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Apple's MacBook Air supply dries up as rumors of new 11.6-inch model persist

post #1 of 114
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Exclusive: Supplies of Apple's MacBook Air have dried up throughout the company's indirect sales channels, fueling rumors that a significant makeover to the lightweight notebooks is fast approaching.

For example, all but one of the Apple Authorized Resellers that AppleInsider tracks as part of its Mac Price Guide have run out of low-end 1.83GHz MacBook Air, including Amazon.com, MacConnection, MacMall and J&R. In addition, at least two of those resellers are also reflecting no stock of the high-end 2.13GHz configuration.

This marks the first time that AppleInsider has witnessed this abnormal trend in regards to the Air since it began tracking availability of Apple's Mac line on a daily basis over two years ago. Still, the drought didn't manifest over night. For weeks now, the websites of certain resellers have indicated that inventory of the low-end MacBook Air was on the verge of depletion, urging shoppers to "order soon," as only a handful of units remained in stock.

What's more, people familiar with the buy side of operations for big box retailers like Best Buy and Amazon.com say that Apple has indicted to them that it will not replenish supply of the notebooks until Oct. 12 through Oct. 16 at the earliest. Such expansive delays on low volume products like the MacBook Air are common only when Mac maker is preparing to overhaul the product line, these people say.

Mid-October hardware updates have become something of an annual tradition for Apple, who last year unveiled a redesigned line of iMacs and unibody MacBook on Oct. 20, 2009. Though last year's products were introduced without a formal event, in 2008 the company held a special gathering for the media on Oct. 14 to introduce new MacBooks. And in 2005, the company similarly held two events in mid-October to introduce a new iPod, iMac, and a lineup of PowerBooks.

All these signs seem to support persistent rumors out of the Far East that Apple is gearing up to overhaul the MacBook Air line with a newly designed 11.6-inch display this fall, creating a more aggressively priced notebook for students and the business traveler. It's reported that Apple plans to ship around a half-million units before the end of the 2010 calendar year. The current MacBook Air sports a larger 13.3-inch display.

Rumors of a MacBook Air with an 11.6-inch display first cropped up in July. It was said the redesigned hardware will be even slimmer and lighter, and will be powered by an Intel Core i-series ultra-low voltage processor.

There's also been a mixture of chatter regarding a much cheaper, thinner 11.6-inch Apple notebook that would weigh as little as 2.7 pounds due to the possibility of new carbon fiber unibody construction, though AppleInsider cannot confirm any of those reports with any degree of certainty, nor can it confirm somewhat related rumors that such a model would coincide with Apple's reported plans to adopt the latest microprocessors from AMD into some of its Mac models. Instead, those reports are highlighted here simply for the sake of completeness.


As it stands, Apple's thinnest and lightest notebook is overdue for an update, as the currently available models were introduced over a year ago, back in June 2009. The machines retail at $1,499 for the 1.86GHz model, and $1,799 for a model with a 2.13GHz processor.

The introduction of a new MacBook Air would likely come alongside an update to Apple's iLife suite, a product that has also become long in the tooth. The last update, iLife '09, was launched in January of 2009.


Recent rumors have suggested that a presumed iLife '11 refresh will be written entirely in 64-bit code, will include a rewritten iWeb, and will drop the iDVD application. It has also been suggested that the software will be available for iOS devices, like the iPhone and iPad.
post #2 of 114
I can't imagine why Apple would think a 11.6" screen is something consumers would want... 13.3" is pretty small as it is.
post #3 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I can't imagine why Apple would think a 11.6" screen is something consumers would want... 13.3" is pretty small as it is.

My guess - they already have a 13" MBP which is very powerful yet small and light. Their users (us) are telling them that they want a very small nimble laptop for travel. The smaller the better, and performance is less important than weight, mobility. 13" is pretty small for a main computer but for travel and portability its on the big side.

I am guessing super light and thin with optional 3g connectivity. (I am also guessing that in the long run the Air will become the pioneer in the merging of OSX and IOS, though it won't happen now)
post #4 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I can't imagine why Apple would think a 11.6" screen is something consumers would want... 13.3" is pretty small as it is.

Did you miss the years of people asking for a replacement for their 12" Aluminum PowerBook G4s?
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post #5 of 114
I´m just not seeing it being smaller, they introduced it saying there would be nothing but a full size keyboard and full size display, at 11.6 they would have to compromise on both, i don´t know how they would spin that. I do think, however, that it is going to be thiner, lighter and more powerful...cheaper too.

