Steve Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air - and Apple's future - 10 years ago today

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 44
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,360member
    kpom said:
    I see MacBooks all over the place. Mostly the colorful ones. That said, the 13” non-Touch Bar Pro is essentially the new 13” Air. Apple has said so themselves. 
    Whatever Apple says, not for me unless they improve the KB. I've been ready to dump up to $4K  on an ultimate notebook for several years - but keep soldiering away on my 2013 i7 512GB MBA.  And thinking - now that I have a (non-Apple, sorry) tablet to meet my mobile info and whatever needs - an iMac, i.e., a real "truck" at home as I seldom move my notebook.  My friend is going to get a Pixelbook and after doing some homework, agree it feels right for her needs.

    Not upgrading the perfectly serviceable form-factor of the Air with a better screen and timely other guts upgrades sure feels like cut off your nose to spite your face approach to me.  

    Somewhat like somebody's sig here says, I use gear from all kinds of companies - whatever it takes to meet my needs in a cost-effective, pleasant-enough and good enough way.  Apple keeps depending on ecosystem lock in, but I just haven't chosen to use any of their lock-in products.  And think that's ultimately gonna turn round and bite 'em.  Mac's the last Apple thing I use, and mostly because Windows is still a hot mess.   
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 22 of 44
    leighrleighr Posts: 173member
    The MacBook Air really was about 10 years ahead of its competitors. Obviously it’s technology such as processor speed and display were what existed at the time, but the form factor, the design, the engineering was incredible for its time. What we see today, in 2018, is that almost every computer (I’m talking PCs) is still striving to look like a MacBook Air. It really was the gold standard, and its taken 10 years for other manufacturers to copy it - to be able to achieve anything close to the level of engineering, manufacture and design that Apple was able to achieve 10 years ago. That really speaks volumes.
    chiabaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 23 of 44
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,030member
    Aside from the screen, it's still the best value in a laptop Apple has (if not any manufacturer).
    The MB is underpowered and overpriced, the MBP is overpriced and underpowered. Both now have lousy keyboards, and are port-starved.
    Add an external monitor and the MBA is still Apple's best value-priced laptop.

    If they drop it, that's fine... but then they need to step up to the plate by updating the MB with a bit better guts and fixing the MBP.
    entropysGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 24 of 44
    atklatkl Posts: 8member
    I bought one last year and so did about 6 others in my exec mba class. The desirability was the primary motivation, for me, combined with great exchange deals available for my  junk windows laptop(I'm in India BTW).  This is a great machine to popularise apple and with MS office available as a subscription, there is no reason to use Windows. Love the battery life, a true portable.


    watto_cobraGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 25 of 44
    aegean said:
    Proud owner of 11-inch MBA 6,1, bought in Sep 2013. I just can't live without it. I spend almost 7-8 hours everyday on it. At work, at home, on the road, in the bathtub, everywhere and anywhere you can think of. There's absolutely no substitute of it and it saved my life at many places in different ways. Four years and battery still lasts 12 hours. I really wish if Apple continues it. I am willing to buy another one if they update it in the near future. Not to mention, I am perfectly happy without unnecessary ports.
    Owner of an 11-inch mid-2012 model here! In fact, that very MacBook Air is the reason I have converted my other tech products over to Apple. I loved my experience with it so much, that my affinity for Apple products spread from there. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 26 of 44
    aegean said:
    Proud owner of 11-inch MBA 6,1, bought in Sep 2013. I just can't live without it. I spend almost 7-8 hours everyday on it. At work, at home, on the road, in the bathtub, everywhere and anywhere you can think of. There's absolutely no substitute of it and it saved my life at many places in different ways. Four years and battery still lasts 12 hours. I really wish if Apple continues it. I am willing to buy another one if they update it in the near future. Not to mention, I am perfectly happy without unnecessary ports.
    TMI
    king editor the gratecgWerksfastasleep
  • Reply 27 of 44
    For me, my MBA (2013) was the best MacBook I've owned. I wish the screen had been retina, but otherwise it never once let me down. I've had MBPs 17/15 and now the 13 with Touchbar, and the MBA was the best balance of battery/weight/performance for me. I regret replacing it, although I do prefer the better screens, and it's time the MBA got a proper refresh.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 28 of 44
    thedbathedba Posts: 473member
    For those of you longing for Steve’s days while blasting today’s MB, remember what he stood for, minimalism and simplicity. 
    This is what the MB represents even with its one port. A port that serves multiple purposes, something that MagSafe doesn’t. 
    I understand that today’s MB may not be a product for you, however this does not mean it’s useless for everyone. 
    Think of it as for those needing the simplicity of an iPad but in a Mac OS form factor. 
    christopher126chiapscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 29 of 44
    sflocal said:
    I owned two MBA's.  I honestly don't know what the hate was with the USB door.  I loved it.  I rarely used any connectors when traveling so I liked that the ports were basically hidden from view.  Obviously, I was in the minority.

