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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > New Macbook AIR- what do you want to see in it next?

New Macbook AIR- what do you want to see in it next?
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Ado
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Apr 2, 2010, 03:11 AM
 
Assuming it wont go the way of the Cube what would you like to see in the next Air. Be realistic and don't suggest stuff like x4 USB and firewire and x2 DVI's cause it goes against the whole simplicity idea.

1) i5 cpu (new lower power versions)
2) Decent GPU and ram to 4 gig
3) x1 USB 3
4) 1x SIM card slot
5) Black screen finish to match rest of macbook family.
6) Solid state drives ONLY (as to try and make it an affordable standard)
7) HDMI instead of mini dvi
     
Simon
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Apr 2, 2010, 04:44 AM
 
1) get rid of the bezel -> make it no larger than the KB dictates
2) Core i7-660UM (1.33->2.4GHz, 18W TDP)
3) 2xUSB3 or 1xUSB3+Gigabit
4) SSD only
5) 3G option
6) keep MDP

Points 2, 4, and 6 will probably happen. 1 and 3 probably won't.
     
ibook_steve
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Apr 2, 2010, 04:45 AM
 
All make sense except for #7. Unless Apple comes up with a "mini-HDMI," this won't happen. HDMI and DVI are both digital and the adaptor to go from DVI to HDMI is cheap (check out monoprice.com).

Steve
Celebrating 10 years and 4000 posts on MacNN!
     
Simon
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Apr 2, 2010, 04:47 AM
 
The MBA has MDP anyway. Only the 1G MBA had Micro-DVI. Mini-DVI was on the MBs, never on the Air.
     
lpkmckenna
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Apr 2, 2010, 11:05 AM
 
A smaller footprint, hugging the keyboard and screen as close as possible, would be great. Sim-card slot would be cool.

They could shrink the keyboard a bit by eliminating the function keys, and "emulating" them by pressing fn-1, fn2, etc. Then shrink the Backspace key and put the Esc key on the left of the Tilde, or replace the CapsLock with the Esc key.
     
Ado  (op)
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Apr 15, 2010, 05:17 AM
 
I take it the macbook air is dead...
     
turtle777
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Apr 15, 2010, 08:57 AM
 
The iPad is the new MBA. RIP MBA.

-t
     
Simon
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Apr 15, 2010, 10:35 AM
 
As long as the iPad doesn't run OS X it won't be considered a replacement for the MBA. At least not in the opinion of most MBA buyers.

But I see your point. Apple can try to strong-arm people into buying an iPad by dropping other light/ultra-mobile alternatives.
     
torontorepair
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Apr 15, 2010, 12:48 PM
 
Air is light,but too slow for me.
     
Helmling
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Apr 15, 2010, 12:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
The iPad is the new MBA. RIP MBA.

-t
Nonsense. They're two completely different niches.

It could be that Apple has decided the ultra-portable niche is not worth developing for. Do we know how well the Air's been selling?
     
turtle777
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Apr 15, 2010, 01:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
Nonsense. They're two completely different niches.

It could be that Apple has decided the ultra-portable niche is not worth developing for.
Mark my words. The MBA is EOL.

-t
     
Helmling
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Apr 15, 2010, 01:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Mark my words. The MBA is EOL.

-t
You may well be right, but it won't be because of the iPad. They are for starkly different demographics. Air is all work and iPad is all play.
     
turtle777
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Apr 15, 2010, 01:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
You may well be right, but it won't be because of the iPad. They are for starkly different demographics. Air is all work and iPad is all play.
The iPad is the final death blow to the MBA.

Many that needed an ultra-portable machine for media consumption and internet now have the iPad for a much cheaper price. The MBA's potential customers just shrunk by a lot.

The MBP were already a big competition, especially when you factor in price.

Basially, there are not enough buyers that would make the MBA worth continuing. It's a niche product just like the ATV.

