If the 13.3" display would have fit into the 11.6" MBA, why wasn't it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macbook123, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. macbook123 macrumors 68000

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    #1
    If I typed up the math on this one correctly, the display in the 13.3" Air should measure 11.28"x7.05". The 11.6" model has dimensions of 11.8"x7.56". This suggests that the 13.3" display would have fit into the 11.6" case with a bezel of around 0.25" on the sides as well as top/bottom. The actual bezel of the 11.6" MBA measures 0.8" on each side, and 0.9" on each top/bottom of the LCD. That seems like a lot of wasted space...

    One naturally wonders what the reason for the wide bezels might be. Is it simply that owing to the tapered edges the top cases can not accomodate larger displays? In other words, did Apple sacrifice ample screen real estate simply to give people the illusion that the MBA is even thinner than it really is? In my opinion, this would have been a horrible design "compromise". However the fact that the same approach as in the old MBA was used for both the new 13.3" as well as the 11.6" suggests that Jobs/Ive are content with the design, so could there be a better reason to leave the bezels wide, and put a 11.6" display in a footprint that could have accommodated a 13.3" one?

    Thoughts/suggestions welcome...
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #2
    If you look at any laptop, or display for that matter, it will have a bezel. I assume that it is for backlighting and wiring purposes. Plus that would require more power to drive that display with less space to put batteries.
     
  3. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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  4. MisturSrs macrumors newbie

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    With a device that small and thin, I think that little extra bezel is a blessing. if it protrudes ever so slightly beyond the screen it protects it when it's closed, and it gives a little more support to the tiny frame.

    A Macbook sans bezel (or heck, any device with a screen) sort of worries me.
     
  5. sparkie7 macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

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    #5
    wide bezel - for strength & rigidity given its sliver thiness
     
  6. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Thanks for your thoughts, but I think your arguments don't work. Let me explain point by point:

    Many other laptops have significantly narrower bezels. Look at any other company of your choice, or at the decade-old Ti-Powerbook. Even the current generation 17" MBP has a significantly thinner bezel.

    My fingers would comfortably fit on a 0.25" bezel when closing it. I don't need 0.8" to grab on to for that move. Do you? It's not like we have to climb up the MBA and lift our bodyweight on that bezel :)

    Do you really think that thin band of metal adds rigidity in comparison to the solid aluminum back of the display? I highly doubt it adds 10%. I'd say it's completely insignificant actually.

    The camera is smaller than 0.25".
     
  7. cathyy macrumors 6502a

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    I've opened up several laptops including Macbooks & Macbook Pros (haven't opened any unibodies up yet though) and there's nothing other than wiring in the bezels. In fact the LCD wire is usually only routed through the bottom bezel. It's usually the WiFi antenna and the webcam's wires which are routed through both sides of the bezels.

    Those wires are extremely thin though and they could definitely fit within 0.25". Backlighting is handled entirely by the LCD, and the LCD is powered by one thin cable.

    I'm not so sure why don't they make the bezels thinner. But whatever reason they had, it definitely wasn't due to space constraints.

    I'm guessing it might have to do with making the bezel more sturdy and rigid. You would have to realize that if it was 0.25" thin, most of that volume would be hollow to allow the wires through it. That would leave it extremely thin at the side.

    But you know, Apple and their love for huge bezels on tiny devices. Just take a look at the iPhone/iPod Touch.
     
  8. mac jones macrumors 68040

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    #8
    They're into bezels.

    I myself get a thrill out of them.
     
  9. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Adding rigidity can't be the reason for the wider bezel.

    Looking at the bezel on my 17" MBP, the material is significantly thinner than the aluminum casing of the laptop. In addition, given that it only takes up a fraction of the surface area, the amount of rigidity added to the display must be less than 10%, i.e. completely insignificant. Even assuming for a second that they use some extremely strong futuristic metal for the bezel of the MBA (driving the number above 10%), one would have to wonder why they don't do the same in the 17% MBP.
     
  10. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #10
    The lens, maybe.
     
  11. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Then why don't they fill the entire display area with a bezel, perhaps leaving a little digital clock window in the center, and leave viewing of data entirely for an external display for folks like you ;-)
     
  12. aleni macrumors 68020

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    #12
    maybe the battery issue. i would prefer 5 hours battery than 3 hours battery with a small pretty bezel.
     
