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15 inch MacBook Air?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Is this in the pipeline? Is there a suspected release date?
post #2 of 37
I sure hope not and I think it would be a terrible idea. 15" should be reserved for pro notebooks only even if you don't consider the 15" rMBP a true notebook for professionals.
post #3 of 37

No rumor nor expectation.

 

And really, what's the point? The retina MacBook Pro is thin enough, and they should be focusing on power and battery life in the future. 

 

Laptops won't be around much longer, you know.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #4 of 37

I think a 15-inch MacBook Air is overdue.  I don't think laptops are going anywhere in the near term.

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post #5 of 37

Actually, I take that back.  I think it would be better if Apple increased the screen size in the 13-inch form factor to a 14-inch screen.  That would probably work better and reduce the bezel size, something Apple seems to be doing with the iPad too.

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post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post

I sure hope not and I think it would be a terrible idea. 15" should be reserved for pro notebooks only even if you don't consider the 15" rMBP a true notebook for professionals.

Not all professional work requires high performance. A professional accountant, writer, photographer, lawyer, doctor etc. would value portability over performance. The 15" form factor is the most popular notebook form factor by a long way and Apple's entry point is $1800. A 15" Air would give people a more affordable entry point. They should have a 13" and 15" Air and a 13" and 15" Pro.

They should have a 15" laptop near $1299 but it could go something like:

13" 128GB Air $999
13" 256GB Air $1199
15" 128GB Air $1299
15" 256GB Air $1499
13" 128GB Retina $1499
13" 256GB Retina $1699
15" 128GB IGP Retina $1799
15" 256GB 750M Retina $2199
15" 512GB 750M Retina $2499
17" 512GB 750M 4K Retina $2799
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Laptops won't be around much longer, you know.

And what will be in their place?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

A 15" Air would give people a more affordable entry point. They should have a 13" and 15" Air and a 13" and 15" Pro.

And kill the 11" MacBook Air? All right then, game on.
post #8 of 37
Originally Posted by Winter View Post
And what will be in their place?

 

Tablets, of course.

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post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Tablets, of course.

That have the same power? So basically, I am going to be playing say Diablo III on a tablet?
post #10 of 37
Originally Posted by Winter View Post
That have the same power? So basically, I am going to be playing say Diablo III on a tablet?

 

Of course. And they won't be doing any replacement until such time.

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post #11 of 37
Even I don't believe this one.

Keyboards are a nessecity for some apps. Further voice input, the holy grail in my view only works in a limited number of environments. That and voice input needs to be integrated into the OS proper to really advance computer technology. Data entry, be it writing a novel, coding an app or something else is the one thing I see saving laptops. To a lesser extent the need to reach into the OS to leverage a computer for advance users is a big deal.

To that end I do see iOS evolving to allow more sophisticated use of the hardware. It might not be done in the manner we are accustomed to on traditional UNIX based systems though. It will be most. Interesting to see where Apple takes iOS to minimize the need for traditional systems. I just don't see the need for a laptop being completely destroyed anytime soon. Why? Well look at how far behind iOS apps are right now, even things like Notes are more usable on Mac OS.

One final thing, the transition to tablets depends upon the continual evolution of the silicon in the units. Here we have a problem in that getting below 14 nm looks like a problem. The usefulness of tablets will be moderated by the ability of the industry to introduce more powerful low power technology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Tablets, of course.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post

And what will be in their place?
I really don't think we need to worry to much about laptops near term. The need for a broad selection of laptops may moderate a bit but the technology in tablets will have to advance much faster than it is apparently capable of.

It is interesting to note that Apples Mac sales really didn't do to bad even with all of the tablets they sold. Much of the post PC era is really a post Microsoft Windows era.
Quote:
And kill the 11" MacBook Air? All right then, game on.

Why? The only reason to kill the 11" inch AIR should be because it doesn't sell well. I don't think that is a problem, however it would be most interesting to see a sales split of the entire Mac line up. That is what percentage of sales are taken by the 11" AIR. I suspect you might be surprised.

This highlights another point, a 15" AIR should be all about the potential for sales. If they can sell enough at the right price then they should make such a machine. Given that the 15" MBP retina is sort of a 15" AIR as it is. Delete the GPU and plug in a much lower power processor and you have an AIR. At least it looks that way up against the traditional 15 MBP.

