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Apple to begin production of Thunderbolt MacBook Airs next month - Page 4

post #121 of 215
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Get a USB 3G adapter if you need it.

What's a reliable choice?

Every time I've read USB adapter reports from Mac users, there's plenty of problems. I want it built in to my MBA just like on the iPad, same data plans for AT&T or Verizon as the iPad uses...without having to plug something into my USB port.

Probably won't happen though. The cellular networks are already saturated with smartphones and iPads without adding thousands of MBAs to the mix.
post #122 of 215
is where?
post #123 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary54 View Post

is where?

It's in my pocket. Reach down deep in there and get it.
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post #124 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary54 View Post

is where?

I know it isn't in my pocket as unlike the above poster my pockets are already full.

On the serious side though we should be seeing a lot of interesting updates in the next few months. Maybe even some entirely new products from apple. As far as buying suggestions / advice I don't recommend that anybody buy right now be it a Mini, AIR nor iMac. Updates should start to roll out shortly for one or more. Personally I suspect the iMac next.

The Mini shouldn't be far off either but I wouldn't put it past Apple to draw out the update for the Mini far longer than they should. The point is chips exist to update the Mini now. Unless of course they switch the Mini to AMD chips which won't ship for a bit longer.
post #125 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

It's in my pocket. Reach down deep in there and get it.

You don't have to be curt when someone asks you a question.No one knows when the mac minis are coming out with the thunderbolt technology.A simple answer.
post #126 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvfox View Post

You don't have to be curt


And you don't have to completely lack a sense of humor. But we all have our shortcomings!
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post #127 of 215
While it's not up to me to dictate the needs of others, I'd like to point out that selecting the 3G option for the iPad costs $130 over the WiFi version. If Apple offered this strictly as an option for the Air, then that's fine.

I'd like to see a cell provider offer a sort of unified data plan where you could register multiple devices (phone/tablet/laptop) and have them all feed off the same data plan. That would help pique my interest in having 3G (or faster) connectivity on the Air rather than just relying on WiFi. I'm sure something like that's a ways off though.
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post #128 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bancho View Post

While it's not up to me to dictate the needs of others, I'd like to point out that selecting the 3G option for the iPad costs $130 over the WiFi version. If Apple offered this strictly as an option for the Air, then that's fine.

I'd like to see a cell provider offer a sort of unified data plan where you could register multiple devices (phone/tablet/laptop) and have them all feed off the same data plan. That would help pique my interest in having 3G (or faster) connectivity on the Air rather than just relying on WiFi. I'm sure something like that's a ways off though.

I'd really like an integrated cellular network option. I can understand those who are certain that wouldn't use this not wanting to pay for that additional hardware.

But the MBA is a highly portable machine with limited I/O ports, much like the iPad. Having the cellular chip integrated into the machine obviates the need for a dongle and tying up a port which is rather precious on the MBAs.

Once the cellular networks have moved to LTE I think the likelihood of having this option on MBAs will be pretty good. Right now with GSM and CDMA networks I can see how this would be rather painful for Apple to offer this option. I hope when 4g rolls around though that Apple makes this available.
post #129 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shev View Post

facetime HD camera,
backlit keyboard,
sandy bridge,
thunderbolt,
same price,

then I'm in.

this and a MATTE screen, atl east as BTO.
then i'm so gonna sell my MBP 15" baby.
an integrated hspa+ modem would be cool too.
post #130 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by buschwusch View Post

this and a MATTE screen, atl east as BTO.
then i'm so gonna sell my MBP 15" baby.
an integrated hspa+ modem would be cool too.

The problem is simple Matte screens suck if you sit at your machine for any length of time handling text or graphics. I have an early 2008 MBP with such a screen so it isn't my imagination.

It would be nice if Apple could come up with a anti reflective coating that doesn't turn the image to mush but I've yet to see such a coating. As it now never again.
post #131 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

I'd really like an integrated cellular network option. I can understand those who are certain that wouldn't use this not wanting to pay for that additional hardware.

