How long before Apple EOLs the Macbook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by addictive, May 2, 2015.

  1. addictive macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    #1
    The release of the Retina Macbook and no upgrade for the Macbook Air's display seems to show Apple intends to remove the Macbook Air at some point in the future but how long before the Air goes End of Life (EOL)?

    Given the release of new models of the Air in early March 2015 with the Broadwell chips and the fact Apple tends to only revise their iterations once a year can we expect the Macbook Air with Skylake processors around March 2016? Add a further 12 months to sell through that years model and could we see Apple remove the Macbook Air around the end of 1Q 2017?

    Apple and their desire for high margins will want to protect the premium price they can sell the new Retina Macbook. In 12 months there is a chance with any second edition model Apple slightly reduces the price of the new Macbook.

    Surely by the end of 2016 Apple will be hard pushed to still be selling a non Retina macbook Air at that point. Consumers just will not tolerate a low-res display on a Mac in 18 months time.

    Apple will need to replace the current Macbook Air's entry price point of $900-$999 with another model. Could the Retina Macbook be that computer by early 2017?

    At that point you have the Retina Macbook and Retina Macbook Pro as the simplified laptop range for Apples portable computers.
     
  2. diggy33 macrumors 6502

    diggy33

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    Aug 13, 2011
    #2
    I can see them dropping the 13-inch MacBook Pro (non-Retina) before they do away with the Air line.
     
  3. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #3
    I'm thinking we'll see an evolved rMBP first (a bit lighter/trimmer, wider performance gap with the 12" rMB) - perhaps early 2016. Perhaps concurrently with that the 13" MBA goes away (price point too high for a non-Retina/mid-performance model, with a trimmer rMBP less justification on the portability side). The 11" MBA could hang around for a while longer (early/mid 2017), in order to help maintain price point on the 12" rMB (performance improvements, rather than price cuts tend to be the pattern in the second year of a model).
     
  4. newellj macrumors 601

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    Boston, MA, US
    #4
    This is all guesswork here...but I'd expect a 128/4 version of the rMB later this year or next year, which could bring the price point down enough to justify discontinuing the MBA line entirely.
     
  5. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #5
    Are you assuming any other revisions (another port, Skylake, etc.?) or just a paring down of the specs in this scenario?

    I admit, though it's paralysing me a bit (ok, a lot) on the purchasing side, this kind of speculation is fascinating to me. I have my own thoughts, but there are no "facts" behind them.
     
  6. MetalCores macrumors regular

    MetalCores

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    #6
    Same here. To be honest I have no idea why it hasn't been dropped yet.
     
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #7
    Just buy what you want now. It's not like any laptop Apple sells is bad.
     
  8. bingeciren macrumors 6502a

    bingeciren

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    Sep 6, 2011
    #8
    If they drop the MBA line, it will annoy a lot of current MBA users.

    As it is, 12" rMB is only comparable in size and portability to the 11" MBA. Yet, it falls far too short in performance and connectivity.

    If Apple will not add at least one more port and boost the performance of the 12" rMB to the level of the MBA, I will not be a replacement or an upgrade to the MBA.

    Honestly, a lot of the MBA users would be perfectly happy if Apple just put that 12" display on the 11" Air and be done with!

    I am getting sick and tired with Jony's pointless obsession with thinness at the cost of usability.
     
  9. newellj macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
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    Boston, MA, US
    #9
    My crystal ball barely works for what I was guessing - Skylake, for mobile platforms, I wouldn't dream of guessing about. I would expect Gen 2 of the rMB to include a lower-spec base machine even without more ports or Skylake Core M.

    Buying tech is such a crap shoot. :eek: I just returned a rMB and sold my late 2013 rMBP and bought a 2015 (13") rMBP, in part because I absolutely loved the trackpad and hated the keyboard and I think there's a *chance* (maybe very small?) that the next rev of the 13" rMBP will adopt the new keyboard, and I wanted a 512gb SSD.

