MacBook Air 2019 and beyond

What do you think about the future of the MacBook Air

  • ARM based starting in 2020 or 2021

    Votes: 12 24.5%
  • Minor spec bumps until the next design change

    Votes: 30 61.2%
  • It will be left to languish like the last version

    Votes: 7 14.3%

  • Total voters
    49

Dave245

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
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The MacBook Air got a BIG update with last years release, but what do you think the future of the MacBook Air is going to be? Before last years big update the Air was left to languish.

  • Do you think Apple will update the Air this year with a spec bump? I was thinking maybe they could add an i7 option this year?
  • Will the Air be one of Apple’s ARM based Macs going forward?
With the 2018 MacBook Air getting a fan isn’t it possible that Apple could beef up the specs this year? Add both a higher clocked i5 and i7 option for the build to order process.

We all suspect that Apple has their own ARM based chips in the lab and probably working machines. Starting in 2020 or 2021 isn’t it possible that Apple could make the MacBook and MacBook ARM based machines?

What would you like to see im future MacBook Air updates? This year and beyond.
 

auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
Ooh, guessing games!

Apple might fiddle with MBA specs; but anything that draws more power hits the battery numbers, so I think the marketing droids will believe they have to tread a fine line.

As someone using the MBA 2018 and a MBP, I like the battery usage distinction, so more power doesn't interest me (in the MBA). If I need grunt, then a MBP is the right choice.

I've said before that I think the MBA is overpriced. It should be 1,000. So, if Apple insist on the 1,200 entry, then I think they should make that either 16 Gb or 256 Gb – I actually believe that 16 Gb is wasted on the MBA, but ymmv.

I find the ARM speculation odd. If Apple do it, then so be it. The downside is that apps will have to be recompiled for that, so there'll be a long period of transition and some apps won't make it. It's one of those things that'll have me waiting for a couple of years to see how the land lies.

I'm happy with the MBA as it is. It's currently overpriced – so buy it when discounted – and the camera is crap, so don't buy it if that's important to you.
 

msp3

macrumors regular
May 9, 2015
246
95
Take the 2 recent MacRumors news articles, MacBook Pro will be 16" for 2019 and there was some Core i7 MacBook Air caught benchmarking on the internet, and you arrive at the logical conclusion: When the new MacBook Pros for 2019 come out, the no Touch Bar models will be discontinued (13") and replaced with a high-spec'd MacBook Air in Core i7.
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
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Take the 2 recent MacRumors news articles, MacBook Pro will be 16" for 2019 and there was some Core i7 MacBook Air caught benchmarking on the internet, and you arrive at the logical conclusion: When the new MacBook Pros for 2019 come out, the no Touch Bar models will be discontinued (13") and replaced with a high-spec'd MacBook Air in Core i7.
It would certainly make sense to remove the none touch bar Macbook Pro, it was filling the void of the Macbook Air and now the new Macbook Air is here the none Touch Bar Macbook Pro doesn't need to exist.

It will be interesting to see if Apple add an i7 option to the Air, they often do small spec updates mid cycle. However anything too powerful will have an affect on battery life so i'm assuming they will tread carefully with that one. The Air does have a fan tho so it can handle higher speeds better than the 12" Macbook so who knows what will happen.
 

alanlau007

macrumors member
Jun 9, 2009
59
21
Irvine
Since MacBook Air is more targeted towards general consumers, I seriously doubt the transition to ARM until most apps would work well. In the meantime, I think Apple may make the T chip more powerful and handle more stuffs to help out Intel chipset.

Currently the fan in MBA is not directly connected to the heatsink, (it's better than none) but still not very effective. That has to change if Apple is putting more powerful chip in MBA. And a quad-core Y series would be a nice choice if Intel makes any.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,653
4,006
I don’t know the Air will be updated this year at all, 18 month cycles seem to be the norm outside of a few core products (the MacBook Pros seemingly the only macs present on that list). Maybe they will update the MacBook this year, then the air again next. Alternate but update one of them yearly? I don’t really know where the ARMbook will come in, they could literally come at that from any angle, I don’t think you can even make an educated guess on that.
 

Dave245

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Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
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I don’t know the Air will be updated this year at all, 18 month cycles seem to be the norm outside of a few core products (the MacBook Pros seemingly the only macs present on that list). Maybe they will update the MacBook this year, then the air again next. Alternate but update one of them yearly? I don’t really know where the ARMbook will come in, they could literally come at that from any angle, I don’t think you can even make an educated guess on that.
Well the 12” MacBook didn’t get an update last year, maybe there is a redesign for this year? Also the iMac hasn’t been updated in over 600 days, the longest it’s gone so far.

