Reasons why I think there will be a refresh in June...

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by SR71, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. SR71, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    SR71 macrumors 68000

    Jan 12, 2011
    Boston, MA
    If you look at the release dates for the MacBook Air's, the first one was released in January 2008 and then refreshed in October 2008 again, and then again after that in June of 2009, and finally it was updated again in October 2010. Since in October 2008 when the MBA was update just like it was updated in October 2010, I think that it will follow the same route that the October 2008 - June 2009 refresh happened.

    A new updated version in October 2008, and then refreshed in 2009. So I think the same will happen with the current MBA's. A new updated version in October 2010, and then refreshed in June 2011.

    This is why I will be waiting to see if there is a refresh. The Intel 3000 graphics that are with Sandy Bridge aren't as good as the 320m, but they're pretty much identical if you only use the MBA for web browsing, email, iTunes, YouTube, etc. I see it as, as long as I don't do hardcore gaming, I'll be fine.

    What do you guys think?

    EDIT: Yes, I am basing this off of previous refresh/release dates and using them to make future assumptions, but if what I predict is right, then I'll be damn happy I waited for the refresh. ;)
  2. lshirase, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    lshirase macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    i believe apple will update the mba in june as well.

    -other manufacturers are beginning to utilize SB procs in their ultra-portables. apple needs to keep up.
    -it makes sense on apples end to refresh the mba in time for the back to school rush.

    more competition = more pressure = faster updates :)
  3. SR71 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 12, 2011
    Boston, MA
    In addition to what I've stated above, these are also very valid reasons as to why the refresh will most likely happen in June. :)
  4. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    While I also hope for a MBA refresh in June, I think that it'll all come down to $$$.

    If the current MBA is still selling as Apple's #1 portable (like it did in late 2010-early 2011) then I see Apple holding off on a refresh, no matter what the competition does, and no matter what anyone says about the Intel HD 3000 vs. 320M debate.

    If the current MBA starts to dip in the sales, I'd expect it to be refreshed sooner rather than later. And we won't know that until Apple's next quarterly results call, which'll be in Mid-April.
  5. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    I don't think there will be an update this year.
  6. leftyMac macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2011
    if the demand on MBA stays strong, they may run out of C2D sooner than later. and that will force Apple to release a new model to accommodate SB.
  7. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    It is really hard to call the June 2009 MBA an update, as it was the most minor of spec bumps specifically due to Intel adding the SL9600 at the same price as the SL9400 was before... There was basically no other change... Not the GPU... Identical logic board... Identical everything except they made a slight change to the battery to meet some energy requirement. They used an identical case and ports, oh and they threw in an Ethernet USB adapter for free. It even kept the exact same model number! I wouldn't use June 2009 to make any assumptions for the MBA other than to show Apple's willingness not to update.

    June 2011 seems so far fetched, and I think it's absolutely absurd for anyone to believe it will be updated then. We don't even need to look at how bad the IGP is in low and ultra low voltage SB variants, we can just look at what the MBA is and how it's succeeding and know there is zero reason to change it now. One might argue for October to achieve holiday season success, but June is simply not going to happen.

    I have been on the waiting and wanting side of the MBA before, and it just leads to lengthy periods of disappointment. I would like to encourage people to consider something more realistic. If they want an MBA now, buy it or expect to wait at least until October and probably until January 2012 when Ivy Bridge makes it much more likely with the current Intel IGP limitations.

    You can post how bad you want it, but I would guess one in twenty potential MBA buyers care what the CPU label is especially when they can use the MBA in the store and realize it's the fastest Mac in there for startup, app opening, wakeup, multitasking of file movement and etc... Most people using the MBA don't need to run a professional CPU intensive app where it even matters. The MBA is perfect, and going to Intel SB means a GPU loss for CPU gains that most don't need. The CPU is not the bottleneck in today's computers, and Apple used the MBA to prove it.
  8. wisty macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2009
    Current MBA is a nice machine. SB would be better, for most purposes, and great for battery.

    But the current one is still OK. It's not like they jumped to upgrade their *pro* laptop range just to jump on the iX bandwagon ... and that was with Sony putting out very nice competitors.

    The MBA can almost hold its own against the current crop of i5 ultraportables. So there's a chance it won't be upgraded.
  9. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    Whether or not one looks at the June '09 update as an "update", is not necessarily all there is to look at. There's also the Jan '08 to Oct '08 update which is the same 8-9 months that October 2010-June/July 2011 would be.