But the MBA is a highly portable machine with limited I/O ports, much like the iPad. Having the cellular chip integrated into the machine obviates the need for a dongle and tying up a port which is rather precious on the MBAs.

Once the cellular networks have moved to LTE I think the likelihood of having this option on MBAs will be pretty good. Right now with GSM and CDMA networks I can see how this would be rather painful for Apple to offer this option. I hope when 4g rolls around though that Apple makes this available.

Yes this would be good but even now you do not need to tie a USB port up with a mobile broadband stick you can tether an Iphone through Bluetooth to give you 3G internet access or use one of the WiFi devices...

All I really want is a larger SSD and perhaps 6GB of Ram...
post #132 of 215
The specs for the next MacBook Air revision have firmed-up nicely. It's going to be interesting to see whether Apple delivers what people are asking for:
  • Sandy Bridge + reasonable GPU
  • Larger capacity SSD
  • Facetime HD
  • Thunderbolt port
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 3G card slot
  • A less reflective screen

I agree that Matte screens are not ideal if you use your computer for long periods of time. It would be nice if Apple could simply dial-down the gloss on existing screens. Indeed, it seems they have already done so on the 13" MBA because the screen seems less reflective than that on my 13" MacBook Pro.

For me, the only potential deal breaker is SSD capacities. As of now, there is no point in buying a MacBook Air until 500 Gb is available. The rest of the market is rapidly transitioning towards 1TB or 2TB drives. Within 18 months we'll be at 5 TB or 10 TB capacities for regular HDDs. i don't need that, but 256 Gb isn't enough. With 500 GB I have enough room for everything plus extra capacity. Since iTunes allowed people to start downloading movies, disk space has become a major issue. The average user must have at least 50 GB of movies, music and other iTunes stuff. i have over 150 GB of movies alone.
post #133 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

The specs for the next MacBook Air revision have firmed-up nicely. It's going to be interesting to see whether Apple delivers what people are asking for:
  • Sandy Bridge + reasonable GPU
  • Larger capacity SSD
  • Facetime HD
  • Thunderbolt port
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 3G card slot
  • A less reflective screen

I agree that Matte screens are not ideal if you use your computer for long periods of time. It would be nice if Apple could simply dial-down the gloss on existing screens. Indeed, it seems they have already done so on the 13" MBA because the screen seems less reflective than that on my 13" MacBook Pro.

For me, the only potential deal breaker is SSD capacities. As of now, there is no point in buying a MacBook Air until 500 Gb is available. The rest of the market is rapidly transitioning towards 1TB or 2TB drives. Within 18 months we'll be at 5 TB or 10 TB capacities for regular HDDs. i don't need that, but 256 Gb isn't enough. With 500 GB I have enough room for everything plus extra capacity. Since iTunes allowed people to start downloading movies, disk space has become a major issue. The average user must have at least 50 GB of movies, music and other iTunes stuff. i have over 150 GB of movies alone.

All those updates look great.

I do question the 3G card even though Id love to see it and Apple has created a very small, interchangeable option for GSM/UMTS or CDMA/EV-DO on the iPad 2, per the iFixit teardown.

I also question the reflective nature of the glass panel. Unless they find a way to meld the panels which can thin out the glass I dont that will change. Additionally, without the 13 MBP getting a matte option I dont think we should expect a matte option on the MBAs.

I'd like to see a better panel on the 11 MBA. Its considerably better than other notebook vendors but not as good as their larger brethren. Id even like to see IPS finally get adapted to MBAs and MBPs now that they can do a 10 iPad with an IPS panel but I do understand that performance differences between a Mac and iPad will harm the battery life, as well as scaling it from 11 to 13 to 15 to 17 with all that increased surface area. Maybe well have to wait for a lower-power IPS panel for which I believe LG has patents.

Finally, Im really just hopping for double-resolution displays coming to all new Macs after Lion is released
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post #134 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

For me, the only potential deal breaker is SSD capacities.

I cannot imagine purchasing a machine with a Core2 CPU at this time--it just feels horrifically outdated. The 256 capacity limit on the SSD feels like a deal breaker to me also, but I think once this refresh happens if I am looking at a 13" sandy bridge MBA vs the 13" MBP with a lower resolution display, I think I figure out how to compromise on only having 256 GB and buy the Air.
post #135 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

All those updates look great.

