If iPad can have long battery and retina why can't air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by questionwonder, May 6, 2013.

  1. questionwonder macrumors member

    May 6, 2013
    What I don't fully understand and maybe someone can explain it, but if the iPad can have a really long battery life and a retina display why can't the Macbook Air have a retina display.
    Now, I understand that the CPU needs more juice then the iPad but most of the juice comes goes into running the display and given the Macbook Air has a much larger battery it seems like it should be an easy implamentation?
    Please someone explain the hardships of building a air with retina?
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Someone can probably quantify this, but CPU, screen, and probably OS has something to do with it.
  3. ctdonath macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    The bottom-end MBA 2012 has a Geekbench score of 5642; the iPad 4 scores 1776 ... that's over 3x faster, a big hit on battery life right there. Under that strain, would be hard to quadruple the pixel count AND maintain size AND perceived throughput. Remember, the iPad 3 seemed strained near its breaking point on power consumption when introduced; the iPad 4 seemed to take the demands better (with a 2x faster processor).

    Consider also that the iPad is a 100% :apple: design, while the MBA is not far from the Intel reference design. :apple: could do stuff with the tablet that they can't do with a more industry-standard design, precisely because they could dictate everything from processor to application language.

    At this point, given the MBA resolution is about the same as the original iPad and otherwise comparable in battery & power, I don't see why the next MBA version won't be retina. It will, however, be straining limits in ways the 2012 version couldn't cope with. To keep way ahead of the competition, :apple: must push their remaining notebooks to retina, soon followed by desktops, ASAP; if they don't do it on this upcoming refresh, they'll be behind the competition about 6 months later.
  4. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    The iPad is not near the computing powerhouse a MBA is. The MBA can get ~6 hours on a charge, so that's not bad.
  5. questionwonder thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2013
    I understand the MBA has a more resource consuming cpu, but the battery is like 4 times bigger!
  6. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Yeah but look at everything else it needs to power. It's not as easy like it was putting a Retina screen in an iPad.
  7. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    The 13.3" and 11.6" screens are 88% and 43% larger respectively. That's one reason.
  8. MattA macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    between the Intel CPU, a SSD, The motherboard architecture, memory, etc, everything in the MBA is going to require more to power. The iPad is designed from the ground up as a mobile computing device.

    Remember, the iPad is a large iPhone while the MBA is a small computer. They are two totally different things doing two different tasks. The CPU in the MBA alone is going to draw significantly more power than the A5/A6.

    Personally, I think it's amazing that Apple has made a notebook computer with the power and battery life of the MBA. It's really amazing if you think about it.
  9. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    U should apply a job at Apple.

    While we are at it, one may ask why did iPad Mini not receive a retina?

    Simple answer: Cost/Market.

    But it will come, that's just the progression of things.
  10. questionwonder thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2013
    I think I understand that the iPad and MBA have parts that are different and the iPad is essentially a large iPhone, but still both devices have a CPU, memory, ssd, wifi chip, etc. So can someone please explain in mroe detail, if possible, how difficult it would be to build a MBA with retina? And if the iPad has a 9.7 inch display and the MBA has a 13.3 inch display how is that 88% larger? "The iPad was designed as a mobile computing device" well the MBA was designed to be portable as well!
  11. Big Dave macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    Crestview, Fl
    The MBA probably will one day have a retina display. Apple has a trend of making products thinner/sleeker. I bet they are working on it but haven't figured out how to do it. Stay tuned, eventually it could happen.
  12. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    The iPad is volumetrically pretty much a battery and a screen. There's *very* little space taken up by the actual "computer" part:


    The MacBook Air is already similar, inside - mostly battery in the main chassis (but with more computer, fans and other things taking up more room than in an iPad):


    One problem is they need 50% more battery to power the retina screen. (15" MBP = 74 WHr battery, Retina 15" = 95Whr battery). So where does that extra battery fit when the current battery for the MBA is taxed as it is.

    If you used the current MBA battery with a Retina MBA I'd imagine you'd get like 2 hours battery life max. And some people already complain about 4-5hours they do get, sans-retina.

