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More details surface on Apple's next-generation MacBook Airs

post #1 of 111
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A few more alleged details on Apple's forthcoming revamp of the MacBook Air line continue to trickle in, with one data point likely providing an explanation for the photo of a unreleased 13.3-inch MacBook Air design that surfaced overnight.

One of the people who helped flesh out some of the specifics in AppleInsider's report friday on the 11.6-inch MacBook Air has added a bit more color to story. According to this person:
The 11.6-inch MacBook Air won't replace the 13.3-inch model, but will instead complement it as a more aggressively-priced option.
Both the new 11.6- and 13.3-inch models sport matching outfits in the form of new, all-unibody designs and single button trackpads.
The port door found on the existing MacBook Air is gone from the new designs, which feature a port layout similar to the existing MacBook Pros.
The new "SSD card" storage is based off an SATA connection.
The base component of both models is just slightly thicker than a standard USB port at its thickest point.
As such, AppleInsider believes the photo of the mysterious 13.3-inch MacBook Air that appeared on Engadget last night is indeed a prototype (from back in April) of the new 13.3-inch MacBook Air and is architecturally very close to what Apple plans to release next week alongside the new 11.6-inch model.



From that image, along with one also published of the machine's system profile, it appears that:
The new SSD card-based storage sits above and to the left of the new battery chamber, which appears to include 4 separate battery components.
The unit has dual USB ports, one on each side
Other I/O include a MagSafe power adapter, mini DisplayPort, and SD card reader
The prototype from April is running the same 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo SL9400 processor found in the current generation MacBook Air
It also has 2GB of memory as standard
Bus speed clocks in at 1.07GHz
The unit identifies itself as MacBook Air 3,1
For additional details on the new MacBook Air's, please see AppleInsider's earlier report.
post #2 of 111
If the pricing is right the odd one out will now be the white MacBook. Is it's days numbered?
post #3 of 111
I need a lightweight laptop as part of the way I work, currently a 2009 MBP 13" but would consider an Air. Really am interested (from a purchasing perspective) to see what they come up with.
post #4 of 111
I was really looking for a bit better specs. I like everything about this except the non-updated specs. The current air is somewhat slow in normal use.
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post #5 of 111
I currently use a macbook pro as a headless mac. Both at work and home I have monitor, screen and keyboard. I run the computer with the lid closed, and carry the computer where I go.

I also use the computer with lid open, for presentations and when I travel.

The biggest downside to this method is the size and weight of the macbook pro. Although I'm not going to buy an air, when purchasing time comes up I would be tempted if the disk size and processor speed measure up.

I'll be interested in whether the air will make a good headless mac and whether apple will push that configuration.
post #6 of 111
The iPad has shown the efficacy of using multitouch in combination with a smaller form factor (zoom, pan, page flip, etcetera). And the smaller the form factor the lower the weight and price.

Sounds like Apple is continuing to fold innovation in one arena back into other arenas to me....
post #7 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

[...]more aggressively-priced option.

Good to hear.
post #8 of 111
Quote:
The 11.6-inch MacBook Air won't replace the 13.3-inch model, but will instead compliment it...

"Hey, 13.3, you're lookin' fine today...."

Complement vs. compliment is elementary school vocabulary curriculum. Sad.
post #9 of 111
No firewire though, so no final cut pro work on the road. Just like the current MBA unfortunately. Obviously major editors don't care, but for someone like me who is a student taking a course, it would have been handy. I suppose I can still edit once I put clips onto a USB thumb drive.
post #10 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

If the pricing is right the odd one out will now be the white MacBook. Is it's days numbered?

Or the plastic Macbook will get the major price cut its specs deserve.
post #11 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

If the pricing is right the odd one out will now be the white MacBook. Is it's days numbered?

As white plastic? Maybe. Otherwise, I'd doubt it. Jobs has always liked offering contrasting basic and pro pairs in the product line, and, so far as I know, the basic MacBook is still selling quite well. Even if another iPod mini assassination were in store, the Air is not a suitable replacement as Apple's low-end laptop.
post #12 of 111
What might the component just above the alleged SSD card be that is connected via the same sort of connector (mini PCIe?)? Could it be an optional WWAN (3G, LTE) module?
post #13 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

I was really looking for a bit better specs. I like everything about this except the non-updated specs. The current air is somewhat slow in normal use.

