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Apple poised to build nearly 400K next-gen MacBook Airs this month

post #1 of 94
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The second-generation of Apple's revitalized MacBook Air notebooks are scheduled to enter mass production during the month of June, with an initial build volume hovering around 400,000 units.

Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo exclusively told AppleInsider that the Mac maker has placed orders for the production of a total of 380,000 Sandy Bridge-based 11.6 and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs this month.

The analyst, whose industry checks have long provided accurate insight into the Cupertino-based company's future hardware plans, notes that roughly 55 percent (or 209,000) of those MacBook Airs will be of the 11.6-inch varieties, which have proven slightly more popular than the 13.3-inch offerings due to their more attractive entry-level price points.

In addition, Kuo notes that Apple plans to wind down production of existing MacBook Airs this month with a final run of 80,000 units, bringing the total number of MacBook Airs slated for production in June to 460,000.

The new thin-and-light MacBook Air launched in late 2010 with a new 11.6-inch model and a lower $999 introductory price. The device was an instant hit, and made the MacBook Air one of the most popular products in the Mac lineup overnight.

While showing off Mac OS X 10.7 Lion at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, noted that the Mac has outgrown the PC market every quarter over the past five years. He singled out the new MacBook Air as one reason why Apple has found such success while the rest of the market continues to struggle.

"It's beautiful, it's thin, it's light, it's fast," he said. "The whole PC industry wants to copy it."



He added that Apple has been leading in notebooks for awhile, and was the first major PC maker to drive a majority of their computer business to portable machines. Today, almost three-quarters of the Macs shipped by Apple are notebooks.

And a big part of that notebook lineup has become the MacBook Air. A person familiar with Apple's supply chain told AppleInsider in March that the ultra-thin notebooks were then selling in volumes roughly half that of MacBook Pros, as customers have embraced the thinner, lighter and less expensive offerings during a phase when computing is increasingly shifting to the mobile space.

Apple shipped more than a million units of the new MacBook Air in its first quarter of availability, but rumors of an upgraded model with Intel's latest generation Sandy Bridge processors quickly began to swirl as far back as February.

The new MacBook Airs set to go into production this month will move to to Intel's 32-nanometer Sandy Bridge architecture, with the chipmakers' latest ultra-low-voltage Core i5 and Core i7 chips. With the upgrade to Sandy Bridge, which sport between 3MB and 4MB of Smart Cache and support a theoretical maximum of 8GB of internal system memory, the mid-2011 MacBook Airs will jettison two-year-old Penryn-based 45-nm Core 2 Duo chips found in the current offering.
post #2 of 94
I am waiting to pull the trigger on the 13 inch MacBook Air with Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt. I was considering the 13 inch MacBook Pro but the screen resolution on the MacBook Pro is actually worse than the Air so no deal there.

A bonus would be an option for 8 GB RAM.
post #3 of 94
I've had the cash ready and waiting for an i5 MBA with 4GB and the Thunderbolt port since February (when I bought and returned a 13" MBP). C'mon Apple, take my money already!

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post #4 of 94
I, too, have been waiting for this refresh to buy a top-end Air to replace my 2008 MBP.
post #5 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The second-generation of Apple's revitalized MacBook Air notebooks are scheduled to enter mass production during the month of June, with an initial build volume hovering around the 400,000 units....

I just hope they prove sturdier and more capable than the original hard drive models.

There was a similar love affair when the first model arrived, but looking back over their lifetime, they became one of the most fragile, problematic computers Apple had produced in a very long time. I pity anyone who bought an original MacBook Air and didn't buy AppleCare.

The solid state drive should alleviate most of the original's problems, but we won't really know how good this generation is for a few years anyway.
post #6 of 94
13" Core i5 MBA with performance similar to the current i5 MBP = instant buy for me, I've been waiting and waiting to replace my late 2008 MacBook (the first aluminum one) but even though the last generation MBP's are blazing fast, I was still a little disappointed that on the outside, it's exactly the same machine as what I already have. The MBA on the other hand is not a big enough step up from my MacBook In terms of performance, so right now Apple simply doesn't have a laptop offering for me, thanks to the fact they made the alu MacBooks too good, there's just not enough reasons to replace them
post #7 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I just hope they prove sturdier and more capable than the original hard drive models.

