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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? (Page 2)
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Nergol
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Apr 18, 2010, 04:47 AM
 
This may be controversial, but I'm not sure there will be many more MBA refreshes. Apple (and consumers) may decide that the high-end iPads are what they want to occupy that space in their product line.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 18, 2010, 08:25 PM
 
I actually do like the MBA. I just don't think in current form and price it has a life.

If anything they need to give it a higher res screen, fast CPU, slim and update the design and drop the price by $400. But wait, that's comes out to the same thing as the 13" MBP minus a DVD and plenty of parts.

I MIGHT like something like that but I really don't think there are enough people willing to pay the price in cash and performance downsides.

Also keep in mind Dell killed their MBA clone after a few months as it tanked. There just aren't enough customers for anyone to be interested.
     
Simon
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Apr 19, 2010, 10:14 AM
 
The next 13" MBP could be an awesome upgrade. Apart from adding i5 Apple could finally drop the internal optical. That would free up extra space for the battery. But since 10 hours is enough and you don't want more weight, instead of filling up that extra space with more battery, they can use it to allow for a thinner battery. Spread the battery out over more area, make the case as thin as possible. There's an awesome 13" MBP and there's your "MBA" with a faster CPU and an updated design.
     
turtle777
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Apr 19, 2010, 10:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The next 13" MBP could be an awesome upgrade. Apart from adding i5 Apple could finally drop the internal optical. That would free up extra space for the battery. But since 10 hours is enough and you don't want more weight, instead of filling up that extra space with more battery, they can use it to allow for a thinner battery. Spread the battery out over more area, make the case as thin as possible. There's an awesome 13" MBP and there's your "MBA" with a faster CPU and an updated design.
THAT would make sense, especially that the price point would (well, *s*hould) be well below the current MBA.

-t
     
Simon
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Apr 19, 2010, 10:38 AM
 
I agree. I think a "new MBA" would hardly be considered overpriced at the 13" MBP's $1199-$1499 price point. Especially not if it came with an i5, 4 GB of RAM, and an SSD.

A 330M would be nice, especially considering Arrandale IGP performance levels, but I consider that even less likely if the 13" case becomes thinner.
     
Helmling
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Apr 19, 2010, 05:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
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.
Oh, I said as much. I was simply noting that the iPad's emergence had nothing to do with the small size of this niche market. "iPad aside," was my whole point.
     
Helmling
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Apr 19, 2010, 05:28 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".

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".
Yeah, my web design work is incidental. Very small-scale stuff and even then I often plug in an external monitor and non-mirror it to give myself more desktop space. But I do project off my laptop "on the road" quite a bit and to my knowledge, the iPad can't do that, can it?
     
Helmling
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Apr 19, 2010, 05:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
I agree. I think a "new MBA" would hardly be considered overpriced at the 13" MBP's $1199-$1499 price point. Especially not if it came with an i5, 4 GB of RAM, and an SSD.

A 330M would be nice, especially considering Arrandale IGP performance levels, but I consider that even less likely if the 13" case becomes thinner.
There's no way you could have all that at that price point. Lose the SSD, and sure, but not with it.
     
Helmling
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Apr 19, 2010, 05:35 PM
 
Okay, somebody tell me this, though:

When Apple kills a product line, is there any indication beforehand? What is likely to happen next? Is it just going to blink out one day and that's it, sayonara?
     
turtle777
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Apr 19, 2010, 05:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
When Apple kills a product line, is there any indication beforehand? What is likely to happen next? Is it just going to blink out one day and that's it, sayonara?
I think it is killed unannounced.

However, the EOL status in some retailers computer systems can be a hint.

-t
     
Big Mac
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Apr 19, 2010, 06:00 PM
 
When's the last time we saw a Mac line completely discontinued? The only one that comes to mind in the recent era is the Cube.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Helmling
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Apr 19, 2010, 08:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
When's the last time we saw a Mac line completely discontinued? The only one that comes to mind in the recent era is the Cube.
eMac.
     
Helmling
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Apr 19, 2010, 08:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I think it is killed unannounced.