    There's also nothing to say that Apple couldn't update to Sandy Bridge somewhere between June-Oct 2011 and then update to Ivy Bridge in mid-2012 as well. Also, as far as I've heard, the Low Voltage Ivy Bridge processor won't be available until mid-2012 - not January 2012, so I seriously doubt Apple will wait 17-18 months to update the MBA. Why leave "the future of MacBooks" stagnant for so long?

    Also, for all the talk about how crap the LV SB GPU is gonna be, we have *no* idea what it's actual performance is like. There is not one single test/opinion/benchmark that I've seen on the 'net of someone who's actually used one.

    I, for one, can't wait to see the benchmarks/review of the new SB Samsung Series 9 laptop - to see what a SB MBA might look-like performance-wise.
  10. Eric5273 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2009
    New Jersey
    What wouldn't surprise me is if they made 4 GB RAM standard when they start to ship Lion. Nobody has talked about the minimum specs necessary for Lion. We've seen both Leopard and Snow Leopard have almost the exact same specs needed, so it's doubtful that Lion won't require some sort of bump in specs. I wouldn't be shocked if it required 2 GB RAM, and if you look at past offerings from Apple, they never sell a machine with the minimum requirements of it's operating system.
  11. CHSeifert macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark - Scandinavia
    more competition = more pressure = faster updates = less stable MacBook Airs = more owners with unstable machines :(
  12. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    I think you're way wrong. You reduce the while question to processors forgetting that apple is a business. The question is broader.

    Apple has a real niche with the Air. It can't afford to sleep and others seem to catch up.
    The Air is just not about specs it is also about image. Needs the best to market itself.
    With Steve Jobs absent they can't rest on their laurels. A lot of speculation over his future retirement. A great time to show the market that apple runs without him in all areas.
    It simply is a great product that can be made better. Apple's philosophy.
  13. noripwr macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    I think the current MBA is fine with C2D but with everyone else moving onto SB, the next MBA should get the refresh [soon] before the MBPs move over to IB. A Core i3 or i5 with IGP would be fine considering the MBA wasn't meant to be a powerhouse ultraportable. And as long as it offers comparable or better battery life then I'm game.

    Also, even though I'm satisfied with C2D, I wouldn't hesitate to upgrade as I hear Lion's minimum spec is a Mac with C2D and I would hate to be at the bare minimum. A Core would give me some reassurance and less depreciation if I were to resale later.
  14. Susurs macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2010
    Even if Intel graphics show some comparable speed in synthetic benchmarks and specs, it will never get a support near like Nvidia or AMD meaning that it will be useless...I mean if you do not use computer for any graphics than it will be ok as a "basic screensaver viewer", but for anything else it will be a big downgrade if that release happens.
  15. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I have read the clock speed of the IGP on low and ultra low voltage SB will equate to a 40% loss from the IGP used in the standard voltage SB.

    There was a rumor last Summer that Apple was working on using a new i7 ultra low voltage CPU, and make that work by disabling the IGP and running over clocking while using turbo in addition to basically reach max clock speeds of the CPU since none of the power needs reserved for the IGP. Apple recently added support for a bunch of AMD GPUs. I hope that Apple can take an approach like the one rumored and use either a 7W AMD discrete GPU or better. This would still allow Intel Thunderbolt and chipsets...

    Quite honestly, I don't get all of those defending Intel, the company, its tactics, or its IGP. The MBA has had the Intel IGP before and it was a disgusting Mac mainly due to the Intel IGP. Nvidia came in and saved the low end Macs by offering a real graphics solution to the problems of Intel's IGP. Yes the current IGP is better than the old IGP, but it's nothing compared to Nvidia's GPU we have now... and these ridiculous results that show the Intel IGP as even close are tailored to show positives. I would like to see some real world scientific test models in place BEFORE graphics systems are released to show exactly what they are instead of hand picking apps or processes that the IGP does okay at and using that to compare it to the prior and other GPUs. I have a feeling based on everything I have read that overall the Intel IGP is a lot less capable especially when running at much lower clock speeds as required in low and ultra low voltage variants.

