Why Apple Did What They Did

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dougelo7, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. dougelo7 macrumors member


    Jul 20, 2008
    Okay I've started this thread to explain to all the naysayers why Apple made the compromises they did in the MacBook Air (you're still welcome to comment on their other products as well). :p

    I won't steal all the talking points from you, but here are some starters:
    • Just look at the top/middle left of the first attached photo (of an aluminum MacBook) to see why Apple forewent putting an optical drive into MacBook Air - it takes up WAY too much space.
    • Apple had to only have one USB port because of the INTERNAL limitations. The only way they could add another would be to reduce the size of the battery, which would likely be complained about more loudly than the addition of another port would be praised. :rolleyes: (See second photo for the size of the battery and logic board inside MBA; the three-port door is in the top left of the snapshot.)
    • The processor in MBA rules. Hands down. If you need proof just look at other "ultraportables" that have like 1 GHz processors. :confused:
    • MBA is not expensive, relatively. Again, just look at other ultraportables - they usually START around $2,000!!! :eek: (MBA starts at $1,699 for me since I'm military and $1,799 for normal people.) :cool:

    Feel free to add other explanations! :D

    Attached Files:

  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    Who walks around all over downtown with a laptop outside of a bag, trying to get to work and drink coffee? Someone may do so going from one building to another, but going to work? Who also says anyone is trying to flip CDs/DVDs while running/walking anyway? Terrible example and explanation for it. I think your explanation of physical room below makes more sense than this.

    I think the MBP is portable. I have a 15.4" HP laptop and a 15.4" Dell as well. Both seem portable to me. Why do you think they are not?


    I don't see the issue with the processor either. It's an ultraportable, not a workstation.

    Depends on one's needs and finances.

  3. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    i'm glad that apple doesn't include the optical drive on MBA, that thing is ancient dude!

    i hope macbook and macbook pro will not have optical drive and just include the external superdrive, it will be less weight and much thinner laptops.
  4. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Apr 6, 2005
    i think so too.
  5. dougelo7 thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 20, 2008

    The main gripe I had with my MacBook Pro (I sold it to iFixit) was that it (a) was too heavy to take everywhere - bringing it along was a really big deal; (b) it felt too clunky and therefore delicate - granted this was probably fixed by the new unibody design.

    Others' reaction to my bringing of my MBP usually sounded like "OMG! You brought your laptop!" "You didn't have to go to all this trouble!" "Why did you bring your Mac when we have perfectly good PCs here?!"

    My point is that carrying around the light and thin MacBook Air won't be regarded as a chore, but a pleasure, since I'll get full access to Mac OS X no matter where I am.

    (Note the PC comment - the main reason why I usually didn't bring my MacBook Pro to school everyday was because it was still too thick and heavy to carry every day - I'm hoping my new MacBook Air will solve these issues.)
  6. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    Weight is relative too. I have no idea how much either of my PCs weigh, but I'm certain they are heavier than the Air and maybe even the MBP. Either way, their weight is not noticeable enough to me.
  7. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    So do you think you'll just download all software when purchased? Case in point, X-Plane is 8 DVDs right now (around 32GB). Don't think bandwidth is that cheap yet, not to mention optical media is great for backups and video.
  8. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    i don't use x-plane.

    i don't backups music and videos every time. and when backing up stuff, it's better done at home. that's why the external superdrive is there.

    i rather lugging a much thinner and lighter laptop than having the optical drive all the time which is not used all the time unlike the hard drive and the other parts of the notebook..
  9. sherthang macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2007
    Musings on apples and buttons

    I totally agree. Apple got it right when they got rid of the floppy, now when they got rid of the optical-these are barely used items for a whole class of customers-the will stay residual in some products but will likely go the way of the floppy one of these days

    two questions remain=
    1)why did they take the apple logo off of the command key
    2) no mouse in apple's line up has a button anymore except for the MacBook Air-i wonder why
  10. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    1) maybe they realize that apple is not a command button.
    2) the air still has a silver bezel instead of the black glass bezel instead. i believe it's lack of time for holiday rev.B release that makes the design of the air same. in the next revision i believe they will include the new trackpad and a glass bezel which sucks to me.
  11. twist2b macrumors regular

    May 26, 2008
    North Carolina
    I have heard ALOT of complaints about the lack of an optical drive. BUT the super drive is JUST as nice, and MOUNTING drives is so easy now a days. Also, Personally, I don't use a drive that much. And if I NEEDED the drive, I can usually wait until I get home before I install an app OR rip a cd. Seriously consider how often you USE a cd, and were you use it! See what I am saying?

