Time to kill the Air and drop the 12" Macbook to $999.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by deepen03, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. deepen03 macrumors regular


    Jan 17, 2010
    So, there was an underwhelming upgrade to the Macbook Air at this year's WWDC. I see no reason for Apple to keep on selling it. Why do they insist on milking customers for their money?

    The 12" Macbook uses a Core M chip. There are similarly spec'd Windows PCs at under $800 (ex:/ Yoga 710).

    Ideal lineup:

    Macbook - $999
    Macbook Pro 13 - starting at $1199
    Macbook Pro 13 w/ Touch Bar - starting at $1499
    Macbook Pro 15 - Starting at $1799

    They would still make profit, as many customers would opt for the $1199 Pro.

    The entry level 12" Macbook can still sell the same volume as the Air did.
  2. Rok73 macrumors 65816


    Apr 21, 2015
    Planet Earth
  3. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Here's the reason they keep selling it...
    Those of us who continue to see the Macbook Air as superior to the retina Macbook for our needs don't feel "milked". Price is only ONE factor... but not the ONLY one. Sure, buying a 13" MBA for $750 is pretty good start. But the MBA also has a better processor, more ports, and SD card slot. Obviously if those things aren't important to you then you wouldn't see value in them.

    I'm curious as to why you care if Apple continues to sell the Macbook Air?
  4. JaySoul macrumors 68030


    Jan 30, 2008
    The Air is also (in my experience) much nicer to type on.
  5. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Should that be "Time" rather than "Tim"? Perhaps the title ought to be, "Tim, it's time to kill the Air..."
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Maybe you're right? Otherwise this thread is just "fake news". ;)
  7. HippyRabbitFish macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Why? Price point, and eco-system stickiness.

    Price Point
    Under $1k is often the difference between a casual admiration for tech you'll never have and making the decision to fork over your hard-earned capital for a quality machine. What good are admirers of your products who ultimately don't buy anything? If there was no MacBook Air, some people would not even seriously consider a Mac, even if they are more than a little curious or have used a Mac before.

    Ecosystem Stickiness
    There is a stickiness to tech ecosystems, as well. Once you get there, you're more likely to stay. Not true for all, but true for most. Even if someone starts with a MacBook Air, that doesn't mean they will stay with that, but it does make it a little more likely they will stay with a Mac.

    For Apple, the MacBook Air is still the "introductory" model. For those who covet the MacBook form factor, though, I could definitely understand wanting the MacBook Air to go away so the MacBook gets a price drop.

    I'm not saying that's what the OP wants, but from my own journey into a Mac, it certainly was part of my thought process.
  8. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    It's past time to kill off the MBA.
    But it's a low entry point for customers to mac ownership along with the Mac mini.
  9. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Why? Why is it past time to kill off the MBA? Some say that but never explain why.
  10. Beachguy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2011
    If I was buying a new Mac today, I would have a hard time buying a MacBook, or even MBP, especially because of the lousy, sucks-wind keyboard. I'm still happily using my 2011 ENTRY LEVEL MBA and it does just fine for me. Considering the price (and keyboard) difference, I am not sure I can come close to justifying the MBP, and the Macbook is a nonstarter. As it stands right now, considering the changes to Macs in the last few refreshes, I may just be sticking to my Raspberry Pi devices since I only have a few years until I retire.

    Because of the keyboard, the Macbook and the MBP are dead to me. No MBP after 2015 if I HAD to buy. My 2012 is still strong enough that I can't even remotely justify a new one. My wife asked if I wanted to upgrade, and I said, "No. Let's spend the money on something else."
  11. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    It's been completely replaced by the lighter and better in every way rMB M3
    The screen's an embarrassment in 2017

    Let's resurrect the ATV3, it's cheaper than the ATV4 and has an extra port on the back
    Or maybe bring back a 997 instead of having a 991.2,
  12. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    "Better in every way" is vague hyperbole at best, and highly subjective based on the needs of the individual. "the screen's an embarrassment"?! Why are YOU embarrassed that Apple sells such a device in 2017?