They are going against the netbook market with the iPad, i just don´t see them making basically a netbook when they introduced the iPad as a netbook killer.
post #6 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

Did you miss the years of people asking for a replacement for their 12" Aluminum PowerBook G4s?

Yeah, I wish those 12" G4's were still useable. I can't find it in me to throw mine out because there's nothing wrong with it hardware wise, but it just isn't useable in today's world. At it's fastest, with the memory maxed out it still makes the MacBook Air look like a rocket in comparison and it feels like a brick weight-wise.
post #7 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

Did you miss the years of people asking for a replacement for their 12" Aluminum PowerBook G4s?

13.3" is the replace for the 12" Powerbook. 13.3" is widescreen, the 12" isn't.
post #8 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Recent rumors have suggested that a presumed iLife '11 refresh will be written entirely in 64 bits

Now that's efficiency! A entire suite of applications in only 64 bits of code.
post #9 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo007 View Post


They are going against the netbook market with the iPad, i just don´t see them making basically a netbook when they introduced the iPad as a netbook killer.

I don't remember any Apple marketing touting the iPad as a netbook killer.
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post #10 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I can't imagine why Apple would think a 11.6" screen is something consumers would want... 13.3" is pretty small as it is.

The MBA has a pretty low pixel density compared to several small laptops on the market, and even when compared to the upgraded 15" MBPs. They should be able to put the same resolution into a 11.6" device without problems.

The problem with the current MBA is that it really has only one selling point: weight (the footprint is almost identical to the much cheaper 13" MBP). And you pay far too much for this weight saving. No FW, lame HDD in the base model, stuck at 2GB RAM (the bare minimum for running 10.6 decently), too few ports, pathetic speaker, poor iSight... most people won't see a point in buying the MBA. A smaller footprint is a good point for people who commute a lot. I had the MBA for a while and using it in some trains or in economy class on flights was inconvenient. It was simply too big.

Still, I have not carried a laptop with me since my iPad has arrived some months ago, and I have no intentions of buying a MBA again.
post #11 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I am guessing super light and thin with optional 3g connectivity.

This was one of the 2 reasons why I did not buy current MacBook Air - no integrated 3G.

(Second was - that it has only glossy screen option).

Otherwise I would have made it my travel laptop.
post #12 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I can't imagine why Apple would think a 11.6" screen is something consumers would want... 13.3" is pretty small as it is.

+1

totally looking forward to the macbook pro refresh though
post #13 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

I don't remember any Apple marketing touting the iPad as a netbook killer.

Steve Jobs´keynote trashing them, calling netbooks cheap laptops, and saying iPad is better at the same tasks.
post #14 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doorman. View Post

This was one of the 2 reasons why I did not buy current MacBook Air - no integrated 3G.

(Second was - that it has only glossy screen option).

Otherwise I would have made it my travel laptop.

I own an MBA. Last time I checked it has a matte screen.

If this rumor about the MBA going even smaller is true, I may have to relinquish my hopes of buying a replacement MBA to replace my 1st gen unit. Anything less than the 13" screen it already has is far too small.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my MBA. If it had an SSD drive with decent storage space and the more powerful Nvidia graphics solution, I'd still keep it. I'm patiently waiting to see what MBA replacement they come out with. Best laptop I've owned yet, and I do most of my commuting between clients on my motorcycle that the weight advantages alone warranted my initial purchase.
post #15 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo007 View Post

Steve Jobs´keynote trashing them, calling netbooks cheap laptops, and saying iPad is better at the same tasks.

Sorry... I just had another look at the iPad intro and Steve keeps saying that the iPad is wonderful for certain tasks but not once did I ever hear him connect the dots to his trash talk about netbooks to the iPad as a replacement.

My opinion... an 11" MBA would be a perfect replacement for netbooks even if it costs twice as much.
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post #16 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

The MBA has a pretty low pixel density compared to several small laptops on the market, and even when compared to the upgraded 15" MBPs. They should be able to put the same resolution into a 11.6" device without problems.

