New MacBook Air?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
It might be time for a major redesign of the MacBook Air. Adopting the trackpad of the MacBook and MacBook Pro would require a case redesign. Apple could reduce the thickness by about 25% by dropping the HD option and putting the SSD directly on the motherboard.



I would like to see the following specs:



Low end model:

i7-620LM

4GB ram

128GB SSD

1280x800



High end model:

i7-640LM

4GB ram

256GB SSD

1520x950 (similar pixel density to the HD 15" and 17" MBPs)
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    momusmomus Posts: 54member
    Oh wow, an Air with an i7? That'd make up for the incredible cost, but I'd rather see more ports and a smaller screen. Turn it into a netbook.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    rem#1rem#1 Posts: 71member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Momus View Post


    Oh wow, an Air with an i7? That'd make up for the incredible cost, but I'd rather see more ports and a smaller screen. Turn it into a netbook.



    The apple netbook is the iPad
  • Reply 3 of 53
    momusmomus Posts: 54member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by REM#1 View Post


    The apple netbook is the iPad



    Then the iPad is a bad netbook.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    rem#1rem#1 Posts: 71member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Momus View Post


    Then the iPad is a bad netbook.



    if you define a Netbook as a computer that does most of what most people need then I disagree.



    Most people are using netbooks to surf the web, check their e-mail, facebook, etc. in addition they can do word processing, spreadsheet work and do presentations using iWork. Their are graphics programs and many games. They can also read books and magazines not something I would want to do on the average netbook screen.



    So why is the iPad a bad netbook?
  • Reply 5 of 53
    joelsaltjoelsalt Posts: 827member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Momus View Post


    netbooks are bad.



    fixed
  • Reply 6 of 53
    Love i7 Air, if it's in hands.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Momus View Post


    Oh wow, an Air with an i7? That'd make up for the incredible cost, but I'd rather see more ports and a smaller screen. Turn it into a netbook.



    I love mine just the way it is. Never need more ports. Love the big screen. Love the full keyboard. I'll be getting an iPad for when I want a Net Book- sized device.
  • Reply 8 of 53
    pyrixpyrix Posts: 264member
    Don't see why changing the trackpad over would require much more than an incremental case redesign.



    An i7 would be impractical in something as thin as the Air - there would be no room for a battery big enough to power it, and the associated cooling.



    i5, maybe.



    Imho, Air should have a top end Atom CPU (dual core, low voltage, great battery life, 'enough' power), 2 gb of ram minimum, SSD/HD options and start at about $1k.



    Ditch the original macbook if you have to - there isn't enough seperating it from the 13" MBP, and that white plastic looks cheap.



    But then again, I could be wrong. It's happened before, once. On a thursday.
  • Reply 9 of 53
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    How about just keeping it the same and cutting the price in half?



    Netbooks are great. MBA is old. Must be at least half profit for Apple by now. $1499 for a netbook is a joke. Or at least make it $999 and just give it a minimal upgrades. It's like the Cube. Not priced correctly. If it was priced a bit better I think my fiancee would go for one, but instead she will probably be getting the better (yet cheaper??) MacBook PRO. The 13" MBP blows the Air away and it's hundreds less! It's just a few centimeters thicker! Why does extra little space savings cost so much more?
  • Reply 10 of 53
    Still the thinnest and lightest Mac notebook, the new MacBook Air has a bigger hard drive, better graphics, and even more power.
  • Reply 11 of 53
    vsighivsighi Posts: 22member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SelahJadenCaldwell View Post


    Still the thinnest and lightest Mac notebook, the new MacBook Air has a bigger hard drive, better graphics, and even more power.



    Take a look at the Dell Adamo is the thinnest notebook... all aluminum made.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJRg8s_rQD4

  • Reply 12 of 53
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member
    For sure, it is high time that the MacBook Air was updated. I tend to agree with other posters who suggest that the current case design may have come to the end of its useful lifespan.



    In terms of my own wishlist of features, It would be great if a new MBA had a Core i5 processor, but only if it had the battery capacity required to support it for at least 10 hours. Given that such a machine is meant to be an ultra mobile machine, a longer battery life would be even better. I'd like to see cutting edge performance in this area. of course, there is still a substantial trade-off between battery life and weight.