However, the EOL status in some retailers computer systems can be a hint.

-t
Are you saying that would be a hint if we heard about it or it is a hint because that's been spotted already?
     
turtle777
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Apr 19, 2010, 11:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
Are you saying that would be a hint if we heard about it or it is a hint because that's been spotted already?


I wasn't saying any of that.

-t
     
macaddict0001
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Apr 20, 2010, 02:20 AM
 
The current MBA should have had 4 GB of ram, given that its not upgradable. The next one should have at least that.
     
Simon
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Apr 20, 2010, 02:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
There's no way you could have all that at that price point. Lose the SSD, and sure, but not with it.
In six months time the low-end i5 will cost no more than the Penryns Apple's buying today. $1199 plus $300 for the SSD is $1499. Bingo.
     
Simon
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Apr 20, 2010, 02:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
Are you saying that would be a hint if we heard about it or it is a hint because that's been spotted already?
None of that. He's saying that Apple doesn't announce they're killing a model but that retailers EOL'ing the line could be a possible sign.
     
Simon
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Apr 20, 2010, 03:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by macaddict0001 View Post
The current MBA should have had 4 GB of ram, given that its not upgradable. The next one should have at least that.
Indeed. The MBA had it's 2 GB soldered when 2 GB was the base RAM in all MBPs. The current MBA would likely come with 4 GB since that is what all the MBPs now come with.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 20, 2010, 03:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
When's the last time we saw a Mac line completely discontinued? The only one that comes to mind in the recent era is the Cube.
Newton. This is right after Steve said he had one and it was a nifty little device.

Same goes for iPod Hi-Fi, Apple Bluetooth headset, 12" PowerBook, iPod Mini.

There will be no warning other than stock dwindling but that could also be seen as a refresh nearing.
     
Simon
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Apr 20, 2010, 03:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
There will be no warning other than stock dwindling but that could also be seen as a refresh nearing.
^^^ this

And finally, Apple will just remove it from their pages and their store. Done.
     
OreoCookie
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Apr 20, 2010, 04:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
There's no way you could have all that at that price point. Lose the SSD, and sure, but not with it.
I'd like to have one, too. And a pony.
If Apple can't make that happen at that price point in a 13" MacBook Pro, it won't happen in a MacBook Air at the same price point. Personally, I wouldn't mind if Apple just reduces the price to match the 13" MacBook Pro, update the specs (4 GB of RAM is a no-brainer, perhaps even upgradeable RAM!).

Looking at the story of the 13" MacBook Pro, it may very well be that Apple has a hard time figuring out how to upgrade the machine.
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OreoCookie
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Apr 20, 2010, 04:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
iPod Mini.
The iPod mini was replaced with the iPod nano in the same way the iBook has been replaced with the MacBook and the PowerBook with the MacBook Pro. Your other examples fit, though.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Helmling
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Apr 20, 2010, 09:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
None of that. He's saying that Apple doesn't announce they're killing a model but that retailers EOL'ing the line could be a possible sign.
Um, that's the first thing I said, then.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 21, 2010, 02:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The iPod mini was replaced with the iPod nano in the same way the iBook has been replaced with the MacBook and the PowerBook with the MacBook Pro. Your other examples fit, though.
True about the mini/nano but it was a radical redesign making it a new product. No more hard drive, colours new form.

Some might say a powerful new iPad in a couple years could replace the MBA.
     
Helmling
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Apr 21, 2010, 11:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
True about the mini/nano but it was a radical redesign making it a new product. No more hard drive, colours new form.

Some might say a powerful new iPad in a couple years could replace the MBA.
You think?

God, I don't know. I mean, let's imagine it with all the multi-tasking and folder bells and whistles coming in the Fall...then maybe add a more practical file management. Could it be a laptop replacement then? I guess my hold-up right now is the keyboard, but I suppose one might get used to it. It's hard to imagine typing my next story on that thing, much less my next book.