I'm certain that specifications will improve from the April prototype. Certainly 4GB of RAM is mandatory. The SSD should be pretty fast as well.

This 'wedgier' MacBook Air with 2 USB ports and an SD port certainly removes one of the issues people had with the non-expandability of the previous model.

A lower price would also be good, if Apple can't get a faster CPU because they're stuck with 45nm Core 2 Duos because of Intel's empire building with the Core i3/i5 integrated graphics.
post #14 of 111
Compliment = Say nice things
Complement = Make complete

The separate battery compartments seems contrary to Apple's unremovable, huge battery philosophy. I mean, they have videos on their website explaining why it's better to have one enormous battery rather than separate ones with their accompanying support structures.

The other design changes seem welcome though. Personally, I'm much more excited about Lion than I am about a new MacBook Air...
post #15 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by clickmyface View Post

No firewire though, so no final cut pro work on the road. Just like the current MBA unfortunately. Obviously major editors don't care, but for someone like me who is a student taking a course, it would have been handy. I suppose I can still edit once I put clips onto a USB thumb drive.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The base component of both models is just slightly thicker than a standard USB port at its thickest point.

The MacBook Air is too thin to fit a FW port.
post #16 of 111
If you're a student taking videography/broadcasting and your instructors did not disabuse you of the idea of editing on a MacBook Air, time to transfer.
post #17 of 111
The base component of the MacBook Pros is just slightly thicker than an ethernet port, but the bottom panel curves out and adds extra thickness.

Hopefully the base panel on the air is flat and not curved. It would be a shame if it became quite a bit thicker. I also think it may loose some of the character of the original Airs design. The drop down ports drawer and the tappering made it really quite special to look at.
post #18 of 111
usb 3 would be nice
post #19 of 111
The 11.6-inch model can be great to carry for Keynote and PowerPoint presentations if it is light enough.
post #20 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by RolandG View Post

What might the component just above the alleged SSD card be that is connected via the same sort of connector (mini PCIe?)? Could it be an optional WWAN (3G, LTE) module?

Good eye! I didn't look that closely (viewing on iPad).

From the looks of it, the new SSD appears to be plugged into a PCI slot as well. That would allow it to be blistering FAST. Also, I'm sure some SSD distros would figure out some aftermarket offerings to increase the capacity.

Apple really needs a sub-13" portable. I have colleagues that still use their 12" PowerBooks, I've even considered snagging one myself.

Also, limiting the new MBA to 2GB would catastrophic IMHO. With so many folks virtualizing Windows these days (because CRM systems STILL don't support Mac), having at least 4GB is mandatory.

I've been anticipating the release of a ~12" MacBook for years. I hope Apple gets it right. They've pulling some confusing moves with the Mac lineup, despite such simple requirements for their portables.
post #21 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by clickmyface View Post

No firewire though, so no final cut pro work on the road. Just like the current MBA unfortunately. Obviously major editors don't care, but for someone like me who is a student taking a course, it would have been handy. I suppose I can still edit once I put clips onto a USB thumb drive.

This is just the most ridiculous "dig" at the Air I've ever heard.

The Air struggles to display video even in a tiny window on a web page, even HTML streaming video. The whole idea of using a MacBook Air as a road machine to edit video is just so absolutely freaking ridiculous it isn't worth talking about.
post #22 of 111
...on my part, but it seems as if we are looking from the top of the notebook, not the bottom, as it would be on an unibody desing... See the recess space to place your thumb and open the screen? Shouldn't be visible from bottom

Update: Oh, wait, I realize now, that's also the thinnest part of the notebook. The recess would be visible from bottom
post #23 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToeCutter View Post

Good eye! I didn't look that closely (viewing on iPad).

From the looks of it, the new SSD appears to be plugged into a PCI slot as well. That would allow it to be blistering FAST. Also, I'm sure some SSD distros would figure out some aftermarket offerings to increase the capacity.

Apple really needs a sub-13" portable. I have colleagues that still use their 12" PowerBooks, I've even considered snagging one myself.

Also, limiting the new MBA to 2GB would catastrophic IMHO. With so many folks virtualizing Windows these days (because CRM systems STILL don't support Mac), having at least 4GB is mandatory.

I've been anticipating the release of a ~12" MacBook for years. I hope Apple gets it right. They've pulling some confusing moves with the Mac lineup, despite such simple requirements for their portables.