    I like the idea of attaching an SSD directly to the main circuit board, but such a device should kick-in at nothing less than 512 Gb. A higher-resolution display would also be cool.



    I suspect that Apple will update the design of this machine. When it does, I think it will probably look like a slimmer 13" MacBook Pro. If it is lighter with a broadly similar performance, it could signal the end of the optical drive.



    Whatever Apple does, it needs a minimum of two USB slots.
  • Reply 13 of 53
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    I've been a happy Air user since the Rev 1 machine... upgraded to the new SSD model last year and love it. It has been very productive and has gone with me many times my 15" MBP wasn't an option and, honestly neither was my wife's 13" MBP. The Air is lighter than the 13 even with a Wacom tablet slipped into the bag. Never has the single USB been a problem for me. The only complaint I have with the machine is with the flip out port: for some connectors, it is a tight squeeze, but honestly it hasn't been a real problem. When I travel, I always carry my Airport Express, so I don't need ports for internet and tablet. Guess I sound a little reluctant to criticize the Air... must come from being a very satisfied user and also from enduring a constant and violent onslaught of Air bashers over the years.



    Though I am content, I also believe in upgrades each year to make it better, so, here goes (some have already been suggested):



    - improve the flip port design to give it slightly more space around the USB port

    - give it 2 USB ports (lots of people have fussed over this so giving it 2 will quiet that complaint and should't be hard at all)

    - give it longer battery life (I currently average 4.5 hours per charge which is great - especially coming from an older 15" that gets 3 - but with other devices and machines reaching 10, the Air should see a big improvement, too)

    - the above being more more important, a bigger, meaner CPU and graphics system

    - ditch the HD and only offer two SSD models (the speed difference is worth the reduced space)

    - add an SD card slot that lets the card mount flush so you can leave it in

    - an even lighter weight power adapter than now (I think they're called switching adapters). This would add a little cost, but make the Air experience even greater.

    - 4GB RAM standard would be terrific

    - keep the current screen and keyboard size; if people want something smaller, they can get a iPad (I plan to)

    - get rid of the track pad button, make the pad larger and give more touch gestures to the OS, including the ability to assign functions to certain areas of the pad. I'd love to be able to leave my Wacom Bamboo Touch at home.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post


    I've been a happy Air user since the Rev 1 machine... upgraded to the new SSD model last year and love it. It has been very productive and has gone with me many times my 15" MBP wasn't an option and, honestly neither was my wife's 13" MBP.



    I consider this to be bogus because if you didn't have an AIR one of the others would have went.

    Quote:

    The Air is lighter than the 13 even with a Wacom tablet slipped into the bag. Never has the single USB been a problem for me. The only complaint I have with the machine is with the flip out port: for some connectors, it is a tight squeeze, but honestly it hasn't been a real problem.



    I find the flip out port to be very bothersome and un Apple like. It would be a far better place for an SD slot as you allude to below. A place to put the card and to not have to worry about it.

    Quote:

    When I travel, I always carry my Airport Express, so I don't need ports for internet and tablet.



    That is an interesting comment and maybe something I should look into. Like wise the so called MiFi devices have an appeal. The problem is these devices take up a lot of space that could be handled by a direct Ethernet connection. With many chip sets Ethernet is virtually free as are your USB ports.



    That is additional silicon isn't required as the chip set will support a number of USB channels for instance. This is really what bothers me about the AIR, the hardware is there Apple just choose design over function. Mind you design is good, as is seen in many Apple products, but so is functionality.

    Quote:

    Guess I sound a little reluctant to criticize the Air... must come from being a very satisfied user and also from enduring a constant and violent onslaught of Air bashers over the years.



    Remeber if someone bashes AIR it is because the machine doesn't meet their needs. It is not a comment on you. For many of us the AIR is a frustrating example of Apple at it's worst.