The Mac Pro is this year as well, on top of that is the redesigned MacBook Pro with a 16” screen, as mentioned by Ming Chi Kuo.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,653
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Well the 12” MacBook didn’t get an update last year, maybe there is a redesign for this year? Also the iMac hasn’t been updated in over 600 days, the longest it’s gone so far.

The Mac Pro is this year as well, on top of that is the redesigned MacBook Pro with a 16” screen, as mentioned by Ming Chi Kuo.
Yep sounds like quite a bit of hardware for this year; perhaps giving further reason they might not want to update the air until next?
 

Dave245

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Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
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Yep sounds like quite a bit of hardware for this year; perhaps giving further reason they might not want to update the air until next?
Yea this year we could see big upgrades to the machines that haven’t been updated in a while. I was thinking it might go like this:

Mac Pro - all new design
MacBook Pro - 16” new design
MacBook 12” - new design
iMac - new design or big spec bumps!

There’s a reason Apple haven’t upgraded the iMac and MacBook 12” in a while, normally they get small spec bumps, but last year was nothing. I’m hoping big upgrades are coming, possibly at the same event as the new Mac Pro that Apple said was a “2019 thing”
 

Dave245

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Sep 15, 2013
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Spec-updates and perhaps a slight price drop. I'm content with the new Air line, so looking forward to any updates we might see!

Have had mine now since November and it's been absolutely perfect.
I think you’re right about the price drop, I read this which quotes Tim Cook as saying, the goal is to lower the price of the $1,200 MacBook Air. My guess is it will drop to around $1000, much like the original MacBook Air did many years ago.
 

Dave245

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Sep 15, 2013
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After Apple released minor updates this past week, i think if they were going to update the Air with a processor bump they would of done it during the 3 days of updates (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). My guess now is a 2020 processor bump.

I've got some free down time from work on Monday, i'm planning on going to the Apple store, test out the Macbook Air a lot more and then decide. If it can handle my work flow and the keyboard is good for me with long periods of typing, i will pick one up in April.
 

Dave245

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Sep 15, 2013
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Ok so i visited the Apple store in Birmingham yesterday during some down time, i spent a good chunk of time with the new Macbook Air. The brightness really isn't an issue so i don't know why people on the forum are trying to make it one, the same goes for the quality of the screen. You really can't tell a difference between the new Macbook Air, the 12" Macbook and the Macbook Pro unless you line them all up and look very carefully, even then it is only slightly better on the MacBook Pro with the colour.

The Macbook Air has Touch ID, which is a brilliant feature (altho i can't help thinking it will short lived because Face ID will probably come soon enough). The Macbook Air is also very light, i picked it up and was shocked at how light it felt even holding it in one hand. It's a very portable device that you could take anywhere, open up and use.

The next thing i was shocked by was just how fast the new Macbook Air is, i spent a while trying to slow it down, i opened a number of tabs on Safari, iMovie, Garageband, nearly every app that was on the display machine. It had no problems when it tested out iMovie, i couldn't load my own footage onto the machine but there was already a test footage on there, i scrubbed across the timeline, added effects and in the background i also had Garageband open, Pages, Numbers and Keynote, it handled it with ease. I was shocked because the comments on this forum make it sound like the new Macbook Air's specs are trash. For my work flow i think the Macbook Air would be more than enough.

I'm glad i went to the Apple store and did a more in-depth look at the Macbook, i wasn't a fan of the gold colour and would personally buy this machine in Space grey. I left wondering what the 12" Macbook was still doing in the lineup, the new Air is cheaper than the 12" Macbook, it has Touch ID and the bigger 13" screen, which to my eyes looked great.

After yesterdays visit and hands on time, i think the new Air is a solid update and i really don't understand the hate that some people on this forum have given it.
 
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auxbuss

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Feb 18, 2014
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I often work with the MBP and MBA side-by-side (as I am atm), the MBP screen is better, but it doesn't matter (for most use-cases). I prefer Touch ID to Face ID, because of speed. Touch ID is instant. When sitting on a sofa with the MBA, as you say, you can pick it up with one hand, stick your finger on Touch ID, and you're away; no need to line up the laptop and stare at the camera, etc. Same when working with it to the side – Face ID would be a nuisance in that case. And yes, it's fast enough for most things; if you need power, buy an MBP.
 