    Another problem is the thickness/weight. More battery = more weight/thickness. Also, the Retina screens are thicker (remember, iPad 3/4 are thicker than the iPad 2 due to the retina screen). Not exactly optimal on a MBA. Also think about the 13" Retina MBP - which is thicker than the 15" rMBP. That's due to them having to cram in all the internals, plus extra battery, and having nowhere to go but UP.

    Those are just my layman's observations about the logistics. I'd be thrilled if they made a Retina MBA, but I'm not holding my breath - especially for the next "update cycle" - which looks to be when Intel releases Haswell - in June/July.
  13. MacReloaded macrumors 6502


    Oct 31, 2007
    We talk about the area of the display and not the diagonal measurement.
  14. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Macbook Air has:

    - Much much more power hungry CPU, which also requires a power-consuming fan to cool.
    - More power consuming parts on the logic board like Thunderbolt, Ethernet, and USB chips.
    - More room taken up by the logic board and fans
    - Room taken up by the keyboard, trackpad, and hinge.

    The retina iPad has a 42.5 watt-hour battery capacity.

    The 11" Macbook Air has a 35 watt-hour battery capacity.

    The iPad just has more room for battery and less room taken up by other things.
  15. yensteel, May 7, 2013
    Last edited: May 7, 2013

    yensteel macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    The difference in size between 10 inches and 13 inches may seem trivial, but it adds up. If you have a 1x1 size square and double the dimensions each, the total area will be 4 because of 2x2. 1.41 x 1.41 would be equal to 2. It's a little bit more complicated because the aspect ratio is different but the idea is the same.
  16. cosmicjoke, May 13, 2013
    Last edited: May 13, 2013

    cosmicjoke macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
  17. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    It's just not possible right now, and if you look at the industry as a whole, you'll see the proof.

    Look at the Microsoft Surface vs Surface Pro tablets. The Surface Pro is spec'd similarly to a MacBook Air, and gets similar battery life (4-6 hours). Meanwhile the Surface RT uses a less powerful CPU more in line with pure tablet usage (comparable in design, if not specs, to Apple's tablet CPUs). And it can get 9-10 hours, much like an iPad.

    Now look at all of the ultrabooks and convertible ultrabooks in the industry, like Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500 and 700 series. Same idea: the lower end model is priced and powered more like a tablet, with netbook grade CPUs, and the higher end model is priced and powered by intel Core processors, like the MacBook Air. Pretty much across the board, the netbook/tablet grade processors can hit 7-10 hours of battery life, while the Core i5/i7 powered laptops all get between 4-6 hours of battery life.

    Things should improve in a few months when Haswell is released.
  18. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
  19. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    Define long battery life. My MBAir 13" has a very very long battery life.
  20. SMDBill macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2013
    I think we'll see it, but I'm not sure it'll be with Haswell CPU's. Between the CPU demands that can be placed on a truly multi-tasking machine and the video demands that get added to those demands (like Flash, games, etc.) the demands of the screen on top of that would drive the power consumption to the point the form factor would probably have to change significantly with today's battery technology to contain the amount of power to carry it for long-term usage on a charge.

    It's probably not far off, but right now I'd guess people who buy the MBA opt for it heavily because of its speed, silence and, most importantly, size/weight. Sacrificing that last one with larger size and heavier batteries to carry that extra video/heat load would push it up into MBPr range, which is already covered by those machines.
  21. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    The engineering already exists to produce a retina macbook air with 10 hour battery life. What doesn't exist is the volume and supply needed to fit into Apple's supply chain at their price model. The world is about supply chain and money not about innovation.
  22. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    that's absolutely right. another way to look at that is triple constraint.

    speed, price, quality - at best you can 2. you can't have all three.

    You HAVE to have it now and it HAS to be the highest quality? Well then you're going to pay. If you don't want to pay and you still want high quality, then you're going to wait. And finally if you have to have it now but you don't want to pay top dollar, then quality is going to suffer.

    That is a truth as old as time.

Share This Page