    It is sort of like the original Mini which was a great concept. It however shipped with a minimal number of ports. Years ago I can remember what I believe where Apple engineers, asking people about improvements to the Mini on one of the online forums. I know I and many others hit upon the lack of USB ports, well wouldn't you know it all revs of the Mini since have had a nice compliment of USB ports. Apparently this has helped sales considerably well that and the Intel hardware.



    Now being a laptop I don't expect AIR to have that many ports. But I do expect a complement to handle my normal needs. It is just frustrating to see that Apple has been so shortsighted.

    Quote:

    Though I am content, I also believe in upgrades each year to make it better, so, here goes (some have already been suggested):



    Upgrades are beautiful.

    Quote:

    - improve the flip port design to give it slightly more space around the USB port



    USB in my opinion needs to be externally accessible. As I mentioned above the flip port is a good place for an SD slot.

    Quote:

    - give it 2 USB ports (lots of people have fussed over this so giving it 2 will quiet that complaint and should't be hard at all)



    Two would be minimal if you are going to supply an Ethernet port.

    Quote:

    - give it longer battery life (I currently average 4.5 hours per charge which is great - especially coming from an older 15" that gets 3 - but with other devices and machines reaching 10, the Air should see a big improvement, too)



    This may be possible if Intel ever gets it's new ULV processors out the door. The big problem though is the lack of space for the battery.

    Quote:

    - the above being more more important, a bigger, meaner CPU and graphics system



    Actually graphics could be tough if they have to go with embedded Intel graphics. You are right they need improvements here but the options are thin. Maybe an AMD solution would work.

    Quote:

    - ditch the HD and only offer two SSD models (the speed difference is worth the reduced space)



    This is another shortcoming if AIR, far to little internal storage. I'd really like to see Apple move to PCI Express storage cards for thinnest.

    Quote:

    - add an SD card slot that lets the card mount flush so you can leave it in

    - an even lighter weight power adapter than now (I think they're called switching adapters). This would add a little cost, but make the Air experience even greater.



    I think all Apple power supplies are switching. Improvements in technology make them lighter.

    Quote:

    - 4GB RAM standard would be terrific

    - keep the current screen and keyboard size; if people want something smaller, they can get a iPad (I plan to)



    I'd love to hear from you in a year or so after getting that iPad. Just to get feed back on the AIRs usage. I suspect that the AIR would not be traveling as much as it does now.

    Quote:

    - get rid of the track pad button, make the pad larger and give more touch gestures to the OS, including the ability to assign functions to certain areas of the pad. I'd love to be able to leave my Wacom Bamboo Touch at home.



    That is an idea!



    Remember many of us don't think the AIR is a bad idea, we just think it is a poor implementation of an idea. Alot of that has to do with the ports. Rationally we can understand the technology limitations and accept that Apple has constraints to work within. It is when design becomes more important than functionality that we get concerned.





    Dave
  • Reply 15 of 53
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member
    Dave / Wizard69,



    What processor(s) do you envisage being offered for the next-gen MBA?



    Do you think that Apple will change the case design?



    I so nearly bought the Air, but in the end i plumped for the 13" MacBook Pro. My reasons were:

    - i wanted the most powerful processor I could get in a 13" machine

    - I wanted two USB ports

    - I preferred the new track pad

    - i wanted an in-built optical drive



    I have been absolutely delighted with the 13" MBP, but have found that I seldom use the optical drive. So, if a more powerful MBA was available with a decent processor, battery life and SSD capacity, then I'd almost certainly go for it.



    I guess what I'm saying is that it would be great if you could use an MBA as a single primary computer.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    I have the external drive for the MBA and use it, though not very often. I've installed 10.6 from it and burned a couple of DVDs and CDs. Depending on what your work is, the Air could serve as a sole computer. Personally, I primarily use mine for writing, note taking, presentations, and sketching rough artwork (using a Wacom tablet) that I redo later on my Cintiq at the office.
  • Reply 17 of 53
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  • Reply 18 of 53
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


    Dave / Wizard69,



    What processor(s) do you envisage being offered for the next-gen MBA?



    That is a very good question which I probably should dodge . In any event the big problem is that no body has the correct hardware on the market yet. So an ultra low power Arrandale is a possibility but we also have AMDs APUs coming soon. To say the least AMDs chips will be very interesting in this context.