    The only complaint I can think of for the AIR is the lack of a 4GB ram option, but again its really not that bad. I don't think people really lose anything significant with only 2GB of ram.

    I like OP's thought though.

    edit - and yeah I am seriously considering waiting for the next REV for the updated trackpad and maybe some MORE improvements :p I am FREAKISHLY impressed in this Rev though....
  12. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    Well, I don't - but that's mostly because I'm not USING the thing while I'm running/walking anywhere.

    Wow...I read these forums and I realize I'm in a minority that's shrinking at an alarming rate. I have an iMac and a MacBook and I use the optical drives on both machines more days than not - either to play games, watch a DVD, or burn discs. I know that Apple makes an external Superdrive, but I'm just not interested - one more thing to carry around and plug in.

    But your blanket statement ("nobody") isn't quite correct.
  13. twist2b macrumors regular

    May 26, 2008
    North Carolina
    You still use cd's to boot games? SOOO over-rated :p Its so easy now-a-days to just boot games with a drive mounter. Faster, and so much nicer/quieter! Also, most recent games do not require cd's anymore.

    watch a DVD, ok, so again you can easily hook your movie up with a super drive. Your prob not going to be moving any time soon. And another way is to just put the movie ON your drive! (or put it on a time capsule if you have it, for wireless...ness)

    The super drive is SOOOO small its the size of a cd! It's awesome.

    Just my 2 cents. I typed this quick, so I prob did not present my points very well. But oh well, just sayin.
  14. rotorblade69 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2006
    North West Georgia
    OK Explain whether the air is a pro, consumer, or new class of macbook computer line.

    I dont mind the no CD dvd drive.
    I dont mind one usb
    I dont mind the new video port thing

    What should be changed in my opinion is the headphone jack should be on the side of the computer by the magsafe port. or next to the hatch. who wants to open the hatch just to use the headphones.
    Loosing the Headphone jack would open up for another port say compact ethernet or maybe even the dreaded FIREWIRE.
    But the firewire puts us back at whether the air is pro or consumer. Consumer no firewire pro firewire. I think the air is what a lot of people I talk to want and thats a thin cddvd drive less macbook PRO. Basically a air pro on steroids.
  15. darrellishere macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2007
    I have to agree!

    The macbook pro has gone in the other direction. Heavyer, glass, wasteful CD drive!

    If they started from scratch, why didn't they thin-ovate like the macbook air.

    Light THIN and uber sexy. Drop the glass.

    Their agin, now thier is space for another apple notebook.

    Well, as we become more specific about our portable needs, new uses and different usage patterns need to be considered. eg Netbook for example.

    Lets face it the pro, is turning very consumer on us all of a sudden.

    Do people still use these for work? Serious Professionals, Photographers, the numbers must be tiny compared to overall sales.

    CD Drives are dead, give us OSX on USB Drives ;) We pay enough for it £80 :)
  16. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    the mainboard is on the right, so you can't put the audio jack on the left. remember it's very thin and small space to fit into the macbook air.
  17. AppliedMicro macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2008
    Really? Couldn't they have added another USB port right next to the one it has got?

    Not anymore. Just look at the Asus EEE PC and the like. It's certainly a notebook, it runs "normal" OS like Windows, it's certainly ultraportable - and it comes at a fraction of the Air's price point.

    But even if you account for the EEE PC's obvious disadvantages (display, key size, processing power), the new Air comes a at relatively steep price. For instance, look at Lenovo's X200 starts at $1099.