The problem with the current MBA is that it really has only one selling point: weight (the footprint is almost identical to the much cheaper 13" MBP). And you pay far too much for this weight saving. No FW, lame HDD in the base model, stuck at 2GB RAM (the bare minimum for running 10.6 decently), too few ports, pathetic speaker, poor iSight... most people won't see a point in buying the MBA. A smaller footprint is a good point for people who commute a lot. I had the MBA for a while and using it in some trains or in economy class on flights was inconvenient. It was simply too big.

Still, I have not carried a laptop with me since my iPad has arrived some months ago, and I have no intentions of buying a MBA again.

Good points. Is there a chance the MBA will be discontinued?
post #17 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

My guess - they already have a 13" MBP which is very powerful yet small and light. Their users (us) are telling them that they want a very small nimble laptop for travel. The smaller the better, and performance is less important than weight, mobility. 13" is pretty small for a main computer but for travel and portability its on the big side.

I am guessing super light and thin with optional 3g connectivity. (I am also guessing that in the long run the Air will become the pioneer in the merging of OSX and IOS, though it won't happen now)

Not sure iOS as it is will merge into laptops & desktops, people still need powerful machines that are more flexible than a mobile device like an iPad. I do however think some features of iOS streamlining will make their way into 10.7 or that a more powerful version of iOS for desktops will emerge. Being able to run Windows is still critical for a large number of Mac users and a switch from i586 architecture would prevent this.

The next MBAir will be more in line with current NetBooks and will be very attractive to Systems Admins and Execs. Personally though I don't think it will get much traction if they don't switch to SSD drives & offer a lower price point.
post #18 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Sorry... I just had another look at the iPad intro and Steve keeps saying that the iPad is wonderful for certain tasks but not once did I ever hear him connect the dots to his trash talk about netbooks to the iPad as a replacement.

My opinion... an 11" MBA would be a perfect replacement for netbooks even if it costs twice as much.

"Some people think that´s a netbook (3rd category between smartphone and laptop)....netbooks are not better at anything....slow, low quality displays and run clunky old PC software...they are just cheap laptops....we don´t think they are a 3rd category of device....we think we have something that is....iPad..." BOOM! (boom part was just me)
post #19 of 114
I've got my credit card ready to go for a new MacBook Air. My old 12" G4 MacBook still works fine, small is good for traveling, but just need more speed. For the type of work I need to do on the road, my iPad is pretty much useless. Just give me 4GB of memory, a zippy 128GB SSD, and a good battery, and I'll be happy. Gigabit built-in too, please.
post #20 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo007 View Post

"Some people think that´s a netbook (3rd category between smartphone and laptop)....netbooks are not better at anything....slow, low quality displays and run clunky old PC software...they are just cheap laptops....we don´t think they are a 3rd category of device....we think we have something that is....iPad..." BOOM! (boom part was just me)

... and you read that Steve is calling the iPad a "netbook killer" from that statement...

Okay... whatever.
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post #21 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo007 View Post

They are going against the netbook market with the iPad, i just don´t see them making basically a netbook when they introduced the iPad as a netbook killer.

I am now of the opinion that the iPad doesn't take up NetBook market space, it has its own space.

I have an iPad and I wouldn't think of trying to do actual work with it. I need MacOS to do that, because my work revolves around supporting specific MacOS applications.

A smaller (more affordable?) MacBook Air with an antiglare (matte) screen so it can be used outdoors would be welcomed.
post #22 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo007 View Post

Steve Jobs´keynote trashing them, calling netbooks cheap laptops, and saying iPad is better at the same tasks.

The current Air and an 11.6" Air would fit in the "ultra-portable" category (basically full fledged laptops that are very small) not the netbook category (small low cost, underpowered portable computers). Jobs trashed netbooks for being underpowered (atom processors), having ridiculously small screens (we're talking about the 7" range) and undersized/unusable keyboards.

Since then, many netbooks have increased in price and come up to the 10" range to address some of those problems, but they are still as underpowered as ever.

An 11.6" Air would have none of those problems. The current Air is a little underpowered because it sees very infrequent updates, but it's still better than an atom chip. With the Macbook Pro continually shrinking (how long before we lose the optical drive?), I can see the Air having very few advantages over the MBP at 13". If Apple wants to distinguish it as the Apple's smallest fully capable laptop computer, they will probably need to shrink the screen size at some point.
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post #23 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterRRRRRR View Post

I've got my credit card ready to go for a new MacBook Air. My old 12" G4 MacBook still works fine, small is good for traveling, but just need more speed. For the type of work I need to do on the road, my iPad is pretty much useless. Just give me 4GB of memory, a zippy 128GB SSD, and a good battery, and I'll be happy. Gigabit built-in too, please.

