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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > New MacBook Update - what to expect

New MacBook Update - what to expect
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Sep 15, 2008, 09:37 AM
 
With October 14th coming, and a thread about the MacBook Pro Revision, I'm curious to know what type of update to possibly expect on the MacBooks themselves this year.

As posted in a number of other threads, I'm kicking around the idea of purchasing a inexpensive laptop, but today is the last day of apple's laptop+ipod promo. The student price is a little lower then the regular retail price and apple currently has a couple of refurb MBs for sale as well.

What can we possibly expect to see in the next revision, a better GPU, new chipset, or just a speed bump? how about the odds of seeing a redesigned enclosure to better match apple's other aluminum offerings?
~Mike
     
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Sep 15, 2008, 11:17 AM
 
New Cantiga chipset with 1067 MHz FSB and Montevina refresh Penryns (socket B) together with X4500 integrated graphics. Although Cantiga allows for an 8 GB RAM ceiling, I'm expecting Apple to limit it to 4 GB in firmware on the MB. New case seems likely. Although I guess the material will be the main change, not the form. LED-backlighting. $999 entry-level.

What not to expect: Blu-ray, 15" or 17" MB, matte option, G5, 3 GHz.
( Last edited by Simon; Sep 16, 2008 at 03:20 AM. )
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Sep 15, 2008, 01:49 PM
 
So any estimation of a speed increase of this new chipset and GPU? Will we potentially see a 5% increase, or 10%or 50%?

I am weighing the idea of buying a used MacBook for around 800 now, or holding off until October and buying new for what will probably be double the price, i.e., 1,600 for a new MB.

If the speed increase is potentially only going to be a few percentage points it may not make sense to wait the month (or longer potentially)
~Mike
     
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Sep 15, 2008, 02:19 PM
 
see this:

http://www.electronista.com/articles...off.to.stores/

Lower price point... I hope the speculation is true. LED backlight will be nice as well.
     
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Sep 15, 2008, 03:30 PM
 
Lower price point? Is that a fancy shmancy way of saying "cheaper"?
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Sep 15, 2008, 03:42 PM
 
Of course - apple already hinted that at this during one of those investor phone calls. Detailing a business change that would negatively impact profits.

This is another reason why I'm holding off. If a new one IS going to be cheaper that will impact the price of used Macs, presumably. Of course I do like the blackbook, so I'd be disappointed to see them go the alu route for the macbook.

Just my $.02
~Mike
     
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Sep 15, 2008, 05:27 PM
 
I hope to see the following on the new macbooks:

- full aluminum case
- LED backlight
- multitouch trackpad
- superdrive on base config

~$1000. Removal of the "Pro" moniker on the MBPs...simplifying the notebook line, in anticipation of the MacBook Touch (tablet).
     
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Sep 15, 2008, 05:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by nash1017 View Post
I hope to see the following on the new macbooks:

- full aluminum case
- LED backlight
- multitouch trackpad
- superdrive on base config

~$1000. Removal of the "Pro" moniker on the MBPs...simplifying the notebook line, in anticipation of the MacBook Touch (tablet).
The whole touch thing is getting out of hand. I doubt apple would release a tablet anyways, tablets sell very poorly.
     
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Sep 16, 2008, 11:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by bballe336 View Post
The whole touch thing is getting out of hand. I doubt apple would release a tablet anyways, tablets sell very poorly.
That's because most tablets are horrible. I'm sure a MacOS based tablet would be a huge hit. Apple could market it as a multifunctional device...
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Sep 16, 2008, 12:44 PM
 
They already have one - the iPhone.

the market is too niche for them to recoup any real $$$. Its not like pc makers are making money hand over fist with tablets. The market is just not there
~Mike
     
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Sep 17, 2008, 02:03 AM
 
I think Simon hit it on the head. I do expect the MBP to stay at $1,999 however. They may add features to make up for the greater price gap (Blu-ray or another high-end tech).
     
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Sep 17, 2008, 07:41 AM
 
Not that I know nay better but the $999 price for the entry level macbook, isn't that much cheaper then the current offering (1,099). Back earlier this year apple had mentioned a change in business that would affect its future profits. No one knows for sure what this means but if its a price cut, I suspect it will be more then 100 dollars.

