Next MacBook Air Refresh is a Game Changer

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by blairh, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. blairh macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #1
    Via CNET:

    “How big is this opportunity? In the 4-year lifespan of [Apple's] iconic MacBook Air, units sold as a percentage of its total notebook supply was 8 percent in 2008, 9 percent in 2009, and 17 percent in 2010 to an estimated 48 percent in 2011,” he wrote.

    I think the MacBook Air, especially with pending refresh, is about to seriously change the game. The fall 2010 MBA's have been a huge hit with consumers, and the people that were laughing at the Core 2 Duo processors are about to get their wishes fulfilled via Sandy Bridge.

    As we proceed forward, I think consumers are slowly but surely embacing the notion of no optical drives. Technology is progressing forward so that more and more people can ditch discs entirely.

    I also feel the 11" model was a huge deal and I'm not surprised its been selling a bit more than the 13" model. If an iPad simply isn't suffice for your needs on the road, and you don't need the power of a 13" MBA or MBP, then the 11" MBA is a dream come true.

    I think my personal scenario rings true for many others. I purchased a 13" base model MBP in the fall of 2009. I needed a laptop and wanted the option of dabbling in video if I ever got around to it. Well I didn't attempt to do any video work, and I started to hate the edge to edge glass screen in any sunlight environment plus I had zero desire to travel with it. I held off getting the 11" MBA because of the lack of backlit keyboard plus the base model at 64 GBs made me want to wait till 2nd generation. Now that the time is approaching, I sold my 13" MBP and will conceed to a Sandy Bridge Mini if/when the video editing bug strikes me. (I just really hope the new MBAs have that backlit keyboard).

    The MacBook Pro line will now return to being for prosumers (as opposed to the line it blurred with the arrival of the 13" MBP in 2009). Before, the MBA was a niche device for various reasons, but now I feel like it's going to be the flagship Mac laptop. The one that MOST consumers in the market for a Mac laptop will purchase. The white Macbook (if it continues to exist) will be for people wanting/needing that optical drive, not caring too much about total weight, and doing basic computing tasks that go beyond an iPad. The MacBook Pro will only be purchased if the MBA simply isn't powerful enough for a consumer.

    I find this all insanely exciting. I feel like the Mac laptop that I've truly wanted for years now is finally coming to fruition shortly.
     
  2. definitive macrumors 68000

    definitive

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    Aug 4, 2008
    #2
    I really wish they'd implement some kind of a dedicated graphics chip into the air, but I doubt that it will happen any time soon.

    Is there any info available to compare regular macbook's sales to air and pro? I don't see much reason for them keeping the regular MB around other than to keep milking it for more money.
     
  3. leftywamumonkey macrumors 6502a

    leftywamumonkey

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    Jun 23, 2010
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    California
    #3
    I wouldn't even consider a Macbook right now. It's old and is worse than both the Macbook Pro and the Macbook Air. The Macbook Pro has more power and is made out of Aluminum for $200 more, and the Macbook Air has an SSD which makes if faster, and if you're considering a Macbook, chances are that you aren't going to use it for intense tasks, therefore the Macbook Air will probably be better, aside from being less storage capacity. Go for a base 13" MBP, if you're really considering the Macbook, it's a better value overall.
     
  4. s.hasan546 macrumors 6502

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    NY
    #4
    and if you get it from microcenter (or get price matched at bestbuy) it's the same price as the macbook.
     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #5
    The quote from CNET is very interesting (and thanks for posting it). Actually, I had no idea that the MBA market had grown quite as exponentially as the OP's quote suggests.

    FWIW, I'm one of those who switched from a 15" MBP to the 13" SSD Rev C MBA as recently as last September and do not regret the switch for one minute. The form factor, SSD and weight all mattered a lot as I travel a fair bit and it became my main computer from the time I bought it. In fact, I had longed for one ever since it came out, and waited for improvements to iron out the original - and possibly inevitable, given the design radicalism of the form factor - early teething glitches.

    Point taken about the optical drive (I have an external one, and yes, it is handy).

    However, I suspect that the development of the 11" MBA has been the real game changer here, combining as it did, recollections of the iconic 12" Powerbook which aficionados still recalled with affection, with a revolutionary new and attractive form-factor. Indeed, if they could improve battery life, increase the SSD, (and re-instate the backlit keyboard which is still a feature of my much loved Rev C), I'd consider myself in the market for an 11" MBA in another year or so...
     
  6. cleric macrumors 6502a

    cleric

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    Minneapolis, MN
    #6
    How is a Sandy Bridge MacBook Air a game changer? It's the same computer with a slightly better processor, a worse graphics card, and a shiny new monitor port. GAME CHANGED!
     