There was a similar love affair when the first model arrived, but looking back over their lifetime, they became one of the most fragile, problematic computers Apple had produced in a very long time. I pity anyone who bought an original MacBook Air and didn't buy AppleCare.

The solid state drive should alleviate most of the original's problems, but we won't really know how good this generation is for a few years anyway.

I have not really had issues with the original MBA that we use in our lab. I would however like the backlit keyboard to return. I they can do that then I will definitely consider a MBA for my next laptop.
post #8 of 94
THE MAIN reason to buy the MacBook Air 11.6-inch is NOT because it is cheaper, but because it is lighter and smaller. Apple should make an even lighter (400 to 600 g) and smaller (7-inch) MacBook Air.
post #9 of 94
i'll wait for the A6 MacBook Air in 2012.
post #10 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

THE MAIN reason to buy the MacBook Air 11.6-inch is NOT because it is cheaper, but because it is lighter and smaller. Apple should make an even lighter (400 to 600 g) and smaller (7-inch) MacBook Air.

Apple will never make a MacBook without a full size keyboard.
post #11 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I pity anyone who bought an original MacBook Air and didn't buy AppleCare.

I didn't buy AppleCare with my first gen "Air" and I never needed it. It was a great machine - My only real concern was that stupid latch that hid the USB port and headphone jack.

I'm rocking the 11" Air now and I think it may be the best machine I've ever owned.
post #12 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

theoretical maximum of 8GB of internal system memory

The backlit keyboard is sorely missed, but I'm not buying an OSX computer without 8GB of RAM, so I really, really hope they support this. There's simply no other reason for me to buy a Pro over an Air.
post #13 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

THE MAIN reason to buy the MacBook Air 11.6-inch is NOT because it is cheaper, but because it is lighter and smaller. Apple should make an even lighter (400 to 600 g) and smaller (7-inch) MacBook Air.

Right. I didn't care about the price... I bought it because of it's small footprint. And they do make a smaller "Air", it's called iPad.
post #14 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by smack416 View Post

The backlit keyboard is sorely missed, but I'm not buying an OSX computer without 8GB of RAM, so I really, really hope they support this. There's simply no other reason for me to buy a Pro over an Air.

Ha, I thought I would miss the backlit keyboard, too. Turns out, the keys illuminate off the lighting from the screen - I've never looked back.
post #15 of 94
as I type, this generation 13"MBA is fast enough for regular users. Who is in need for PRO performance, already has a MBP. However, better performance for same money, nobody will say NO!

However, backlit keyboard and screen brightness auto-adjustment would be a welcomed addition tho..
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post #16 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by smack416 View Post

The backlit keyboard is sorely missed, but I'm not buying an OSX computer without 8GB of RAM, so I really, really hope they support this. There's simply no other reason for me to buy a Pro over an Air.

Yes a lighted key board... will they do it?

Ever since getting thinkpads with their keyboard illumination... wow its nice to have. Using a work laptop now without it, as you say, its sorely missed.
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post #17 of 94
better start prepping ebay for my old air..

btw, come on apple, put an ips screen to this little baby, the ipad has one.
post #18 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

If you want specs, get a Dell.

If you want a 10 hour battery life, get an Apple. That's the difference.

Umm... the 2010 MBA doesn't get anything even CLOSE to 10 hours. I'm lucky to get 4 hours out of the claimed "5 hours battery life" on my 2010 11" MBA. Hopefully the Sandy Bridge processor will improve that. It's the one thing I really don't like about my MBA.
post #19 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

THE MAIN reason to buy the MacBook Air 11.6-inch is NOT because it is cheaper, but because it is lighter and smaller. Apple should make an even lighter (400 to 600 g) and smaller (7-inch) MacBook Air.

No, Apple should make 15" MBA with gorgeous screen.
post #20 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

THE MAIN reason to buy the MacBook Air 11.6-inch is NOT because it is cheaper, but because it is lighter and smaller. Apple should make an even lighter (400 to 600 g) and smaller (7-inch) MacBook Air.