    I believe they must have had a deep look at usage patterns of mobile people, during the design process. And then they tried to get the 5 most important (= most heavily used things) "right":

    - keyboard: used 90% or more of the time your book's switched on
    - screen: ditto
    - processing power (issues with Youtube playback and high CPU usage in Flash prove the point, especially on Macs)
    - build quality / ruggedness
    - weight!
  18. twist2b macrumors regular

    May 26, 2008
    North Carolina
    Actually, turns out that hackers have found that the AIR is capable of 3 MORE USB PORTS. 1 high and 2 lows. Even just the 1 high couldn't hert.
  19. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    It's not that hard to figure out (a quick look at System Profiler will reveal that), but that's not the OP's point. The problem was likely one of internal space. As the OP rightly pointed out, reducing the battery size for another USB port would have drawn a _lot_ more flack than the current solution.

    Would I like an additional USB port? Sure. But for me, battery life is the most important thing -- important enough that I'm willing to forgo the convenience of a second USB port if it would require me to deal with a shorter battery life.
  20. chocolaterabbit macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2008
    Something else to consider is if the Air wasn't tapered as heavily. a laptop that's 0.76 inches to 0.5 inches say, would have been more capable in terms of cooling and fitting the HD in. Would you really mind the extra tiny wedge?
  21. dougelo7 thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 20, 2008
    I don't see how that's possible, considering the size limitations on the Air's case - it's already so thin that the one USB port takes up like the entire vertical space. I can see having a second USB port next to it but I don't know how Apple would shift the battery around to make room. :confused:
  22. dougelo7 thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 20, 2008
    Yes, actually. In reality, the main reason why I love using MacBook Air is because I don't need to prop my arms up - the computer is so thin my arms are practically laying flat on the table while typing on the MBA. If its thinnest point were thickened to half an inch this selling point would be eliminated for most people.
  23. dougelo7 thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 20, 2008
    Here's what I said:
    Note that I said "usually." There are certainly exceptions to my statement; my point is that Apple (for once, I'll admit) is asking a comparatively reasonable price (in contrast to iPods and their other products).

    I suspect the price of MBA will greatly lower in the coming years as a result of less expensive parts and already-paid-for-by-"beta testers" equipment (Apple had to build entirely new machines to manufacture MBA - think of the cost of Blu-Ray vs. DVD for an example of this effect).
  24. AppliedMicro macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2008
    Yeah, but please still allow me to disagree. The $2000 figure is how things used to be.

    But nowadays these sub-2k "exceptions" are rather the rule. Especially if you account for differences in specs and configuration. Right now, the MacBook Air looks pretty disappointing to me (at least on paper, that is). For instance, look at Sony's VGN-Z540EBB. That Book is pretty comparable to the Air, spec-wise. It's currently $1849 directly from Sony. That $50 more than a new MacBook Air, directly from Apple, right?

    So what hardware can these additional $50 buy?

    - a 2.40 GHz CPU over the Air's 1,6 GHz one
    - a 320 GB hard drive.
    - DVD writer built-in
    - 3 GB RAM installed
    - a HDMI port built in
    - a VGA port built in
    - a FireWire port built in
    - an ExpressCard Slot
    - a second USB port
    - an Ethernet port built in
    - an analog modem built in
    - 9 additional months of free telephone support
    - a card reader built in
    - stereo speakers built in (supposedly?)

    A pretty good deal for a mere 50 bucks, ain't it? :rolleyes:

    Lenovo also has some competitive models, relatively aggressively priced. I fully agree with this review I read today, stating that the MacBook Air should be priced at $1599, at the most. $1499 would be a "comparatively reasonable price" to me. But not more than that (see above). At $1799 I feel overcharged. Especially by Apple making all these adapters for VGA, DVI and Ethernet optional. These three adapters cost like 10 bucks to make. But I'm supposed to shell out almost $100 for really basic connectivity !?

    No thanks Apple. :mad:
  25. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    it doesn't have OSX and it's a deal killer for me.

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