Interestingly I think Apples laptops are ready for a shake up. That is the whole lineup could be refactored either this year or next. Haswell and the follow on chips offer a lot of potential to allow for new concepts in the AIRs,and the MBPs. A SoC Haswell for example could shrink the PC board in the AIR leading to more room for a battery for example. This also will help Apple address the cost pressure that laptops are under. For the MBPs we could see new battery technology that wold give us faster recharges and greater durability. Everything from new lithium technologies to refined zinc technologies are in the developmental stages right now.
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Tablets, of course.


The form factor isn't appropriate for everything. I wouldn't look for that unless their functionality can be extended by peripheral devices or embedded functionality in other electronics. There are some things that still work best on keyboards, and the screen area of an iPad can be limiting. Overall I don't mind the idea of working directly on a screen. It definitely feels more connected. Tim Cook's doppelganger in this video seems to agree with me. It's not just the size. It has a heavy stand. You can angle it comfortably and set the height in a way that doesn't force your shoulders too high if you have to sit that way for some length of time. I don't think you'll see notebooks go away anytime soon. It's more likely that they'll drop a few players. Even the PC decline is really focused on the sub $300 stuff. Much of that was displaced by phones, not tablets.

post #14 of 37
If they launch a 15" retina MacBook Pro with just integrated graphics at $1,499 that would count as an "Air" model in my view.
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post

If they launch a 15" retina MacBook Pro with just integrated graphics at $1,499 that would count as an "Air" model in my view.

With a quad-core i7 non-ULV processor? Worst case it's like a 13" Macbook Pro but they don't have quad-i7s either. You have to get over the idea of integrated vs dedicated. It's about performance, not labels. If Haswell IGP performs like a 640M, it's a decent enough substitute for the previous 650M in a Retina model at a vastly lower price point ($400). Obviously the 750M will be as much as double the performance of Haswell so it would be better if they could get a 750M in at $1799 but if they can't, it's better getting rid of the old model in favour of the Retina display because that will help get the prices down and they can add the dedicated back in later on at the lower price.

They've done it before with the 9400M and they had a 6490M, which was lower than the previous model.
post #16 of 37
No definitely not a ULV processor, it has to be a normal quad core processor.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post

No definitely not a ULV processor, it has to be a normal quad core processor.

What I mean is, how does it count as an "Air" model when it has a quad-core i7 non-ULV processor? The only thing that would distinguish it from the next model up is the 750M or equivalent dedicated GPU and that shouldn't have any feature differences with Haswell, it's just faster.
post #18 of 37
The rMBP is quite thin in its own right, so I view it as an Air-like model because it doesn't have a discrete GPU. Pro to me means you have a little bit more horsepower in it. You would also have a slower quad-core processor in it, maybe a 35W. I don't actually view it as an Air. Hopefully that makes sense.
post #19 of 37

This is what really bugs me about Apple.  There are a lot of people that don't necessarily need a quad-core screamer in their computer but want a larger screen.  If Apple included a dual-core low-voltage i5 (upgradeable to i7) in a 15-inch MacBook Air it would sell like hot cakes. HOT CAKES.  It could even have an IPS screen & still be reasonably priced. Most people I know that buy the 13-inch MacBook Air/Pro are buying purely on the reliability of the Mac but have lamented to me their wishes that they made it with a bigger screen but don't want to spend a ton of dough for the 15-inch Pro model.

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post #20 of 37
It is a serious problem, there isn't a significant differential in performance between Apples base models and the upgrades. You pay a lot of extra 💲💲💲💲for very modest differences in performance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

This is what really bugs me about Apple.  There are a lot of people that don't necessarily need a quad-core screamer in their computer but want a larger screen.  If Apple included a dual-core low-voltage i5 (upgradeable to i7) in a 15-inch MacBook Air it would sell like hot cakes. HOT CAKES.  It could even have an IPS screen & still be reasonably priced. Most people I know that buy the 13-inch MacBook Air/Pro are buying purely on the reliability of the Mac but have lamented to me their wishes that they made it with a bigger screen but don't want to spend a ton of dough for the 15-inch Pro model.
post #21 of 37
Low voltage is not acceptable beyond the 13" MacBook Air. Once you get into the 13" MacBook Pro we need standard processors and hopefully soon we'll have quad cores to use.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post

Low voltage is not acceptable beyond the 13" MacBook Air. Once you get into the 13" MacBook Pro we need standard processors and hopefully soon we'll have quad cores to use.