    How are YOU affected by Apple's decision to continue to sell the Air? That is the puzzling thing. Sure, I get it. The Air offers no value to you and you would clearly not buy one. Why not simply take an approach of... "well, I guess if it serves the needs of others, good that they have an option, but I'm moving on." ? Why is it that if YOU see no value in something then Apple must stop selling it? :confused:

    There are quite a few products that Apple sells that make absolutely no sense to me as to why people would buy them. I'm not declaring that Apple should stop selling them. Those things are simply not for me.
  13. JMountainDew, Aug 1, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017

    JMountainDew macrumors regular


    Apr 24, 2012
    Wow. I haven't posted anything here for a couple years perhaps, but just couldn't stay out of this conversation...

    My first and most favorite mac was a 2013 MBA 11. All that horsepower in a sturdy ultraportable design. Later gave it to my brother whose much older MacBook Pro was on its last legs. I then invested in a 2015 MacBook Pro Retina 13 which still handles everything I throw at it. But wanting to lighten my daily load lately, I purchased a refurbed MBA 11, but wound up returning it due to my aging astigmatic eyes. (Still gotta love it, though.) Tried a new 2017 MacBook 12 for a couple days, but it seemed so fragile and underwhelming to me, it was returned as well. Planning to grab a more affordable MBA 13 before they go extinct. Other than the older screen, IMO it is hard to beat.
  14. mstanco macrumors newbie


    Jul 21, 2017
    Oyster Bay, NY
    in a perfect world, yes, but this is apple.
  15. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    The MacBook has too few ports to be the mainstream Mac. The $999 Mac has been the most conventional computer for everybody in the lineup, but the MacBook just seems more niche. I don't see it as someone's gateway into the world of Macs.

    The one port almost seems confrontational, like Apple is challenging you to find ways to do the what you've always just taken for granted in a laptop. I think there's enough space to put in 2 USB-C and an ad card slot. Dongle life is pretty alienating to the nontech savvy.

    Maybe that's what Apple wants though, to switch the Mac from the everybody computer into more specialized areas and extend Steve Jobs truck analogy even further.

    If Apple is still the kind of company that can keep the non retina pro around for years, I see the MBA staying around for a long while. Do they still need a basic computer to sell to teachers?
  16. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    I'm not impacted in the slightest by the MBA, or the Mac Mini and Mac Pro (which is about to be replaced), but it's clear they are all outdated. That's not opinion, that's fact based on the tech employed within the device. I made no personal judgement on a persons wants or needs towards it. Everyone is free to buy/choose whatever they want as long as it's legal. I could find someone who would like a Newton or a C64 if i tried hard enough..

    "Better in every way" is not subjective or hyperbole, the M3 rMB outperforms (or at the very worst is equal 3800s/6500m) to the base MBA (3400s/6500m based on GeekBench), it has a better screen, it's smaller and lighter. MBA is a better price point only. Where personal opinion comes in is things like a "better keyboard" or "better connectivity".. those are subjective. Technically the keyboard is "better", but subjectively people are not used to it, so dismiss it or ridicule it.

    I dont own either a (working) MBA, or a rMB, so I'm being objective, not defensive towards a purchase i have made.
    If you're on a budget the MBA makes sense. But apple should price the 1.2 rMB at a more reasonable price (sub 1k) to allow them to retire the old girl and retain units sold. The rMB is the MBA in all but name - people simply don't like change it would appear.
  17. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    An Air can connect to a charger, a USB 3 external drive, a mouse dongle and an SD card and either an external display or a Thunderbolt 2 device at the same time.

    The rMB has a single USB-C port that doesn't support Thunderbolt at all - nor does it support USB 3.1 Gen 2 - so there's nothing you can run from it that you can't run two of from the Macbook Air's USB-A ports (including USB-C external drives etc. which often even come with a USB-C to USB-A cable). To get anything like the connectivity of the Air you'll need a separate multiport hub - and with USB C (as opposed to Thunderbolt) that means your USB devices are sharing a port (I don't have an Air to check, but I'd assume that the two USB3 ports are both top-level ports).

