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2014 Macbook Air General

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Okay, folks the title says it all, what would you like to see from Apple's iconic Air series in the coming year?

Number one on my list, and I'm sure on the lists of many others is a Retina Display.  Look, this thing doesn't have to have 4K resolution and actually it probably shouldn't, but a healthy booster shot to the Air's display would be a very welcomed addition.  

How do you folks feel about graphics?  Let's face it, as far as internal components go, the GPU is the final frontier on laptops and other mobile devices - at least until ARM becomes powerful enough to run desktop clients in a more robust manner.  Things like cryptocurrency, gaming, photo editing and a more beautiful web are always looking for more power.  If a device like the Air could somehow include a discrete card, one could feasibly utilize a single computer for work/play a lot more efficiently.  Then again, Macs aren't known for their chilly undersides as it is.

Storage and RAM pricing.  SSDs are getting cheaper by the day, and while a large portion of the industry is zooming towards the cloud, a lot of us still appreciate some on board treasure chests as well.  I know USB thumbs are getting cheaper and that 64GB microSDs can be picked up for ~$25 during an Amazon sale, but I would argue that the magic of the Air, it's allure, is that it packs a near desktop level of performance (think iMac, not Mac Pro, also think casual-to-low pro - not design maven) into a computer the size of an envelope.  I don't think Apple will increase the baseline RAM from 4GB to 8GB, because 4GB are plenty for most people, but if they really want to push the Air into a completely peerless echelon 8GB should come cheaper than it does now.  Not cheap, but cheaper.  

Other than that, the Air is already a damn near perfect machine.  I also think that Apple will actually keep pushing forward with the trend of making it thinner, and not necessarily stronger, which will be very unfortunate if they do.  I bought a second hand G4 a few summers ago, and am planning on upgrading my Ubuntu machine later this year, I'm hoping A
pple brings something to the table which inspires me to purchase MY first Mac.  

What do YOU want to see this year from the MacBook Air?  




Edited by iDoge - 12/28/13 at 6:46pm
post #2 of 13
While I am not a fan of the MacBook Air, I will simply say that 8 GB of RAM should absolutely without question be standard and I'd like to see 256 GB of storage at minimum as well. How much of a jump in speed will the processor from Haswell to Broadwell be I wonder?
post #3 of 13
I'd say IPS display (higher resolution isn't necessary but whatever improvements that can be made while keeping the cost reasonable - I'd put color accuracy and consistency ahead of resolution) and more/cheaper storage. As for performance, I think the Air is aimed at lower-end users so the move should be for it to use as little power as possible - longer battery life to begin with and ultimately passively cooled like the iOS devices. For people who have high resource processes, the Macbook Pro is better suited for this. A 15" Air might be a good idea too but 14" would suffice.
post #4 of 13
I'm one of those people that like the AIR as a concept but have been frustrated by its limitations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDoge View Post

Okay, folks the title says it all, what would you like to see from Apple's iconic Air series in the coming year?
LTE! Seriously it is why my iPad is always with me now.
Quote:
Number one on my list, and I'm sure on the lists of many others is a Retina Display.  Look, this thing doesn't have to have 4K resolution and actually it probably shouldn't, but a healthy booster shot to the Air's display would be a very welcomed addition.  
I'd rather have a bigger display.
Quote:
How do you folks feel about graphics?  Let's face it, as far as internal components go, the GPU is the final frontier on laptops and other mobile devices - at least until ARM becomes powerful enough to run desktop clients in a more robust manner.  Things like cryptocurrency, gaming, photo editing and a more beautiful web are always looking for more power.  If a device like the Air could somehow include a discrete card, one could feasibly utilize a single computer for work/play a lot more efficiently.  Then again, Macs aren't known for their chilly undersides as it is.
Not going to happen. Besides the GPUs in Broadwell are supposedly seeing another big jump in performance.
Quote:
Storage and RAM pricing.  SSDs are getting cheaper by the day, and while a large portion of the industry is zooming towards the cloud, a lot of us still appreciate some on board treasure chests as well.  I know USB thumbs are getting cheaper and that 64GB microSDs can be picked up for ~$25 during an Amazon sale, but I would argue that the magic of the Air, it's allure, is that it packs a near desktop level of performance (think iMac, not Mac Pro, also think casual-to-low pro - not design maven) into a computer the size of a envelope.  I don't think Apple will increase the baseline RAM from 4GB to 8GB, because 4GB are plenty for most people, but if they really want to push the Air into a completely peerless echelon 8GB should come cheaper than it does now.  Not cheap, but cheaper.  
RAM and SSD space are what have kept me from buying an AIR. 8 GB of RAM minimum and we need an affordable 512GB SSD option.
Quote:
Other than that, the Air is already a damn near perfect machine.  I also think that Apple will actually keep pushing forward with the trend of making it thinner, and not necessarily stronger, which will be very unfortunate if they do.  I bought a second hand G4 a few summers ago, and am planning on upgrading my Ubuntu machine later this year, I'm hoping A
pple brings something to the table which inspires me to purchase MY first Mac.  
We could see an era of design stagnation with respect to the AIR until new tech allows fan free operation.
Quote:
What do YOU want to see this year from the MacBook Air?  





I'd love to see a quad core option.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
@Marvin

IPS does make a huge difference, and I think a quality IPS at 1920X1080 would be wicked proper.