You need to remember that technology is changing real fast. Low voltage is the way of the future. You can't be looking to the past as framework for what is suitable in future hardware. If that was rational we would all be running 5VDC processors cooled by massive fans. Operating voltages decrease to allow more performance into a given power profile.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

You need to remember that technology is changing real fast. Low voltage is the way of the future. You can't be looking to the past as framework for what is suitable in future hardware. If that was rational we would all be running 5VDC processors cooled by massive fans. Operating voltages decrease to allow more performance into a given power profile.

I missed replying to this so I will say something now. What I meant was any processor ending with a U vs. an M, QM, or XM. I know processors are getting better and will use less power though I wouldn't want say a rMBP using a ULV processor that is designed for a MacBook Air.
post #24 of 37
I really don't understand your thinking here. This isn't much different than what Marvin indicted with the integrated GPUs. It is the end result that counts and as such a 15" AIR with an ultra low voltage processor is a viable solution for many users. It might be terrible for you or me but that is another discussion.

There is much talk about Intels 22 nm process but people need to realize that the process is actually still evolving with an even great emphasis on low power. So ultimately we could get a nice solution for a 15" AIR at this process node. There is new Intel documentation float around about the new ATOM processor and the new cores used there. A rethinking of what is important has resulted in some features being drop while others have been beefed up. Combined with tuning of the 22 nm technology even more has resulted in a big performance increase while lowering power usage. I could see intel actually tuning the cores of the ULV processors in the same way to optimize performance and power even more.

That of course is speculating about the far future. Near future, with Haswell, I'm certain Apple could produce a suitable AIR in the 15" size that would be snapped up by many current AIR users. Maybe it isn't the machine you or I would buy but it would likely sell as well as current AIR models. Remember Apple isn't about making hardware for you specifically, it is all about hardware that sells in volume.

To be honest I see great things happening to the entire AIR lineup this year. Haswell should be most interesting and they should be able to double or better flash storage. Haswell might solve the terrible processor issue 😇😇 while more storage would solve the issues I have with space for VMs and development tools. Put out a 15" screen model and Apple has the potential to completely change my mind about AIR.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post

I missed replying to this so I will say something now. What I meant was any processor ending with a U vs. an M, QM, or XM. I know processors are getting better and will use less power though I wouldn't want say a rMBP using a ULV processor that is designed for a MacBook Air.
post #25 of 37
The MacBook Air processors are fine for most people as you say. I however in my mini would rather have more powerful processors.
post #26 of 37

I also think a 15-inch MacBook Air is WELL overdue, as an older person who travels a lot I am not interested in a notebook with a small 11 or 13 inch screen and I am sick of MS Windows, so maybe I will buy a the new HP Chromebook 14 next.

 

The Macbook Air is such an amazing product and its So'oooo lightweight, so come on Apple make a bigger screen version, before you start to lose market share. I understand that in China (the biggest computer market now) if a notebook is not 14 or 15 inch then they are really not interested, same goes for me also :-)

 

 

post #27 of 37

I am ready to buy a 15" Air.  I am also ready to wait more.  When they release, I'll be there. :)

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post #28 of 37
Hi Marvin;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Not all professional work requires high performance. A professional accountant, writer, photographer, lawyer, doctor etc. would value portability over performance.
This is because many define professional as people that do the same work they do. Anybody else is a casual user! 😜😜
Quote:
The 15" form factor is the most popular notebook form factor by a long way and Apple's entry point is $1800. A 15" Air would give people a more affordable entry point. They should have a 13" and 15" Air and a 13" and 15" Pro.
I'm not too sure about that, I was under the impression 13" machines have been selling well.
Quote:
They should have a 15" laptop near $1299 but it could go something like:

13" 128GB Air $999
13" 256GB Air $1199
15" 128GB Air $1299
15" 256GB Air $1499
You need to trim each price above by $100 and double the SSD storage. The AIRs are fine machines except for the issue with the volume of built in storage.
Quote:
13" 128GB Retina $1499
13" 256GB Retina $1699
15" 128GB IGP Retina $1799
15" 256GB 750M Retina $2199
15" 512GB 750M Retina $2499
17" 512GB 750M 4K Retina $2799
For that 13" MBP I'd like to see them simply upgrade the screen on the Air. The MBP could easily pass as a AIR with retina in that size. Of course a better processor is required along with addressing the storage issue.