What's the use. You might as well get an iPad or netbook, if you want something that small.
post #21 of 94
I just want an updated Mac Mini and Magic Trackpad + mouse. Come September, I will be looking at a massive bill for an iPhone, Mac Mini and maybe more capacious iPad 2.
post #22 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I just hope they prove sturdier and more capable than the original hard drive models.

There was a similar love affair when the first model arrived, but looking back over their lifetime, they became one of the most fragile, problematic computers Apple had produced in a very long time. I pity anyone who bought an original MacBook Air and didn't buy AppleCare.

The original MBA (the real original with intel graphics) was a POS that had all sorts of problems, including the hard drive (replaced), the hinge (screen replaced), the trackpad (replaced), sound-board (replaced, performance (the intel graphics weren't enough to run full-screen video), etc. I know because I had one that had all of those problems. It was beautiful though. As a side note, Apple repaired all that stuff out of warranty for no cost for me.

The new MBA is the nicest laptop I've ever owned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The solid state drive should alleviate most of the original's problems, but we won't really know how good this generation is for a few years anyway.

I doubt we'll see the sort of problems we had with the mechanical drives. That original MBA flexed quite a bit when you picked it up with one hand, and the stress was centered on the hard drive, which were blamed for early failures. I think that left-handed people had it worse than right-handed, but I don't entirely remember.
post #23 of 94
So does this mean a June or July release?
post #24 of 94
I believe the new Air will only sport the Thunderbolt, and USB interface.

I always read about people who compare specs when it come to the Air. The truth of the matter is most people who buy the Air don't even max out the processor with tasks, they browse the web, write some documents, and send/receive emails. In return they get a lighter laptop and a 10 hrs battery life which equates to mega convenience. That is the selling point, not performance.

If you're looking to run Photoshop and FCP, then the MacBook Pro is your deal.
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post #25 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

Bull. Compared to every single imitation MBA that the craptastic manufacturers like Dell and Sony shovel out onto the market, the MBA is extremely durable.

I like the Air and have one myself, but it's not "bull." The first gen ones with the hard drives are delicate little machines that fail frequently and often multiple times over the course of their lives.

A part of the problem of the first-gen machines is that they are almost impossible to repair without damaging them further. There are several tiny wires that you can squish which will render the whole machine inoperable for instance. So merely taking off the back cover and having a look at the insides can destroy one in some cases.

Also, the screws that hold the thing together are all different lengths, extremely easy to strip, and mostly only go back into the hole they came from so again, one inexpert "repair" can render the bottom case "wiggly" and again ultimately lead to the machines' demise. Because they are so portable, they also tend to be taken to parks and used in cars and all kinds of crazy environments that probably contribute to the fatality rate.

I could go on, but if you are lucky enough to have had one with no problems there is no reason for you to believe me. I've seen dozens and dozens of MacBook Airs though and repaired or recovered data from them. I have about five close friends who bought one and most have had it repaired at least once. Lots of times this "repair" involves Apple just giving you a new one because they are so hard to fix or even figure out what went wrong.

I'm not down on Air's in general, the new models seem vastly better so far and the solid state hard drive will work to make them far more durable. I was just saying that the old ones had a lot of problems and hopefully the new ones don't.
post #26 of 94
I was keen for a Macbook Air but when I checked them out in the Apple Store, even simple things like basic navigation (moving from record to record in Finder and in iTunes) seemed so slow I didn't want to risk it.

I'll see what happens on the next refresh.

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post #27 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I like the Air and have one myself, but it's not "bull." The first gen ones with the hard drives are delicate little machines that fail frequently and often multiple times over the course of their lives.

[snip]

I could go on, but if you are lucky enough to have had one with no problems there is no reason for you to believe me. I've seen dozens and dozens of MacBook Airs though and repaired or recovered data from them. I have about five close friends who bought one and most have had it repaired at least once. Lots of times this "repair" involves Apple just giving you a new one because they are so hard to fix or even figure out what went wrong.

They never gave me a new one.