I'm still wondering what the potential speed increase between the new chipset (and GPU) vs. the old one. For the most part I'm looking for a used computer but if they come with with a much faster laptop, I may be up to buying it new.
~Mike
     
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Sep 17, 2008, 08:07 AM
 
$100 per unit on a hot seller like the MB would have a significant effect on Apple's profits.
     
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Sep 18, 2008, 01:33 PM
 
It would only have a huge effect if they started including a DVD burner and 2GB of RAM in the base model. As it sits now, most customers do not consider the $1099 model the opening price point. Instead, the $1299 model is the cheapest MB that has necessary features. BTW, I sell computers for a living, so this is coming from typical Mac customers, as well as potential PC converts. They don't see the base MB as a viable alternative to PC's in that price range.
     
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Sep 18, 2008, 01:48 PM
 
Considering what a DVD-RW costs these days, they should have done that years ago.
     
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Sep 18, 2008, 11:24 PM
 
simon, you're breaking my heart. do you really think we won't get the g5's?
imac g3 600
imac g4 800 superdrive
ibook 466
     
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Sep 19, 2008, 02:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by gooser View Post
simon, you're breaking my heart. do you really think we won't get the g5's?
Hope springs eternal.
     
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Sep 19, 2008, 08:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by bballe336 View Post
The whole touch thing is getting out of hand. I doubt apple would release a tablet anyways, tablets sell very poorly.
Yes, but somehow I think that Jobs has seen what the iPhone, a mini-computer, can do for the bottomline, so a very cool, ultra-small $1250 Mac would sell a million units in the first year.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 01:09 AM
 
The background to this line revamp is that Apple is experiencing unprecendented sales growth and sells a higher proportion of laptops from total computer sales than any other mainstream computer manufacturer. The laptop lines are therefore strategically important for the continued success of the company. With the iPhone 3G and iPods, Apple has also in recent years massively expanded its international distribution networks and almost all of the new countries do not have online Apple Stores with BTO options. Apple therefore not only needs to update its current lines to leapfrog the competition and take into account demand trends but needs a greater diversity of stock products.

We are likely to see four lines of MacBook - two of which will be all-in ones upgrading the current MacBook and MacBook Pro lines, and two without optical drives, the high-spec Air and a low-spec 'Lite'. All will share the same external design traits with a marketing emphasis on environmental credentials: curved, recyclable aluminium enclosures, low power LED-backlit displays and low-power 45nm processors. Multi-touch will increasingly be used to exploit a Mac OS X advantage and so also expect large multi-touch trackpads.

Apart form these general updates and incremental speed and battery life improvements to the existing three lines, the totally new line will be the MacBook 'Lite' - a low-cost, mass consumer product with performance a little less than the current MacBook and the first product to use Intel's dual core Atom processor. Here is the forecast spec based on multiple sources of information. The low weight is achieved through smaller display and therefore overall size, lack of optical drive, 1.8" HD, low-capacity battery and no heat-sink or fan for the processor (the case will be the heatsink).

MacBook Lite (October 2008)
---------------------------
Processor: 1.6GHz Dual core Atom 320 'Diamondville' (8W power consumption)
Enclosure: thin, curved aluminium (recyclable)
Display: glossy 12.1" low-energy LED-backlit widescreen, 1366 x 768 pixels
Memory: 1GB RAM DDR2 533MhZ in one slot (2GB option)
Storage: 80GB 4200RPM 1.8" hard drive (BTO options)
Optical drive: external option, can use remote optical drive
Sound: line in/out, built-in mic and stereo speakers
Video: Mini DVI out, built-in iSight
Connectivity: Wifi 802.11b/g (wirelessly bootable), Bluetooth
Power: 25-30 Wh battery, 3 hrs
Dimensions: approx 11" x 8"x 0.8"
Weight: 1 Kg (2.2 lbs)
In the Box: Apple Remote, tiny brick PSU, Mac OS 10.5.5, iLife '08, Photo Booth
$699 headline (£499 UK inc. VAT)

Missing: Firewire, ethernet, illuminated keyboard, optical drive
Expected next major upgrade: (to Intel SOC 'Pineview' Atom) September/October 2009

One More Thing
There is a good chance of a 'one more thing' announcement of an 'iTouch' tablet device running the (renamed) iPhone OS. This will not be a Mac, i.e. it will not run Mac OS, due to the interface incompatibility with the huge legacy of Mac applications expecting keyboard and accurate pointing device input. The issues arising from people trying to run their favourite apps would be a worse PR exercise than the release of the original Newton. Instead, whether the tablet device appears this time around or next year, it will share the interface and appearance of the iPod Touch but have a larger form-factor allowing easier 'virtual keyboard' entry and a better video/browsing/etc. experience.

