My thoughts of the next MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jackyyeow, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. jackyyeow macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    Hi, I've been lurking around a while, and now registered to post something.

    Here're some of my thoughts on the up coming MBA. These also based on the 1st generation Samsung Series 9 (it's just refreshed) as comparison:

    1. Apple will have to take care the markets for the MBP lines, as well as the latest MB. They'll have to set the role of the MBA very carefully by not eclipsing the sales of any other product lines.

    2. CPU wise, Apple most likely not going to stick in powerful CPU simply because of heat issue (especially when turbo boosted) and the stacked IGP. MBA is targetting those who need a lightweight laptop with least heat and most battery. Reading the review of the 1.4GHz SB i5 Samsung 9 series, the battery is comparable to current MBA 13" (productivity seems to have a full hour less battery life on the Samsung, while it has some edge over the MBA for video playback), and I believe Samsung did a hell of a job to maximize the battery life. The battery life probably going to be better than current C2D MBA if the same i5 1.4GHz is used on the next MBA, though, I can imagine anything more powerful going to suck more battery juice. MBA buyers will not want to see drop in battery performances.

    3. Since the CPU isn't going to be powerful, means it's not much point to stick in more RAM than the current 4GB because most likely users are not going to do intensive works. 8GB of soldered RAM going to take more spaces, as well as increase the cost of the MBA quite a lot.

    4. Since the whole setup isn't going to be a powerhouse, there isn't much of a point to include thunderbolt port too since it's designed as a portable device. Expect to see users complaining battery juice being sucked using thunderbolt port. Refer to point no.1 - w/ and w/o thunderbolt port CAN determine the sales of the MBP versus MBA. Though, it's always nice to see USB3.0.

    5. The 3000 HD IGP probably sucks with windows drivers, I doubt Apple can improve it any further to match the old combination even if they did a good job on the latest MBP but that's probably largely due to the powerful CPU. Laptopmag review indicated that the 3000 HD in the Samsung 9 series yield only 14 FPS playing WoW, MBA with same setting (I'm supposed) output 53 FPS in comparison and in higher resolution (1366x768 vs 1400x900), and that's a huge differences if you ask me. On top of it, CNET review indicated that CPU test resulted similar performances compared to the 1.86GHz C2D. So when we minimize the CPU performance differences, we can start to see the 3000 HD probably sucks on playing games, perhaps even for casual gaming which is what the majority of MBA owners will do.

    It isn't an easy move for Apple, especially with the restriction of forcing the manufacturer to use the 3000 HD IGP. Apple probably doesn't have a choice to stick to the C2D because buyers will be sad to see old technology being used yet again although it doesn't always mean new is better. That said, we always hope for the best!

    PS: Sorry if I sound like I'm being uninformed or even complete clueless, because for most part, I'm not as geekish when it comes to hardware performances. Feel free to correct me if anything I said was wrong. Thanks!
  2. jlblodgett macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008

    ZERO chance of USB 3.0 in the next generation MBA. Apple isn't adopting USB 3.0 (so far).

    As far as I know, Thunderbolt isn't a powered port. In other words, all of the devices which would utilize the Thunderbolt port have their own dedicated power supply, and do not rely upon the Thunderbolt port for their power. So I don't think battery usage is that much of a concern for the Thunderbolt port. Also - the MBA already has the mini display port, which is being replaced by Thunderbolt - so there's no design change necessary for adding the new high speed transfer port.
  3. jackyyeow thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    That's kinda sad, lol...

    Since Thunderbolt isn't a powered port, it'll render it completely useless when using it as mobile device, another strong point of not including the thunderbolt port I'm supposed?

    I'm aware of the thunderbolt/DP combo, however I believe it's going to add cost too, and it'll need extra space for the chip, though not that it's anything huge. Seeing it as the least priority for mobile user, I doubt it'll be included, and perhaps as mentioned, to protect the sales of MBP too.
  4. Kyllle macrumors 6502

    Apr 25, 2011
    I'm pretty sure TB is a powered port. I could have sworn I read somewhere that it can supply up to 10 watts of power, so you won't have to plug in the TB device to an external power supply.
  5. jlblodgett macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008

    Mobile devices don't need to connect to external hard drives? Mobile devices don't need to connect to external displays?

    Just because it is a "mobile" device doesn't mean that it never has to be connected to anything!