Though they did repair mine for 2 years out of warranty (no AppleCare) without ever asking for any money.
post #28 of 94
I'm glad to see these MBAs getting so popular but I'm a little worried I won't get my MBP sans optical drive but with sufficient storage for my needs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercat View Post

I am waiting to pull the trigger on the 13 inch MacBook Air with Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt. I was considering the 13 inch MacBook Pro but the screen resolution on the MacBook Pro is actually worse than the Air so no deal there.

I have a feeling the next update will bring the 13" MBP inline with the 13" MBA if not exceed it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

Bull. Compared to every single imitation MBA that the craptastic manufacturers like Dell and Sony shovel out onto the market, the MBA is extremely durable.

Has any other manufacturer made an ultraportable notebook profitable the way Apple has? I liked the first Dell Adamo but I don't think it sold well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I like the Air and have one myself, but it's not "bull." The first gen ones with the hard drives are delicate little machines that fail frequently and often multiple times over the course of their lives.

You're talking about a single component, a 1.8" HDD. The 1.8" SSD didn't have that issue.
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post #29 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You're talking about a single component, a 1.8" HDD. The 1.8" SSD didn't have that issue.

It wasn't just the hard drive, though that was the most likely failure. Among other things, the sound logic boards failed regularly, the hinge failed regularly, and the trackpad failed occasionally. I know because all of these things happened to me, and they were common enough that our local Apple Store would just fix stuff out-of-warranty, free of charge on that original model. The original Air really isn't worth defending quality-wise.

The new one seems spectacular though. Ours is only six months old, but we haven't seen any of the problems that we saw with the original yet, and my instinct is that we won't. The original Air had quite a bit more flex in the frame than the current one, and my guess is that was one of the larger source of problems. Heat was also an issue on our original, but we had intel integrated graphics, which might have been the culprit there. It had to run full-fan to even do simple web-browsing.
post #30 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I believe the new Air will only sport the Thunderbolt, and USB interface.

I always read about people who compare specs when it come to the Air. The truth of the matter is most people who buy the Air don't even max out the processor with tasks, they browse the web, write some documents, and send/receive emails. In return they get a lighter laptop and a 10 hrs battery life which equates to mega convenience. That is the selling point, not performance.

If you're looking to run Photoshop and FCP, then the MacBook Pro is your deal.

Why would you say this? I am a professional photographer, run Photoshop and FCP, and need to download, and show my photos, and want a computer with me at all times. I don't want the weight of the macbook pro (three years old) that I have now. It seems to me that the new air will be MUCH faster than my current machine, and with a portable LaCie Rugged, hopefully with a thunderbolt version coming soon, I should be in great shape. Why not get this?
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post #31 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by montefuego View Post

Why would you say this? I am a professional photographer, run Photoshop and FCP, and need to download, and show my photos, and want a computer with me at all times. I don't want the weight of the macbook pro (three years old) that I have now. It seems to me that the new air will be MUCH faster than my current machine, and with a portable LaCie Rugged, hopefully with a thunderbolt version coming soon, I should be in great shape. Why not get this?

I got the 11" back in November as a gift for myself and love and use it every day. Its obviously not good enough to replace my Windows 7 based gaming rig, but with networked storage at home and a $50 500gb Iomega portable drive I carry around, this thing is a beast that does everything I need with it. I've even done several video editing projects on it, no joke! Its slow, sure, and I wouldn't recommend this as a dedicated editing station, but as a primary computer for all my daily tasks, sprinkled with a little video and photo work, it's perfect. Size and weight makes it the perfect travel computer with really no compromises.

Would I upgrade to the Sandy Bridge model? Probably not. The *slight* increase in CPU speed would be offset by the lack of graphics performance. The Sandy Bridge HD 3000 gpu is just not as fast as the nVidia solution, and given Apple's commitment to OpenCL and Grand Central Station, I'm going to guess this new model will be on par with the existing model, at best slightly faster. It really comes down to whether or not having Thunderbolt in an Air is worth it to you, and right now there's no reason to rush towards Thunderbolt.

If you ARE interested in the thing, however, you may want to hold off and see what happens. But if you bought one today, you won't regret it. I'm telling you, this thing's awesome!