For the 15 & 17" models I like what you have but the 17" needs 1GB of SSD sot orange of the fast type seen in the Mac Pro. By the way I would not be surprised at all if Apple delivers that 4K retina Mac Pro in a 17" or larger screen. It would be a nice reintroduction of the "big" machine.

Beyond that shouldn't the GPU vendors be delivering their new architectures this year? Last year was a bump year of existing technology. A 20 nm GPU would be most interesting.

One last thing, in general I'm very displeased with Apple and their milking of flash storage. They need to bump flash storage on all platforms this year. Pricing on this stuff has dropped like a rock over the last couple of years, Apple needs to keep pace or end up looking very memory stingy again. This is why I emphasis the storage issue above, 128 GB SSDs can be had for peanuts these days, well honey covered peanuts.
Edited by wizard69 - 2/18/14 at 2:17pm
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

I am ready to buy a 15" Air.  I am also ready to wait more.  When they release, I'll be there. 1smile.gif

That may be a ways off. Like late fall before Intel has MBP chips ready. Air suitable chips are harder to project but they could come soon.
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I'm not too sure about that, I was under the impression 13" machines have been selling well.

In the Mac lineup that's the case but it's because the cheapest 15" is $2k. In the PC world where they can be bought for $500, 15" is the most popular, 14" in China.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

You need to trim each price above by $100 and double the SSD storage.

I could trim the prices but my benevolence would not be supported by Apple's business model.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I would not be surprised at all if Apple delivers that 4K retina Mac Pro in a 17" or larger screen. It would be a nice reintroduction of the "big" machine.

I just threw that in as an extra. I really doubt it's coming back. The unit shipments are higher now without it so it's clear the number of buyers was under 50k per quarter (1/10th the 15" lineup).
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Beyond that shouldn't the GPU vendors be delivering their new architectures this year? Last year was a bump year of existing technology. A 20 nm GPU would be most interesting.

It's still 28nm this year but new architecture:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2097974/nvidia-unveils-maxwell-a-supremely-power-efficient-gpu-architecture.html
http://nvidianews.nvidia.com/Releases/NVIDIA-Leads-Performance-Per-Watt-Revolution-With-Maxwell-Graphics-Architecture-ab5.aspx

Some are apparently Kepler rebrands again:

http://videocardz.com/48633/nvidia-geforce-gtx-880m-rebranded-gtx-780m-8gb-memory

NVidia claims 35% performance boost with the Maxwell ones but they did with the 700M series too and it wasn't anything like that vs the 600 series - some of the 600 series are faster. I expect Haswell refresh in April and 800 series options will be available for dedicated, probably launching around June. Haswell refresh is supposed to be something like 100MHz clock boost, not sure about Iris Pro. NVidia's claim of 2x performance per watt is interesting though. They are referring to the desktop GPUs just now, we'll have to see what the mobile chips are like. They're supposed to be out this month too:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/gaming-software-graphics-cards/739970-clevo-notebooks-800m-series-coming-out-february-2014-a.html

If the mobile ones are all Kepler again then I don't expect much improvement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

One last thing, in general I'm very displeased with Apple and their milking of flash storage. They need to bump flash storage on all platforms this year. Pricing on this stuff has dropped like a rock over the last couple of years, Apple needs to keep pace or end up looking very memory stingy again. This is why I emphasis the storage issue above, 128 GB SSDs can be had for peanuts these days, well honey covered peanuts.

Maybe it's time they looked into TLC memory. I think they still use MLC, which has a longer life but more expensive. They have tech from Anobit that is supposed to help SSD endurance. If they could make sure TLC would have a low failure rate and have typical write endurance to last heavy users for at least 5 years, that would be enough. I was happy to see them move to 128GB on the entry Air so at least the prices are coming down.
post #31 of 37

Marvin is absolutely right.