-t
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 15, 2010, 01:49 PM
 
I'm thinking the MBA is dead also. The design is dated next to the MBP's with the glass screens and the performance isn't that impressive.

I know people who have the MBA and like it as their car is their office. Most of the time it is just used for email, surfing and word. None of them have the DVD drive.

In reality I think most of them will gladly replace it with an iPad but not a 13" MacBook.

I agree that the market is too damn small so either they better drop the price by a huge amount and sexy it up or kill it.
     
Helmling
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Apr 15, 2010, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
The iPad is the final death blow to the MBA.

Many that needed an ultra-portable machine for media consumption and internet now have the iPad for a much cheaper price. The MBA's potential customers just shrunk by a lot.

The MBP were already a big competition, especially when you factor in price.

Basially, there are not enough buyers that would make the MBA worth continuing. It's a niche product just like the ATV.

-t
I'm just not very sure you're reading the Air market accurately there. It's awful pricey as a portable media player. Most people in the market for ultraportables need them for work, I would think. That's certainly what I want it for.

Again, I wonder what the actual sales on the Air are like...does anyone know?
     
Simon
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Apr 15, 2010, 03:55 PM
 
The two people here who claim the MBA is dead are both vocal iPad fans. Coincidence?
( Last edited by Simon; Apr 15, 2010 at 04:04 PM. )
     
Koralatov
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Apr 15, 2010, 04:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
I'm just not very sure you're reading the Air market accurately there. It's awful pricey as a portable media player. Most people in the market for ultraportables need them for work, I would think. That's certainly what I want it for.
I’d agree with that. I really can’t see anyone who wants to do serious work using an iPad; it’s probably fine for small–medium size emails, Twitter, shortish blog postings, but anything more than that I’m sure you’ll want a real laptop keyboard.

The MBA is a real computer, albeit very slim and light; the iPad isn’t. It’s for people who want internet/media, but without the complexity of a ‘real’ computer. Comparing them is like a bit like comparing apple and oranges.

Again, I wonder what the actual sales on the Air are like...does anyone know?
I’d say reasonably good, though nowhere near the blockbuster success of the 13″ MacBook Pro. I think if it was selling poorly, it would have been Cubed by now…
     
Helmling
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Apr 15, 2010, 04:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Koralatov View Post
I’d agree with that. I really can’t see anyone who wants to do serious work using an iPad; it’s probably fine for small–medium size emails, Twitter, shortish blog postings, but anything more than that I’m sure you’ll want a real laptop keyboard.

The MBA is a real computer, albeit very slim and light; the iPad isn’t. It’s for people who want internet/media, but without the complexity of a ‘real’ computer. Comparing them is like a bit like comparing apple and oranges.



I’d say reasonably good, though nowhere near the blockbuster success of the 13″ MacBook Pro. I think if it was selling poorly, it would have been Cubed by now…
I think they're arguing that it's about to be Cubed. I'm not avid enough of an Apple watcher to know...what happens before a product line disappears? Deep discounts or does it just vanish one day?

If they're killing it, I'd like to pick up one of the last ones, I think.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 15, 2010, 06:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The two people here who claim the MBA is dead are both vocal iPad fans. Coincidence?
Perhaps because I was seriously considering the MBA for a while but couldn't justify the cost for the need. The iPad fills that need nicely hence the problem for the MBA.
     
turtle777
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Apr 15, 2010, 06:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The two people here who claim the MBA is dead are both vocal iPad fans. Coincidence?
No coincidence. We connected the dots and drew a logical conclusion.

You should try that sometime

-t
     
Helmling
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Apr 15, 2010, 06:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Perhaps because I was seriously considering the MBA for a while but couldn't justify the cost for the need. The iPad fills that need nicely hence the problem for the MBA.
I don't think a lot of people consider the Air for the kind of needs the iPad can fill...that's the third and final time I'll make that case.
     
lpkmckenna
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Apr 15, 2010, 06:59 PM
 
I'm not sure that the iPad "replaces" the MBP in any sense.