    Oh, yes - the Air can drive an external 4k@60Hz display and a USB-3 device. The rMB can't - because the display uses all 4 high speed lanes of the USB-C port, only leaving a single USB 2 lane for any USB ports your display/hub might offer.

    So sorry, no, there's nothing subjective about it - the Air has far better connectivity than the rMB. Now, if you get on to the new MBPs with 2 or more full-fat TB3 ports then maybe it does get subjective (depending on whether you need the speed of TB3/USB 3.1g2 or just lots of USB2/3 ports) but the rMB's connectivity is just lousy.

    The benchmarks you quoted basically show that they're in the same ballpark (but there's an i7 option for the Air that is still, just, cheaper than the rMB base). People aren't buying rMBs or Airs for jobs where a 1% reduction in render times saves hours and dollars so that difference is just noise.

    Keyboard, yeah, they're subjective, but I don't recall anybody here singing the praises of the new "butterfly" keyboards. I'm actually using one in the form of a "Magic keyboard with numeric keypad" and the best that I can say is that it's OK - and that's taking into account the "pro" of having a wireless full-sized keyboard. For a lot of people, the last generation Apple "chiclet" keyboards were perfect and really, really didn't need improving. Just because you can learn to live with something, and it's not the deal-breaker predicted on launch day, doesn't mean that it is better. Both designs are low-profile "island" keyboards that should appeal to the same people - its not like we're comparing the rMB with Das Keyboard or IBM Model M...
  18. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    I'll just leave these here.. so you can work the rest out.


    What if i don't need connectivity? Wireless NAS, boom, done. No crappy USB thumb drives, just a power cable. Now to say magsafe is "better" than USBC i would have agreed with you in that it will prevent damage to your device should you trip on the cable for example. But if you only intend using it on the desk, Meh maybe no big deal. I've never connected my rMBPs to anything but a single device at anyone time and i travel with mine every other week - so does it matter? Well that makes connectivity as a driver "subjective" based on your workflow. USBC is the future, that's not subjective, it offers better speeds, that's not subjective.. MBAs have more legacy connections, that's not subjective.

    Yes, i used the base model on purpose... as you say, the 1% doesn't make a difference - but, if you want the i7 (7Y75) rMB that's coming out at 4100s/8000 where as the MBA i7 (5650U) is only 3550s/6800. I've never suggested usage for either machine. But the rMB has a faster CPUs, so it's not subjective to say the rMB is faster, the numbers show it's so in either guise.

    I agree, just because you could live with the MBAs screen, doesn't mean you should.. see what i did there.
    Plenty here have said they now prefer them, but that is subjective as we both agree. Its not subjective to say the retina screen is better than the MBAs screen. Do you prefer iOS or Android? Do you think it would take time to move between the two different platforms and be proficient to the same degree? And then it's a preference in most cases based on a workflow not a technical reason not to move from either to the other.
  19. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    To me, this is the main issue with the Air. A screen that belongs on Mac OS X Snow Leopard / Lion-era Macs. Almost as bad as still selling 5400 RPM HDDs in 2017.

    Also, it's ironic how so many people praise Apple for forcing adoption of USB-C, while the MacBook Air, Mac mini, and Mac Pro continue to exist without it. Someone is going to make a USB-C accessory that doesn't work with all the current Macs sold by Apple, let alone ones that are a generation or two old?

    It would be nice to see Apple add another USB-C port to the MacBook and drop the price to where the 13" Air is at now. A Retina display doesn't have to cost a $300 premium in 2017. MacBook needs to be Apple's entry-level for consumers, unless Apple plans to redesign the Air with Retina display and keep a decent port array (unlikely).
  20. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    The Mac Mini and 21.5" iMac both ship with 5400 RPM hard disks. :p
  21. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030


    Nov 8, 2014
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    You can do the same with the video below:

  22. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Yes, that's an extra box that you have to buy and carry around, which doesn't add any thunderbolt capability (even if its only V2), doesn't let you run a 4k@60Hz monitor and get USB 3 speeds at the same time and makes 4 USB connections and the SD card contend for a single USB 3 channel.

