What things will we realistically see in the refresh?

PaulWog

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Jun 28, 2011
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I've amalgamated most of what I've seen talked about when it comes to the Macbook Air refresh. Seems lots of people are discussing in this thread, so I'll update the list as things get closer to the 14th. This is by no means some sort of official thread... rather just a discussion, with things categorized from top-to-bottom in terms of likelihood of being seen in a refresh.

What do you think we'll realistically see in the refresh, and what do you think there is a good chance of seeing in the refresh?

Correct me if I'm wrong, or if I've missed anything, but this is what I'm basically thinking:

Definitely:
- 17W Sandy Bridge Processors (i5/i7 in the 13 inch, possibly i3/i5 or i5/i7 in the 11 inch)
- Thunderbolt port

Very Likely:
- Improved SSD technology (edit: may/may not be significantly improved, some improvement is very likely)
- Baseline 4GB of RAM
- Improved facetime camera

On the table but really nothing we can count on:
- Backlit keyboard
- Increased baseline storage capacity of SSD

On the table but leaning toward more unlikely:
- 25W i7 chip in the 13-inch model

Unlikely/Major stretch:
- Some sort of graphics solution beyond the HD 3000
- Screen improved to IPS panel
- Improved screen resolution
- Significantly notable battery life improvement
- Notable change to the shell
- Built-in 3G or 4G network card or something of the sort (Apple's push for cloud; could be more likely than just a major stretch I presume... though if this were soldered in, they'd start to have too many variations in models that they have to keep in stock... unless if it came standard at no price increase... dunno?)
- My own wishful thinking, but improved screenspace use (particularly a larger screen while maintaining the same enclosure, or slightly smaller enclosure in the 11.6-inch version which has quite a thick border around the screen)
 
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2IS

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Jan 9, 2011
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Well there probably shouldn't be any in the "Definitely" section since it's technically all speculation.

I personally would think the improved battery life would fall into the very likely category and the improved screen res into unlikely.
 

Apple Expert

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Jan 31, 2010
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I think SB processor and thunderbolt are for sure. 4gb of ram is more likely over backlit keyboard. I don't think they will change the ssd. Possibly offer 512gb as an expensive option in the 13". Hopefully we get all of the above. :D
 

PaulWog

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Well there probably shouldn't be any in the "Definitely" section since it's technically all speculation.

I personally would think the improved battery life would fall into the very likely category and the improved screen res into unlikely.
The "definitely" section is pretty much just the very core features that really couldn't be any different.

Apple wouldn't put displayport back on there when they could put thunderbolt in instead. They also have no other real choice with their processor selection.

So "definitely" is basically the 99.99% for-sure rumors. Then things work down from there. But I don't think many will argue with what I've put under "definitely" :p.

I agree on the screen resolution now that I think about it. If they're using the HD3000 graphics, it wouldn't make sense for them to improve the screen resolution. I'll actually edit my original post to reflect that. However I don't think the battery life will notably be improved; it might be slightly improved, but I don't think it will shift by more than half an hour.
 

PaulWog

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I'd put money on 4 gigs being a sure thing. This based on Lion's hunger for memory.
I would too. The difficulty I see is that 8GB of RAM will be so pointless of an upgrade. Sandy Bridge is dual-socket. I believe the Air uses two soldered modules of RAM (or is it just one?). If it's just one that's actually surprising -- since dual channel memory is superior to single-channel I think? Anyways... getting off on a tangent. The thing is 2GB of RAM would allow Apple to force people to pay $100 more from their baseline to get their Macbook Air to get that 4GB amount... I'm wondering what they'll do.

I think 4GB baseline makes sense since Apple isn't the type of company to want to release a new operating system and sell a refreshed line of new product that doesn't, at base cost, operate very smoothly. I'm thinking if they do a baseline of 4GB of RAM, they may raise their baseprice by $100 on the Air? I don't know.
 

entropi

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2008
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a cool quiet thin computer will do. that's enough. (just like the mba 11" today)

(but backlit keys and a SDHC-slot in the mba 11" would be awesome! :D)
 

Monkeychemist

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Jun 27, 2011
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I would also agree with the others and say that 4GB standard should be in the definitely category.

Also, I'm thinking this class of computers will only see i5s for the 11" and i7s for the 13"

But what do I know? Oh that's right, I work for Apple...




well, not really haha
 

Kavrocks

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May 12, 2011
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I would also agree with the others and say that 4GB standard should be in the definitely category.
Is that because you want it to be so or because it logically makes sense?

The "On the table but really nothing we can count on" category seems more like a category of things people on this forum want in the refresh.
 

Monkeychemist

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Jun 27, 2011
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Is that because you want it to be so or because it logically makes sense?

The "On the table but really nothing we can count on" category seems more like a category of things people on this forum want in the refresh.
Because it makes sense. Every refresh upgrades at least the 3 basics: processor, RAM and HD space.