Edit: By the way, this Air is my first Mac ever. I still love my Windows-based PC and have no plans for a Mac desktop. I'm a fan of building, upgrading and tweaking my desktop systems, and Windows PCs give me the flexibility that Apple never bothers with. But as a portable device I can carry everywhere, the Air beats any PC thin-and-light on the market by far. Can't see myself using anything else.
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post #32 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

I was keen for a Macbook Air but when I checked them out in the Apple Store, even simple things like basic navigation (moving from record to record in Finder and in iTunes) seemed so slow I didn't want to risk it.

I'll see what happens on the next refresh.

I seriously question the honesty of this post. Sounds slightly trollish to me. I have a Dec. 2010 MBA and it is a screamer in everyday tasks. Mine runs Windows XP/7 and Ubuntu using VMware and it runs better on this setup than any other laptop I've owned.

My current MBA has slowly moved my 2009 i7 27" iMac to minimal duties.

Before that, I owned a 1st-gen MBA (my 1st Mac) for 2.5 years with zero problems. It was a great machine but I longed for SSD performance. Before that, I came from years of using Sony Vaio laptops.

My core2duo MBA still runs laps around a lot of dedicated windows laptops with higher-horsepower setups.
post #33 of 94
Can someone with an 11" Air verify that it can run a 720p video file (around 3.5GB) smoothly? I've had the air on my wish list for a while, but mainly for watching movies without having to encode them to smaller sizes.
post #34 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

If you want specs, get a Dell.

If you want a 10 hour battery life, get an Apple. That's the difference.

But, Sony, lenovo and probably Others offer crazy battery life now**


**= splice batteries.

I prefer being realistic. Ofc, if u are buying laptops that support those you are in over 1.5k price anyways... It comes down to what you want if to look like...

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post #35 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by montefuego View Post

Why would you say this? I am a professional photographer, run Photoshop and FCP, and need to download, and show my photos, and want a computer with me at all times. I don't want the weight of the macbook pro (three years old) that I have now. It seems to me that the new air will be MUCH faster than my current machine, and with a portable LaCie Rugged, hopefully with a thunderbolt version coming soon, I should be in great shape. Why not get this?

In fairness what bloggerblog said is entirely true... MOST PEOPLE who buy the Air don't even max out... but some, like you and I, fall into the small group of people that would really love a 15" MBA Pro.

I held out for my dream 15" MBAP for a while but a few months ago I broke down bought a 2011 MBP. I'm planning on ripping the optical drive out of and stuffing an 256GB SSD and 750GB hard drive into (because having my entire 40k raw image photo library internal again would be very cool).

If a 15" MBA Pro magically appeared in Apple's lineup however I would gladly put the library back out on an external (FW800 or TB). I really don't the library available all the time, but one of those very cool bus powers 2.5" mini RAIDs from OWC might be in order.
post #36 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by amador_o View Post

Can someone with an 11" Air verify that it can run a 720p video file (around 3.5GB) smoothly? I've had the air on my wish list for a while, but mainly for watching movies without having to encode them to smaller sizes.

I have an 11". Plays 720p H.264 video just fine. Even flash-based video using Flash 10.3 from YouTube or Hulu plays great! Only 1080p Flash content starts to take a *little* bit of a toll, but its not a 1080p screen anyway (and normal H.264 MP4 video plays fine at 1080p, so its not that big of a deal).

Like I said in my previous post, unless you're a hardcore gamer or need a dedicated video editing station, there really aren't any compromises to this machine for the average user.
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post #37 of 94
Would really love additional screen options so that it can be used in outdoor lighting conditions.
post #38 of 94
We all know that Apple pulled the backlit keyboards from the Macbook Airs, but why? Is there a technical reason for that? Was it done to save money? They should definitely reintroduce those kind of keyboards and put them into this next batch of Airs which are coming out soon.
post #39 of 94
Argghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Enough portables already, when can I get a refreshed Mac Pro.

Oh, sorry. Go back to talking amongst yourselves.

-kpluck

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post #40 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

Umm... the 2010 MBA doesn't get anything even CLOSE to 10 hours.

I don't know what you're doing, but I typically get 9+ hours on a charge on this 13" MBA.

That doesn't, obviously, include running video/flash/CPU-intensive tasks. Online web browsing, reading, light text work.
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