I don't know what Apple will do, but they could:

1) Aim for a cheaper Air by decreasing the price, possibly by going with an i3 or i5 only, without the nVidia 320m;
2) Make it even smaller, which would be very worthwhile;

But I suspect we'll see something closer to the C2D+320m like the MBP 13", because Apple claims that's the best performance/battery life option, and because Apple is probably getting C2Ds dirt cheap and requested the 320m design from nVidia.

If Apple announced the next Air as the last version because it doesn't sell very well, it would probably then sell like crazy.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 16, 2010, 01:50 AM
 
What exactly do you air OWNERS do with it that you feel the iPad cannot replace?
     
Simon
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Apr 16, 2010, 02:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
What exactly do you air OWNERS do with it that you feel the iPad cannot replace?
Mac OS X

Doh. </smacks forehead>

Nobody doing serious work in my department could use an iPad to get his/her work done. The iPad's a cute media viewer. But I don't earn money by watching movies or surfing the web.

The iPad in its current form simply isn't a personal computer. The MBA is. End of story. (<- don't make me repeat that in font size 20)
     
Simon
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Apr 16, 2010, 02:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
No coincidence. We connected the dots and drew a logical conclusion.
Not really. What you actually did was mistake Apple's market strategy with your own personal preference. However, that's quite common around here so don't worry too much about it.
     
Doc HM
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Apr 16, 2010, 02:51 AM
 
The fact that Apple haven't even revised the Air's silver bezel to bring it in line with the rest of the portable line speaks volumes about how loved it is as a platform. That would have been the cheapest possible update but they haven't even bothered with that.
This space for Hire! Reasonable rates. Reach an audience of literally dozens!
     
Simon
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Apr 16, 2010, 03:01 AM
 
The fact that Apple retained the silver bezel on the MBA never surprised me. The black bezels on the MBPs came as part of the glass screens. The MBA wasn't going glass because of weight concerns. So it kept its original plastic display and hence it never got the black bezel.
     
Ado  (op)
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Apr 16, 2010, 10:07 AM
 
What Apple should do is allow the mac air to live on in the bodies of their current macbooks.
By doing this I think Apple should use the weight saving techniques and bring down all their current range of macbooks by a pound each.
The MacBook Air was marketed wrong when it was first released with rubbish GPU at a premium price.
Dell later showed they could do the same thickness for cheap. Perhaps the MBA was stop gap till the iPad was released? Perhaps the new MBA should be cheaper and include the A4 chip instead? Perhaps the iPad should have osx on it?
     
turtle777
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Apr 16, 2010, 10:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Ado View Post
What Apple should do is allow the mac air to live on in the bodies of their current macbooks.
By doing this I think Apple should use the weight saving techniques and bring down all their current range of macbooks by a pound each.
Oh please not.

That would add a lot of cost to the MBPs, and make them uncompetitive in the market.

The high price for the MBA is the #1 reason why it's not selling well.

-t
     
Helmling
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Apr 16, 2010, 10:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
What exactly do you air OWNERS do with it that you feel the iPad cannot replace?
Um...work?
     
P
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Apr 16, 2010, 11:24 AM
 
The similarity between the Air and the iPad are that both are meant as extensions of other computers - presumably desktop models. The difference is quite clear, in that the Air is a full-featured laptop and the iPad is a new class of machine menat mainly for consuming media. They don't overlap, but the fact that the Air hasn't been updated in so long is certainly a hint that it may be ont he way out. That depends solely on how well it's selling, and we don't know anything about that.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
turtle777
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Apr 16, 2010, 11:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
That depends solely on how well it's selling, and we don't know anything about that.
We know it's not selling like hotcakes, and at that price point, that's hardly surprising.

-t
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 16, 2010, 12:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
Um...work?
Weird I totally do said "Work" on my iPad.

Funny how nobody still has mentioned exactly what they use the air for that the iPad can't replace.