    I'm probably wrong about what will happen to the next rev of the 13" rMBP, but here's another important thing to remember: just about any laptop you walk into the Apple Store and buy today is going to give you years and years of use (guaranteed 3, probably 5, maybe 7 years) as long as you don't run out of storage space in a way that you can't address with other solutions (external drive, wireless cloud, etc.).

    ----------

    I owned one and used it extensively for 13 days. I've owned two 11" MBAs and one 13" MBA. It is not true that the rMB "falls far short in performance." In terms of connectivity, that's true only in terms of how you and I define it. When the first MBA was introduced without an optical drive or an ethernet port, people said *exactly* the same thing - there are posts in the rMB forum as recently as the last few days from people who still complain about the loss of the ethernet port and the optical drive, so you're never going to make everyone happy.

    ----------

    This is the absolute truth. Your biggest risk is spending too much or buying too much hardware for what you need, not too little. The very few for whom there is such a risk already know what they need and are in absolutely no danger of underbuying for their needs.
     
  10. MacBoook160, May 2, 2015
    Last edited: May 2, 2015

    MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #10
    ----------



    It's true, I know. I know what specs I want, which is good, and looking through all the comments here has solidified that (I can't tell you how much I appreciate that). I'd like a maxed out version, and I'm fine with getting a refurbished model, 2013 or later, because with enough storage and RAM (and the ability to get an extended warranty), that will last me a long time.

    There's a store near me, so I've gone in enough to play around with the rMB vs the Air, and as I'm operating from an early 2011 MBP, I'm not used to/spoiled by a Retina display; any Air past 2013 is likely to have a better screen than I have now.

    I'm keeping an eye on prices in the refurb store to see if the model I want comes down in price a bit. But all this Skylake talk is kind of exciting. You're both right though that it almost doesn't make a difference. I'd be extremely happy with the Air as it is.

    newellj, I hadn't realized you returned your rMB. Congratulations on the new rMBP 13. It's a beauty of a machine. I was playing with it the other day.
     
  11. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

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    Jun 20, 2009
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    Lincoln, UK
    #11
    I wouldn't be surprised to see the 13" MBA dropped around the time of WWDC. There are usually a few hardware changes around that event. Something disappearing when there is something else new seems likely.

    I think the 11" MBA will stick around until the new MB can get close to it's base price.

    Finally got around to having a go on the new MB a couple of days ago. I found the keyboard OK, but I had been using only iOS touch screens for a day or 2 as I was away on business. It was bound to have soft keys compared to a glass screen.

    The new MB does look fantastic, but it does need another port or 2. Another USB type C on the opposite side as a minimum. Preferably 2 each side.
     
  12. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Brasil
    #12
    I see the 2018 Retina Macbook without any port. Just wireless charging, 10Gbps Wi-Fi, AirPlay 4K@30Hz, 24h of battery life.

    Oh, yes, there will be an outdated 11" Macbook Air available for saudosists, although USB 3.0 will be slow then.
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #13
    The product lineup near the 13" MBA's market hasn't changed for years. There's no reason for Apple to drop it now.
     
  14. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

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    #14
    There is the new MacBook. The gap between that and the 13" rMBP is very small compared to anything else Apple make.
     
  15. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I'm surprised they still sell the 2012 MBP. It was introduced in June 2012!
    It will turn three this Summer.
     
  16. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    Jul 29, 2011
    #16
    My guess is that they have some large customers who require a laptop with a replaceable hard drive or some other "legacy" feature of the MBP and are obliged to keep it on the books. After all, if you need a laptop that can take 2TB of storage, its the only Mac option...

    Yes, and they were right: You could live without an optical drive, ethernet etc. provided you could connect them externally when needed - but the single USB port on the original MBA wasn't enough for that. The first MBA was a cute, expensive, low volume executive toy for the first year or two of its existence before it was re-invented in 2010 as the entry level Mac laptop (which included gaining a second USB port).