I've got to admit the idea of walking around the classroom taking roll on that thing is pretty danged cool.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 23, 2010, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
I guess my hold-up right now is the keyboard, but I suppose one might get used to it. It's hard to imagine typing my next story on that thing, much less my next book.

I've got to admit the idea of walking around the classroom taking roll on that thing is pretty danged cool.
On your day to day usage you write your stories outside of the house?

If not can't you picture yourself having the iPad docked charging and a bluetooth keyboard?

I thought the software keyboard would be a problem but I watched 4 of my friends who have old non-smartphone grab the iPad and type a long paragraph with 2 minor mistakes faster than I can on their first try. It is almost scary how little tactile seems to matter if the software is done right.

Remember in late 2007 lots of cellphones added haptic feedback so button presses made vibrations. Funny how it didn't help matters as it only confirmed you pressed the wrong key while eating your battery. Here we are 3 year later and more and more phones are moving away from physical keypads, haptic and buttons and more to pure touch with smart software.
Just like the very first iPhone.
     
The Godfather
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Apr 23, 2010, 06:24 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. 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.
Search iX11 in the iTunes store.
     
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Apr 23, 2010, 08:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
On your day to day usage you write your stories outside of the house?

If not can't you picture yourself having the iPad docked charging and a bluetooth keyboard?

I thought the software keyboard would be a problem but I watched 4 of my friends who have old non-smartphone grab the iPad and type a long paragraph with 2 minor mistakes faster than I can on their first try. It is almost scary how little tactile seems to matter if the software is done right.

Remember in late 2007 lots of cellphones added haptic feedback so button presses made vibrations. Funny how it didn't help matters as it only confirmed you pressed the wrong key while eating your battery. Here we are 3 year later and more and more phones are moving away from physical keypads, haptic and buttons and more to pure touch with smart software.
Just like the very first iPhone.
I have always believed that tactile feedback is necessary, but I have to admit that your reasoning makes a ton of sense. Think about this, if you are looking at the keyboard as you type, then what your fingers are feeling takes a back seat to what your eyes are seeing. And since your keyboard is the screen...
     
Helmling
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Apr 24, 2010, 12:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by macaddict0001 View Post
I have always believed that tactile feedback is necessary, but I have to admit that your reasoning makes a ton of sense. Think about this, if you are looking at the keyboard as you type, then what your fingers are feeling takes a back seat to what your eyes are seeing. And since your keyboard is the screen...
Call me old fashioned, but I actually know how to type so I don't look at the keys.

; )
     
Helmling
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Apr 24, 2010, 12:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
On your day to day usage you write your stories outside of the house?

If not can't you picture yourself having the iPad docked charging and a bluetooth keyboard?

I thought the software keyboard would be a problem but I watched 4 of my friends who have old non-smartphone grab the iPad and type a long paragraph with 2 minor mistakes faster than I can on their first try. It is almost scary how little tactile seems to matter if the software is done right.

Remember in late 2007 lots of cellphones added haptic feedback so button presses made vibrations. Funny how it didn't help matters as it only confirmed you pressed the wrong key while eating your battery. Here we are 3 year later and more and more phones are moving away from physical keypads, haptic and buttons and more to pure touch with smart software.
Just like the very first iPhone.
God, but you are persistent.

I write everywhere. I actually type sometimes with the laptop...well, on my lap. Sometimes. Often I'm sitting up. Could I learn to type looking down? Maybe...but maybe I'd get neck cramp more often that way. Could I manage all the documents I produce on an iPad...um, nope. And as I've mentioned before, I use other applications on my laptop that the iPad cannot replicate and it would be a giant convenience step backward to manage two machines--13" and iPad as you're pitching. So really...wait... this is just ridiculous. You keep trying to convince me that I don't want an Air.

I frickin' want an Air!
     
turtle777
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Apr 24, 2010, 01:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
I frickin' want an Air!
Then buy it now, because we don't want to hear you whining once is discontinued

-t
     
Simon
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Apr 24, 2010, 01:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Godfather View Post
Search iX11 in the iTunes store.
Cute. It can display X11 windows running on some other box. Similar to those three dozen VNC clients there are for the iPad.