    Then you don't have to use it. Buy a rMB. C.f. people who do want connectivity who can't use what isn't there... There seems to be a lot of this cognitive dissonance around here: "I don't need feature X - therefore nobody should need feature X and anybody who does need it is somehow ignoring the needs of others."

    This discussion isn't over whether the rMB is useless, its about whether it is an adequate substitute for the MBA. Nobody is forcing you to buy an MBA - rather, you're arguing to force MBA users to buy a rMB.

    You were arguing that the rMB was better in all respects. It isn't. The MBA has a better processor. The rMB has a better screen. The processors are much the same.

    Yes. The MBAs screen is worse. Which is the main justification for the thing costing $300 less. It's called choice.

    About 4 of my colleagues use MBAs - 80% of the time, they have them plugged into large external displays so the internal display is irrelevant (Aw, snap, the rMB needs a multiport adapter or hub to do that - esp. if you want to charge it at the same time).
  23. AFEPPL, Aug 2, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017

    AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    Can you buy those 2016 rMB nows? ;)

    I've had that very problem on both my now dead MBA and my current rMBPs.
    Encoding video for example requires cooling. The fans go crazy and the bottom gets hot on (all) macs.. but remember - one of the previous MBA diehards excluded the 1% workflows. Talking of encoding, can you get 16GB ram on the Air? It would be great to run two displays with 4096x2304 resolution at 60Hz on an external display, but sadly the HD6000 is just not able to handle it. Bluetooth 4.2 would be nice too since "connectivity" is so important, but sadly only 4.0 so that 250% faster and more reliable over-the-air data transmission with 10x more packet capacity is not an issue. Have we mentioned the better trackpad too? MBA is a poor device on every technical level.

    Heres one back at you..

    I'm ok with people liking or defending their MBAs, but lets not pretend its better in a "measurable" or "non emotional" way than a rMB (or rMBP), its just not. But this is the thing, better doesn't change the price nor your freewill to choose it. I remember all these lame ass comment when the MBA came out "wheres the ethernet port" "wheres the CD drive" "where's the VGA", "Dongle hell".. oh.. yes, we don't connect to ethernet anymore - its redundant. See what i did..! Yep its the ports things.

    Strange how things are forgotten or changed when its the other foot.. :rolleyes:
    Yes the MBA costs less, but to quote a reviewer "the MBAS screen would be bad on a $200 laptop!"
  24. Joined:
    Jun 28, 2017
    I agree, the MacBook Air should have been killed off in 2015 when the new MacBook arrived. It's an embarrassment to the Apple line up - it looks incredibly dated with its silver bezels - pure nasty in fact. Never a fan from the start sadly. The screen is a disgrace and the old ports simply do not follow Apple's 2015 onwards direction. And that, adds confusion to a first time Apple buyer who may buy this old man with a very dated non retina screen.
    Apple really need direction on this. It's old, very dated, expensive and a poor representative for Apple in 2017.
    Just plain nasty!
  25. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    I used to carry a 2013 13" Air with me, for about 3 years and an half.
    When I got my actual Mac, a 12" rMB 2016 m3, I was enthusiastic about its form factor and retina display.
    After using it for about 6 months now, I've found myself to be annoyed by its battery life, which is roughly half the one on my Air, and is also much slower to charge.
    To add insult to injury, I'm having problems with the butterfly keyboard, which is less comfortable than the previous one AND is giving me increasing problems with the spacebar, which either misses or inputs multiple spaces a lot of times.

    I'm not even starting to complain about the webcam.

    If this is the upgrade Apple can give me, I'm starting to look around for PC alternatives. Never thought I'd be saying that with my "lackluster" 2013 Air.

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