What you said.

Replaced my Rev A 12" G4 Powerbook with a top end i7 MBP. Wifey uses the old 12" known as "Minime" on our network. It's cute, but just too too slow. A MBA with your specs and we now have a final replacement for Minime.
post #24 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

... and you read that Steve is calling the iPad a "netbook killer" from that statement...

Okay... whatever.

You did not?

Ok.
post #25 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I can't imagine why Apple would think a 11.6" screen is something consumers would want... 13.3" is pretty small as it is.

I agree, but I know Steve likes to stand before an audience and say "thinner and lighter than ever before." If Apple could engineer a laptop that disappears when you look at it from the side, Steve would sell it

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post #26 of 114
Hoping Apple will give me a reason to give them my money. It's how our relationship works

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #27 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

The current Air and an 11.6" Air would fit in the "ultra-portable" category (basically full fledged laptops that are very small) not the netbook category (small low cost, underpowered portable computers). Jobs trashed netbooks for being underpowered (atom processors), having ridiculously small screens (we're talking about the 7" range) and undersized/unusable keyboards.

Since then, many netbooks have increased in price and come up to the 10" range to address some of those problems, but they are still as underpowered as ever.

An 11.6" Air would have none of those problems. The current Air is a little underpowered because it sees very infrequent updates, but it's still better than an atom chip. With the Macbook Pro continually shrinking (how long before we lose the optical drive?), I can see the Air having very few advantages over the MBP at 13". If Apple wants to distinguish it as the Apple's smallest fully capable laptop computer, they will probably need to shrink the screen size at some point.

I agree maybe it wouldn´t be in the netbook market, however, i don´t think they will compromise in the display or the keyboard, i don´t think you can put a full size keyboard alongside an 11.6 display
post #28 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I own an MBA. Last time I checked it has a matte screen.

http://www.apple.com/macbookair/specs.html

It's pretty obvious that it's glossy.
post #29 of 114
Small screen means cramped keyboard and low resolution or if it's high resolution, small on-screen UI elements. It also means less space for a thin battery. This entirely goes against the reasons they gave for building a 13" model in the first place.

The current Macbook needs to go metal. Throw out the optical drive, change the ports to all USB 3, make the battery and casing thinner and shave off 1lb of weight to hit 3.5lbs. Fast Core 2 Duo with 320M graphics and kill off the Macbook Air. If you're going to put so much effort into building a sleek lightweight, powerful machine, why not put that effort into a building a computer people will actually buy in large volumes instead of letting them go away with creaky plastic machines?
post #30 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

Since then, many netbooks have increased in price and come up to the 10" range to address some of those problems, but they are still as underpowered as ever.

I picked up a Samsung N150 recently. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at the speed. Of note is that the processor is set to run at 50% speed by default when on battery power. I doubt most users would know that they need to change a few settings to get it to run at full speed; at the default settings on battery power I couldn't even get Netflix to show movies acceptably.

The N150 has an Atom N450, and the new NF210 model has an Atom N455. So I would say the manufacturers are responding to the need for increased speed.
post #31 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

Not sure iOS as it is will merge into laptops & desktops, people still need powerful machines that are more flexible than a mobile device like an iPad. I do however think some features of iOS streamlining will make their way into 10.7 or that a more powerful version of iOS for desktops will emerge. Being able to run Windows is still critical for a large number of Mac users and a switch from i586 architecture would prevent this.

The next MBAir will be more in line with current NetBooks and will be very attractive to Systems Admins and Execs. Personally though I don't think it will get much traction if they don't switch to SSD drives & offer a lower price point.

Exactly. The reason I have not gotten an iPad is that it is not powerful enough to run a full version of Pages or Word (e.g, Endnote integration). I use a Windows netbook when I travel and it does the job.