    People also keep bragging that Apple has to update the MBA because it is the future of the Mac, but they're not making any sense because it doesn't need a new CPU to be current or amazing. Sure, the tech geek that wants the latest Intel CPU holds his or her ground waiting for this SB update, but how many MBA buyers fit this category? 5%? My guess is that or less. I love tech, but I also know a good thing when I see it, and the current MBA is the most incredible Mac ever. Sure I want a backlit keyboard, again. Sure I would want RAM and storage updates. Heck, I would even want the SB CPU if it didn't force upon us a completely ridiculous IGP.

    I believe anyone who needs SB shouldn't buy an MBA anyways, and if they realized exactly what the IGP means perhaps they would change their tunes. Even the 13" MBP IGP numbers are showing it drive a low resolution display... Why does everyone think Apple kept that low Res display in the 13" MBP? I think it could be to get the numbers of the IGP as close to possible via some skewed tests to the real GPU Nvidia offered with C2D.

    And people that say Apple will not sell MBAs unless it updates them to SB don't review how Apple actually sells its consumer grade Macs. The average Mac buyer, who isn't buying a Mac Pro or MacBook Pro, doesn't give a darn about what it has in it... they only want it to fulfill their needs and seem faster than the computer they're upgrading from. The vast majority of buyers who get to use an MBA vs an MBP in the store would probably wonder why the MBP is so slow!

    In addition, I know a bunch of "geeks" who own MBAs and don't want Intel's Sandy Bridge in the MBA if it means Intel's IGP is the sole graphics non-solution. It only seems to be those brainwashed by Intel's marketing, those who only care about running a CPU intensive app that isn't a target user of the MBA, or those who simply don't understand or care to know about graphics who actually want this Intel IGP. I believe if Apple put the current SB in low and ultra low voltage variants in the MBA with sole use of the Intel IGP for graphics the MBA's brand image would suffer tremendously.

    Most people don't even realize the Intel IGP in the MBA at low and ultra low voltage is going to run at a much slower clock speed and yield much lower results than the standard voltage SB in the 13" MBP. A lot of misinformation and people simply not thinking about it... I think Apple has to have more foresight than this, and the 13" MBP is targeted at a pro user who needs to run a CPU intensive app, who wants that SB CPU and if they need solid graphics they know they will need the 15" or 17" MBP with real graphics capabilities.

    The MBA is targeted at the consumer who wants it to just work whether they're playing a simple game, running HD movies, or operating standard apps... And the Nvidia GPU along with C2D will provide a better overall well rounded experience than Intel's SB if IGP is forced upon it... Add in an AMD GPU and we have a different story. I would welcome it if that could happen, but we don't think so because Apple stuck the MBP 13" buyers with Intel. Usually I would say Apple would use the exact same strategy, but for right now the strategy doesn't make sense for the MBA.

    The people on this forum are not the average MBA buyers, as there are far too many people willing to waste their time on these forums because they actually care what is in their equipment rather than how those Macs work for them and complete their desired tasks. I think Apple knows its target market well enough to only update its Macs when it makes sense. I think it makes more sense to update the iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, Mac mini, iPhone, and iPods before it's the MBA's turn again. Would I love a SB MBA in June with Lion installed, sure, but only if it has a real GPU to go with it.

    I want better for the MBA than Intel's IGP can provide, and MBA buyers should want more too! They have a lot more capabilities in the Nvidia 320m than the SB IGP would provide in low and ultra low voltage variants... Apple knows this, and I believe that Apple would rather solve the problem than roll with it and tarnish its MBA brand, again. The original MBA was a failure until October 2008 when Apple introduced the Nvidia 9400m which solved all of the problems the Intel IGP caused. Apple is too smart to not learn from its prior mistakes, and the original MBA was a gigantic mistake and it was all the Intel IGP that caused the massive disappointment.

    Apple will wait for a real solution even if it takes a little longer. In addition, Apple is updating its Macs once annually so a natural update cycle would be October not June. October makes the most sense and it gives Apple time to solve the problems whether it's writing better drivers, using a discrete GPU, using AMD CPUs, or simply waiting for Ivy Bridge. Apple cares about the experience and the MBA provides plenty of experience and will still be current in mid 2012.
  16. impulse462 macrumors 68000


    Jun 3, 2009
    I pretty much agree with everything here, but I have a couple of observations:

    1. The older 9400M was capable of driving displays up to 2560x1600. Maybe the reason Apple kept the 12800x800 res display in the 13" MBP was to skew some of the numbers, but then again I doubt it. We obviously don't know the EXACT reason, but I don't think it was because the HD3000 wasn't capable of driving a 1440x900 display.

