MacBooks: Apple over Dell; Air sell-through; new models slower

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has eclipsed Dell as the No.1 supplier of notebooks to higher education in the United States. Meanwhile, thin supply of MacBook Airs suggests demand remains high for the super-slim notebook a month removed from initial availability. And the entry level Penryn-based MacBook is reportedly slower than its predecessor.



Apple blasts past Dell



One grossly overlooked revelation made by Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook during his recent speech at the Goldman Sachs Investment Symposium is that Apple has recently overtaken Dell as the largest supplier of notebooks to US-based universities.



"We just received word on Monday that Apple surpassed Dell as the number one supplier of portables to US higher education for 2007," he said. "The ceiling for the Macs is nowhere in sight. Even if the market itself isn't growing, for us, switching Windows users is an enormous opportunity."



As noted by Computerworld, that's a considerable turnaround for Apple, which saw Dell outpace its notebook sales to higher education by two-to-one just one year prior.



The emerging trend towards Apple notebooks on the part of universities saw yet another player added to the mix this past Friday, with Oklahoma Christian University announcing that as part of its own move away from Dell, all faculty and students attending New Student Orientations this summer will be issued an Apple MacBook.



"Current students also will be given the opportunity to trade in their PC laptop for an Apple MacBook," the university said in a statement. "This MacBook mobile learning initiative and the reliable campus-wide wireless infrastructure will allow OC to continue to provide opportunities for anytime, anywhere access to media-rich distributed course content."



And on the heels of reports that Apple holds big plans for 'iPhone University' on college campuses, OCU said it will also offer students an option to acquire either an Apple iPhone or iPod touch as part of its mobile learning initiative.



MacBook Airs still hard to come by



Meanwhile, ArsTechnica this past weekend performed some checks and has concluded that despite being on the market for a full month now, Apple's new MacBook Air sub-notebook is still hard to come by in most markets.



The ultra-thin portable was reportedly sold out in most of Boston, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Apple is said to be keeping the supply lines extremely thin -- either because it grossly underestimated demand, or because it hopes to maintain the buzz by limiting availability.



Apple retail stores are receiving shipments daily, as demand for the Air is reportedly "increasing as people see it in action," according to one retail employee speaking to Ars. Initial demand has also been strong enough that Amazon.com, one of Apple's largest resellers, won't have stock to ship to customers until March 16th.



New MacBook slower than old



Finally, the folks over at Primate Labs have completed a set of Geekbench 2 benchmarks comparing Apple's just-released 13-inch Penryn-based MacBooks with those introduced just prior to last year's holiday shopping season.



The results, according to the developer, were somewhat disappointing: while the new 2.4GHz MacBook is slightly faster than the 2.2GHz model it replaces, the same can't be said following a comparison of the entry-level models.







"Despite having a slightly faster processor, the smaller L2 cache of the Penryn processors means the base MacBook (Early 2008) is slower than the base MacBook (Late 2007)," Primate wrote. "If you?re considering buying a base MacBook, you might want to shop around and see if you can snag an old one rather than a new one."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,080member
    Null.
  • Reply 2 of 61
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Entry-Level MacBook



    I don't agree with Primate's conclusion. While there are certain processor aspects that are slower, they are very minute. That weighed against the additional battery time of Penryn makes it a shoe in for me, if I were looking for a base-model MacBook.



    Additionally, if this were not the entry-level MacBook the issue would be more complex, but this model is not made for power users and therefore it's other benefits should be considered.
  • Reply 3 of 61
    freakboyfreakboy Posts: 138member
    Two things:



    1. Big news about higher education, but not surprising to anyone who has been to a campus in the last year. Everyone is buying macs. Every single other graduate student i know who has had to replace a machine in the last 2 years has bought a mac. parallels/bootcamp/fusion just seal the deal.



    2. New macbooks being slower: that truly sucketh. I'd like to see some real world benchmarks first and not just artificial ones. The only test that has a really big difference is the stream test. Its too bad apple isn't discounting the low end machine a little more though, considering it's using a much cheaper processor.
  • Reply 4 of 61
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freakboy View Post


    New macbooks being slower: that truly sucketh. I'd like to see some real world benchmarks first and not just artificial ones. The only test that has a really big difference is the stream test. Its too bad apple isn't discounting the low end machine a little more though, considering it's using a much cheaper processor.



    1) It's not using a "much cheaper processor." They cost the exact same (per 1000) as the generation before it and the generation before that. Right down to the penny.



    2) I don't think the article was clear enough in stating that the slower performance was ONLY on the base/entry-level MacBook and that it was only slower on some processor tests. The difference is that these new processors have 3 or 6MB of L2 Cache while last generation's had 4MB across the board. Even some MBPs went from 4MB to 3MB but the difference in processor speed is greater, whereas the entry-level MB was only a 100MHz increase.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    So much for the claims of the Air being the new Cube.
  • Reply 6 of 61
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I know my Air order from Amazon shows no signs of shipping \



    I guess those mythical ultraportable users with tons of USB devices and cables that they lug around everywhere in a sack don't actually object to tossing an $8 hub into the sack



    I do think it's very likely that the Air (a product for a specific need) is NOT selling as well as the mainstream MacBooks--and that the shortage is caused by Apple underestimating how many to build. But if so, that's still a good thing for the product's success: Apple anticipated a certain level of sales, and demand exceeded their expectation.