    I bought a new MBP with Touchbar and as superior as it is to all other notebooks I've ever owned (it's my 2nd MBP), I long for an updated MacBook Air with a Retina display.  Had they just put in a retina display, that would have been a good start.  I don't understand Apple's mentality for not updating the MBA to compliment the rest of their notebook offering.

    The MacBook is underpowered.  The MacBook Pro is heavier, and much more expensive.  The MacBook Air is perfect midrange Mac, in a crazy-light package which is what I wanted.  I ride a motorcycle every day and I just loved how my MBA made traveling that much easier.  The new MacBook Pros are much nicer on the weight, but it does make itself known when carried around for a while.

    I hope the MBA continues on and cared-for by Apple.  I still remember when Steve Jobs first unveiled it.  He has such flair when he unveiled it!
    Hmmmm...I take your points, but the Retina Air you pine for is the 2017 MacBook. The ethos of the Air is there in the MacBook. For about the same price as the Retina 12" MacBook (in rose gold, the only color to have, BTW), yes you could have a MBP with a larger screen, faster processor, bigger SSD, better KB, more I/O...but it's pound heavier! 
    watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 30 of 44
    neilmneilm Posts: 589member
    I'm a big fan of the 13" MBA and have bought a whole bunch of them for the office, but people who say the new 13" MBP is too big and heavy in comparison need to check the facts. The MBP has both a considerably smaller footprint and a reduced maximum thickness compared to the MBA, and yet weighs less than an ounce more. With essentially the same weight in a smaller package it's denser, yet more portable in every meaningful way.

    The MBA benefits from its styling, conceived to make it appear thinner than it actually is through the use of a wedge shape and its curved underside. And yes, it also wins hands-down when it comes to the keyboard, just as it loses to the MBP's wonderful display.

    As to the even smaller option, count me among those who have never seen a 12" MacBook in the wild. But then I've barely ever seen an 11" Air either. I know both of these have their adherents, but neither seems to be exactly mainstream. In contrast the 13" MBA is seen everywhere.
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 31 of 44
    boeyc15 said:
    When Steve Jobs showed off the MacBook Air to a collective gasp from the tech industry one decade ago, nobody could yet know its importance as a harbinger of Apple's future.

    ...

    ....

    Today, the MacBook Air survives largely thanks to inertia. It never got a Retina display and has been surpassed as Apple's best thin-and-light option by the 12-inch MacBook and even the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Windows-based Ultrabooks perform acrobatics the Air could never dream of.


    While todays machine are nice... IMO they are 90%-er machines and did not seem that way before. Don't need that this or that for one reason or another because only 10%(or what ever) use that feature. So in the end its a hunk a metal with poor keyboard and a great screen... and oodles of dongles! I mean come on--- Apple, you got rid of the magsafe!!! (granted there is a  3rd party version to use with TB3... another dongle!!!)

    Wait. There are still people whining about 'dongle-gate'? Once more, just for old time's sake: Which would you rather have, a few dongles now, to keep using a few legacy peripherals for a little while longer, or a bunch of dongles later, plugged into legacy ports that throttle the speed of your new peripherals? 

    By the way, I'm typing this on a MBP, and the keyboard is just fine. 