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Dave245

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I often work with the MBP and MBA side-by-side (as I am atm), the MBP screen is better, but it doesn't matter (for most use-cases). I prefer Touch ID to Face ID, because of speed. Touch ID is instant. When sitting on a sofa with the MBA, as you say, you can pick it up with one hand, stick your finger on Touch ID, and you're away; no need to line up the laptop and stare at the camera, etc. Same when working with it to the side – Face ID would be a nuisance in that case. And yes, it's fast enough for most things; if you need power, buy an MBP.
Exactly, a lot of the reports were saying how they used an underpowered processor in the new Air, yet it doesnt feel like it. I couldn't test how fast Touch ID is on the Air, obviously they don't have it set up in store. But if it's as fast as it is on the older iPhone's and iPad's then it will be a winner.

I came out of the Apple store surprised and thinking how much of a great update the MacBook was given. I will be buying one in the future that is for sure. After spending a long time with different computers (including currently using the Surface Pro 6, something I regret) this one felt the best for me :)
 

auxbuss

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Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
Touch ID on the MBA is much faster than on my iPhone SE. Tap -> screen opens. I wasn't at all interested in this feature when buying the MBA; I'd miss it now.

Thinking: Part of that is because, when on battery, you can set the display off low because getting it back is so quick. Better battery life and better ergonomics. (Probably not such a benefit when using it as a virtual desktop – as I do with my MBP, where Touch ID would just be a nice-to-have.)
 
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Dave245

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Touch ID on the MBA is much faster than on my iPhone SE. Tap -> screen opens. I wasn't at all interested in this feature when buying the MBA; I'd miss it now.

Thinking: Part of that is because, when on battery, you can set the display off low because getting it back is so quick. Better battery life and better ergonomics. (Probably not such a benefit when using it as a virtual desktop – as I do with my MBP, where Touch ID would just be a nice-to-have.)
That’s good to know, it’s one of the things I couldn’t test in store for obvious reasons.

Overall I was impressed, even with the 8GB Ram it still felt fast, yet it can be configured to 16GB Ram.
 

auxbuss

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Feb 18, 2014
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I have the 8Gb MBA (16Gb in the MBP), I've never missed it.

(I think I've said here before that the 8Gb manages memory differently to the 16Gb; at least, it's more aggressive at move things to Compressed Memory. Whatever it's doing, it does it well enough that it's never been noticeable to me. 8Gb is an awful lot of memory. If you need it, you should know that you need it, ime.)
 

Dave245

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Sep 15, 2013
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I have the 8Gb MBA (16Gb in the MBP), I've never missed it.

(I think I've said here before that the 8Gb manages memory differently to the 16Gb; at least, it's more aggressive at move things to Compressed Memory. Whatever it's doing, it does it well enough that it's never been noticeable to me. 8Gb is an awful lot of memory. If you need it, you should know that you need it, ime.)
I’ve always been lead to believe that more Ram is better, especially for longevity. I did notice tho that on the MacBook Air I tested at the Apple store, I was able to do a lot with the 8GB it had.
 

auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
I’ve always been led to believe that more Ram is better, especially for longevity. I did notice tho that on the MacBook Air I tested at the Apple store, I was able to do a lot with the 8GB it had.
In the situations where you need more than 8Gb of working memory, then, for sure, it'll do a world of good. For the majority of use-cases with the MBA, I'm not sure that's the case.

No idea about "longevity". Average application memory usage seems to have peaked; I've not seen any growth in the past five years. (I certainly did see growth in the five years prior to that.) But every user is different.
 
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MacRazySwe

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2007
819
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I agree with much of what has been said in here. I was one of the people who complained about the processor. I was expecting a Kaby Lake Quad-Core 15w processor, and was rather disappointed when it arrived with a 7w Dual-Core processor.

That was until I tried it and realized it's a non-issue. I went to the Apple Store and really tried to push the machine, by opening all apps at once, every single one, including "Maps", iMovie and others. There was no lag what-so-ever. I also tried iMovie side-by-side with the MacBook Pro, and in actual usage, there was no major difference (although the MBP will be 2x faster when exporting files, something to consider if you do video editing).