I do question the 3G card even though Id love to see it and Apple has created a very small, interchangeable option for GSM/UMTS or CDMA/EV-DO on the iPad 2, per the iFixit teardown.

I also question the reflective nature of the glass panel. Unless they find a way to meld the panels which can thin out the glass I dont that will change. Additionally, without the 13 MBP getting a matte option I dont think we should expect a matte option on the MBAs.

I'd like to see a better panel on the 11 MBA. Its considerably better than other notebook vendors but not as good as their larger brethren. Id even like to see IPS finally get adapted to MBAs and MBPs now that they can do a 10 iPad with an IPS panel but I do understand that performance differences between a Mac and iPad will harm the battery life, as well as scaling it from 11 to 13 to 15 to 17 with all that increased surface area. Maybe well have to wait for a lower-power IPS panel for which I believe LG has patents.

Finally, Im really just hopping for double-resolution displays coming to all new Macs after Lion is released

I'm not convinced by the 3G card either, it's a 'nice to have' rather than 'must have'.

IPS screens would be truly amazing. Beyond increasing processor speed, screen resolution has to be a major factor in making successive computers better. I don't think such technology is ready for prime time just yet. In the meantime, double resolution is going to be a useful step in the right direction.

I note that Sumsung has begun production of 64 GB SSD chips using its new 20 Nm process. This is excellent news. I am excited to see whether new MBA gets a larger SSD drive thanks to 20 Nm fabrication.
post #136 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroRichie View Post

I cannot imagine purchasing a machine with a Core2 CPU at this time--it just feels horrifically outdated.

That perception isn't really justified. Apple currently needs the combo it is offering up because there is little else they can put into the machine to fit the power and cost envelopes.
Quote:
The 256 capacity limit on the SSD feels like a deal breaker to me also, but I think once this refresh happens if I am looking at a 13" sandy bridge MBA vs the 13" MBP with a lower resolution display, I think I figure out how to compromise on only having 256 GB and buy the Air.

Capacity of the storage is a big deal. With my needs I'd need external storage no matter what SSD is installed. Taking that approach a 256 GB drive is passable. On the new portables you do have the advantage of SD cards.

The big problem with the rumored SB AIRs is how much will the GPU be compromised. I can see such a machine being a step backwards if the GPU clock rate is reduced or in other ways impacted. We might actually have to wait for Ivy Bridge to get both a GPU boost and a power improvement. Building the AIR is a tough engineering challenge when dealing with Intel processors with the integrated GPUs.
post #137 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

That perception isn't really justified. Apple currently needs the combo it is offering up because there is little else they can put into the machine to fit the power and cost envelopes.

It's not a perception; these are outdated processors. Penryn was released in Jan of 2008 and Merom back in 2006! In fact, Intel took the final orders for these CPUs back in April and they are being discontinued. I just don't see how there's any way that Sandy Bridge isn't going into these things one way or another--and I have a hard time believing that the "power envelope" is any kind of issue. Most folks agree that the TDP of these SB CPUs is not going to be any more problematic than it is in the Pro line. As for cost, I don't see these CPUs affecting the price of the 13" MBP so they cannot be costing Apple much more per unit, and I think it is safe to say that the Air is at least on par with other Apple products in terms of margin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The big problem with the rumored SB AIRs is how much will the GPU be compromised. I can see such a machine being a step backwards if the GPU clock rate is reduced or in other ways impacted. We might actually have to wait for Ivy Bridge to get both a GPU boost and a power improvement. Building the AIR is a tough engineering challenge when dealing with Intel processors with the integrated GPUs.