    Its fascinating. There are two main, mutually exclusive themes for bellyaching about Apple products. There are the ones like this case, lamenting that Apple would ever change anything and so rudely leave legacy stuff behind. Then there are the others, who want Apple to abandon its entire business model by wedging every new bell and whistle into new products, while enabling owners to crack open the hood and wedge in even more third-party (and probably incompatible) bells and whistles.

    Fortunately, neither Steve Jobs nor Tim Cook have paid much attention to either group. Apple has always produced what's referred to above as "90%-er machines," ditching old tech that doesn't fit future plans, and innovating, not by competing for the newest, fastest, longest spec sheet, but by bringing together new technology into a well-thought-out whole that is more than the sum of a parts list.
    pscooter63watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 32 of 44
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,213member
    I still have a mid-2011 13” MacBook Air, and though it’s showing it’s age is still a very capable machine for many tasks. The Airs were some of the best machines Apple has made. I’m still disappointed that they’re phasing them out, and dropping the MagSafe connector is still a bone-headed decision. My Air has been saved by it several times. All the same excuses I’ve heard for dropping it in favor of USB C ports can be turned around 180º and used to justify keeping it as well.

    As far as dongles go, Laptops are about compromises and convenience. People refer to USB A as ‘legacy,’ but the fact of the matter is it is actually still the standard, and by requiring a dongle to use things you’re sacrificing convenience without increasing usability. Yes, if I know I need a dongle, I plan ahead and bring it with, but many times it accidentally gets left on a desk, or you don’t think you need it but it turns out you do. USB C has many advantages, and Phil Schiller said that in ‘3-5 years USB C will be the standard,’ which is probalby true, but that means that until that time arrives, the MacBooks sold today are incompatible with the current standard without a dongle, and given that 3 years is the lifespan of a laptop for many users, there’s an entire generation of machines that will pass in between. 
    edited January 2018 cgWerks
  • Reply 33 of 44
    MplsP said:
    I still have a mid-2011 13” MacBook Air, and though it’s showing it’s age is still a very capable machine for many tasks. The Airs were some of the best machines Apple has made. I’m still disappointed that they’re phasing them out, and dropping the MagSafe connector is still a bone-headed decision. My Air has been saved by it several times. All the same excuses I’ve heard for dropping it in favor of USB C ports can be turned around 180º and used to justify keeping it as well.

    As far as dongles go, Laptops are about compromises and convenience. People refer to USB A as ‘legacy,’ but the fact of the matter is it is actually still the standard, and by requiring a dongle to use things you’re sacrificing convenience without increasing usability. Yes, if I know I need a dongle, I plan ahead and bring it with, but many times it accidentally gets left on a desk, or you don’t think you need it but it turns out you do. USB C has many advantages, and Phil Schiller said that in ‘3-5 years USB C will be the standard,’ which is probalby true, but that means that until that time arrives, the MacBooks sold today are incompatible with the current standard without a dongle, and given that 3 years is the lifespan of a laptop for many users, there’s an entire generation of machines that will pass in between. 
    I bet there is very little overlap of the circles on a Venn diagram with one circle representing people who are upset their new MBP doesn’t have legacy USB ports and the other circle representing people who plop down $2 - $3K every three years for a new MacBook Pro. 

    It’s also true that adoption of a new USB C standard will come much more quickly if a company like Apple takes the lead by making computers that have those, but not the old ones. Makers of peripherals need a base of customers who actually have USB C ports. Even better if they have a base of customers who also won’t be tempted to buy a cheaper or older option because they also have a USB 2. If Apple didn’t commit to USB C/Thuderbolt ports, it would probably take an additional five years for the standard to change. 
    fastasleep
  • Reply 34 of 44
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,030member
    aegean said:
    ... I spend almost 7-8 hours everyday on it. At work, at home, on the road, in the bathtub, everywhere and anywhere you can think of. ...
    TMI
    LOL. I think that's one place I *would not* be using it. Aside from the - one slip and it's all over - aspect, I can't imagine even steam and such would be good for it.