Most apps I use don't utilize more than two cores anyway, so in daily usage it will feel pretty much the same as the Pro, but with better battery life, less heat and a thinner/lighter chassis. Looking at the Single-Core benchmarks, the Air and Pro are quite close I believe.

However, I will add that the MacBook Pro has a better screen. Side-by-side, you can notice a difference in contrast I believe? Text looks a bit sharper on the Pro.

Still, I think the Air hits a really good sweet-spot in terms of price, performance, and battery life. I'm also happy I get to enjoy Touch ID, without the Touch Bar (not for me).

Really happy with mine so far! :)
 
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mtectail

macrumors newbie
Mar 27, 2019
19
3
Germany - North sea
Ok so i visited the Apple store in Birmingham yesterday during some down time, i spent a good chunk of time with the new Macbook Air. The brightness really isn't an issue so i don't know why people on the forum are trying to make it one, the same goes for the quality of the screen. You really can't tell a difference between the new Macbook Air, the 12" Macbook and the Macbook Pro unless you line them all up and look very carefully, even then it is only slightly better on the MacBook Pro with the colour.

The Macbook Air has Touch ID, which is a brilliant feature (altho i can't help thinking it will short lived because Face ID will probably come soon enough). The Macbook Air is also very light, i picked it up and was shocked at how light it felt even holding it in one hand. It's a very portable device that you could take anywhere, open up and use.

The next thing i was shocked by was just how fast the new Macbook Air is, i spent a while trying to slow it down, i opened a number of tabs on Safari, iMovie, Garageband, nearly every app that was on the display machine. It had no problems when it tested out iMovie, i couldn't load my own footage onto the machine but there was already a test footage on there, i scrubbed across the timeline, added effects and in the background i also had Garageband open, Pages, Numbers and Keynote, it handled it with ease. I was shocked because the comments on this forum make it sound like the new Macbook Air's specs are trash. For my work flow i think the Macbook Air would be more than enough.

I'm glad i went to the Apple store and did a more in-depth look at the Macbook, i wasn't a fan of the gold colour and would personally buy this machine in Space grey. I left wondering what the 12" Macbook was still doing in the lineup, the new Air is cheaper than the 12" Macbook, it has Touch ID and the bigger 13" screen, which to my eyes looked great.

After yesterdays visit and hands on time, i think the new Air is a solid update and i really don't understand the hate that some people on this forum have given it.


I really like your post and understand that 12" is must have for portability as MB is!!! Dunno why 12" comes with ONE legacy USB3.1 Gen1 (not to 10Gbit/s) port instead of TB, I thought its the fan-less design, but MBA fan in '18 series dont use any direct heat pipe (as MBP) so its kind of ~worthless to as it only move out warm air produced by the components instead of cooling / focusing on main CPU/SSD/RAM... anyway ... thats always in 1st charge of design, even in the past...

Before I moved to Air 2018 I was really looking for an 12" upgraded - by Apple to TB maybe 2 ports one L/R, but this never happens and now as Air '18 is out the cute, nice "ultralight" 12 MB looking like "aged" in couple of minutes. Dont understand me wrong I dont need 4C/i7 with 3GHz in in a MB, but the chance to connect 40GB/s devices is future prove than having 5GB/s in 3.1 Gen1 as you cant connect TB devices its for me in my situation worthless...

Owning now MBA '18 with 16G RAM and 512 SSD and I am fine so far as peaks are handled by CPU even as this CPU is slow base frequency and not comparable to MBP / Mini. Now BUT I have 2x 40GB TB3 ports for ETH or BM eGPU.... and other nice things, external port bandwidth is important to me to future proof. I would purchase the MB 12 if Apple updated them with USB-C TB! Cheers!
 
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BuCkDoG

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2013
535
177
I think they will simply release small spec bumps for awhile. They took a very safe approach with this design and I think a lot of people appreciate it besides the keyboard. Everyone know about the issues with the keyboard, but there is nothing you can do about that until Apple decides to fix it correctly with a new design.
 
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Koh Phi Phi

macrumors regular
Nov 15, 2017
157
324
Apple is usually very conservative with updates following a new design. As an example, see the iPhone 6, 6S, 7, 7S and 8. Or, another example, the MBP Touchbar 2016, 2017 and 2018. All updates are simply progressive spec bumps to keep up with the natural hardware evolution.

I think the MBA will see a similar line of updates of the following 2 or 3 years: minor yearly spec bumps until the next big design refresh.
 
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