    Quote:

    Do you think that Apple will change the case design?



    That depends upon what you mean by change! Minor changes are a given such as an updated track pad. Major changes such as addressing the ports issues are not so certain.

    Quote:

    I so nearly bought the Air, but in the end i plumped for the 13" MacBook Pro. My reasons were:

    - i wanted the most powerful processor I could get in a 13" machine

    - I wanted two USB ports



    The two USB ports are bigger than alot of people realize. As to CPU power I got an early 2008 MBP (15") and it is already slower than I'd like. This is what makes the projections for the next CPU so difficult as Apple needs a rather hefty performance increase for AIR to keep it viable on future OS's. It is also why AMD might have a chance.

    Quote:

    - I preferred the new track pad

    - i wanted an in-built optical drive



    I have been absolutely delighted with the 13" MBP, but have found that I seldom use the optical drive.



    The reason I want to see the optical deleted internally is based on my experience also, plus what I see around me. Currently I travel every where with an external HD to meet my storage needs. Being able to EASILY install multiple storage devices into my next laptop would be a huge advantage.

    Quote:

    So, if a more powerful MBA was available with a decent processor, battery life and SSD capacity, then I'd almost certainly go for it.



    By design the MBA will always have a trailing processor performance wise. That mostly due to the case design. The case design also impacts battery performance. So while the MBA will continue to improve I think it will be sometime before it catches up to MBPs.

    Quote:



    I guess what I'm saying is that it would be great if you could use an MBA as a single primary computer.



    Yes I would be great and frankly some people do do that. But I'm not the patient sort so I'm most likely to want more performance than the AIR will likely deliver anytime soon. Like I said my MBP is more laggy than I'd like.



    By the way I'm not even certain my next computer will be a laptop as there is a possibility of a desktop and a next generation iPad serving my needs. I find a big screen on a desk to be very conducive to productive use of the platform.



    Other issues that make projecting which processor Apple will use to be so difficult is that Intel has plans to roll out a second generation 32nm process to improve on the current crappy 32nm process. Intel could decide to integrate Arrandale onto a single chip for a rather vast power savings. AMD is getting very respectable 40nm performance and 32nm is coming along. Plus I could see Apple and AMD playing hardball with Intel with Apple (Intrinsity) teaming up with AMD to make extremely low power APUs. Or for that matter vastly improving AMDs mobile platform performance. With the Intrinsity IP Apple has a lot of options. The question of course is this can AMDs designs be reworked with Intrinsity's tools.



    All that speculation aside Apple does need a near term upgrade to AIR. Honestly I'd be surprised if they went with Arrandale mostly because of OpenCL.



    Dave
  • Reply 19 of 53
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post


    I have the external drive for the MBA and use it, though not very often. I've installed 10.6 from it and burned a couple of DVDs and CDs. Depending on what your work is, the Air could serve as a sole computer. Personally, I primarily use mine for writing, note taking, presentations, and sketching rough artwork (using a Wacom tablet) that I redo later on my Cintiq at the office.



    Due to considerable short comings in the hardware the current iPad would likely fail. The thing is I can see the next machine being far more capable especially if Apple moves to the latest Cortex cores and most importantly expand the RAM significantly.



    Personally I've been thinking of taking that approach though admittedly iPad isn't there yet in the current revision. Plus the iPad software library has to grow a bit. In a year or so though it may be very viable.



    Dave
  • Reply 20 of 53
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    Oh, I should add, though I am a very happy Air owner, I am intensely awaiting the arrival of my iPad later this month (I don't live in the US) and look forward to putting it to use at times when I can do without some of the power of the Air. Have been reading around and it will suit my needs very well (my iPhone does a pretty good job but I would like the extra screen space).



    I think that for some people, an Air and an iPad would be all they need. Not everybody, of course and there will always be detractors (you could put 8 i7 cores into the thing, 12 USB ports, and a thought controlled typing system and somebody would still find fault with it. Two years ago when the Air came out, the bashers attacked it with all their might, and they will again with any new revision. Ditto for the iPad. No product is designed for everybody.
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