If the 'iTouch' is not announced this time, the one more thing will be the 'Lite'.

Now all we have to do is wait for the real thing.

Tim Millea.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 03:06 AM
 
I'd consider a "MacBook Lite" as you've spec'd it, even without Firewire, if it was around that price range.

However, I doubt we'll see one. Also, I'd also like to see a MacBook with a (relatively affordable) Blu-ray drive option.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 03:54 AM
 
Who wouldn't want a MacBook Air for $1000 off?
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Sep 20, 2008, 04:15 AM
 
That is an Air without the air. Do you guys realy think Apple will make a product like that?
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 04:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Macboer View Post
That is an Air without the air. Do you guys realy think Apple will make a product like that?
No.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 05:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Who wouldn't want a MacBook Air for $1000 off?
Yeah, exactly what I was thinking. Duh.

The MBA reinforced Apple's design strategy. They do not make small in order to be cheap. They don't do cheap. When they go extra small it's for a certain group of buyers. When they go inexpensive it comes at the cost of features (screen size, expansion, or screen in the case of the shuffle). It's quite clear the MB is about as "cheap" as Apple is willing to make it. There is reason to believe they will drop the entry-level price point to something like $999. Everything beyond that is wishful thinking. All those still praying for an Apple EeePC should stop holding heir breath. If that's the form factor you need then you should seriously start looking at getting OS X to run on one. But Apple sure aint doing it. And don't even get me started on the tablet.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 05:51 AM
 
jeez I'd forgotten that Apple still offered a Mac without a DVD burner. In this day, that's just inexcusable. Way to get PC users to laugh in your face!
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 06:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by Andrew Stephens View Post
jeez I'd forgotten that Apple still offered a Mac without a DVD burner. In this day, that's just inexcusable.
Why, do all PC's come with DVD burners?

Originally Posted by Andrew Stephens View Post
Way to get PC users to laugh in your face!
fail.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 09:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by calverson View Post
Why, do all PC's come with DVD burners?



fail.
To be fair ... yes, they do. I can't remember the last time I saw a PC without a DVDRW drive. Anyway, for MacBook Pro I'm expecting: new chipsets, introduction of 9400/9600/9800m video cards and prices starting from $1799.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 10:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by calverson View Post
Why, do all PC's come with DVD burners?
Yeah, pretty much.

To get one without a DVD burner generally means getting an ultralight with no optical drive at all.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 11:11 AM
 
I just been checking on the net, and yet, it is hard to find one that does not have a DVD burner.

My bad.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 03:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Yeah, pretty much.

To get one without a DVD burner generally means getting an ultralight with no optical drive at all.
Last I checked, all of Dell's base models come with CD-RW/DVD-ROM drives.
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Sep 20, 2008, 03:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Last I checked, all of Dell's base models come with CD-RW/DVD-ROM drives.
...So no DVD writer?

I checked a South African computer store, and all the laptops that they were selling had DVD writers. Mostly Acers, Lenovos and Sonys. Didnt see any Dells there, though.
     
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Sep 20, 2008, 05:19 PM
 
The Dell Inspirons I checked recently (in the C$499-899 range) all came with DVD burners.

Inspirons are low end consumer models. I didn't check the corporate models though.

(No, I wasn't looking for myself. A couple of colleagues wanted PC laptops and didn't want to spend too much.)


Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Who wouldn't want a MacBook Air for $1000 off?
That's just it. There are Atom machines with similar specs that exist at around that price point. I guess the MBA does sorta compete with them after all.
     
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Sep 21, 2008, 12:26 AM
 
An Atom MacBook would be nice. They released the Dual-Core Atom which would make it run OS X well with the upcoming Grand Central - we could expect one of these later on next year, if they actually happen, which I doubt.
     
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Sep 21, 2008, 06:58 PM
 
When was the last MacBook update and how long does it usually take them to do an update?

I´m just about to buy a new one but now i´m wondering if I should wait.

thanks
chris
     
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Sep 21, 2008, 07:12 PM
 
The MB/MBP were both updated in February, and the MBA was launched in January. All 3 notebooks are due for revisions.