Welcome to AI. Very well said.
post #24 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

The 11.6-inch model can be great to carry for Keynote and PowerPoint presentations if it is light enough.

This is one of the few productivity tasks the iPad is actually good at too though and it's lighter with a larger screen.
post #25 of 111
Who is Apple pitching this product towards? It's underpowered, short on space and input devices. It's not for me. I like to crunch video, and audio with my computer. That's never going to happen with an underpowered thing like the Air. I have too many things that I want to connect to my computer, the Air loses again here. I'm usually doing several things at once. I'm still amazed that I don't have to use multifinder... I would never want to go back to a computer that needs to use multifinder.

I'm sure it's the wave of the future.
post #26 of 111
Despite what Engadget suggests, I'm not convinced this is a 13" unit (or alternately, if it is 13", they've finally managed to do something about that screen bezel). Using the perspective correction and measurement tools in Photoshop, and extrapolating based on the known size of the SD card slot, suggests this is roughly about 1/2" shallower and 3/4" narrower than a current MacBook Air, which would be consistent with an 11.6" screen and typical bezel size. Reinforcing this idea, overlaying the image on a photo of a current-generation Air, if scaled in such a manner to keep the corner radius and corner screw placement consistent between the two, again suggests a slightly reduced size. The Air is a niche item as it is, doesn't seem likely they would extend the line much, so my hunch is that we'll see a single form factor using an 11.6" screen as has been reported.
post #27 of 111
Honestly if you are going to all the trouble to use a new card format, hopefully setting standards for the future, SATA is a mistake. A big mistake as even modest flash systems can outstrip it speed wise. So I'm hoping this report is a mistake!

As to the Core2 if it is indeed used it will likely be because Apple didn't have much of a choice. The only thing new on the market that is suitable for such a small machine is AMD's Bobcat based Fusion chips. Even then there is a question of performance that can be had from Fusion. Core 2 may have been the best compromise at the time that the prototype was built. Even now Intel offers little in the way of better chips. I could see an AMD design win if they can get Zacate to run at 2.2GHZ with reasonable power levels in the thirteen inch model and 1.6 GHz in the 11" model. I know it is a stretch but I'm hoping the long delay with respect to an AIR update is due to a midcourse change to Bobcat based Fusion chips.
post #28 of 111
After having my iPad for just over a month I can safely say I prefer that to a notebook no matter how thin. Of course my needs aren't the same as other people's needs so I'm not going to say the MBA makes no sense.

There's only one thing I can see the MBA being better used for in my job and that's configuring switches via a console cable as currently there is no supported way of doing that on an iPad. If there was there would be absolutely no reason for a laptop for me now that Parallels has that ability to be remotely used from an iPad... well once I reconfigure my modem which seems to be blocking the ports I need to get it and Back To My Mac running.
post #29 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewfreemanrph;

Who is Apple pitching this product towards? It's underpowered, short on space and input devices. It's not for me. I like to crunch video, and audio with my computer. That's never going to happen with an underpowered thing like the Air. I have too many things that I want to connect to my computer, the Air loses again here. I'm usually doing several things at once. I'm still amazed that I don't have to use multifinder... I would never want to go back to a computer that needs to use multifinder.

I'm sure it's the wave of the future.

To a much larger audience than you represent.
post #30 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie;

After having my iPad for just over a month I can safely say I prefer that to a notebook no matter how thin. Of course my needs aren't the same as other people's needs so I'm not going to say the MBA makes no sense.

There's only one thing I can see the MBA being better used for in my job and that's configuring switches via a console cable as currently there is no supported way of doing that on an iPad. If there was there would be absolutely no reason for a laptop for me now that Parallels has that ability to be remotely used from an iPad... well once I reconfigure my modem which seems to be blocking the ports I need to get it and Back To My Mac running.

And after having my iPad for 6 months now I no longer accept it's limitations when traveling. I want something small and light. But I also need something that has more functionality than the iPad delivers. For the couch, the iPad is great and serves my purpose 80% of the time. But when I'm on the road, that missing 20% becomes a real problem.
post #31 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewfreemanrph View Post

Who is Apple pitching this product towards? It's underpowered, short on space and input devices. It's not for me. I like to crunch video, and audio with my computer. That's never going to happen with an underpowered thing like the Air. I have too many things that I want to connect to my computer, the Air loses again here. I'm usually doing several things at once. I'm still amazed that I don't have to use multifinder... I would never want to go back to a computer that needs to use multifinder.