  7. cleric macrumors 6502a

    cleric

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    #7
    Man I would switch now if you can afford it Rev D is so much better than B/C.
     
  8. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

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    Jan 31, 2010
    #8
    If the processor is about as fast as the base MBP then it will be a game changer. The SSD and more memory are big over the MBP. But the question is what do you want out of your laptop? If you game and do heavy video editing, then the MBA is probably not for you. If your like me that just do web browsing, email, iphoto and itunes then your fine with either the base MBP or MBA. If you noticed, the MBA is heavily advertised inside the Apple stores. In fact it's the face of Lion. You hardly see any iMac or MBP being advertised with Lion. The MBA is going to replace the MB and MBP within the next few years - tops.
     
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #9
    the upcomng mba is exciting and i may get one.

    but...there is nothing especially game changing about a netbook that performs like a notebook. asus and others already have computers with specs that meet or exceed what the upcoming mba will likely have. optical drives have been optional for many of us for as much as a decade now. new processor, but probably not a major redesign with the mba.

    the revolution ( in my opinion) is industry-wide. processors + memory + cloud + robust device and app ecosystems combine to offer incredible opportunities to consumers that i couldn't have even conceived of a few years ago. i think integration is the key, and apple seems to have spent the last few years solidifying its lead in this respect. air or pro, you are plugged into an experience that really cannot be matched.

    looking at microsoft struggle to move beyond their outdated model with the vaporware windows 8, and google's difficulties with balkanization, i have newfound respect for apple's innovation.

    the mba will likely be impressive, but not the site of revolution.
     
  10. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #10
    It's a game changer because the main objection the average consumer might have to the current version is the old processor. The graphics card is important to hard core gamers, but for most people, the Intel HD 3000 is "good enough."

    Arguably, the late-2010 version was the "game changer," but the Sandy Bridge version builds on that momentum. Heck, Intel even came out with an "ultrabook" spec based on the success of the MacBook Air.
     
  11. CyrusKafaiWu macrumors member

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    Jun 20, 2011
    #11
    The next Macbook Air refresh will just make me buy it, no matter whats in it.
     
  12. voigtstr macrumors member

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    Jan 31, 2008
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    Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    #12
    Its a game changer for me. I wanted to use the air for occaisonally logging onto EVE Online, for when I'm away from my main machine (a 27" iMac). Without an adequate graphics chip in it, (and the current version's chip was adequate for EVE Tyrannis, but apparantly wont be supported for EVE Incarna) I will have to look at a 15" MBP instead for EVE away from home. Its a pity because I love the form factor of the Air, but its lack of graphics in the new version will force me to a heavier machine.
     
  13. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

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    Athens, Greece
    #13
    Slightly...?

    A small and thin notebook like the air isn't made for gamers, why would you care so much about the gpu? Not only that, they say the hd3000 is a little worse than the nvidia 320m. While the SB processors compared to the c2d are years ahead. The current airs run at 1.4ghz-1.86ghz. The sandy bridge will be able to turbo boost up to (at least) 2.3ghz.

    [sarcasm]Just in case you didn't notice, the phrase "game changer" means the mba will become a by far better computer, and maybe one day even comparable to the mpb. It did not mean it will play games better.[/sarcasm]
     
  14. Cali3350 macrumors regular

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    Feb 16, 2009
    #14
    Sorry I do have to chime in here, clock for clock sandy bridge is ~15% faster than a core 2 duo, and the new processors can turbo up to 2.7ghz. Its much more than a slightly better processor. Its really mainstream notebook performance in the MBA, which is quite game changing really.
     
  15. LightOnAHill macrumors regular

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    Jun 26, 2010
    #15
    Why does it always have to be a "game changer."



    Why not a "game winner?"



    :D
     
  16. Eggtastic macrumors 6502a

    Eggtastic

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    NJ
    #16
    if you want to play games, buy an xbox 360, PS3, Wii, or go for the Macbook Pro i guess. Macbook Air is perfect for the causal computer user (web, music, light photo, word processing) and thats that. If you "hardcore" gamers are complaining, tough *****.

    Apple has designated "pro" models and then there is the air/macbook line for a reason. They are not stupid and I am sure they hire people to read forums just like this one. Despite the complaining I assure you they are not trying to market an "all in one"... YET... The most we will get is a new processor, thunderbolt, and MAYBE (hopefully) BL keys.

    I finally got a hook on my late 06' MBP for $600 on CL (CJS studios might flag me for this) and cannot wait to pick up a new 11" Air.
     
