Tech Spec of the Next Gen Macbook air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by martm, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. martm macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2011
    Macrumors has published interesting roundup articles about upcoming Apple products. I will ready to buy a new notebook next year, so I reviewed things I would expect and like to see next summer/autumn when the Air series will be updated.

    Tech Spec
    SoC: Intel 14nm Broadwell ULT/ULX. The die shrink is expected to provide another 30 reduction in power at the same performance level as Haswell, and would enable a fanless design (ULX).
    (See also:

    Memory: Innovation happened this year. i.e LPDDR. Probably the same 4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3. DDR4L and LPDDR4 with even lover voltage will not be ready or not supported by the Broadwell, it seems.

    SSD: Innovation happened this year, i.e PCIe. Probably the same 128GB MLC NAND. Some configurations might include TLS NAND (See also:

    Battery: Probably no tech improvements, unfortunately. DynaPack supplies the rechargeable battery packs to Apple. Google seems to be dumb on developments that could realistically happen next year.

    Display: Hopefully we will see long rumoured Sharp IGZO high dpi displays (see also:
    Also, I hope that Apple continues using 16:10 aspect ratio displays, and also upgrades the smaller Macbook Air to 16:10 aspect ratio display.

    Inputdevice: It might happen that there will be fingerprint sensor under the trackpad (See also:

    Design, size, weight
    Taking into account the possible tech spec, I would also expect and like to see a redesign of the then 4 year old product. In brief, I would like it to be more designed around portability. Low power components like Broadwell ULX and IGZO display would enable more smaller, thinner and lighter design without compromising (much?) performance and battery life. Moving to ULX would also better differentiate Air and Pro machines both with high dpi displays.
    The redesign would in my perfect world also include decreasing the hideously giant bezel.

    What do you think we can realistically expect?
  2. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    I'll upgrade for a smaller/lighter chassis, 14nm Broadwell, and IGZO display in a heartbeat. Hoped DDR4 would be out next year too. Doubt it will be fanless though as long as Intel uses TurboBoost as the heat profile is "peaky". Should also have Thunderbolt-II. Would upgrade my 2010 13" Air for this.
  3. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    It seems that apple has been moving the MacBook Air models down one tier to make them seem cheaper.

    I am hoping that next year will see all airs ship with 8 gb ram standard, with the option for 16gb of ram.

    I am not sure if we will see a revised form factor. Apple seems quite comfortable with the existing design.

    I think we are at least 3 years away from seeing arm processors as well, so next-gen intel processors are pretty much a given.

    I recall a patent for a hybrid sd-card + USB slot. Might we see that in the 11" air?

    All in all, I don't see really significant changes.
  4. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Why would anyone need 16gb for a Macbook Air?

    8GB is already overkill.

    The Air has been designed for general tasks. It has a light processor and integrated graphics. It's really designed for 'everyday usage' like Word, Excel, PP, email, browsing...

    This is why base models have 4GB. It's plenty enough.

    Especially with Maverick's memory compression, OS X will make better use of lesser RAM.

    I only got 8GB RAM because I run vm. Otherwise 4gb ddr3 is PLENTY for my work usage, and I'm guessing it's plenty enough for college papers and assignments.
  5. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    That's what you call everyday usage? You don't need an i5 for that. You could do that with a Core2Duo. The MBA wasn't designed just for those uses. It's capable of much much more than that. I'd call photo editing and video editing as everyday usage as more and more folks are capturing photos and videos. Watching 1080p movies is a common usage these days.

    OS X is probably more efficient with RAM usage than other OS's, but 4GB is really the floor for any new system. And this time next year, 4GB is gonna be really cramped. Especially with integrated graphics taking a big chunk. RAM prices keep falling, why would anyone be against raising the base RAM configuration?
  6. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Core2duo? I don't think you understand how technology works. This is 2013, core2duo is outdated. Sure, I got through college with 1GB DDR1 Ram... and eventually DDR2 towards the end... so yea even that's enough say for a BBA student, but that's not the point.

    In 2013, a dual-core i5 1.3ghz system is about as basic as it gets. It only goes lower in terms of CPU processor in i3.

    Just that in 2013, with Haswell by Intel, even a 1.3ghz i5 dualcore 4GB system especially paired with pcie SSD, is faster than some high end core2duos.

    But no, sorry, photo editing and video editing are not everyday uses. That's more of a professional usage. Sure, you can play around with facebook picture uploads, but that's just basics.

    Editing videos isn't a daily task for business people, especially office workers. I'd say handling email work is the most essential... preparing powerpoint slides for presentations, using excel for management purposes... and of course Word.

    And yea, browsing obviously.

    I think for the largest population of student groups, this is true as well.

    The macbook Air is targeted at these user groups. It's called demographic breakdown, and market segmentation.