I am satisfied enough with the Anandtech benchmarks on the integrated graphics in the 13" MBP, and I don't see why the clock rate would need to be reduced on the Air. The current Pro line does run hotter than the last version, but the Air currently runs very cool.
post #138 of 215
Just realized you might have meant power in terms of performance, not power in terms of "power." Either way, I think the huge performance gains seen in the latest generation of the 13" MBP more than justifies the Air moving to Sandy Bridge.
post #139 of 215
The reason the MacBook Air has a less reflective display than the MacBook Pro is because the glass used in front of the display on the MacBook Pro would increase the weight of the MacBook Air.
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post #140 of 215
Thus we have to consider the possibility that clock rates will be trimmed some to permit the SB AIR to arrive. Not this is only a possibility, but is not inconsistent with previous ULV processors. Until the new AIR is delivered we won't know what the actual implementation will be.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroRichie View Post

It's not a perception; these are outdated processors. Penryn was released in Jan of 2008 and Merom back in 2006!

They are not outdated if Apple has no choice with respect to implementing a machine with the current AIRs performance levels. Seriously tell us what they should have used instead.
Quote:
In fact, Intel took the final orders for these CPUs back in April and they are being discontinued. I just don't see how there's any way that Sandy Bridge isn't going into these things one way or another--and I have a hard time believing that the "power envelope" is any kind of issue.

I'm with you here as I think Sandy Bridge is the most likely candidate. It should be a good update CPU wise, GPU wise I'm not convinced.

The dark horse here would be an AMD Llano if it ever comes to be. Llano would allow Apple to maintain both OpenCL capability and advance general GPU performance. However we have yet to see hardware so I don't think it is in the running.
Quote:
Most folks agree that the TDP of these SB CPUs is not going to be any more problematic than it is in the Pro line. As for cost, I don't see these CPUs affecting the price of the 13" MBP so they cannot be costing Apple much more per unit, and I think it is safe to say that the Air is at least on par with other Apple products in terms of margin.

Well with a given process technology something has to give. The only way to get significantly lower TDP is to lower performance or operating voltage (which lowers performance). This is why I see Ivy Bridge as the platform to really propel AIR forward, power usage will drop significantly with the process tech they intend to use there.
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I am satisfied enough with the Anandtech benchmarks on the integrated graphics in the 13" MBP, and I don't see why the clock rate would need to be reduced on the Air. The current Pro line does run hotter than the last version, but the Air currently runs very cool.

You loose all credibility with me when you reference Anandtech. The guy isn't credible and it has pretty much been proven that the GPU in SB falls on its face when high performance is demanded of it. Not to mention the glossed over lack of OpenCL support. Obviously if you don't need that performance you won't have a problem as the GPU does well for mainstream support of Apples GUI.
post #141 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

You loose all credibility with me when you reference Anandtech. The guy isn't credible and it has pretty much been proven that the GPU in SB falls on its face when high performance is demanded of it. Not to mention the glossed over lack of OpenCL support. Obviously if you don't need that performance you won't have a problem as the GPU does well for mainstream support of Apples GUI.

The Anand benchmarks are consistent with the rest of what's been published out there, on notebookcheck or whatever else you can find. The 3000 is not that bad of a GPU and the amount that it underperforms the 320m is WAY overblown such as with your "falls on its face" statement--in all cases within 20%. You'd think it was a total meltdown by the way people are reacting. I will give you that the lack of OpenCL is a disappointment, but whatever losses are endured by a slight downgrade in graphics will be obliterated by CPU performance gains with a move to sandy bridge. I am not going to sit here and tell you and everyone else they shouldn't be playing Crysis on their Airs, but I would imagine that most of the Air target market can live without gaming. It will be a net gain for most.

As for your comment "seriously tell us what they should have used instead," I am not trying to imply that there was an alternative last year. All I am saying is that now that there is an alternative, it's time to move on. Buying a new high-end machine (in terms of price, anyway) for $1500+ with a half-decade-old CPU doesn't cut it for me.
post #142 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroRichie View Post

T... but whatever losses are endured by a slight downgrade in graphics will be obliterated by CPU performance gains with a move to sandy bridge. I am not going to sit here and tell you and everyone else they shouldn't be playing Crysis on their Airs, but I would imagine that most of the Air target market can live without gaming. It will be a net gain for most....