However, if they made a smaller, less expensive version of the MBA, I would pick one up in a heartbeat and dump the netbook.
post #32 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Hoping Apple will give me a reason to give them my money. It's how our relationship works

after a week of looking at options and price (my imac is at end of life) i have decided that i am not going to give apple any more of my money for computers. the imacs all use the cheaper dual channel memory (even the top imac i7) and the mac pro with 6 core is just outrageously priced. so bye bye os x when the imac dies. bought a pc 12gig, 6 core machine with an ati 5770 video card with 24" display for 1600 dollars (that includes shipping and tax). will run ubuntu on it. sorry apple, i decided to 'think different'.
post #33 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo007 View Post

"Some people think that´s a netbook (3rd category between smartphone and laptop)....netbooks are not better at anything....slow, low quality displays and run clunky old PC software...they are just cheap laptops....we don´t think they are a 3rd category of device....we think we have something that is....iPad..." BOOM! (boom part was just me)

The iPad certainly doesn't kill my need for a real computer. And since I worry about weight when I'm traveling, I carry BOTH a Netbook and an iPad with me when I travel (Mon thru Thursday every week)...

The netbook allows me to run specific software that I need to perform my job. I absolutely need a PC, and the netbook works just fine. I use my iPad in the motel room at night for leisure - Surfing the web, email, etc.

A small Apple laptop running OSX and Windows with Parallels would allow me to carry one machine, leave the iPad at home, and sell the netbook.
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post #34 of 114
Bring it on!
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post #35 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

My opinion... an 11" MBA would be a perfect replacement for netbooks even if it costs twice as much.

I agree. The thing is the MBA costs triple or more.

I'm shopping for an inexpensive midrange notebook that runs Windows (I don't want to buy anything directly from Microsoft so I'm not buying their software to run on my Mac). I'm seeing things that will do the job for half the price of the basic Mac Book. The only thing the MBA offers is it's small size. I suppose the MBA will always be a small niche product. How much of Apple's overall sales come from MBA's?
post #36 of 114
Two years ago I bought a macbook for $999, to be used casually in my family room, when all I needed was an iPad. Only the iPad wasn't for sale yet.

Last year I bought a macbook pro for business, when all I need a macbook air.... but the macbook air (the model I wanted) was way too expensive for me.

So if they come out with a macbook air that is, say 2.5 pounds, 4gb memory, nice sized drive, and BETTER PRICE, I would love to own one. Even if the screen is 11.7". Not that there is anything wrong with my macbook pro.... but price has a lot to do with it for many people that don't have all the heavy duty needs of power users.
post #37 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo007 View Post

Steve Jobs´keynote trashing them, calling netbooks cheap laptops, and saying iPad is better at the same tasks.

same as 'We gonna kill them while you watch us"
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post #38 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

I agree. The thing is the MBA costs triple or more.

I'm shopping for an inexpensive midrange notebook that runs Windows (I don't want to buy anything directly from Microsoft so I'm not buying their software to run on my Mac). I'm seeing things that will do the job for half the price of the basic Mac Book. The only thing the MBA offers is it's small size. I suppose the MBA will always be a small niche product. How much of Apple's overall sales come from MBA's?

ASUS. i purchased a UL30A awhile back for my girlfriend and it was low cost, ran well (4gig ram, 500gig hard drive) and got 10 hours battery life without using the battery saving software that asus provides. they claim 13 if you use that.
post #39 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bibbler View Post

The iPad certainly doesn't kill my need for a real computer. And since I worry about weight when I'm traveling, I carry BOTH a Netbook and an iPad with me when I travel (Mon thru Thursday every week)...

The netbook allows me to run specific software that I need to perform my job. I absolutely need a PC, and the netbook works just fine. I use my iPad in the motel room at night for leisure - Surfing the web, email, etc.

A small Apple laptop running OSX and Windows with Parallels would allow me to carry one machine, leave the iPad at home, and sell the netbook.

I too carry my Macbook Pro and iPad everywhere, i think the question is... Would users prefer a thiner lighter more powerful MBA with the same 13.3 display or would they prefer an 11.6 with maybe those same specs. I think the price will definitely come down be it a 13.3 or an 11.6
post #40 of 114
If my business pickups....I will sell my original iMac intel 20" and get the new MacBookAir, a 2nd gen. iPad and with my current iPhone 4 be good to go!

A bit of overlap, I know, but each of the above has it's advantages...The iPad for mobile media consumption, email and presentations! The MBA for mobile work production, update website, updating/creating said presentations/reports and, of course, the iPhone 4 for communication, camera, Real Estate eKey/FOB and GPS

No more desktops for me- sitting in a 'cubicle' for me! Uggh! Can't wait!

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