  17. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #17
    I believe it's more than that. Sandy Bridge is about 15% faster clock for clock than Nehalem. Nehalem is about 15% faster than Core 2 Duo, so that would make Sandy Bridge about 32% faster.
     
  18. Tootles macrumors member

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    Jun 15, 2011
    #18
    Until the new MBA is out., we can't really call it anything. How do we know that the Sandy Bridge processor will make for a good computing experience, in a laptop that has no vents? Has the SB processor been good for the 2011 MBP? Last I read, a lot of people were having issues with its cooling fan, running really loudly during even mundane tasks. For me, that was a huge dealbreaker. Ipray that the 2011 MBA isn't the same way.
     
  19. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #19
    no problems with 13" MBP running mundane tasks. i am gobbling up all of my memory running several programs at once and fan is almost always at idle speed (2000 RPM). obviously there are some people complaining, but i think the "problem" of "overheating" is exaggerated and in some cases only flourishing in people's imaginations.

    i am a little concerned about heat in the upcoming mba, but we won't know anything for a while.
     
  20. hotcocoa macrumors member

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    Jan 30, 2011
    #20
    How about an antiglare option? I know that for many people that would be a game changer.
     
  21. Tootles macrumors member

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    Jun 15, 2011
    #21
    Well it's your word against that of many other users I've read. BTW, the issue is not the perception of overheating, it's the fan becoming audible (and loud) during activity other than graphics-intensive games. That's a clear-cut problem, not a figment of one's imagnation. If there are reasons for this problem, which can be fixed by the user, they should be brought to light.

    If posts about it start showing up on support forums, we'll know right away.
     
  22. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #22
    Thanks for the advice; equally, I don't doubt that Rev D is indeed a big improvement on Rev C and everything else in the MBA line that preceded it. However, as things stand, I'm perfectly happy with my Rev C for now. Likewise, the MBA that is due out fairly shortly - if the ever-active rumour mill is at all accurate - will, in turn, doubtless 'be a game changer' re the Rev D.

    So, while I "can afford it", I'm not one to rush out to buy the latest technological advance simply because it is the latest. In general, I let the teething problems and glitches get sorted out, read the reviews and then see to what extent I need the new technology on offer. This means in practice that I generally have a computer for around two years, sometimes a little less, sometimes a bit longer, unless something really attracts me.

    I held off on the MBA because I was working abroad for two years in a Windows only environment; my Government and the international body I worked with both supplied me with laptops (Windows, again, alas) and the idea of having to lug a third laptop around, however weightless, didn't appeal. So, I treated myself to the MBA on my second last trip home, using up leave entitlement, as a sort of end of mission gift.

    Besides, the ever-active rumour mill appeared to suggest that the MBA might be superceded - or even, worse, replaced - by something smaller (such as the iPad) or even discontinued. As we know, it wasn't.

    Nevertheless, I'll readily admit that if an 11" MBA, with an improved battery, (the battery is the one area of disappointment with the Rev C), more capacious SSD, and a backlit keyboard were to make an appearance, I would be seriously tempted to purchase one.

    Cheers
     
  23. KnightWRX, Jun 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011

    KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    Quebec, Canada
    #23
    The MBA has had mainstream notebook performance since its inception, based on the fact that it has used mainstream notebook CPUs.

    I think the post you were responding to was spot on. The game is the same it has always been.

    If the average consumer finds the HD 3000 good enough, he finds the Core 2 Duo good enough too. Sandy Bridge is not changing any kind of game, it's the same game it's always been (new year, new CPUs, more performance. Hello, the 80s called, they want their game back).

    I agree the late-2010 version was the game changer. It brought the MBA into the mainstream, whereas before it was a niche. It did so by offering good value for your dollar, rather than an expensive laptop that fits in an envelope.

    The fan spinning up is not a problem. It's a feature. If the CPU temp rises, the fan spins up. Any kind of CPU utilisation will generate heat, raise the temp, make the fan spin up. Games are not the only things that can cause this, never have been the only things that cause this, and won't be in the future either.

    That said, my MBA's fans are not overly loud and don't bother me at all, nor does the laptop become unbearably warm to the touch ever. It's definitely not a problem.

    The fix is simple : Mac users have a very distorted understanding of why fans spin up. They seem to think it's an API call that some apps call. "Flash makes the fan's spin up!"... *sigh*.
     
  24. ABG macrumors 6502

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    United Kingdom
    #24
    The MBA has a matt screen :confused:
     
  25. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #25
    No it doesn't. It has a glossy screen.
     

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