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No internal design changes found in preliminary 11" MacBook Air disassembly

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
One day after the latest MacBook Air model debuted, images of the 11-inch version with its bottom cover removed reveal that, just as the 2012 model, no changes were made to the laptop's interior layout.

MBA
Source: OWC


When Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller announced the newest iterations of the MacBook Air on Monday at WWDC, the first feature he noted was the thin-and-light's extended battery life.

According to Schiller, the 11-inch model will go from an advertised 5 hours of battery life to 9 hours, while the latest 13-inch version lasts up to 12 hours, up from 7 hours. It appears the energy savings can be fully attributed to the switch to Intel's power-sipping Haswell ULT CPU and corresponding OS tweaks.

From what can be gleaned by the superficial teardown, provided by Other World Computing, the 11-inch model has gone largely untouched, with a battery and component layout identical to last year's version.

The lack of change is to be expected as Apple's product page notes no change to the 35-watt-hour battery, which in the case of the 11-inch MacBook Air is a six-cell design. The recently announced 13-inch version has not yet been torn down, though its internals are likely similar to last year's model, which featured a four-cell layout thanks to the additional space allowed by a larger chassis.

Also seen in the images is the new solid state drive Apple is using, which features a PCIe controller for faster transfer speeds.

MBA
Heat spreader and SSD module.


A report earlier on Tuesday noted that Intel's Haswell processor provides the most gains in terms of battery life, while the PCIe flash memory solution brings major improvements in speed.
post #2 of 14
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That explains a considerable amount.

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Pot is legal in North Korea.
That explains a considerable amount.

"The United States will respond proportionally at a place and time we choose..."
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post #3 of 14

Except that something has to be done with the displays. Better panel (not TN) and higher pixel density, please. I thought it would happen this generation, but I guess we have to wait until next.

post #4 of 14

You almost had me there, then I got it. Clever! (Typing this on a late 2011 MBA 13" that is still good enough really, proving your point.) Only reason I need to upgrade is that I have filled the 256GB SSD, and like all my content with me, so it's not a matter of just moving files elsewhere. So, a fully loaded 512GB 2013 13" MBA is on the shopping list.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

Except that something has to be done with the displays. Better panel (not TN) and higher pixel density, please. I thought it would happen this generation, but I guess we have to wait until next.

 

This was discussed thoroughly on Leo LaPort's MacBreak Weekly last week. Those who actually know how things work were not expecting a Retina MacBook Air because of.... ta da... battery life. Until Apple can cram a more powerful battery into that little form the pixel density will have to wait. Apple has made the decision that battery life is the paramount driver for the Air. They're not going to sacrifice run times for just any feature.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

 

This was discussed thoroughly on Leo LaPort's MacBreak Weekly last week. Those who actually know how things work were not expecting a Retina MacBook Air because of.... ta da... battery life. Until Apple can cram a more powerful battery into that little form the pixel density will have to wait. Apple has made the decision that battery life is the paramount driver for the Air. They're not going to sacrifice run times for just any feature.

 

 

Fair enough, but I thought (or had hoped) that this generation of the Intel platform (Haswell) would be enough to power a Retina (or at least higher than now) pixel density display. But I guess this isn't the case then. However, I know that there are laptops from Samsung (their 9 series) that has a PNL panel display with 1080p on a 13.3 inch display. And that isn't even on Haswell, it's still on Ivy Bridge (at least the one I read about). The battery time on that when playing video was 5 hours in a test, but I can imagine that would have been better if it was based on the Intel Haswell platform.

 

Anyway, I can understand if Apple thinks battery life is more important. Maybe they could have offered a MacBook Air with better screen (but lower battery life) as an option? But I guess options isn't really something Apple is into. :)

 

Anyway, let's hope for the next generation MBA's to come with better displays.

post #7 of 14

Why do people continue to selectively forget the tiny detail that the Macbook Air is, and always was about, mobile computing?  It's about battery life.

When I read about people wanting the Macbook Air to essentially be their sole desktop computer, and then complain that it's underpowered (compared to the MBP) they just don't get it.

Apple did the right thing with the MBA.  Adding retina right now would have chewed battery life and that's the priority.  Everything else about it - including the display - is fine.

I think the tech will be there to add Retina on the next product update.  Haswell just doesn't offer enough power savings to offset a retina display right now.

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

Fair enough, but I thought (or had hoped) that this generation of the Intel platform (Haswell) would be enough to power a Retina (or at least higher than now) pixel density display. But I guess this isn't the case then. However, I know that there are laptops from Samsung (their 9 series) that has a PNL panel display with 1080p on a 13.3 inch display. And that isn't even on Haswell, it's still on Ivy Bridge (at least the one I read about). The battery time on that when playing video was 5 hours in a test, but I can imagine that would have been better if it was based on the Intel Haswell platform.

Anyway, I can understand if Apple thinks battery life is more important. Maybe they could have offered a MacBook Air with better screen (but lower battery life) as an option? But I guess options isn't really something Apple is into. 1smile.gif

Anyway, let's hope for the next generation MBA's to come with better displays.

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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Why do people continue to selectively forget the tiny detail that the Macbook Air is, and always was about, mobile computing?  It's about battery life.

When I read about people wanting the Macbook Air to essentially be their sole desktop computer, and then complain that it's underpowered (compared to the MBP) they just don't get it.

Apple did the right thing with the MBA.  Adding retina right now would have chewed battery life and that's the priority.  Everything else about it - including the display - is fine.

I think the tech will be there to add Retina on the next product update.  Haswell just doesn't offer enough power savings to offset a retina display right now.