    They have the Retina Pro with dedicated gpu for people who need to edit videos and photos as 'daily usage', and needs a mobile computer.

    Most designers, or at least the ones i've worked with- they have iMacs for these uses. Our office issues iMac for each member of the design team that works with property development.

    Then you have more advanced users who will need a Mac pro (obviously, we're going with macs here as example as there are plenty of PC alternatives).

    This is where you're wrong. As I have said, analysis of Mavericks shows that it uses RAM more efficiently. So actually, this time next year a 4GB ram system would work better than this year.

    There's this common misconception that computers were going to hit 10ghz and 100GB RAM. Nah, it's not going to happen. Look at the industry. The power gap is saturated. There's little room for improvement.

    The industry is now prioritizing efficiency and that's why my 1.3ghz dual core system can blitz through any light to medium tasks, in comparison to my older 4ghz models.

    There's room for growth in efficiency, plenty in fact, and apple and intel identified this hence this year's revolution has all been about efficiency.

    12 hour laptop battery life? come on. Un heard of. They topped themselves by 5 hours from an already amazing 7hours.

    It's going to keep improving this way.

    As I said, RAM usage in Mavericks is MUCH more efficient than in Mountain Lion. That's why 2GB Ram is enough to run Mavericks. Of course, the more RAM the faster, but it's not essential.

    It's a common internet myth that you need plenty of ram to run an operating system.

    If you go to the macbook pro forums, anyone who has 8gb is laughed at, everyone seems to recommend upgrading to 16GB as a norm to 'future proof'.

    Same thing in this board, everyone says you need 8GB.
    You go to the iMac board and people tell you 16 is maybe okay, but go for 32GB.

    Yea, I doubt some people even really know what RAM does.



    So, this time next year, 4GB Ram would mean 'more' than it does this year.
    That's the direction the industry is heading.

    But of course, people will continue to buy 32GBRAM to future proof themselves... but DDR4 ram is coming and Apple's going to keep the Air at 4GbB because it's plenty.

    Apple isn't going to put a laptop in stores that cannot run their operating system 3 months after release. Seriously... they're Apple for a reason.

    tl;dr power isn't going to see a significant boost for some years. Newer generation computers will show improved efficiency, and continue to see price drops. The Air has seen price drops in consecutive years.
  7. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I was referring to your assertion of what everyday tasks are and the notion that the MBA is designed specifically for these everyday tasks. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, email, browsing ... these are your words. My point is that an i5 is way way way overkill for those types of tasks. A Core2Duo would suffice for your version of everyday tasks.

    IMO, the MBA was designed for much more than that. The MBA is capable of light duty photo and movie editing. I'm not talking heavy Photoshop or Final Cut X, I'm talking about iPhoto/Lightroom and iMovie/Adobe Premier. That's a very common type of everyday usage and it's right in the MBA's wheelhouse.

    You're the one implying that the MBA isn't capable than more than just your set of everyday tasks. Unless I've read you wrong.

    As far as RAM goes, many folks like to hold onto their computers for several years. Especially businesses. Having more RAM is never a bad thing. OK, so maybe Mavericks will handle RAM better, but someone buying now (or in the OP's case, next year), he's gonna want something that will run Mavericks well as well as the next 2 or three versions of OS X. Get 8GB now and you'll thank yourself later.
  8. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004

    Thinking about what the average and slightly above average user do with their computers, and how much better OS X is at managing RAM than Windows, 4GB should be enough for a few years. Of course, if you're working with VM's, 3D graphics or large media files, you'll want more than 4GB, but that's not average use. I think sometimes people on MR forget that we're not average users.
  9. sofianito macrumors 65816


    Jan 14, 2011
    Then I believe programming and running a VM fall into 'general tasks' or 'everyday usage'... I'd include Photoshop and Lightroom too since some people use it daily...
  10. jdechko, Sep 30, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013

    jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    If VMs or graphics are everyday usage for you, then either go with a MBP, or buy an Air with the upgraded memory. "Average" users don't, though.

    Also, VM and graphics sound work-related. If you're freelance, I'd expect you to buy your own tools and buy based on your needs/ budget. But most people have corporate-issued equipment that they have little control over.

    Most people have simpler needs when it comes to computing, and if their computer ends up swapping memory occasionally, it's not a big deal. But people don't need 8GB of memory to look at Facebook, check their email and watch a couple of cat videos.

    And in all honesty, the average computer user could get by with an iPad or tablet, which only has 1GB of RAM. But we aren't there yet. There's the fear of what is different. The "I need" group that has to have some thing. Hell, 95% of my personal computing (that is, not work related) could be done on an iPad alone. But people are afraid of change. My kids, they'll probably end up just fine with an iPad.
  11. kristoffer4 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2006
    ALthough it sounds like it won't happen a fanless design would be fantastic!

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