    thedba said:
    For those of you longing for Steve’s days while blasting today’s MB, remember what he stood for, minimalism and simplicity. ...
    Just remember that there is a big difference between design minimalism and what most people think of as minimalism. With design minimalism and simplicity, it's about carving away the unnecessary and making it intuitive, etc. It isn't - hopefully - about some kind of minimally functional product/design.

    christopher126 said:
    Hmmmm...I take your points, but the Retina Air you pine for is the 2017 MacBook. The ethos of the Air is there in the MacBook. For about the same price as the Retina 12" MacBook (in rose gold, the only color to have, BTW), yes you could have a MBP with a larger screen, faster processor, bigger SSD, better KB, more I/O...but it's pound heavier! 
    Won't a MBA run circles around a MB? It's a really neat machine, but more limited than a MBA.

    neilm said:
    I'm a big fan of the 13" MBA and have bought a whole bunch of them for the office, but people who say the new 13" MBP is too big and heavy in comparison need to check the facts. The MBP has both a considerably smaller footprint and a reduced maximum thickness compared to the MBA, and yet weighs less than an ounce more. With essentially the same weight in a smaller package it's denser, yet more portable in every meaningful way.

    The MBA benefits from its styling, conceived to make it appear thinner than it actually is through the use of a wedge shape and its curved underside. And yes, it also wins hands-down when it comes to the keyboard, just as it loses to the MBP's wonderful display.

    As to the even smaller option, count me among those who have never seen a 12" MacBook in the wild. But then I've barely ever seen an 11" Air either. I know both of these have their adherents, but neither seems to be exactly mainstream. In contrast the 13" MBA is seen everywhere.
    My wife tried both of them before choosing the MBA. You're technically correct, but that isn't the perception when comparing them. The screen is a killer difference though! (Well, and the cost. And, keyboard. And, ports for many.)

    I have a friend who *loves* his MB though. He's a long-time Apple guy like me and says it's the best product Apple ever made in his opinion. But, given even some of the tasks my wife does (who isn't a power-user), he recommended she go with a MBA or MBP as the MB isn't quite up to the tasks. I've also yet to see one outside a computer store either.

    AppleZulu said:
    Wait. There are still people whining about 'dongle-gate'? Once more, just for old time's sake: Which would you rather have, a few dongles now, to keep using a few legacy peripherals for a little while longer, or a bunch of dongles later, plugged into legacy ports that throttle the speed of your new peripherals? 
    Except that there aren't really many non-legacy peripherals. Everyone has to convert the port to be usable. And, the state of USB-C is a total mess. I suppose we'll get there some day, but during the transition it might be nice to have a standard port or two along with the new one(s).
  • Reply 35 of 44
    mike54 said:
    Apple was on a roll with Steve's last decade.
    And Tim has cut products, forgotten products and delayed products.
    I was waiting for the "Steve Jobs would've never let this happen" parrot. Good job, you're just as unoriginal as the other posts like this.
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 36 of 44
    MplsP said:
    I still have a mid-2011 13” MacBook Air, and though it’s showing it’s age is still a very capable machine for many tasks. The Airs were some of the best machines Apple has made. I’m still disappointed that they’re phasing them out, and dropping the MagSafe connector is still a bone-headed decision. My Air has been saved by it several times. All the same excuses I’ve heard for dropping it in favor of USB C ports can be turned around 180º and used to justify keeping it as well.

    As far as dongles go, Laptops are about compromises and convenience. People refer to USB A as ‘legacy,’ but the fact of the matter is it is actually still the standard, and by requiring a dongle to use things you’re sacrificing convenience without increasing usability. Yes, if I know I need a dongle, I plan ahead and bring it with, but many times it accidentally gets left on a desk, or you don’t think you need it but it turns out you do. USB C has many advantages, and Phil Schiller said that in ‘3-5 years USB C will be the standard,’ which is probalby true, but that means that until that time arrives, the MacBooks sold today are incompatible with the current standard without a dongle, and given that 3 years is the lifespan of a laptop for many users, there’s an entire generation of machines that will pass in between. 
    If we kept USB-A around forever, we'd never move on beyond that stupid connector. It sucks. Apple is absolutely right to move on — USB-C is better in every way. If you make a living from accepting people handing you USB-A devices or something, have an adapter or hub where you work always. It's not hard. What else is missing? Do you still use Firewire stuff on a regular basis? I do because my 2011 has FW on it, but I absolutely cannot wait to dump all my FW800 shit at RE-PC and be done with it when I upgrade. If we just kept legacy shit around forever, I'd still have a use for my SCSI cables I have in this box over here... want those? I didn't think so.
  • Reply 37 of 44