So unless Apple goes to 3GB RAM which is weird, I'd say with 99% certainty that it will be 4GB standard with an option to go to 6 or maybe 8GB on the 13"
 

Santabean2000

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Nov 20, 2007
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I wonder if there's any hope of a 15" model. I guess not as the 13" has the current 15"MBP's standard res. Bugger. Would *love* one.
 

petvas

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I want to see a backlight keyboard, 4GB as standard, bigger SSD as standard and integrated 3G (even as an option). If Apple gives me that and offers a white MacBook Air, I am buying it ASAP.
 

jclardy

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Oct 6, 2008
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I would too. The difficulty I see is that 8GB of RAM will be so pointless of an upgrade. Sandy Bridge is dual-socket. I believe the Air uses two soldered modules of RAM (or is it just one?). If it's just one that's actually surprising -- since dual channel memory is superior to single-channel I think? Anyways... getting off on a tangent. The thing is 2GB of RAM would allow Apple to force people to pay $100 more from their baseline to get their Macbook Air to get that 4GB amount... I'm wondering what they'll do.

I think 4GB baseline makes sense since Apple isn't the type of company to want to release a new operating system and sell a refreshed line of new product that doesn't, at base cost, operate very smoothly. I'm thinking if they do a baseline of 4GB of RAM, they may raise their baseprice by $100 on the Air? I don't know.
I highly doubt a price increase, even if they increase the amount of RAM.

RAM is dirt cheap now. 8GB DDR3 for my MBP cost only around $70 from a third party, so buying 4GB in bulk is super cheap for Apple.

It would still cost them more than 2GB of RAM, but they are also saving money by having the graphics chip integrated on the processor chip and not having to buy a separate GPU.
 

orfeas0

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Aug 21, 2010
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Because it makes sense. Every refresh upgrades at least the 3 basics: processor, RAM and HD space.

So unless Apple goes to 3GB RAM which is weird, I'd say with 99% certainty that it will be 4GB standard with an option to go to 6 or maybe 8GB on the 13"
Why do we dismiss the possibility that the air will have a default of 3gb ram, and upgradeable to 4 or 6 or 8?
IMO, they should either keep 2-4gb ram options and drop the price 50$, or have a default 4gb ram with 50$ increase in price.
 

stevensr123

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Apr 22, 2010
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is it just me or does anyone else think thunderbolt will be left out of the macbook air?

I can't see it replacing any usb ports, so can they fit in another port for thunderbolt?

also at the moment it seems thunderbolt is directed at pro's who actually need to use it. I can't see the 11' getting it for sure though.
 

onthecouchagain

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Mar 29, 2011
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I really hope extended battery life will be part of the upgrades.

That and, as others voiced, I think there's a good chance they'll come with 4 GB RAM standard.
 

2IS

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Jan 9, 2011
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Why do we dismiss the possibility that the air will have a default of 3gb ram, and upgradeable to 4 or 6 or 8?
IMO, they should either keep 2-4gb ram options and drop the price 50$, or have a default 4gb ram with 50$ increase in price.
3GB of ram = a potential decrease in overall performance due to not running in dual channel. Not really an issue with your typical laptop with upgradeable ram but I don't think Apple is going to implement a configuration that permanently compromises performance considering how cheap it would be to simply add another GB
 

entropi

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May 20, 2008
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is it just me or does anyone else think thunderbolt will be left out of the macbook air?

I can't see it replacing any usb ports, so can they fit in another port for thunderbolt?

also at the moment it seems thunderbolt is directed at pro's who actually need to use it. I can't see the 11' getting it for sure though.
but, puh-lease - there is ALREADY a "thunderbolt" port on the mba!
(the mini displayport) it's just a question of adding more functions (and the needed hardware) to a port that's already there, ok?
 

2IS

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Jan 9, 2011
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but, puh-lease - there is ALREADY a "thunderbolt" port on the mba!
(the mini displayport) it's just a question of adding more functions (and the needed hardware) to a port that's already there, ok?
Uh, the whole point of TB is more speed and more functions. There certainly isn't already a thunderbolt port on there. Its an mDP port, nothing more nothing less.

By your logic there are already USB 3.0 slots on there as well, they just need to make them faster and add a couple more pins for power
 

maclaptop

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Apr 8, 2011
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I've seen articles claim this or that about the refresh. They go on about what would be nice, what is realistically going to be refreshed, and what we can hope for. But usually these articles are rather fluffy and boring.
It's not so much the fluff about the hardware changes, but rather the real menace at hand. The new MBA's will come infected with the dramatically dumbed down Lion. An OS, that by all I've seen, is purely a rather cartoonish, childish way to present the OS in a non threatening way to those you have no business buying a computer of this overall caliber.

Yet that said, soon these will be offered hanging in blister packed packages, at WalMart, Sams Club, and other mass market big box stores. As Apple lowers both quality and functionality, and pricing, they will sell as easily as the plastic Fischer Price toy computers in the toddlers department of WalMart's Nationwide.

After all, with the massive profits Apple already makes, and money being the only item of interest to Apple and company. The logical next step is to flood the market with iToys, computers, including pads pods and phones.