I could be wrong but I bet that the SB cpus that wind up in the MBA will only be modestly faster than the C2D they replace. Either by Intel"s design or Apple downclocking them, I suspect they'll be optimized for power savings rather than raw cpu performance. IMO, MBAs don't need to be faster but they do need longer battery life. I am going to buy 13" MBA soon and I really would like to see it comfortably get 7 hours of use between charges, at a minimum. 8 hours between charges would be even better.

Heck I'd be happy with the current model if the C2Ds being used were fabbed at the 32 nm process node. Those would probably give me the battery life I desire and would easily perform well at the tasks I typically do on a laptop. Then again SB will do all of that as well too.
post #143 of 215
You could be right, but I would be surprised. If you look at the CPU benchmarks on the current 13" MBP vs the prior generation, the performance gain is anything but modest. Even if the CPU is underclocked for battery optimization or maybe even just product differentiation, I still think you are looking at a large difference in performance. I would think that additional battery life is largely limited by a combination of the Air form factor and current battery technology.
post #144 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroRichie View Post

You could be right, but I would be surprised. If you look at the CPU benchmarks on the current 13" MBP vs the prior generation, the performance gain is anything but modest. Even if the CPU is underclocked for battery optimization or maybe even just product differentiation, I still think you are looking at a large difference in performance. I would think that additional battery life is largely limited by a combination of the Air form factor and current battery technology.

Good post. Sandy Bridge is a big step forward in terms of both power over C2D. i wonder whether the combined processor and GPU on the motherboard will liberate more space to allow for a slighter fatter battery? Secondly, it has been more than six months since intel's onboard GPU arrived. In that time, Intel hasn't stood still. Will they have tweaked performance? Whatever we get, I am expecting a big step-up in performance and a modest gain in battery life.

My biggest question about the next Air is: to what extent will it overlap with the 13" MBP? If Apple is prepping us for DVD-driveless future, then the differences may not be substantial.
post #145 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

.....Whatever we get, I am expecting a big step-up in performance and a modest gain in battery life. ....

My biggest question about the next Air is: to what extent will it overlap with the 13" MBP? .

That's the rub. The MBA doesn't need to be more powerful from a cpu POV. Read this thread. If it is it just bumps up against the 13" MBP. It does need longer battery life, especially the 11" model.

Apple will be constrained by how Intel designs the CULV SB processors. They may be designed to optimize performance more so than power savings. Apple can tweak them a bit by downclocking them but that's about it.
post #146 of 215
In the case of CPU performance I expect that to be the case in the AIR also. GPU wise I'm not to sure. The thing is in the past all of Intels ULV processors ran at reduced clock rates when they debuted. In the AIR they can do this to the CPU and still win big because SB is that much better. With respect to the GPU in SB (it is a poor one for gaming) it is hard to say where we will be when compared to the current AIR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

Good post. Sandy Bridge is a big step forward in terms of both power over C2D. i wonder whether the combined processor and GPU on the motherboard will liberate more space to allow for a slighter fatter battery?

I think the net gain will be zero. Why; because Apple will need room for the Thunderbolt chip. That chip by the way has it's own power profile.
Quote:
Secondly, it has been more than six months since intel's onboard GPU arrived. In that time, Intel hasn't stood still. Will they have tweaked performance? Whatever we get, I am expecting a big step-up in performance and a modest gain in battery life.

it would be a big surprise for Intel to make a mid course update to the GPU. Especially considering that they have a number of bugs to address first. Even then they would more than likely trim functionality to reduce the power profile of the GPU. It would be a surprise, a good one really, but I simply don't expect major changes. It isn't consistent with previous ULV releases.
Quote:
My biggest question about the next Air is: to what extent will it overlap with the 13" MBP? If Apple is prepping us for DVD-driveless future, then the differences may not be substantial.

AIR will always be limited by heat and battery life. Physics pretty much dictates that you can put more CPU power in a bigger box.
post #147 of 215
The impact of SSDs are well known, they however don't make the CPU itself faster. Any app that is CPU bound suffers on the AIRs. Certainly the general case with AIR has been very positive for most users but that does not imply a usable machine for every user.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

That's the rub. The MBA doesn't need to be more powerful from a cpu POV. Read this thread. If it is it just bumps up against the 13" MBP. It does need longer battery life, especially the 11" model.