  13. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #13
    No, the entire camera including wiring can be made to be <0.25". And even if they use a bigger one, this only pertains to the top bezel, but not the sides&bottom.
     
  14. bouncer1 macrumors 6502

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    good post op, and good responses to the arguments of the other posters here. kudos.

    I think it wasn't more so for economy than anything else (price points, battery life, cpu etc.), I am sure eventually the air will get a 13.3 screen at the smallest size and the current air will become a new incarnation of the macbook pro.

    As soon as the battery, cpu, materials tech is there and the price is right there is no reason why the smaller air can't have a larger screen and the larger air becoming a macbook pro.

    There's also another point however. The current small air with a larger screen would have indeed been more prone to malfunctions because of it's light weight and slim design, it's an added insurance the extra bezel for manufacturing. Did you by any chance read the report on how they manufactured the new iphone? Foxxcon had to cave in to apple and make the very machines they used for building the prototypes the same ones to use for building the devices. And foxxcon went ahead and bought and engineered such production machines because nothing they had at hand could muster that precision, which of course was very costly not only in money but in terms of time also since the new production took far longer. And they didn't even manage (yet) a white iphone.

    So think about the precision that has to go into actually producing these machines. When you do consider that, you ll have to agree that a smaller screen is far more prudent first, to test any manufacturing defects that might creep up.
    :apple:
     
  15. Hellishness macrumors 65816

    Hellishness

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    #15
    Simple: It would look odd. Ever noticed how nice and professional the bezels look? Imagine a MB(P/A) with a bezel 1/4 the size. I looked for some mock-ups, but I couldn't find any. I remember seeing some earlier and it just looked weird.
     
  16. lensflare macrumors newbie

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    #16
    I was completely on the same page as bouncer1, so to prove my (and his) point I popped of the bezel of my 15" mpb to see what is below it. Turns out though, there is a ~1/2" strip of _very_ solid metal compared to the flimsy sheet metal of the rest of the lid. Not much else though, camera and wiring definitely don't need the space. I recon the bezel probably accounts for 90% of the stiffness of the lid, so to make it thinner, Apple would have to use a lot more metal in other parts of the display.


    PS: No macbooks harmed in the making of this photo, the bezel on my mbp has been loose for ages and falls off if I tilt the screen forward. Sorry for the bad quality, iPhone was all the camera I had handy.
     

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  17. bouncer1 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    does that look weird to you? It's only the classiest mac ever made (after the cube). The bezel is 1.2 cm, no reason why a 0.65 bezel would look trashy on a smaller, thinner, and lighter device. By the same token the thin part of the air would look trashy. It simply isn't.

    [​IMG]

    When you think something is as simple, maybe it's because it isn't, I fall into that trap a lot of times as well.
     
  18. nesuser2 macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

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    #18
    i guess sometimes you just have to figure that if it was possible...they would have done it. Not all companies are this way but apple certainly is...the only thing you can expect from apple in shortcomings is that they will "not deliver" in respect to coming out with another product. A lot of things that are possible are postponed...if they made the product you wanted today, what would they sell you next year? I think you are underestimating how two opposing pieces of material can increase the strength. Take apart a macbook and tell me there is plenty of room in there!
     
  19. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Thanks! This post and image is very informative. I wasn't aware of that strip of solid metal. If this added rigidity is indeed the reason for the wide bezels, I'm completely happy with the new MBA. Can you guys look at the image here:

    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Air-Teardown/598/3

    and tell me if you see this rigidity metal piece as well? I'm having trouble recognizing it in the Step 21-22 images...
     
  20. darngooddesign macrumors G3

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    #20
    So the 13" would have additional value over the 11.6"... Duh!
     
  21. nesuser2 macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

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    #21
    i think he just wants an 11" model...and a 13" model, but keep the same form factor which would then give the 13" addtl value over the 11.. :)
     
  22. EthanNixon macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

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    #22
    I can guarantee you it would be for durability purposes. Any LCD or LED with a small bezel can have serious bleeding issues when presses too hard around the panel. That is why most LCD or LED panels have larger bezels, because if you put too much pressure on one side of the panel you will destroy that particular part of the panel. If the panel were to be larger, it could be damaged by just carrying the laptop around with a tight grip.
     

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