    The Macbook Pros are every bit as "mobile" as the air - and they all have the Thunderbolt port.
  6. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Apple often cannibalizes sales from other lines. There is a great deal of overlap in terms of performance characteristics, ESP. Btw. The mb, 13" MBA, and 13" mbp. I don't think they are terribly concerned. But, I also wouldn't be surprised to see the mb or 13" mbp disappear.

    As for thunderbolt, I doubt it will be a big issue if it is included. No peripherals yet, and when they do come out, they will be more expensive and likely plugged in at home. I hope they include it, because I'd like to use it myself.
  7. jlblodgett macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008

    You are correct. Thunderbolt provides 10 watts of power.

    I am not an electrical wiz - I have no idea what could be powered with 10 watts of power. I am doubtful that an external monitor or external 1+ TB hard drive could be powered with 10 watts.
  8. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    USB 2.0 outputs 2.5w. I currently own a toshiba external HD which is 1TB in size and its powered soley by the USB port.

    A monitor will not be powered by 10 watts.
  9. FX4568 macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2010
    If a company will not cannibalize its own products, another company will.
    That the rule pretty much.

    Anyways, I will be using my MBA for a good 2 -3 years and sell it once Ivy Bridge or the next thing comes out that can actually match my specs or overshadow them.
  10. Kavrocks macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    I wouldn't say zero chance, highly improbable yes. Apple isn't adopting it because Intel's Sandy Bridge processors do not provide support for it.
  11. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    You have the most negative line of thought I have ever seen. It's amazing how negative you are. Every point you make is leaning toward a disappointing conclusion, or stems from a disappointed mindset.

    I will address each point.

    1) Apple will not have to limit their Macbook Air line. They will simply refresh it, and it will fit into its category as it should. They aren't going to need to keep certain features out of the Macbook Air, or buff up features in another Macbook, simply because the Macbook Air looks like a desirable product over another Macbook. Apple themselves have said that the Macbook Air is the future of the Macbook; it is a possibility that the regular Macbook could eventually be cycled out once processor/graphics technology gets to requiring less power/outputs less heat. That isn't this very moment.

    2) It is already very clear as to what Apple's options are as far as processors are concerned. There are 17w versions of the i3, i5, and i7 processors on the Sandy Bridge architecture. I don't really know what you're getting at here? You speak about how it's not going to be powerful, then you run off into a tangent about battery life? Yes, this is an ultraportable laptop. You got the idea and now understand how ultraportables work: they balance battery life & performance! Good for you? Is this a major discovery? I'm sorry, I don't mean to bash... but seriously? Did you really write all that to say the obvious?

    3) What kind of user needs 8GB of RAM in an ultraportable laptop? Yes, it would seem 4GB will be more than sufficient.

    4) Are you saying Thunderbolt is pointless because the Macbook Air isn't going to be as fast as say... a Macbook Pro? It's still going to feature a very fast processor. These 17w processors are by no means something to laugh at. I will clarify, though, that they are obviously low-power ultraportable solutions; so these processors aren't going to be as powerful as other i3/i5/i7's... but the point is they're still powerful solutions none-the-less. To get back to what you're saying: How in the world are you making this false connection? Do you know what Thunderbolt is used for? Why do you think the new 17W processors won't be able to handle Thunderbolt? Again... do you know what Thunderbolt is used for?????????? That's like saying "an IPS screen panel will be pointless with a 17W processor" <-- two totally unrelated topics, making a false correlation. While the processor is somewhat related (in terms of possible limitations), in this case, the SB processors are not a crippled technology (like a single-core P4) that might actually have difficulties using new tech & ports.

    5) Yes, it is unfortunate to see the HD3000 as the most likely graphics solution. That said, your speculation seems much more anecdotal than it does quantitative.

    When reviewing or examining the Macbook Air (or any ultraportable solution), let's not go off on tangents about this or that. Yes, a giant graphics card, super powerful processor, infinitely long battery life, or support and ability to actually utilize huge amounts of RAM would be nice. But then why don't we say the same about an iPod? Or the iPhone? Or the iPad? Or any other device? The fact of the matter is that it's unrealistic to even bring this stuff up. Sure, we could speak in a "in the future" tone; but when it comes down to speculatively talking about the 2011 Macbook Air, let's get real about it. We know what it's supposed to do & be: Ultraportable, good battery life, vastly superior performance to the average netbook, parallel or superior performance to competing mirror-products. Why would someone even bring up the fact that they are disappointed in not being able to use 8GB of RAM? Or have a processor as powerful as in a full-sized laptop? It's just impossible expectations based on what's available in the hardware market to date.
  12. IJBrekke macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Beach, CA
    I would guess that USB 3.0 would be integrated into the iMac line before anything mobile. Speed needs power, and the desktops have much more at their disposal vs. the mobile lineup.