Apple will be constrained by how Intel designs the CULV SB processors. They may be designed to optimize performance more so than power savings. Apple can tweak them a bit by downclocking them but that's about it.

This here is the key, Apple needs to work with what Intel offers up. We may very well get AIRs with 1.2 GHz CPUs, maybe even lower clocks, but the actual performance of the machines should jump ahead of the current builds. Intels next massive jump in power vs performance will be with Ivy Bridge and the 3D transistor tech. That will make for a very interesting AIR. It really seems to me that expectations are real high for the SB AIRs, it is justified to some extent, but I think people need to moderate expectations a bit until the ULV chips are actualy delivered.
post #148 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The impact of SSDs are well known, they however don't make the CPU itself faster. Any app that is CPU bound suffers on the AIRs. Certainly the general case with AIR has been very positive for most users but that does not imply a usable machine for every user. d.

Most users aren't CPU constrained. That's what the MBA tells us. Most users benefit much more from an SSD than from a faster cpu. For the type of use a MBA is designed for, it benefits much more from an SSD than a faster CPU.

If you are CPU constrained you need a MBP. The MBA isn't a PS or Final Cut rig.
post #149 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Most users aren't CPU constrained. That's what the MBA tells us. Most users benefit much more from an SSD than from a faster cpu. For the type of use a MBA is designed for, it benefits much more from an SSD than a faster CPU. If you are CPU constrained you need a MBP. The MBA isn't a PS or Final Cut rig.

I think you're right. In fact, I'd go even further and say that 75% of MacBook Pro users aren't CPU constrained either. where incremental performance is gradually becoming more than most users need. Rather like cars, very few of us need one with more than 300 bhp. I remember that Bill Gates once said that 512 Kb of memory should be just about enough for anyone, so maybe it is better to say we've reached a point of diminishing returns,..

Not so with GPU performance for games, movies and so on. I can't understand why Intel has lagged for so long in this area. They need to get with the program.

Anyway, as you point out, the current 13" C2D MBA is an excellent machine and with SSD offers a quantum leap in speed. SSDs are a game changer. My wife's 2011 MBA is an order of magnitude faster than my 2009 C2D MBP. She uses Photoshop on her MBA, not professionally but as an amateur enthusiast - it copes fine. Sorry, but it does.

Which reminds me that the screen is noticeably better than that on the 13" MBP too.

So, if the MacBook Air is already as fast as most of us need most of the time, the June refresh is only going to underline its capability as a mainstream computer. It really can be your primary machine. More than that, I'd say that it has ALREADY REPLACED THE 13" MACBOOK PRO, it's just that most people haven't figured this out yet.

This makes me wonder what Apple has planned for the MacBook Pro line next January. Will the 13" die a natural death or will the 13" SB MBA kill it prematurely? It's kinda hard to figure out what Apple's strategy is. Airs and Pros, or just a single MacBook line-up in 11", 13" 15" and 17". We've already discussed this, but it is fascinating to see where Apple is leading us.

My dilemma is: do I buy a Sandy Bridge Air in June 2011 or wait for the new 13" IB MacBook Pro in January 2012? I don't need a new computer BTW, I am just nuts about new technology.
post #150 of 215
However that isn't 75% in my mind. I still hear people complaining about the speed of their machines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

I think you're right. In fact, I'd go even further and say that 75% of MacBook Pro users aren't CPU constrained either. where incremental performance is gradually becoming more than most users need. Rather like cars, very few of us need one with more than 300 bhp. I remember that Bill Gates once said that 512 Kb of memory should be just about enough for anyone, so maybe it is better to say we've reached a point of diminishing returns,..

There are many issues here.

In one case developers are still implementing software upgrades to take advantage of current capabilities. Follow the developer forums, here and there and you will see many discussions that revolve around the use of GCD. There is a development lag to take advantage of the latest hardware and software initiatives.