Whether or not they will all be announced/released at the same time isn't known, but this upcoming Tuesday (the 23rd) has a lot of noise.
     
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Sep 22, 2008, 02:45 AM
 
MBP Early 2008: 2/08
MBP Late 2007: 11/07 (minor refresh)
MBP Mid 2007: 6/07
C2D MBP: 10/06
17" original MBP: 4-5/06
15" original MBP: 1-2/06

MB Early 2008: 2/08
MB Late 2007: 11/07
MB Mid 2007: 5/07
MB Late 2006: 11/06
Original MB: 5/06

We are more than overdue. And at least Cantiga for dedicated graphics (the chipset the MBP's getting) has been ready for quite a while already. Lots of rumors point to Oct 14. I hope we won't have to wait that long though.
     
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Sep 22, 2008, 04:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
but this upcoming Tuesday (the 23rd) has a lot of noise.
Link?
     
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Sep 22, 2008, 11:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
The MB/MBP were both updated in February, and the MBA was launched in January. All 3 notebooks are due for revisions.

Whether or not they will all be announced/released at the same time isn't known, but this upcoming Tuesday (the 23rd) has a lot of noise.
Really? I haven't heard buzz about Sept. 23 aside from idle speculation of the "Well, that seems like enough of a gap" variety. Daring Fireball reported that actual sources are saying Oct. 14, and he tends to be pretty credible.
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Sep 22, 2008, 02:57 PM
 
I'm still betting on October, and October 14 sounds as good a guess as any.

P.S. I just tried an Atom 1.6 netbook with Win XP again. The CPU speed was quite adequate. A dual 1.6 machine would be quite reasonable for OS X methinks. Too bad the little keyboards suck.
     
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Sep 23, 2008, 04:15 AM
 
The MBA already offers dual 1.6 GHz (at ~20 W albeit).

But the experience with it shows quite clearly that while dual 1.6 GHz may be sufficient for light OS X use, there's more to a system than the CPU alone. Limited memory and a slow storage interface (like on the MBA) or little cache and a low FSB (all current single-core Atoms have 512k cache and a 533 MHz FSB) can seriously decrease the overall perceived performance. The reason nobody really wants to do serious PS work on a MBA is not so much because of lack of CPU power, but because of low performance of the entire package.

I think this is quite ok actually. People need to understand that there is a trade-off between weight/size/heat and performance/expandability. This is true for the Apple world just as for the PC world. If you need ultra-small or super-light you will put up with less performance. If you need high performance or lots of ports you will have to put up with a certain size and weight. But if your needs are more relaxed and/or you want more of an allround system you will find plenty of machines in between which offer good performance per $ (like for example the MB).
( Last edited by Simon; Sep 23, 2008 at 08:27 AM. )
     
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Sep 23, 2008, 08:19 AM
 
The problem is that the MBA is priced as a power machine but functions like a souped up netbook. I'd rather get a netbook that's appropriately priced.

Ironically if you need more power and more ports you could spend a lot less and get the MacBook.
     
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Sep 23, 2008, 08:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Ironically if you need more power and more ports you could spend a lot less and get the MacBook.
That's not irony, it's common sense.

Seriously, Apple priced the MBA above the MB and below the MBP because it believes it can cash in on the form factor of the MBA. If to you thin is not worth that kind of money or the traded off features, you should by all means get a MB instead.

The cheap netbook you speak of sounds exactly like the mobile variant of the $500 Dell tower, IOW a type of product Apple simply refuses to sell. I see no indication that Apple is changing their strategy and about to introduce something like an Eee PC - even less so with products like the iPhone and iPod touch. If the netbook is the form factor you are looking for, I would either investigate getting OS X onto a real Eee PC or getting aquatinted with Linux, but I sure wouldn't hold my breath for Apple to do it.
     
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Sep 23, 2008, 11:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andrew Stephens View Post
jeez I'd forgotten that Apple still offered a Mac without a DVD burner. In this day, that's just inexcusable.
I wouldn't be surprised if they all went with DVD burners (except for a low-end education-only model). I certainly hope so anyway.

The question though is whether or not Blu-ray will show up (esp. in the Pros).


Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The cheap netbook you speak of sounds exactly like the mobile variant of the $500 Dell tower, IOW a type of product Apple simply refuses to sell.
Yeah, I guess that's why Apple refuses to sell the Mac mini, and why it didn't debut at $499 either.
     