Guess that's why some of us are getting the impression that it is on its last leg.
     
Helmling
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Apr 16, 2010, 02:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Weird I totally do said "Work" on my iPad.

Funny how nobody still has mentioned exactly what they use the air for that the iPad can't replace.

Guess that's why some of us are getting the impression that it is on its last leg.
I don't know what your job is, buddy, but I sure couldn't do the volume of work I do on an iPad. I would go insane using that keyboard for anything more than light work. I certainly can't imagine making any webpages or PDF's on an iPad. Plus, I couldn't even do all the play I use a laptop for--like iMovie or anything like that.

I don't know why you're arguing this point so vociferously (methinks she doth protest too much) but I assure you, there are people who want ultraportables because they work and travel--not just because they want to watch movies and browse the net on the go.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 16, 2010, 02:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
I don't know what your job is, buddy, but I sure couldn't do the volume of work I do on an iPad. I would go insane using that keyboard for anything more than light work. I certainly can't imagine making any webpages or PDF's on an iPad. Plus, I couldn't even do all the play I use a laptop for--like iMovie or anything like that.

I don't know why you're arguing this point so vociferously (methinks she doth protest too much) but I assure you, there are people who want ultraportables because they work and travel--not just because they want to watch movies and browse the net on the go.
Just to be clear I was never arguging a point because nobody here actually said what they used the damn thing for. My "arguing" was asking people not to dance around it by saying "work".

You are the first to properly answer.

So you make websites and PDF's and iMovie eh? I agree I would never want to nor expect the iPad to fill that roll. The people who I know who have a MBP is for emailing and some odd word processing, charts. For them yes the iPad can be a very good replacement.

The real question is why can you not do those things you do so often on a 13" MBP? Because you are a very very small percentage who find it "To big and heavy" and are willing to pay a lot more for a lot less.

Which brings me to my original point. Are there enough of you people who need to "edit videos" on a small screen, slow CPU, small and slow hard drive and willing to pay for it to make it worth apples time and money developing and supporting them?

I'm guessing even if 25% of MBA users go for an iPad instead or even an 13" MBP, plus the millions of others iPads Apple is going to sell to everyone else the now smaller MBA customers will not be missed.

Saaaaweeeeee

P.S. And my job is web/graphic design for 12 years. As I am sure you know my entire day is not spent in Photoshop but project managing through email, meetings etc. The iPad is perfect for showing mockups, taking notes etc. I almost never have to use Photoshop "On the road" and even when I do that's what my 15"MBP is for and the iPad acts as a companion which is exactly what is was designed for.

Personally I cannot dream how you can design websites or even edit videos on a 13" screen, my macbook was useless for that type of work and I had to go with the 15".
( Last edited by analogue SPRINKLES; Apr 16, 2010 at 03:40 PM. )
     
Andy8
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Apr 16, 2010, 03:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
P.S. And my job is web/graphic design for 12 years. As I am sure you know my entire day is not spent in Photoshop but project managing through email, meetings etc. The iPad is perfect for showing mockups, taking notes etc. I almost have to use Photoshop "On the road" and even when I do that's what my 15"MBP is for and the iPad acts as a companion which is exactly what is was designed for.

Personally I cannot dream how you can design websites or even edit videos on a 13" screen, my macbook was useless for that type of work and I had to go with the 15".
At least a MBA can drive a decent sized external display for doing this type of work (mine drives a 24" display).
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 16, 2010, 03:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andy8 View Post
At least a MBA can drive a decent sized external display for doing this type of work (mine drives a 24" display).
Ya i hear they are a bit heavy to carry around though.
     
Andy8
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Apr 16, 2010, 03:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Ya i hear they are a bit heavy to carry around though.
I used to lug around a 17" Powerbook, so when the MBA arrived my shoulder sighed in relief.

There will still be a niche for those who want a lightweight laptop with a proper keyboard that runs OSX, and those users will continue to pay a premium price for that privilege I guess.
     
turtle777
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Apr 16, 2010, 04:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Ya i hear they are a bit heavy to carry around though.