But I still can't run X11 apps on the iPad. Or write and execute C++ code. Or use numrec. Or typeset my LaTeX sources. In other words I still can't do any of the stuff I need to do to earn money. Bottom line: to me the iPad is a nice toy. But to get work done I need an actual Mac.
( Last edited by Simon; Apr 24, 2010 at 01:58 AM. )
     
turtle777
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Apr 24, 2010, 02:14 AM
 
I can't believe we're still having this discussion.

-t
     
Simon
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Apr 24, 2010, 02:16 AM
 
Well that's what happens when people ask for a Mac to get work done and somebody suggests they buy an iPad instead.
     
macaddict0001
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Apr 24, 2010, 02:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
Call me old fashioned, but I actually know how to type so I don't look at the keys.

; )
So do I, but that clearly isn't the best way to type on an iPad.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Apr 24, 2010, 08:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
Call me old fashioned, but I actually know how to type so I don't look at the keys.

; )
Well in that case let me welcome you to the present.

Believe it or not I quickly found myself typing on the iPad without really looking at the keyboard or just watching from my peripheral vision. It's seriously scary how quickly you learn to use it.
     
Simon
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Apr 25, 2010, 01:47 AM
 
Or you just get a MBA instead of an iPad so you can type as fast as you've always typed and don't need re-education forced upon you.
     
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Apr 25, 2010, 04:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by ado View Post
i take it the macbook air is dead...
qft.
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Helmling
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Apr 26, 2010, 09:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Then buy it now, because we don't want to hear you whining once is discontinued

-t
LOL! You know me so well.

I'm giving it two more weeks for some news and then I probably will. Overpriced, definitely, but I really don't want ultra-light. So if it's this or an iPad, I'll take a machine that can actually do what I need it to.

And maybe I'll buy an iPad for my kids.
     
Helmling
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Apr 26, 2010, 09:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Well in that case let me welcome you to the present.

Believe it or not I quickly found myself typing on the iPad without really looking at the keyboard or just watching from my peripheral vision. It's seriously scary how quickly you learn to use it.
I suppose I did get used to my iPhone's virtual keyboard and am now faster at that then I ever was on my old phone.

Alright, I'm entertaining the possibility here. So how does the iPad do file management? Can I save directly to my iDisk from Pages? Can I export as Word from iPad Pages?
     
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Apr 27, 2010, 05:16 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. Do we know how well the Air's been selling?
I already know one person who sold his MBA not too long after getting an iPad. It replaced what he needed to do on the MBA.
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Helmling
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Apr 27, 2010, 05:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
I already know one person who sold his MBA not too long after getting an iPad. It replaced what he needed to do on the MBA.
Yeah, but, come on. What did he "need" it for?

I'm getting this feeling that some people--maybe young people with lots of mommy and daddy's money to burn?--bought the Air as some kind of overpriced toy.

Me, I need a laptop, and I want it small.
     
driven
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Apr 27, 2010, 06:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
Yeah, but, come on. What did he "need" it for?

I'm getting this feeling that some people--maybe young people with lots of mommy and daddy's money to burn?--bought the Air as some kind of overpriced toy.

Me, I need a laptop, and I want it small.
The guy wasn't young, and wasn't poor. Used it more like a net book. (But obviously didn't want Windows). Size & weight was a concern. Obviously a 13" MBA is going to provide a much better experience than a 10" Netbook.

But, now the iPad provides a better experience for him. (Instant on, etc.)

I'm not saying the iPad will replace the MBA for EVERYONE, but for a segment of the MBA users it sure will.
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Helmling
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Apr 27, 2010, 07:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
The guy wasn't young, and wasn't poor. Used it more like a net book. (But obviously didn't want Windows). Size & weight was a concern. Obviously a 13" MBA is going to provide a much better experience than a 10" Netbook.

But, now the iPad provides a better experience for him. (Instant on, etc.)

I'm not saying the iPad will replace the MBA for EVERYONE, but for a segment of the MBA users it sure will.
God, I just don't know how! There's no apostrophe for Pete's sake.

