The next MacBook Air will define the future of computing

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by nexsta, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. nexsta, Jun 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011

    nexsta macrumors 6502

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    #1
    [​IMG]

    When they released the MacBook Air in 2008 it was a beautiful machine that merged the ultra portability of a netbook and the power and the ergonomics of a normal notebook and created a whole new product category. But the price point and the price-performance ratio made the macbook air just interesting for people who see the mobility as their highest priority and have the money to pay a exclusive price for it. It was hard to find a good reason to pay 600$ more just to get a much slower crippled macbook pro in a more beautiful thin design. You can say the MacBook Air was a pure luxus investment, focused on a niche market.

    This changed a bit after the release of the MacBook Air in Oktober 2010. Suddenly there were two versions available 11" and 13" all equipped with SSDs that made the start-up time, sleep/awake and the overall perceived OSX perfomance super fast, first benchmarks showed that the MacBook Air didn't have to hide anymore in case of perfomance in compare to the MacBook Pro, the Speedmark test showed the Pro and the Air nearly on one level and the Air even got a better perfomance in games due to the better GPU. Besides the better perfomance, the Macbook Air got a lot cheaper over the years and a lot more attractive to more people. The Air transformed from a niche product to the best selling mac ever with up to 400% more shipments than last quarter.

    And It doesnt stop here, many users will probably still say that the price-performance ratio in compare to the MacBook Pro is still not that good, you still get more for your money when you buy the macbook pro, you just have to look at the specs and compare them to see how better the MacBook Pro look, so what makes the Air so interesting?

    You have to see and work on one yourself to clearly see the difference and understand the whole beauty of this machine. It's the whole experience that makes the difference, the form factor makes it not feel like a notebook and more like a tablet for productivity with a keyboard. the SSD makes the applications feels snappier and the whole workflow is more fluid. With Lion, Osx will even feel more like a touch OS. the text on the display is crisply sharp, everything just feels more futuristic. It's the edge of what apple wants to achieve with their computers, it's the best mac experience you can get. It's the harmony of the most beautiful hardware design of a computer combined with the best software experience you can get today, this amazingness not just makes your time spending with the computer a pleasure, it motivates you to come back and work on it, the ultra portability makes you want it to take it everywhere, it's the start of a whole new generation of computing.

    But it still lacks the power when it comes to CPU haevy applications to be a full-workstation computer to many users, I think this will change with the next update when Apple starts using the new Intel CPUs. They will take the Macbook Air to the next step, it evolved from a crippled and overpriced beauty to an ultra portable affordable full-workstation computer, that fits the need of most of the people. We can probably expect an Intel Core i7-2677M 1.7 Ghz CPU that can run up to 2.8 Ghz with the Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 that will give you the perfomance you need, when you really need it.

    So why am I writing all this? I never owned a mac, I use a self-build hackintosh since many years and I need a laptop for university now. I couldn't decide to get a Macbook Pro or an Air, but now I know the Air will be my first mac and I'm already in love with it, and can't wait to have the next version, hopefully it will be available in black! and btw it was a pleasure to write this text.
     
  2. maflynn, Jun 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    Because you don't own a blog or are on facebook ;)

    In all seriousness, I don't see the MBA redefine the future of computing. The next revision will just be a speed bump. The current generation of MBAs with the lack of optical drive is quite popular but you're are correct. Performance wise, it left something to be desired.

    I don't see the MBA with the lack of ports, lack of expandability, lack of a drive (in the truest sense) will further revolutionize the industry.
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

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    #3
    I don't think MBA will be capable as a full workstation. While the new CPUs will be faster, the CPUs used in workstation are still miles ahead. The GPU is also very lacking (Intel HD 3000 is actually a bit worse than 320M) and 4GB RAM limit isn't too nice either. Thunderbolt will help with the lack of storage though, assuming you keep it plugged in all the time (use it like a desktop).

    With Intel's announcement of Ultrabook and plans on reducing the TDP, it's clear that we will see more MBA-like laptops in the future. However, they won't replace workstations and I don't think the next gen MBA is more than a speed bump and Thunderbolt. Not as revolutionary as the previous update IMO.
     
  4. PraisiX-windows macrumors regular

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    #4
    Yay, new profile picture!
    Tbh, I don't get that workstation thing, I mean, sure, it depends on what you're going to be using it for, but if it's just for writing code or monitoring network usage and such it will definately suffice.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    When someone says workstation, I immediately think about desktops with Xeon CPUs or high-end laptops (not Alienwares but workstation laptops, those do exist). IMO using workstation as definition for any work related computer is too wide. My work includes writing and to be honest, I could do that on my iPhone if I really had to. Workstations are computers meant for intensive computer related work, such as video editing, animation etc if you ask me.
     
  6. Danoc macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I don't see what the next MacBook Air will define more than the current version of 2010. Apple already called it "the future of MacBooks".

    They are probably working at a 15" and a 17" MBA. Or thinner MBP but thicker than MBA.
     