I'm sure it's the wave of the future.

Apple isn't pitching anything, this is a rumor.
Maybe you can hold off your whines and complaints, because you never know what Apple might release. I hear they are interested in cracking into the infant & whiny brat demographic. They might even offer a model with a milk bottle, a fresh diaper and a big huge STFU port for you.
post #32 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewfreemanrph View Post

Who is Apple pitching this product towards?.

The MBA is in the so-called "ultra-portable" laptop market. Intel Core class CPUs (as opposed to Atom) with 12+ inch screens at 1280x800 sized resolution. Ie, for people who are on the go a lot and would pay a premium for a super light weight machine that's less than 3 lb, but still has a modicum of power, screen size and full keyboard. Going from a 3 lb to a 4.5+ lb laptop is significant.

Obviously, this market is a niche, but it has some high profit margins. It's not that different from gaming laptops or workstation laptops in terms of niche-ness.

Now, if Apple decides to slot this into their laptop lineup instead of overlapping the MBP, it'll get interesting. Say, MBP is >$1499, MB is $999, and this thing is at $1299, it could get interesting. I'm doubting it though. It'll just stay as a nice niche product for them.

Me, I wouldn't need it and a MBP is up my alley at work. At home, iMac + iOS device would satisfy me. But there are those who would need it: on-the-go bloggers, on-the-go business people, on-the-go managers.
post #33 of 111
Btw, I wonder if those are iPad batteries?

If so, it'll have about 50 Watt-hour batteries making it a bit bigger than the current 40 Watt-hour. So, it could be a 10+ hour machine for light websurfing and H.264 video after so good fine-tuning with a newer rev of Mac OS X. Also, makes it cheaper.
post #34 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post





The MacBook Air is too thin to fit a FW port.

Why no adapter for Ethernet and F/W?
post #35 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewfreemanrph View Post

Who is Apple pitching this product towards? It's underpowered, short on space and input devices. It's not for me. I like to crunch video, and audio with my computer. That's never going to happen with an underpowered thing like the Air.

Correct. The Air is not designed to crunch video. Then again, video crunchers are in the minority of laptop users.

Quote:
I have too many things that I want to connect to my computer, the Air loses again here.

Where by "loses" you mean "the wrong tool for the job I had in mind." But again, most people looking for a highly portable laptop probably aren't overly concerned with plugging in "many things." So I guess the answer to who Apple is pitching this to is "people who don't intend to crunch video and don't need to plug in many things, i.e. "most laptop users."

Quote:
I'm usually doing several things at once. I'm still amazed that I don't have to use multifinder... I would never want to go back to a computer that needs to use multifinder.

Ha ha, Multifinder. Wait, what?

Quote:
I'm sure it's the wave of the future.

Like... multifinder.....many things.......not...... video....... tired now.
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post #36 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by cincytee View Post

"Hey, 13.3, you're lookin' fine today...."

Complement vs. compliment is elementary school vocabulary curriculum. Sad.

These is just the rumors n blog site so their no need grammar are good. An stuff.

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post #37 of 111
See, this is what I love about Apple: I don't even know what the heck they're selling, but I already want to buy it.

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post #38 of 111
I wouldn't be surprised if the mixed messages (11.6" vs. 13.3", compact SSD-like mass storage, etc.) indicate multiple models. Not just different-sized MacBook Airs, but a MacBook Air and a new unibody aluminum basic MacBook.

The new basic MacBook could get the 11.6" screen and start at $799. The new MacBook Air will presumably be thinner and lighter than the current one, thanks in part to the ultra-compact solid state mass storage. And it would stay at 13.3". Just a thought.

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post #39 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Why no adapter for Ethernet and F/W?

I only enlarged the FW800, MDP & USB to illustrate my point that the new MacBook Air has no space for a (large) FireWire port, if it is allegedly only the height of a USB - 0.5cm
post #40 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Why no adapter for Ethernet and F/W?

There already is an adaptor for Ethernet (plugging into the single USB port). And none of the FW advantages (speed, FW-target mode, peer-to-peer) would work if channeled through a USB port. They naturally could invent a mini-FW or mini-Ethernet port, akin to the mini-DP port.
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