    cgWerks said:
    Except that there aren't really many non-legacy peripherals. Everyone has to convert the port to be usable. And, the state of USB-C is a total mess. I suppose we'll get there some day, but during the transition it might be nice to have a standard port or two along with the new one(s).
    You can literally just buy new USB-A to USB-C connectors for your existing devices, if you don't like adapters. It's not a big deal. As for video connectors, do you want them to keep every port possible, so your laptop has DVI, mDP, HDMI, so forth? I'm sure they've done the calculations on how many people need which, and how much it's worth to keep a plethora of random ports for one purpose on portable machine, when you can just buy a single adapter to attach to your monitor's connector. I haven't once thought about the the DVI to mDP adapters I have on both my 30" ACDs I still use, because I just plug in the stupid mDP and USB connectors. I cannot wait until I just have a single USB-C connector on a monitor, or a USB-C to whatever my monitor has.

    And don't get started on storage connectivity — if you're still using FireWire, eSATA or anything with a USB2.0/1.0 only interface on a new TB3 Mac, you're a fool. There are a TON of fast USB 3.1 gen1/2 enclosures out there, and for your legacy USB-A stuff, you can get an adapter or a new cable for a few bucks until you can get one of those for your drives. It's that easy.
  • Reply 38 of 44
    The journalists of the day made similar statements about the 17-inch MBP. Only the consciousness of the millennials matters now. Nothing happened before that.

    nobody could yet know its importance as a harbinger of Apple’s future??? No I think only an idiot didn’t look at the MBA and know that was the future of Apple’s products. Steve was obsessed with thin and light. That’s been the driver of everything for the past decade.
  • Reply 39 of 44

    cgWerks said:
    Except that there aren't really many non-legacy peripherals. Everyone has to convert the port to be usable. And, the state of USB-C is a total mess. I suppose we'll get there some day, but during the transition it might be nice to have a standard port or two along with the new one(s).
    You can literally just buy new USB-A to USB-C connectors for your existing devices, if you don't like adapters. It's not a big deal. As for video connectors, do you want them to keep every port possible, so your laptop has DVI, mDP, HDMI, so forth? I'm sure they've done the calculations on how many people need which, and how much it's worth to keep a plethora of random ports for one purpose on portable machine, when you can just buy a single adapter to attach to your monitor's connector. I haven't once thought about the the DVI to mDP adapters I have on both my 30" ACDs I still use, because I just plug in the stupid mDP and USB connectors. I cannot wait until I just have a single USB-C connector on a monitor, or a USB-C to whatever my monitor has.

    And don't get started on storage connectivity — if you're still using FireWire, eSATA or anything with a USB2.0/1.0 only interface on a new TB3 Mac, you're a fool. There are a TON of fast USB 3.1 gen1/2 enclosures out there, and for your legacy USB-A stuff, you can get an adapter or a new cable for a few bucks until you can get one of those for your drives. It's that easy.
    Indeed. Don't forget, when the MacBook Air (the original point of this thread) was introduced it was hailed because it was so thin and light, a great advantage for a notebook computer. But what about that interesting wedge shape? One big (literally) reason for that? USB-A!

    I'm typing on a 13" MBP, which, compared to that original MB Air, is smaller, thinner, much faster, has a bigger, sharper screen, and lots more space on the SSD. It does weigh about an ounce more though. When I hold a USB-A plug up to the side of it, it's obvious that including a port for it would require a complete redesign of the body of the computer, just to include the old tech. There has to be enough body material surrounding the port so that the application of a little leverage on an inserted plug doesn't bend, tear or otherwise damage the body of the computer. So the whole thing would have to be thicker and heavier, or the back end of it would have to be thicker and heavier (that wedge look), or there would have to be some kind of obnoxious bulb out configuration that screams Hey look: we've jammed a huge USB-A port into this thing! See how it sticks out like some sort of growth? It'll still be there staring at you when you've replaced your other stuff with USB-C/Thunderbolt connecters, taking up space and slowing you down! Isn't that great? At least you didn't need a dongle! At first.  