I fully se the point about battery life, but I still don't think a TN panel of the kind the MacBook Air has is ”fine” on a computer from mid 2013. Especially not a premium one.

 

I had the previous generation of the MacBook Air 11" and I really liked it, but the colors of the display and how much the colors change when you change the angle you look at the display just a bit isn't much to be happy about. Looking forward to the next generation when it comes to this.

post #10 of 14
As I've posted before, I don't really see the point of the 13.3" Air anymore (aside, perhaps, from the improvement in battery life, assuming that can't be achieved in the MBP.) The 13" MBP, now that they've dumped the optical drive, is just about as thin and light. The next generation will probably be even thinner and lighter than the current one. If so, why do we need both?

The 13"MBP with Retina 256MB is $1699 list. The 13" non-Retina Mac Book Air is $1299. A non-Retina 13" MBP probably could have come in at the same price as the Air - maybe $100 more. The MBA is 2.96 pounds. The MBP is 3.57 pounds.

I can understand someone buying the 11" Air, but I would never buy the 13" Air over the 13" MBP (aside from battery life issues, but real world use needs to be confirmed.)

Also, why is the new MBA Haswell processor only running at 1.3GHz when the previous generation ran at 1.8 and 1.7Ghz? Was this a sneaky way of building in a price increase (if you want the faster processor)? Or is it to conserve battery life?
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

As I've posted before, I don't really see the point of the 13.3" Air anymore (aside, perhaps, from the improvement in battery life, assuming that can't be achieved in the MBP.) The 13" MBP, now that they've dumped the optical drive, is just about as thin and light. The next generation will probably be even thinner and lighter than the current one. If so, why do we need both?

The 13"MBP with Retina 256MB is $1699 list. The 13" non-Retina Mac Book Air is $1299. A non-Retina 13" MBP probably could have come in at the same price as the Air - maybe $100 more. The MBA is 2.96 pounds. The MBP is 3.57 pounds.

You've already answered the question. The MBA is 10 ounces lighter, better battery life, and $400 less than the MBP. The MBP has a faster processor and better screen. They're different computers with different tradeoffs. What part don't you understand?

Amazing. Apple gives consumers a choice and they get criticized. If they only offered one 13 laptop, they'd be criticized for lack of choice. Nothing they ever do will make some people happy.
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post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

This was discussed thoroughly on Leo LaPort's MacBreak Weekly last week. Those who actually know how things work were not expecting a Retina MacBook Air because of.... ta da... battery life. Until Apple can cram a more powerful battery into that little form the pixel density will have to wait. Apple has made the decision that battery life is the paramount driver for the Air. They're not going to sacrifice run times for just any feature.
Or a far more efficient IGZO panel. The problem is these panels just aren't ready at the price point needed in the AIR. Which brings up another point price is the other extremely important factor with the MB Airs. You end up with a slightly poorer screen due to Apple emphasizing battery life and performance at the cost point targeted. Pricing is very important, it is no wonder Apple dropped the price on one model by $100, they need to remain very competitive to maintain momentum. Airs right now are extremely important as they are sustaining the entire Mac product line right now.

On another note does anybody wonder if the new PCI Express SSDs work in the previous model Air? That would make for a nice upgrade if they did.
post #13 of 14
Possibly next year with IGZO. Even then the screen price may be too high. Remember these Airs are relatively high performance machines for the market niche they are in. The screen is a compromise to keep the price under control.
Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

Fair enough, but I thought (or had hoped) that this generation of the Intel platform (Haswell) would be enough to power a Retina (or at least higher than now) pixel density display. But I guess this isn't the case then. However, I know that there are laptops from Samsung (their 9 series) that has a PNL panel display with 1080p on a 13.3 inch display. And that isn't even on Haswell, it's still on Ivy Bridge (at least the one I read about). The battery time on that when playing video was 5 hours in a test, but I can imagine that would have been better if it was based on the Intel Haswell platform.

Anyway, I can understand if Apple thinks battery life is more important. Maybe they could have offered a MacBook Air with better screen (but lower battery life) as an option? But I guess options isn't really something Apple is into. 1smile.gif
It would offer little and screw up Apples inventory management. If you need a better screen Apple has a solution for you, it is the 13" MBP. It kills to hear people ask why does the 13" MBP exist when it should be pretty obvious. You buy the 13" if you don't like the Air configuration, that is your option.
Quote:
Anyway, let's hope for the next generation MBA's to come with better displays.
Are they really that bad or do you go looking for problems to pick on? Frankly it has been a couple of years since I've even looked at one, but the screen was actually pretty good considering the machines size. Maybe they have gotten worst.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Possibly next year with IGZO. Even then the screen price may be too high. Remember these Airs are relatively high performance machines for the market niche they are in. The screen is a compromise to keep the price under control.
It would offer little and screw up Apples inventory management. If you need a better screen Apple has a solution for you, it is the 13" MBP. It kills to hear people ask why does the 13" MBP exist when it should be pretty obvious. You buy the 13" if you don't like the Air configuration, that is your option.
Are they really that bad or do you go looking for problems to pick on? Frankly it has been a couple of years since I've even looked at one, but the screen was actually pretty good considering the machines size. Maybe they have gotten worst.

I'm with you about the argument to go for the 13" MBP if you want a better, more high-res screen. But I'm not really asking for a "Retina" on the Airs, just a bit more pixels an a better (non TN) panel.

I guess there are worse screens out there than the Airs have. But still, I think it's time to move ahead when it comes to this. Oh, well – next generation perhaps.
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