-t
     
turtle777
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Apr 16, 2010, 04:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andy8 View Post
I used to lug around a 17" Powerbook, so when the MBA arrived my shoulder sighed in relief.
Wow, so you are comparing a MBA to a 17" MBP ?

I'm pretty sure your shoulder wouldn't die if you had to add a bit of weight for a 13" MBP.

-t
     
Andy8
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Apr 16, 2010, 04:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Wow, so you are comparing a MBA to a 17" MBP ?

I'm pretty sure your shoulder wouldn't die if you had to add a bit of weight for a 13" MBP.
If you travel a lot, every bit of weight and space saved counts. Then having the convenience of being able to plug into a bigger display when I get back home gives me the best of both worlds.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 16, 2010, 04:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andy8 View Post
If you travel a lot, every bit of weight and space saved counts. Then having the convenience of being able to plug into a bigger display when I get back home gives me the best of both worlds.
No doubt. Still it must be incredibly frustrating doing any serious work such as graphics work or editing on such a small screen.

I get the feeling that when the MBA is at home hooked up to a monitor it can be used for graphics work but the second you take it on the road it turns into a surfing/email device which in an odd and rare pinch can also be used for graphics needs.

So once again... are there enough of you that just can't have a 13" for home and on the road with a complimentary iPad for almost the same cost as a MBA?

I think no. We'll see what Apple thinks.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 16, 2010, 04:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andy8 View Post
There will still be a niche for those who want a lightweight laptop with a proper keyboard that runs OSX, and those users will continue to pay a premium price for that privilege I guess.
Well you said it.. a niche. Apple is already a niche in computers and they need anything but a niche product within a niche category.

Don't hold your breath on the "continue to pay for that privilege" part either.
     
Helmling
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Apr 17, 2010, 10:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
No doubt. Still it must be incredibly frustrating doing any serious work such as graphics work or editing on such a small screen.

I get the feeling that when the MBA is at home hooked up to a monitor it can be used for graphics work but the second you take it on the road it turns into a surfing/email device which in an odd and rare pinch can also be used for graphics needs.

So once again... are there enough of you that just can't have a 13" for home and on the road with a complimentary iPad for almost the same cost as a MBA?

I think no. We'll see what Apple thinks.
You guys are stubborn as heck. How about you try looking at the write-ups on Apple's website for the Air and the iPad and see if they sound like they are at all geared toward the same purposes? I mean, GEESH. Believe it or not there are professionals in the world who want a very light, convenient laptop, make enough money to afford to pay a premium for said convenience and would not be interested in a second device (iPad) to supplement the workload of an admittedly only slightly heavier laptop.

So, honestly, the iPad doesn't seem to have anything to do with the continuity of the Air from a marketing stand point. It may very well be eating into Apple's total pool of resources from a development standpoint such that it is indirectly hurting the Air the same way some are speculating that emphasis on the iPhone/iPad OS has slowed development of SL and 10.7. More so, it may be that the Air just isn't profitable enough for Apple to continue in the light of competition from cheaper ultraportables.

For my two cents, I want the lightest Mac possible. I'm not going to swap out my Macbook for any other brand, but I would like to replace it with an Air. At this point, I'm waiting for a new release to get increased specs even though the existing model is plenty of power for me. As soon as I hear confirmation that the MBA is being discontinued, I'll jump on one of the last models before they're cleared out.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 17, 2010, 03:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
For my two cents, I want the lightest Mac possible. I'm not going to swap out my Macbook for any other brand, but I would like to replace it with an Air. At this point, I'm waiting for a new release to get increased specs even though the existing model is plenty of power for me. As soon as I hear confirmation that the MBA is being discontinued, I'll jump on one of the last models before they're cleared out.
Actually you are missing the point. iPad asside there are not enough people like who who can't get the 13" MBP instead.