    2. Would Thunderbolt work with an AMD CPU? Apple could go the AMD Fusion route, but if there is no support for Thunderbolt (doubt it) then they probably wont.

    Even though the HD3000 is slightly more powerful than the 9400M, the nvidia card would get more support based solely on the fact that is a GPU manufactured by nvidia.
  17. ibis99 macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2010

    Not sure when you will see an update but I bet you will see 3G/4g added to the mix.
  18. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    Front page of Macrumors right now suggests NO new hardware changes in June whatsoever.
  19. Sensamic macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
  20. radiohead14 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2008
  21. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
  22. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Obviously the IGP can drive bigger displays but it adversely affects its capabilities.

    I can think up about 20 things I want in an update, but sole use of Intel's IGP for graphics could be detrimental to the overall performance.

    3G/4G as others have mentioned.
    Backlit keyboard.
    Black aluminum
    Discrete GPU
    iPS display
    Higher resolution display
    3D display
    OLED display
    400-nit bright display
    Discrete GPU
    lCD trackpad for true touch capabilities
    Aluminum capped keyboard keys
    USB 3.0
    Docking station for it to snap in eliminating all cables when connecting
    Better battery
    Discrete GPU
    Return of port drawers
    and a bunch more if I keep thinking as well as a discrete GPU.

    But add Intel's IGP as the sole graphics solution and I fear a gigantic step backwards.
  23. GekkePrutser, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011

    GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    Thanks, I hadn't seen that yet. That looks good though. The i2537M is an 1.4 Ghz ultra low voltage like the base 11" air, but it has 40% more PCMarks than the 13" 1.85 Ghz Air (which also has double the cache)! Even though this is probably not a very reliable benchmark it's clear that there is a big improvement.

    GPU score is less than half, probably because it's lower clocked than the normal laptop model. That's too bad but I personally wouldn't notice it as long as it still has HD video acceleration.

    So if Apple uses these chips we will see the base 11" performing a lot better than the current base 13" in CPU-bound tasks, but not for the GPU as mentioned. I think it comes down to the user's usage pattern then.

    I'd rather have more CPU than GPU (I won't use anything needing a GPU on it) so I'd love to see this chip in the MacBook Air. For GPU sensitive applications it's obviously not as great but it depends whether the application or game is more CPU or GPU bound. If it's more CPU bound it should run about as well as on the old one, but otherwise it will be slower. Gamers would probably be better off with the current model in general.

    Still for my use I'd have more benefit in the CPU being stronger (doing lots of compiling, the occasional VMWare), and if the other benchmarks are as good I'll wait for the Sandy Bridge Air (or Ivy Bridge if Apple waits that long, but I don't think intel will make C2D's that long).
  24. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Did you read the 3DMark scores of the Intel SB IGP in the Samsung Series 9 as over a 50% loss vs the Nvidia 320m which is what I have feared all along... and you're okay with that to get a CPU boost even when the CPU is not the bottleneck?

    I just don't get the logic here and I don't believe Apple does either otherwise we would have seen Core i7 Arrandale last year. The 3DMark numbers I just saw from SB in a potential SB chip that could be used in the MBA show the SB IGP behind the 2.5yr old Nvidia 9400m and nowhere near the 320m.

    I really don't get why people would want an overall inferior system just so they can say they have Intel's latest CPU... and I guess they believe the Intel marketing hype. I do have to admit, Intel makes everyone believe the only way to improve their computer is via a new Intel CPU even when Apple used the very MBA to disprove Intel's marketing and just go with the Mac that works and is faster in feel than the specs "prove."
  25. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    Apple are selling so many Airs that there's really no pressure on them to update anything until they're good and ready - i.e. when the right mix of new components become freely available.

    the combo they have now with C2D, 320M graphics and flash storage produces a fast bright machine.
    if there was anything to be gained by rejigging with Sandy Bridge and (inferior) Intel GPU then they would've have done so and in a blaze of publicity.

    (for a more detailed technical assessment, read one of Scottsdale's excellent posts)

    +1 - no update this side of October, at the earliest.

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