    So why not have a USB-A port in this thing? Why not a SCSI port, too? How about a CD/DVD drive and a floppy disc drive, too? Is this just reductio ad absurdum? Yes and no. There is a point where the old tech has to be let go in order to achieve the desired advances of the new tech. It would seem that somebody is always unhappy about it when that time comes. If it makes anybody feel better, though, the MBP actually still has an analog headphone jack that -while miniaturized- is something that Thomas Edison would recognize.
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 40 of 44
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,030member
    fastasleep said:
    I was waiting for the "Steve Jobs would've never let this happen" parrot. Good job, you're just as unoriginal as the other posts like this.
    I don't think it takes too much imagination to expect that Steve would have done some things differently than Tim. Some of it would have been better for Apple, though given Apple's extremely rapid expansion, it's quite possible Tim has also made some better decisions than Steve would have.

    The core argument (along these lines), though, is that Apple's core values seem to have changed (from what Steve asserted). If that is the case (and I think it is), then yes, Steve wouldn't have let some of the bad things I - as a long term Apple observer - have seen happen. It *can* just be a silly thing to parrot, but I think it also has a good bit of substance if properly stated and justified.

    fastasleep said:
    ... If you make a living from accepting people handing you USB-A devices or something, have an adapter or hub where you work always. It's not hard. What else is missing?
    How many USB-C peripherals have you seen? I've yet to see one (though I know they do exist).
    What's missing? How about some hubs? How about some reasonably priced docks? Mass market swing to peripherals with USB-C connectors? Industry standards?

    fastasleep said:
    ... As for video connectors, do you want them to keep every port possible, so your laptop has DVI, mDP, HDMI, so forth? I'm sure they've done the calculations on how many people need which, and how much it's worth to keep a plethora of random ports for one purpose on portable machine, when you can just buy a single adapter to attach to your monitor's connector. I haven't once thought about the the DVI to mDP adapters I have on both my 30" ACDs I still use, because I just plug in the stupid mDP and USB connectors. I cannot wait until I just have a single USB-C connector on a monitor, or a USB-C to whatever my monitor has.
    The big ones (to at least have one some optional model of a pro machine) would be, IMO, video, Ethernet, and USB-A (at least one). I know they dumped Ethernet a generation back. HDMI might be the best video to have, though that's required a dongle for some time. An SD card slot would be nice on bigger models. There should be at least one option for a pro machine not to *require* a dock or a bag full of dongles to do basic stuff.

    Personally, I don't care. I'm fine with a couple USB-C ports. But, I think for pro machines, that's a bit too inconvenient when you're very likely to regularly need the connectivity for your work (i.e.: giving a presentation, working in a server room, being a photographer, etc.). That said, the ports are the least of the issues with the new MBP.

    AppleZulu said:
    When I hold a USB-A plug up to the side of it, it's obvious that including a port for it would require a complete redesign of the body of the computer, just to include the old tech. There has to be enough body material surrounding the port so that the application of a little leverage on an inserted plug doesn't bend, tear or otherwise damage the body of the computer. So the whole thing would have to be thicker and heavier, or the back end of it would have to be thicker and heavier (that wedge look), or there would have to be some kind of obnoxious bulb out configuration that screams Hey look: we've jammed a huge USB-A port into this thing! See how it sticks out like some sort of growth? It'll still be there staring at you when you've replaced your other stuff with USB-C/Thunderbolt connecters, taking up space and slowing you down! Isn't that great? At least you didn't need a dongle! At first.
    A MacBook Air is a bit different use-case than a MacBook Pro, though. Is it entirely crazy to suggest that at least one variation of the pro lineup could be a bit thicker and heavier to increase functionality? Use-case should be driving the design some too, not just a thin-fetish.
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