@Wizard69

LTE! That's a great/potentially costly idea. Seriously that is a great idea, but probably about as likely as getting a discrete GPU on board.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I'd say IPS display (higher resolution isn't necessary but whatever improvements that can be made while keeping the cost reasonable - I'd put color accuracy and consistency ahead of resolution) and more/cheaper storage. As for performance, I think the Air is aimed at lower-end users so the move should be for it to use as little power as possible - longer battery life to begin with and ultimately passively cooled like the iOS devices. For people who have high resource processes, the Macbook Pro is better suited for this. A 15" Air might be a good idea too but 14" would suffice.

I would too. I would put edge to edge uniformity above unit to unit color consistency. It's actually quite difficult to test consistency in terms of color output as displays can age differently. The warmup time needed to accurately adjust hardware at a really low level is also quite long. Some brands use a warmup period of several hours for that. For profiling a device at home, I suggest at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. Otherwise the measured data isn't necessarily stable.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDoge View Post

@Marvin

IPS does make a huge difference, and I think a quality IPS at 1920X1080 would be wicked proper.

@Wizard69

LTE! That's a great/potentially costly idea. Seriously that is a great idea, but probably about as likely as getting a discrete GPU on board.

Why costly? As an add on it doesn't cost much in an iPad. Having LTE data support built in might even have me reconsider the next iPad update.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Why costly? Because they can, that's why. I'm not complaining, I'd charge it too, if I could.

I was shocked when I priced high resolution displays as stand alone components. They are wicked cheap - yet they all pull a $250+ premium. Why? Because they can. Samsung's rumored Chromebook refresh may change all of those rules though.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDoge View Post

Why costly? Because they can, that's why. I'm not complaining, I'd charge it too, if I could.
The point is the cost delta wouldn't be any different than what we see in the iPad. As an option that is, built in the basic configuration as a standard feature it would cost even less to implement.
Quote:
I was shocked when I priced high resolution displays as stand alone components. They are wicked cheap - yet they all pull a $250+ premium. Why? Because they can. Samsung's rumored Chromebook refresh may change all of those rules though.

I don't understand why you have an issue with a company charging more for something people see as valuable. It is exactly what business is all about. If you have been following retina technology you would notice that it literally took Sharp years to deliver its current retina technology. They almost went broke so it is certainly wise for them to see that they make a tidy profit. After all they have bankers and fianacers banging at their doors.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by simon723 View Post

Apart from the specs. I also liked the sleek design. Though apple has always dominated the world with their awesome designs but this one is quite awesome.

Unfortunately I think they will quickly hit their limits as to what is technically possible in the Air machines. The last possible step here is a passively cooled design where the case of the machine is also the heat sink. That would likely require sub 20 nm technology and a few compromises. In any event if they get much thinner structural issues become a big problem when creating a product with really thin parts. No one wants a machine made out of aluminum foil.

Thermal issues are one reason I see Apple going to ARM in an Air like machine. One has to hedge that a bit because on a performance per watt basis Intel does pretty good compared to ARM. That is partly due to process advantages and not a better architecture.
post #11 of 13

This would be a perfect MBA I agree with you.

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by simon723 View Post

Yes, I think you are 100% right.

Well maybe right for the next few years. New technology might enable a significant leap in Mac Book Air capabilities. But lets say Intel delivers Broadwell on 14nm technology, that right there would cut power significantly while increasing performance but how far away is the next process node and will that node be cost effective?

It is hard to predict the future here but lets say Apple gets a Broadwell part that is very low power, low enough that they can disregard conventional laptop cooling techniques. At that low power you may not gain performance significantly or even loose a little. But if it is Apples goal to deliver a fabless mac Book Air i could see the compromise being made to to deliver that machine.

Now I can see some complaint loudly about such a machine insisting that they want an AIR with a more powerful fan cooled CPU. In the end if Apple could pull it off a fanless AIR would be a big hit in my estimation. I know that i'd be very tempted to jump on to such a platform. Frankly I might consider such an AIR even more so if it got away from Intel architecture. A machine that runs all day on a single battery charge, with no fan to spin up would be very very interesting if it maintains performance under Mac OS.

As noted though I really see the limiting factor with respect to radical changes in the AIR's design to be mechanical. I'm just not convinced that liquid metal offers all that much of an mechanical advantage to deliver the quality housings we have all grown accustomed too.
post #13 of 13

Roughly in order:

 

EDIT: 0. Agree that LTE would be awesome. Great feature across all of Apple's laptops.. 

 

1. Higher resolution screens. MacBook Airs have the worst displays of any Apple product right now, and while they're not awful, they're falling further and further behind the rest of the world. So high res, high quality displays are my #1 wish.

 

2. I hope that the rumored 12" MacBook Air turns out to be the 11" MacBook Air but with a slightly taller screen, so it has the same aspect ratio as the 13".

 

3. A docking solution from Apple - I know that they could do a good job of it. Don't think it's likely.

 

4. TouchID would be great, but I don't think it's likely.

 

Then, I hope that the 13" MacBook Pro gets specs to match the 15" one - quad core processor, dedicated GPU. Because as far as I can tell, the 13" MacBook Pro right now is just a heavy MacBook Air with a nice screen.


Edited by Drealoth - 2/9/14 at 9:28am
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