Another issue is Apples future software initiatives with things like AI and speech processing. As more horsepower becomes available I'm pretty sure Apple will be taking advantage of it in future software releases.

I think the difference here is that you see a plateau where I see a steep slope ahead. The hardware always comes first a prime example being GPU computing. The MBP will be able to leverage new tech earlier simply because Apple can pack more in the box. "More" here being whatever hardware is required.
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Not so with GPU performance for games, movies and so on. I can't understand why Intel has lagged for so long in this area. They need to get with the program.

this is why I hope Apple implements an AMD solution. Maybe not in the AIR but certainly in something for nothing else to wake up Intel.
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Anyway, as you point out, the current 13" C2D MBA is an excellent machine and with SSD offers a quantum leap in speed. SSDs are a game changer. My wife's 2011 MBA is an order of magnitude faster than my 2009 C2D MBP. She uses Photoshop on her MBA, not professionally but as an amateur enthusiast - it copes fine. Sorry, but it does.

"It copes fine" isn't exactly a glowing endorsement. In any event there is a wide array of users many who could not tolerate "it copes fine". My iPad is doing fine right this very moment, but it certainly isnt a MBP replacement.
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Which reminds me that the screen is noticeably better than that on the 13" MBP too.

So, if the MacBook Air is already as fast as most of us need most of the time, the June refresh is only going to underline its capability as a mainstream computer. It really can be your primary machine. More than that, I'd say that it has ALREADY REPLACED THE 13" MACBOOK PRO, it's just that most people haven't figured this out yet.

Your perspective. However I'm convinced that AIR is a big compromise for many. It will be interesting to see how far SB goes to rectify this. The fact remains though you can put more power into a bigger box.
Quote:
This makes me wonder what Apple has planned for the MacBook Pro line next January. Will the 13" die a natural death or will the 13" SB MBA kill it prematurely? It's kinda hard to figure out what Apple's strategy is. Airs and Pros, or just a single MacBook line-up in 11", 13" 15" and 17". We've already discussed this, but it is fascinating to see where Apple is leading us.

My dilemma is: do I buy a Sandy Bridge Air in June 2011 or wait for the new 13" IB MacBook Pro in January 2012? I don't need a new computer BTW, I am just nuts about new technology.

Yeah being a tech nut is hard on the budget.

Your answer will come when Apple releases the new AIR. Then you will know what they managed to roll into the machine. It will either meets your needs or not.
post #151 of 215
The MacBookAir can easily cover all my basic computing needs. The only reason I'd still want a Pro is for use of virtual instruments on stage, the MBA seems a little under-spec'd for that.

But I think it has got just about everything else covered.
post #152 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

The MacBookAir can easily cover all my basic computing needs. The only reason I'd still want a Pro is for use of virtual instruments on stage, the MBA seems a little under-spec'd for that.

But I think it has got just about everything else covered.

I have to wonder what it is about AIR to cause you to say it is under specced. Do you see it as a CPU power issue or a lack of internal storage?

Honestly I can see both being an issue for your usage. I suspect though that it is primarily an issue of CPU performance. Whatever it is you do highlight my point which is that not every body can get by with the level of performance AIR offers up.

As it is I suspect that many here correlate the fast response of the SSD as an indicator of overall system performance. For many users that is a key element in the feel of the machine. What I object to is the ideas offered up that AIR type machines will be the only thing needed in the future. I still believe there will be a massive performance delta between AIRs and MBP for the foreseeable future. Especially considering that MBP can have SSDs installed and offer up CPUs with twice the clock rate.

I know the argument is that people don't need that but I believe that is a misguided point of view.
post #153 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I have to wonder what it is about AIR to cause you to say it is under specced. Do you see it as a CPU power issue or a lack of internal storage?

Both. VI's like Omnisphere and Kontakt are about 50GB each; that adds up quick. To reliably run CPU/memory-hungry apps like VI's you need lots of overhead.
A maxed-out 13" is theoretically sufficient for the majority of VI's, but it'd be running on the limit which is not good for operational reliability. Not to mention it sells for $1799 and that is a lot of money for a 2.13GHz C2D with 4GB RAM.

