MBA - Time to buy or wait for retina?

725032

Guest
Aug 5, 2012
724
0
Hi guys!

I'm 'bout to order the MBA 13/i5/8gb. I've had a couple of MBA's before and just love the machine!

I'm a student so don't have the money to justify the Retina MBP, also the weight is kindda important, making the MBA a no brainer.

BUT - how are the chances for a retina MBA this year (around october/september along with the normal keynotes?). Personally I don't expect seeing it until a year from now, but rumors has it, that the MBP13 might get an retina update around sep.

I know this is just pure speculation, but any thoughts on this?
0 chance this year... fact
 

NuggetSauce

macrumors regular
Aug 10, 2012
128
1
Apple needs a lower priced laptop aimed at casual consumers, and a high end laptop aimed for power users. I don't see them giving the Air the retina display because it would cannabalize their Pro sales. The Pro needs to have desireable features that the Air doesn't have in order to keep the sales balanced.

Just like Apple won't give the iPod Touch the higher res camera w/ flash, GPS, and 3G internet capability that the iPhone has. If they did, iPhone sales would suffer.

Besides, battery life is more important to the Air than the Pro, and retina displays require more power and consumes more battery life.

I've used the retina display on the iPod Touch, and iPad. While it is gorgeous, there are still not a lot of software for the OSX, or websites that supports Retina. But it's only a matter of time before competitors catch up, and retina level resolution is commonplace, and all software and websites will support it.
 

Beau10

macrumors 6502a
Apr 6, 2008
720
101
Downtown San Diego
My take is it will definitely not happen until Haswell hits which in a ULV variant will be late summer/fall next year.

GPU speed will be up 2.5x and power consumption will be down considerably which may make a rMBA feasible.
 

plucky duck

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2012
576
107
Is current HD4000 iGPU performance enough to drive a retina display on the Air if there were one today? It'll be more likely when Haswell rolls around the corner.
 

magbarn

macrumors 68000
Oct 25, 2008
1,940
1,119
Definitely no rMBA this year. Haswell also won't be a huge power improvement as it's built on the same process as ivy bridge.
 

Roman2K~

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2011
552
16
Is current HD4000 iGPU performance enough to drive a retina display on the Air if there were one today? It'll be more likely when Haswell rolls around the corner.
The rMBP runs fine on the HD4000 at the same resolution as the 13" MBA (1440x900). Choppy in Lion, mostly smooth in ML.

The IGP wouldn't be a limiting factor for a rMBA, driving the built-in display only. I guess it would have trouble driving an external display in addition, though. That may be why the discrete GPU takes over when a monitor is plugged in to the rMBP.

Obviously, a dGPU in a MBA is not an option. So yes, because of the possibility of an external monitor, I think Apple will have to wait for faster IGPs (Haswell).
 

J&JPolangin

macrumors 68030
Jul 5, 2008
2,564
5
Thule GL @ the TOW
Integrated graphics isn't going to power the Retina Display nicely. We'll have to wait until Intel HD Graphics becomes as powerful as today's dedicated GPUs.
...Intel Graphics suck so this will take quite some time to happen...also the batteries in the MBA's just aren't up to powering a rMBA for any decent length of time at this point = I'd say 3 generations at the earliest:eek:

Or it won't happen at all and just be kept on the rMBP line:p
 

Stingray454

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2009
587
104
Haswell seems to add a nice boost to graphics performance, from what I hear. But still - I doubt we'll EVER see a retina MBA. Or, I certainly HOPE not.

I think the 11" screen (and 13" too) are perfect for their use-cases - on the road, on the table when watching TV, in bed, checking email in your summer house, or whatever. Width retina we'd get quadruple resolution, which would mean four times as slow graphics, and probably much more power drain. I just don't think it's worth the trade-off, especially on such a small screen. This would totally kill anything without a discrete gpu, so gaming on the MBA (which currently works ok) would be out of the question. If you want to use your MBA in high resolutions, get an external monitor with retina resolution imo.
 

jksu

macrumors regular
Nov 26, 2009
244
68
so no retina MBA for 2013 but you think it will be IPS screen? or just haswell CPU upgrade for 2013?
 

LYFK

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2007
139
1
Anyone wanting a rMBA now should probably just get the 13" rMBP in Oct.

I think a rMBA is very possible, but the design priority for a MBA will always be, 'thin-ness'. So a Retina-worthy screen will appear if it helps the product meet the ideal criteria of dramatically thinner, better performing & the same battery life.