    Re one model of MacBook being slower in some tests: wait for software written to take advantage of SSE4, and your grief will ease
  • Reply 7 of 61
    loool.



    my friend just bought a macbook, three days before the new ones came out. i was hesitant to tell him about the new ones, but with this news I feel a lot better.



    =]
  • Reply 8 of 61
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    I know my Air order from Amazon shows no signs of shipping



    And yet it's still #17 in notebooks with only the MBP being a more expensive machine ahead of it. All the non-Apple products in that list are 2 HP notebooks under $1k, 6 Asus Eee PCs uner $500 and 2 Nokia MIDs around $300.



    For an item that isn't in stick nor has shipped yet it sure is doing well.



    Quote:

    Re one model of MacBook being slower in some tests: wait for software written to take advantage of SSE4, and your grief will ease



    I dont' believe that will make a difference in the raw CPU tests that AI referenced. But that doesn't really matter as a 7-15% battery increase for less than 1% performance hit in some tests isn't, to me, really newsworthy considering this is base-MB with a Combo Drive.
  • Reply 9 of 61
    gastroboygastroboy Posts: 530member
    The Woz was critical of the Macbook Air in an interview in Sydney today.



    Despite that I like its look and feel, I have to agree. Too much has been removed from it at too high a price.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    heffequeheffeque Posts: 139member
    And still no SSE4 optimized benchies.
  • Reply 11 of 61
    Primate Labs is forgetting one important thing: power efficiency. The gain in battery life (which is roughly 7-15% as you've probably read) will likely be much more important, to the base-model MacBook customer, than the slight loss in synthetic benchmark performance.
  • Reply 12 of 61
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,741member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gastroboy View Post


    The Woz was critical of the Macbook Air in an interview in Sydney today.



    Love the Woz.

    However, you can see why he is (mostly) out of Apple. His main criticism of the Air is that it isn't the computer he wants.

    "I'm trying to figure out a way to make the Air a part of my life because i'm a one-laptop-only person."

    Apple is trying to carve out or grow a new niche here--its not an easy thing to do because people comfortable in their own niches often don't know how to take it. The easy way out is criticism.



    I'm not saying the Air is perfect. I don't have one and I will be buying a MB or MBP as soon as I can swing it. I can't see spending that amount of money for the reduced functionality (mostly processor speed). But I see the use of it. I would *love* to have a computer that size. There is nothing missing on the Air that I use on a regular basis. When the price comes down or the processors catch up, I am going to be glad Apple has helped create the market!
  • Reply 13 of 61
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blufire View Post


    Primate Labs is forgetting one important thing: power efficiency. The gain in battery life (which is roughly 7-15% as you've probably read) will likely be much more important, to the base-model MacBook customer, than the slight loss in synthetic benchmark performance.



    Is it the battery life that is "roughly 7-15%" better or is it the processor power usage that is "roughly 7-15%" better. Not trying to be snarky here, but those are two different things and I've not seen the same rigorous testing methodology applied to the Penryn vs. Merom MB that we all saw with the MBA (e.g. 4200rpm 80GB HDD vs 64GB SSD).
  • Reply 14 of 61
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,000member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heffeque View Post


    And still no SSE4 optimized benchies.



    Exactly! Once those optimisations are made I'd like to see the real-world speed tests particularly video encodes.



    Geekbench only gives the basics which is as useful as testing car engines with the turbos switched off!



    McD
  • Reply 15 of 61
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,213member
    I do agree with Woz's criticisms, although if you can live without all the extras, it really is one sleek computer. Got my mitts on one this past week. Very slim and sexy. It's the Keira Knightley of computers.
  • Reply 16 of 61
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    It's the Keira Knightley of computers.



  • Reply 17 of 61
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,264member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Very slim and sexy. It's the Keira Knightley of computers.



    Maybe Apple will come out with a new MacInTalk text-to-speech voice based on Keira's. It will be available only on the MB Air.
  • Reply 18 of 61
    irelandireland Posts: 17,470member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich


    It's the Keira Knightley of computers.



    Nonsense, Keira Knightley isn't all looks with no substance.



    (and yes, that was sarcasm - I'd say anything to stop you people from crying )
  • Reply 19 of 61
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Very slim and sexy. It's the Keira Knightley of computers.



    32,000 results for: keira + knightly + macbook + air
  • Reply 20 of 61
    4metta4metta Posts: 365member
    Wow. You think they might be intentionally gimping the macbook so more people step up to the macbook air or pro?
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