If it wasn't for that, the MBA would be my first choice.
post #154 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

And you don't have to completely lack a sense of humor. But we all have our shortcomings!

No one is perfect in life.
post #155 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

Not to mention it sells for $1799 and that is a lot of money for a 2.13GHz C2D with 4GB RAM.

I just checked and the 13" MacBookPro with the 2.3GHz i5, 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD goes for $1849

So for $50 more you get a newer/better CPU, SSD instead of Flash, a DVD-RW drive and better connectivity.

Add the DVDRW to the quoted MacBookAir and you exceed the price of the MBP. Hard to justify that when lower weight and form factor are its only true advantages.


Still, it is a winner on sex appeal alone!
post #156 of 215
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Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Most users aren't CPU constrained. That's what the MBA tells us.

Actually, what the MBA tells us is that most MBA users aren't CPU constrained. What you should be wondering is: How much of Apple's portable market would be captured by the MBA if it started to approach MBP performance? I disagree that most users as a whole aren't CPU-constrained. Maybe this is true for the email and word processing crowd, but I personally do a lot of CPU-intensive tasks and I don't feel like a "power user." (See: Civilization 5, for instance)
post #157 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

However I'm convinced that AIR is a big compromise for many. It will be interesting to see how far SB goes to rectify this.

I agree. IMO, CPU speed and storage are the two largest offenders here.

What I am worried about is that the next gen Air is still only going to offer 256 GB SSDs. If that's the case, I am really in an awkward spot. Either I am going to buy the MBA with the form factor I want with not enough storage, or I'm going to buy the MBP with the form factor I don't want with a crappy resolution.

What I can't figure out is why Apple isn't offering the 13" MBP with the MBA screen. Honestly, I think they would already have my money.
post #158 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroRichie View Post

Actually, what the MBA tells us is that most MBA users aren't CPU constrained. What you should be wondering is: How much of Apple's portable market would be captured by the MBA if it started to approach MBP performance? I disagree that most users as a whole aren't CPU-constrained. Maybe this is true for the email and word processing crowd, but I personally do a lot of CPU-intensive tasks and I don't feel like a "power user." (See: Civilization 5, for instance)

Id argue that anyone that needs a lot of processing POWER is a power user. Whether youre sung it professionally or just gaming youre still doing an actively that requires a more powerful machine.

Id say that most consumers arent hindered by the amount of processing power in the MBA which is why theyve been such a hit. Not that they arent a hit for other reasons, but that the CPU is fast enough to be more than adequate without hindering their experience.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #159 of 215
Well here is some interesting news from cpu-world.com which should maybe ease some concerns. The GPU is not underclocked by default--this isn't to say Apple won't do this themselves, but it is at least interesting to see that Intel is not delivering them underclocked.

Two forthcoming Core i7 ULV dual-core processors, i7-2637M and i7-2677M, have 1.7 and 1.8 GHz base, and 2.8 GHz and 2.9 GHz Turbo Boost frequencies. This is 200 MHz higher than the frequencies of their predecessors, Core i7-2617M and i7-2657M. Default clock rate of the HD 3000 graphics on new chips stays the same, 350 MHz, although the maximum turbo frequency is increased to 1.2 GHz.
post #160 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

Both. VI's like Omnisphere and Kontakt are about 50GB each; that adds up quick. To reliably run CPU/memory-hungry apps like VI's you need lots of overhead.
A maxed-out 13" is theoretically sufficient for the majority of VI's, but it'd be running on the limit which is not good for operational reliability. Not to mention it sells for $1799 and that is a lot of money for a 2.13GHz C2D with 4GB RAM.

If it wasn't for that, the MBA would be my first choice.

The current AIRs are a vast improvement over the old ones, there is no doubt about it. They are not however the machine for everybody. I'd go so far as to say they aren't even a machine for the rest of us.

The only thing I really object to is your line about 1799 being to much for a Core 2 Duo. Like everyone else I have to ask you what do you expect Apple to put in there? Seriously Apple can only build what the technology of the moment is capable of delivering. The value of AIR isn't in the processor and likely never will be.
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