Many of us here believe the MBA customers are much to small for Apple to bother. Get a PC Netbook if you want, Apple won't notice.
     
Simon
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Apr 17, 2010, 03:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Just to be clear I was never arguging a point because nobody here actually said what they used the damn thing for. My "arguing" was asking people not to dance around it by saying "work".
Oh baloney. You're not interested in hearing that. Look at your responses above. You're interested in telling people that what they do either works just fine on an iPad or it sucks anyway on a MBA. As if anybody here would need you to tell them what it is they need for their work. Do you realize how preposterous that is?

But you know what, try me. I'm really very good at what I do and I know my needs extremely well. So go ahead, why don't you try to argue with me about my work.

gcc
gfortran
gnuplot
python
bash
numrec
pdflatex
x11

None of that works on an iPad. Works like a charm on a MBA. Some of it may be a tad slower than what I'm used to on my MBP or MP, but heck at least it works at all.

In my field the iPad is a toy at best. Say what you want about the MBA, but it's a true Mac. I can run all of OS X and all of my pro apps on it just fine. None of that works on the iPad. Bottom line, don't give me a toy when I ask for a tool.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Apr 17, 2010, 04:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Oh baloney. You're not interested in hearing that. Look at your responses above. You're interested in telling people that what they do either works just fine on an iPad or it sucks anyway on a MBA.
Actually nope you're still getting it wrong. I'm saying you can do many things on an iPad but the serious stuff you can do on a MBP 13" wherever you like.

The point is there are far far far to few customers like yourself who don't want to carry a 13" MBP and will pay way more for something lighter.

And like I said, for every 1 pissed off MBA owners who defect apple gets 500 new iPad customers.

Perhaps you should email steve and tell him that there are a lot of people who think like you.
     
indigoimac
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Apr 17, 2010, 10:38 PM
 
I don't think the MBA is going anywhere-- though the 13" MBP I am sure is stealing customers because the MBA isn't really that small when considering the added functionality of a MBP.

What I see is:
1) Massively improved battery life
2) Low wattage i5
3) Integrated gfx
4) SSD only
5) DisplayPort is not going anywhere -- HDMI will never show up on a mac because of the licensing cost which is why apple is backing DP
6) USB 3

No 3G, no SD card.

Still premium price-tag.

I would love to see gigabit, hell, I'd love to see firewire too, but then get the 13" MBP -- this is the line this product has to walk and you have to figure out what sacrifices you will make (cost, functionality) for the weight.

Personally, I've started toting my 15" MBP around everyday recently and have seriously thought about the MBA simply to carry less and still maintain functionality.

Also, to compare this to the cube is absurd -- the cube was always a designer novelty and it was priced like it and advertised like it -- it's days were limited from day 1.
15" MacBook Pro 2.0GHz i7 4GB RAM 6490M 120GB OWC 6G SSD 500GB HD
15" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz C2D 2GB RAM 8600M GT 200GB HD
17" C2D iMac 2.0GHz 2GB RAM x1600 500GB HD
     
Simon
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Apr 18, 2010, 03:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Perhaps you should email steve and tell him that there are a lot of people who think like you.
I don't have to. He already knows there are.

It's become fashionable on this board to talk about stuff being an unimportant niche if Apple's not currently pursuing it at full speed. Or whenever somebody points out that Apple's neglecting something and the apologists can't argue it's a bad idea, they resort to calling it a niche. Well whatever. Lots of armchair BOD members here that have inside knowledge about Apple's market strategy. Amusing, really.
     
simonjames
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Apr 18, 2010, 03:37 AM
 
Here is my wish list for the next MBA :-

o better chip - i5 or i7
o more RAM - 4Gb minimum
o SSD increased to 512Gb (and have SSDs as the only option)
o longer lasting battery
o HD screen
o 1 x USB2
o 1 x USB3

Apart from the last item the rest should be achievable given the recent MBP upgrades.

I so hope this gets released (and delivered) before May 21
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