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Sep 24, 2008, 03:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Yeah, I guess that's why Apple refuses to sell the Mac mini, and why it didn't debut at $499 either.
The mini and the $500 Dell tower have nothing to do with each other. Just as the Eee PC (or any other netbook) and the MBA are totally different products.

You may chose to hold out for as long as you please. But Apple certainly isn't going to deliver your $500 netbook. If that's really what you're looking for, you should get an Eee PC and get OS X onto it.
     
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Sep 24, 2008, 06:41 AM
 
There's plenty of $500 Apple notebooks on eBay.
     
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Sep 24, 2008, 06:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if they all went with DVD burners (except for a low-end education-only model). I certainly hope so anyway.

The question though is whether or not Blu-ray will show up (esp. in the Pros).



I'm holding out for the PowerMac with a VHS burner.
     
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Sep 24, 2008, 07:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The mini and the $500 Dell tower have nothing to do with each other.
To reiterate what should be obvious: The mini is the low priced machine so many said Apple wouldn't release... until they released it. And then once they released it, so many moved their goalposts.

You may chose to hold out for as long as you please. But Apple certainly isn't going to deliver your $500 netbook. If that's really what you're looking for, you should get an Eee PC and get OS X onto it.
I guess you haven't been reading very closely. I have never said I expect Apple to release one. I'm just refuting your wrong statement about the $500 Apple desktop.

Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
There's plenty of $500 Apple notebooks on eBay.
I bought one for $300. G4 800.
( Last edited by Eug; Sep 24, 2008 at 07:20 AM. )
     
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Sep 24, 2008, 08:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I guess you haven't been reading very closely. I have never said I expect Apple to release one. I'm just refuting your wrong statement about the $500 Apple desktop.
Huh? Where did I say that? If you go back and actually read the thread you will notice that I not once mentioned an Apple desktop. You are the one that brought up the mini even though pretty much everybody knows the mini was not Apple's answer to the $500 Dell tower.

What I was trying to point out is that just as Apple refuses to compete with the $500 Dell tower, they have also chosen not to compete with the Eee PC or any other netbook. Apple has made quite clear that the MB is the budget line. When they went small, it was to get thickness and weight down, not the price. And up to now nothing they have done supports the notion that they are about to change that policy.
( Last edited by Simon; Sep 24, 2008 at 08:16 AM. )
     
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Sep 24, 2008, 08:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Huh? Where did I say that? If you go back and actually read the thread you will notice that I not once mentioned an Apple desktop.
I guess this doesn't count then.
The cheap netbook you speak of sounds exactly like the mobile variant of the $500 Dell tower, IOW a type of product Apple simply refuses to sell.

You are the one that brought up the mini even though pretty much everybody knows the mini was not Apple's answer to the $500 Dell tower.
It's not an answer specifically to Dell's machine. It's obviously an answer for the desktop market in the lower price range, one that Dell's $500 desktop happens to compete in. But of course, everyone knows that already.

Apple already failed miserably once with the high priced version, the Cube, so this time around they smartened up and actually released it for a reasonable price.

P.S. Maybe I'll buy an MBA when it drops to $500 on the used market... like I did for the Cube.
     
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Sep 24, 2008, 08:56 AM
 
Fine, so now that we've established that the mini is not Apple's $500 Dell tower, let's see why the mini has nothing to do with a cheap MB either.

The point here is that they cannot turn a MB into a mobile version of the Mac mini w/o sacrificing parts of the OS X experience. The mini is still a real Mac. It's cheap because it does away with the screen, other peripherals and offers no extras. If a user already has those peripherals (and Apple knew switchers did) they can still get the full OS X experience with a Mac mini.

How are they supposed to do that with the MB? The answer is quite simple: they can't. You cannot tell people to use their old notebook's screen and KB with a screenless MB lite. OK, so you go small. But small at high res means expensive. So you go small and low res. Boom. Going to a 10" 854x480 screen means OS X starts sucking. Using super tiny keys instead of regular ones means OS X starts sucking. Why would Apple want that? Why would Apple sell a Mac they know in advance will offer a bad user experince? And why would they do that when they have an iPod touch and iPhone that are really small and actually offer a great user experience?

They did the mini because they saw the chance to make a profitable machine that still offers the real OS X experience. And so far nobody has the slightest idea how to do something like that with a MB so it ends up at $500 and still makes Apple $125 profit.
     
 
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