And if it does, it means that the MBA is not just getting a better screen, but a major redesign, when will that reasonably happen and can you really afford to wait for it?
 

rdj

macrumors newbie
Dec 26, 2007
7
0
Virginia
The following have been true since the first personal computer was announced;

1. No one knows what features the next models will have.
2. No one knows when they will be available.
3. The new models will be faster than the current models.
4. The new models will have larger capacity.
5. If you wait, the prices will drop.
6. No one but you knows your financial situation.
7. No one but you knows if the unknown feature set of the unannounced product will benefit you.
8. If you need it now, buy it now but you will pay more versus waiting. (See Item 5)
9. Buying the previous generation is cheaper.
10. There's no such thing as 'future proofing'. See Items 3 and 4.
You forgot:

11. If you do save some money buying the previous generation, you may find your hardware orphaned by an OS X update with little warning.

I used to subscribe to points 1-10 above and nearly always bought my Macs a generation behind current. Having quite recently learned that I have a perfectly operational and powerful MBP that won't run Mountain Lion because it was made in early rather than late 2009, however, point 11 is now sadly the more significant factor to me.

For me to take advantage of the new cross-machine collaboration features of Mountain Lion with my new (2012) 27" iMac, then, I'd have to purchase an MBA or MBP. Or forego the attractive new functionality of ML with Lion on the old MBP.

It's so close to "that announcement time of year", if your decision might be affected by the new stuff and you can afford to wait before deciding what to purchase, I would. Buying behind the curve ain't what it used to be.
 

jacob.schmidt

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2011
84
0
You forgot:

11. If you do save some money buying the previous generation, you may find your hardware orphaned by an OS X update with little warning.

I used to subscribe to points 1-10 above and nearly always bought my Macs a generation behind current. Having quite recently learned that I have a perfectly operational and powerful MBP that won't run Mountain Lion because it was made in early rather than late 2009, however, point 11 is now sadly the more significant factor to me.

For me to take advantage of the new cross-machine collaboration features of Mountain Lion with my new (2012) 27" iMac, then, I'd have to purchase an MBA or MBP. Or forego the attractive new functionality of ML with Lion on the old MBP.

It's so close to "that announcement time of year", if your decision might be affected by the new stuff and you can afford to wait before deciding what to purchase, I would. Buying behind the curve ain't what it used to be.
Yeah, well.. I could really use a new mac before september, but also have the option to use a windows laptop for a while... Uhmm.. :rolleyes:
 

ayres

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2010
251
16
My guess is that retina screens will be the key differentiator between the Pro and Air lines for the next couple of years at least. In the same way Apple has continued to sell the iPad 2 alongside the new iPad, and the iPhone 3GS alongside the 4/4S, the non-retina Air will continue to sell alongside the retina Pros. There'll be no retina Air until retina screens become the defacto standard for all notebooks.
x2
 

kodeman53

macrumors 65816
May 4, 2012
1,091
1
You forgot:

11. If you do save some money buying the previous generation, you may find your hardware orphaned by an OS X update with little warning.

I used to subscribe to points 1-10 above and nearly always bought my Macs a generation behind current. Having quite recently learned that I have a perfectly operational and powerful MBP that won't run Mountain Lion because it was made in early rather than late 2009, however, point 11 is now sadly the more significant factor to me.

For me to take advantage of the new cross-machine collaboration features of Mountain Lion with my new (2012) 27" iMac, then, I'd have to purchase an MBA or MBP. Or forego the attractive new functionality of ML with Lion on the old MBP.

It's so close to "that announcement time of year", if your decision might be affected by the new stuff and you can afford to wait before deciding what to purchase, I would. Buying behind the curve ain't what it used to be.
Analogous to vendors not developing drivers for older hardware when new releases of Windows come out, although, I can't recall not being able to use the entire PC under the new version of Windows.

Having said this, this is why Windows is so bloated, i.e., they keep dragging support for ancient hardware into new releases of the OS.
 

austinguy23

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2008
613
8
No retina MBAs this year but I'd wait to see if they announce the 13" rMBP at their September event. It's quite possible.
 
Aug 4, 2012
120
0
I myself don't see it happening for a long time. Not enough battery capacity in an Air, no dedicated graphics card, and the price point of the Air would certainly jump closing the gap between Air and rMBP.

And...consider this, the current retina MBP is having a rendering or lag issue so it appears that even the graphics card in the pro is not substantial enough for the display to operate smoothly.

Pass.....