  7. simsaladimbamba

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    #7
    Workstations are for number crunching, which are used for a variety of purposes. Look at science labs, media post production facilities, military installations, traffic control, ... .
    They may be able to do their work on a MacBook Air, but it would be slow. A top of the line Mac Pro for example is seven times faster than the top of the line MBA. But that MP is only 3.5 times as expensive as that MBA.

    I currently work for a TV show and we shoot in HD (ARRI Alexa) and we don't have a top of the line Mac Pro, only the first one from 2006, thus we can't use the full resolution we are filming, thus we edit the show in SD, as that MP would choke on transcoding times.

    What I wanted to say is, MBA may define the future of consumer computers, but not for work computers, especially those big ones costing more than 5000€.
     
  8. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

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    #8
    Not this thread again. Didn't we have this discussion not a week ago ? :confused:

    The next MBA will get a silent update. Game changer, define the future of computing ? Yeah right. The 2010 MBA was the game changer. It brought the MBA into the mainstream, out of its niche. The next one is a spec bump just appearing on the store one morning without any fanfare.
     
  9. PraisiX-windows macrumors regular

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    Okay, I see what you mean. In my head one would be using the workstation for doing general work, maintenance, etc, and when the serious number crunching was to happen one would export the work over to the server or mainframe.

    I guess this picture is wrong then.
     
  10. simsaladimbamba

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    #10
    Workstations can do the number crunching too. HP, Dell, Apple and many others offer fully working workstations (powerful computers) that the user can use without the need for a server farm or mainframe. But server farms are used too of course.
     
  11. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

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    #11
    Hum, in your definition, a workstation is any PC used for work. That qualifies even netbooks as workstations in a way.

    The thing is, the industry qualified workstations as high-end, heavy processing PCs. Dell's Precision line, HP's Z series, Apple's Mac Pro, etc...

    Look on a vendor's site, the distinction they make is clear :
     

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  12. PraisiX-windows macrumors regular

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    #12
    I see.
    Well, I suppose I just always saw a workstation as being responsive, multitaskable and reliable, but if it has to incorporate heavy processing as well it will fall short compared to todays workstations.
     
  13. glen e macrumors 68030

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    #13
    It's a cool light duty laptop....period...wanna try again while you got the pulpit?
     
  14. Cali3350 macrumors regular

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    #14
    I think its likely to be a silent refresh, but I also think it might be one of the most significant in Apple history. The power of the new Macbook Air's is miles ahead of the current ones.
     
  15. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

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    #15
    Miles ahead ? With a slower GPU ? Yeah right.

    In most workflows going on airs, you won't even notice the Sandy Bridge CPU as the thing is mostly sitting idle waiting on user input anyhow.
     
  16. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

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    #16
    That photo looks like what could be a MBP. The MBP will get any redesign before the MBA. Were a least a few years away before the MBA takes over in terms of sales over the MBP.
     
  17. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

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  18. Cynicalone macrumors 68040

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    #18
    The GPU is the big question right now with the power of the next MacBook Air. I'll be very curious to see how the Intel 3000HD (or is it HD 3000) benchmarks versus the NVIDIA 320M and 9400M.

    Right now I use the late 08 MacBook Air (2,1) as my secondary machine, I would love an upgrade but the GPU makes me hesitant.

    -

    I think what will change for Apple is how they fit the Air into the current product line. The white MacBook is probably on the way out with the 11" Air becoming the new entry level laptop.
     
  19. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

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    #19
    The white MacBook has been on the deathbed for years now. It is still there.
     
  20. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

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    #20
    You'll be ? The benchmarks are already out. Hellhammer summed it up :

     
  21. Cynicalone macrumors 68040

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    A bit confusing to read but next month we should have Sandy Bridge MacBook Airs in the hands of places like Barefeats.

    Apple will tweak the hell out of these machines so it is hard to say for sure what the actual performance will be. But it would appear to be a real step down given the numbers in your quoted post.
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #22
    I was replying to Scottsdale who claimed that 9400M is faster than ULV Intel HD 3000, that's why it can be a bit confusing.

    It's also good to keep in mind that those are benchmarks under Windows with ULV CPU. LV CPU features higher clocks. Anand also noted in his 2011 MBP review that Intel HD 3000 has good drivers in OS X but I would still expected it to be a downgrade from 320M.
     
  23. darngooddesign macrumors G3

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    #23
    I don't agree with your initial premise. There were a myriad of ultraportable PCs, like the Vaios, that did far more to establish and define this category than the Air has. The Air is nice, and I'll end up with the upcoming version, but it is far from groundbreaking.

    Ps. I really hope that non-upgradable computers are not the future.
     
  24. Cynicalone macrumors 68040

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    #24
    That's what I was afraid of an upgrade from the 08 Models and a step down for every one else. What is the next real graphics chip option that Apple could deploy in the Air?

    I feel I can wait if Lion will run on my laptop. The last seed still doesn't run well with 2GB of RAM. I know there is still time for tweaking but Lion may actually make Apple move to 4GB standard across the line.
     
  25. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

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    #25
    Nothing, nVidia is out of making chipsets for x86. I was surprised that even MCP89 even came into being. nVidia must have been desperate to get that out the door and actually into some hardware.
     

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