectations than some... I don't claim to be everyone or have the same needs as everyone else.

    I believe the MBP has given people this false belief of what should be possible of every Mac portable... the problem is the battery in the MBP weighs more than double the battery in the MBA. This means that the features need to be dropped or the weight and thickness of the battery needs to be increased to get the same battery experience. If we believe rumors we're seeing, it looks like Apple is prepared to cut features... like the coveted full-sized display and possibly keyboard too. However, I don't believe anything until I see SJ's present it on stage... I definitely am not going to get worried over what the OP predicts here... or fails to predict anything perhaps... other than disappointment and a big battery or compete loss of feature set.

    Sure, people in general want a 10-hour battery. Heck, I want a 500-hour battery that runs on a drop of water (cold fusion), but that doesn't mean it's possible within the size constraints given the feature set I expect WITHIN THE CURRENT AND RELEVANT TECHNOLOGY FOR BATTERIES.

    I know MBA users in several different industries (a fair amount are CEOs and executives of companies, but many more are engineers, accountants, students, professors, web designers, and even some average "prosumers"), and none of them complain about the battery... what they actually complain about is RAM, because they want to run Windows virtually as they need an app or two that is only available on a PC. They also complain about drive space, because amazingly they want to install two OSes on their MBA for the exact same reason I just mentioned. After that, they want the glass trackpads and higher resolution displays. Now, this is NOT a scientific study of say 1,000 users (required for a more scientific research analysis)... however, I believe, FROM MY EXPERIENCE AND ACQUAINTANCES WHO ACTUALLY OWN AND USE MBAS ON A DAILY BASIS, that this is fairly accurate. Are there outliers, yes, but most of these don't actually currently own an MBA... they just want to complain about it.

    I think we need to wait and see exactly what we get before we need to declare things like the OP has declared here.
  24. puma1552 macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    It's pretty simple to figure out--those people didn't do their homework, and bought the wrong computer to begin with.

    What are you on about now? Stop ranting and raving over nothing and putting words in people's mouths. Take a break and walk away from the computer. We already know that no matter how much the next MBA sucks, and how massive a disappointment it surely will be to people who still can't figure out how Apple works, that they will:

    A) Buy one immediately
    B) Navigate from Apple's ordering website to here to complain about how much it sucks and didn't deliver the moon.

    It's going to be evolutionary. Maybe a little better form factor, maybe another port or two, and a slight bump in HD/RAM/CPU/battery. Probably a new storage method, but at the end of the day that really won't matter to the end user. Don't expect 8 GB of RAM--20% chance, and that's being generous. Also that picture shows a black hinge, which would indicate a black bezel.

    It will just be an incremental upgrade with a fresh form factor. Maybe this year they will finally figure out how to source a screen that isn't complete and utter line-filled junk.
  25. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Trying to get serious work done on an 11" display is like wearing shoes that are too tight.

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