    I think the rMB is going to come of age in its second or third incarnation, when it gets a better processor and (hopefully) Apple have come to their senses and squeezed in a second USB-C port. Probably, by then, there will also be a ton of USB-C accessories around - but the cheaper ones probably won't have USB-C through ports so that second port will still be a must.

    I agree with others here that that's when the MBA will disappear - when the rMB has been improved and cut in price and the 13" rMBP has its next round of liposuction (Thunderbolt 3 is going to switch to new, thinner, connectors that can carry more power - but if I were Apple/Intel I'd be looking for ways to provide Thunderbolt via USB-C connectors rather than introduce yet another connector).

    Personally, I'd already go for the 13" rMBP over the Air - its still a very thin & light* machine and the display is great. I also tried one of the new ones with the force-touch trackpads and was impressed with how convincing the "taptic" stuff was.
     
  17. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #17
    I believe that the Macbook Air will disappear BEFORE the rMB drops in price. Part of the pricing of the rMB was an attempt by Apple to adjust prices upward.

    Just as Apple did with the rMBP line, they have higher starting prices than the non-retina versions they replaced... and those rMBP's have not dropped in price. Obviously different specs but the bottom line is if someone needs to replace their 15" MBP they will pay more, much more for a new 15" rMBP than they did for the one they are replacing.
     
  18. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #18
    I'm not sure I understand your comment correctly because the gap between the rMB and the rMBP is enormous. Huge gap in size, processing power, ports. There's probably a bigger difference between these machines than between the 13" and 15" rMBPs.
     
  19. darngooddesign macrumors G3

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    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #19
    I just picked up a 2015 13" Air, maxed out, to get a feel for how the most powerful one meets my needs. I'm coming from a 2008 Pro so I'm not spoilt by the screen either. I had a work provided rMBP for a while but was able to go back to an SD screen without any issues when I left that job.

    I put the two side by side with the same high quality photo in full screen and I have to say that aside from everything being a little sharper due to the higher pip, the Air's screen is almost exactly the same. There is a slight difference, but that's either the Air being the tiniest bit better or worse depending on the quality of my screen.

    I have 15 days to decide if I'd rather the 13" rMBP, and if I do it's strictly for the screen. I've wanted an Air for the longest time, which I prefer due to the tapered design because it slips into my padded camera messenger bag better, so I just thought I'd try it out. So maybe I'll get the rMBP, or maybe I'll return this and get a slightly older refurbed one.

    The new MB was never a contender if for no other reason than they ditched the MagSafe and it has one measly port. I'm not the kind of person who thinks it should match a MBP so power is more than fine for an ultramobile. I believe Apple could have smoothed adoption by including one USB dongle so people could use their existing devices; you can't even plug an iPhone into it. Considering they made MagSafe1>2 adapters its just plain weird Apple didn't release a MagSafe>Type C adapter. I listen to a lot of music and the MacBook's speakers are pretty good; it reminds me of the really nice sound my 12" Powerbook had with that reflected subwoofer.
     
  20. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #20
    The new MB could not replace the power of even a basic air. Without a fan the new rMB throttles the CPU after any intensive work.
     
  21. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #21
    Is that a statement based on the theoretical, or on your first-hand experience?
     
  22. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Observed in many professional reviews.
     
  23. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

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    #23
    Apple has 2 13" laptops. The price range overlaps, with less than 20% difference in bottom end prices. They have less than 20% difference in weight. The ports are not too dissimilar. They both have dual core i5 processors.

    The Pro has shrunk a lot since the Air was introduced. There is not enough apparent difference for most customers. To bring back the size difference they have introduced the new MacBook. The Air's USP no longer exists.
     
  24. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #24
    Thanks. That's good to know. Sometimes the theoretical of the spec sheets don't accurately reflect reality.
     
  25. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #25
    Okay. The way you wrote your last post, it sounded like you thought the gap between the new MacBook and the 13" rMBP was minimal.

    If you are comparing the 13" MBA to the 13" rMBP, that makes more sense.

    But even then, Apple has been offering both products for the last 2+ (?) years and don't seem too concerned about it. No reason for them to stop doing so now.
     

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