 

We need portability and a larger screen size.  I won't give up the 15" MBP until a 15" air comes along.  Older eyes need bigger screens.  It sucks - it's a fact of life.

 

 

apple needs to pay attention. Geniuses get old too (if they're lucky)

post #32 of 37
The Air will probably merge into the Pro eventually I think because of the quality of the rMBP.
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by annjones1981 View Post
 

Marvin is absolutely right.

 

We need portability and a larger screen size.  I won't give up the 15" MBP until a 15" air comes along.  Older eyes need bigger screens.  It sucks - it's a fact of life.

 

 

apple needs to pay attention. Geniuses get old too (if they're lucky)

 

In terms of portability, the 15" isn't that much heavier than what you would have for a 15" air. You would be likely to lose less than a pound. Look at the 13" air and pro for reference. Difference in portability is negligible. One is tapered. The other is fairly thin overall. Where the Air fits will be limited by its thickest portion. What you guys want is a cheaper 15", which is an entirely valid request. The cheapest 15" notebook started at $1800 new for a long time. Going through the refurbished store could bring it down further to within what you would probably pay for a 15" air. Now it's $2000 with integrated graphics, although they may reverse that at some point as ssd prices continue to drop. The chips with iris pro can't be any more expensive than their total previous cost for separate chips.

post #34 of 37
  • Keylogger you hit the nail on the head.  Apple is still a premium product maker.  But they have to get those MBP prices down.  They must have really fat margins.  I mean they don't even have optical drives or discrete GPUs.  Also, with my eyes I can't see the retina difference until I get close.  I don't use my laptop from 2" away.  So a low-res 15" Air would be great for me.    And they're still gimping everything for RAM and storage I see.  

​I shall wait, as the wizard has said... I can wait plenty of time for 15" air. One, even two years.   I'll be here watching..

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post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post
 
  •   But they have to get those MBP prices down.  They must have really fat margins.  I mean they don't even have optical drives or discrete GPUs. 
  •  

I want to add a couple things to this. They dropped discrete gpus in the base models, yet went to more expensive cpu packages. I suspect in the long term it will result in a better machine. Regardless of who blames who, we have seen way too many gpu related logic board deaths. There was one in 2008 or 2009. The 2010 350m had an extended repair program. The 2011s have experienced their own problems. It's possible that the rmbp solves part of the problem due to running cooler. I'm not sure how they pulled that off given that many of the components involved in cooling 2012 and seem similar to past generations. Anyway they used to start the 15" models at $1800. If it was working just as well at $2200, they wouldn't have brought the rmbp back to $2000. I don't know whether they'll try to get back to $1800, but 15" form factors tend to be the most popular with every other brand. They should be even more popular with Apple due to the light weight and compact nature of their 15" models, which suggests to me that it's an issue of price. There's also the matter that some people may have initially compromised with a 13" and grown comfortable with that size. I'm not sure I could do that. Below a certain amount of screen real estate, it becomes less useful. At that point I don't know that I would bring it with me most of the time. For Apple it's most likely an issue of balancing their desired margins with whatever increase in sales volume is possible. It's also entirely possible that they want a certain amount of padding between the 13 and 15", and the margin issue is more of an issue on the 13" than the 15". I haven't looked up the cpus and things in enough detail to really guess either way though.

post #36 of 37
Good point regarding logic board failures.  But perhaps that is due to Apple's anorexic laptops since the early 2000s. Thus thermal issues etc.  If adding a few mm would get us discrete or lower prices or both...I think it'd be a win for everyone. By that I mean it would probably raise sales, especially if it was related to price.  Except Ives would probably not be having it... 
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post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post
 

 

I have no idea. They may be the poster child for anorexia nervosa, but that's just a possible cause of increased failure rates. There have been problems with the implementations of discrete graphics in their line over several cycles. I haven't heard much about the 650M machines, but the threads typically start first at apple discussions. If I was on the market for one, I would definitely check there. If integrated only leads to a more reliable machine, I don't really mind it. I do think they're currently too expensive. Eventually the 15" models may make it back to $1800. If that happens you can pick up a refurb in the $1400-1500 range.

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