    That being said, I would openly welcome USB 3.0 in ANY Mac devices :D
  13. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Personally I'm planning on waiting until the new MBAs come out to snag a 2010 model for cheap. Based on what I'm doing currently, a 13 inch MBA is all that I need.

    I do agree with most of your points, however. I would love for them to keep the 320 graphics card that the current MBA has along with a SNB processor; Thunderbolt ports are a given put I can't see myself using nor needing one. They're implementing the ports now; by Christmas we'll have some options of very fast, very large harddrives to fill them.
  14. jackyyeow, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011

    jackyyeow thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    Ok guys I thought of replying the posts one by one by but I think this post should address most posts.:eek:

    I don't think I have negative mindset, just being realistic. More hopes means potentially more disappointment. Sorry if my post destroyed your hopes momentary (evidence shown in your following points), you can always buy MBP if the performances of the next MBA sucks. :D

    You see, my speculation was based on the very recent review of the Samsung Series 9 laptop, it really gave some idea of what we can expect from the next MBA.

    Uh, huh? Again sorry if I destroyed your hope with my post, but did I say Apple will not use the latest CPU?

    Did you know that the 1.4GHz i5 also having the same 17w TDP? I for one don't believe the power consumption going to be the same across all clock speed. Samsung barely catch up with the current MBA in terms of battery life with THAT processor. Higher clock speed will draw more power, when we compare the same generation of processor.

    Yes, Apple has been doing great job on battery life on their (maybe except the 1st gen MBA). I'm sure in the hands of Apple's, the same processor going to give more battery life. But I don't think Samsung did nothing to maximize the battery life, I'm sure they tried to squeeze every bit of juice out of their Series 9. We certainly hope Apple going pull off magic on the next MBA with a more powerful processor.:D

    Um, you didn't get my point in this regard? I did not say MBA isn't a powerful enough device to use the TB port, it's more like battery/cost/marketing issue.

    Put it this way - there're a few cases Apple did not include the "must have" (well, sort of, at least with an option to include it) in their products in the past - Adobe Flash in their iOS, 3G/GPS in their laptops (none!), and the latest one - backlit keyboards on the MBA.

    Apple can always let the user turn off Flash content on their iOS devices, or 3G modem in their laptops, and obviously, backlit keyboards on their MBA. How about you explaining to me why they never do it?:confused:

    I'm supposed the TB port can power up device but the power rating is up to 10w, means it can suck up up to 4 times more battery power compared to the USB port. So if following the above 3 examples, I don't think Apple will not be 100% going to add this into the next MBA. That said, we never know until the next MBA coming out.;)

    Well, seeing how the HD3000 on the Samsung Series 9 performed, I doubt it's easy for Apple to match the old combination. You think I wasn't heart sunken when I see the performance of that IGP in the situation where the CPU performances similar to the 1.86GHz C2D?

  15. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    I winder how many more of the 'my thoughts' threads will spring up. W should have a merged topic where everyone with a username can state what they know..since putting a post up here pretty much says 'my thoughts' without naming it.
  16. jackyyeow, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011

    jackyyeow thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    EDIT: I was editing my post but resulted in a double post instead?:confused:
  17. 42streetsdown, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011

    42streetsdown macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2011
    Gallifrey, 5124
    i just looked at the series 9, and it's way overpriced and underpowered. It pales in comparison to the CURRENT Airs. The new ones are going to blow these out of the water.

    The 13 inch series 9 uses a 17 W TDP processor + GPU
    The CURRENT 13 inch MBA has a 25-27 W processor + GPU footprint

    we'll be seeing something like this in the new Air
    13" MBA Base CPU:
    Intel® Core™ i7-2629M Processor (Dual Core, 2.1 GHz(3.0GHz turbo) 4M Cache)

    13" MBA BTO CPU:
    Intel® Core™ i7-2649M Processor (Dual Core, 2.3 GHz(3.2GHz turbo) 4M Cache)
  18. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    They currently use 17w.
  19. 42streetsdown macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2011
    Gallifrey, 5124
  20. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Then how much does the intel 3000 use in watts?
  21. 42streetsdown macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2011
    Gallifrey, 5124
    it's included in the TDP of the processor.

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