So where does your friend store documents? That new iwork.com thing or what?
     
driven
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Apr 27, 2010, 10:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
God, I just don't know how! There's no apostrophe for Pete's sake.

So where does your friend store documents? That new iwork.com thing or what?
No apostrophe? Huh?

Do people who use computers as netbooks store a lot of local documents? (I don't know how they use it, it's not me.)
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Helmling
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Apr 28, 2010, 12:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
No apostrophe? Huh?

Do people who use computers as netbooks store a lot of local documents? (I don't know how they use it, it's not me.)
I mean, there is an apostrophe, but it's buried in that 1-2-3 menu thing so I just find it hard to imagine typing with the only readily available punctuation being periods and commas, but maybe you get used to it, I don't know.

And the Air's not a netbook. It's a full fledged laptop with all the juice of the model I'm typing on now, which is my primary machine.

However, I did see an article this week about netbook demand falling off, so I imagine that's indicative of the market for the Air as well. All-in-all, I don't think it looks good for a refresh.

Oh well...
     
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Apr 28, 2010, 02:18 AM
 
I just struck me how different the arguments concerning Apple's business model are around here.

In this thread some people advocate Apple drop the high-margin MBA in favor of the lower-margin iPad. The argument being that it sells much better and can attract more buyers. In midrange desktop Mac threads people argue against an xMac claiming it would steal sales from the high-margin MP and drive buyers to lower-margin xMacs. So what's it going to be now?

In my book the real benchmark figure would be overall profit given by revenue ( = margin times unit price) times no. of units sold. Even if you can sell only one MBA for every five iPads sold, but the MBA makes you $1000 (~50% margin) while the iPad makes you $200 (~30% margin), from a shareholder POV neither offers a clear advantage over the other. [Never mind the exact numbers, it's just an example. I have no idea what margin a MBA drives right now.]

It appears the iPad drives quite a decent margin. OTOH we know the MBA uses components that aren't expensive by today's standards. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Apple has kept the MBA around unchanged for so long because despite low sales figures they make a hefty profit on every unit sold. It's quite the opposite of the iMac where Apple is using comparably expensive components but selling at a more aggressive price.
( Last edited by Simon; Apr 28, 2010 at 02:31 AM. )
     
Helmling
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Apr 28, 2010, 08:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
I just struck me how different the arguments concerning Apple's business model are around here.

In this thread some people advocate Apple drop the high-margin MBA in favor of the lower-margin iPad. The argument being that it sells much better and can attract more buyers. In midrange desktop Mac threads people argue against an xMac claiming it would steal sales from the high-margin MP and drive buyers to lower-margin xMacs. So what's it going to be now?

In my book the real benchmark figure would be overall profit given by revenue ( = margin times unit price) times no. of units sold. Even if you can sell only one MBA for every five iPads sold, but the MBA makes you $1000 (~50% margin) while the iPad makes you $200 (~30% margin), from a shareholder POV neither offers a clear advantage over the other. [Never mind the exact numbers, it's just an example. I have no idea what margin a MBA drives right now.]

It appears the iPad drives quite a decent margin. OTOH we know the MBA uses components that aren't expensive by today's standards. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Apple has kept the MBA around unchanged for so long because despite low sales figures they make a hefty profit on every unit sold. It's quite the opposite of the iMac where Apple is using comparably expensive components but selling at a more aggressive price.
On the other hand, I think it's safe to say that Apple is selling a lot less than 1 MBA per five iPads.
     
Simon
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Apr 28, 2010, 09:02 AM
 
Quite possible. As I said, it was just an example, never mind the exact numbers.
     
Eug
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Apr 28, 2010, 10:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The two people here who claim the MBA is dead are both vocal iPad fans. Coincidence?
I also think the MacBook Air is dead, or at least on its last legs anyway.


Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Or you just get a MBA instead of an iPad so you can type as fast as you've always typed and don't need re-education forced upon you.
How much does the MBA cost again?
     
 
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