When will Apple retire the Macbook Air name?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Not only do I find the name messy in Apple's line-up but I also can't help thinking that if the Air is the future of notebooks then is its future not as the Macbook? With lower specs but ultra portability, the same starting price point as the Macbook and the 11" targeted at students (as well as businessmen) why not rename the Air the Macbook, with the Pro line differentiated by faster processors, greater storage and optical drives? After all, youngsters are more likely than others to have their entire music collections on computer already and be happy to rent and stream films over their university's internal networks, making a lack of disc drive less of an issue

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mpw_amherst View Post


    be happy to rent and stream films over their university's internal networks



    Uh, no. Universities cap network bandwidth; this is complete nonsense.
  • Reply 2 of 10
    irelandireland Posts: 17,793member
    Air means ultra-thin. If you want ultra-thin you get Air. Sure, it's not entirely that simple, but that's the gist.



    I'd much rather Apple kill the white MacBook, call the 13" and 15" MacBook Pros, MacBooks. Drop their optical drives, use Flash-only storage, make them thinner and lighter. And either kill the 17" MacBook Pro completely or keep it around as the only Mac portable with an optical drive, or something.



    And not just that, but make these new MacBooks in several color-options, say 3 or 4, plus silver.
  • Reply 3 of 10
    ajayajay Posts: 117member
    So the advertisement for the MacBook Air uses the phrase "The next generation of MacBooks"

    This phrase is also used in the main page for MacBook Airs:

    http://www.apple.com/macbookair/



    would this mean that existing Macbook design will soon be retired?

    or is it more like "expect to see similar features as the MacBook (Pro?) line evolves"



    (I do agree that it could be "none of the above" & I'm probably trying too hard to read between the lines)
  • Reply 4 of 10
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajay View Post


    So the advertisement for the MacBook Air uses the phrase "The next generation of MacBooks"



    Well Mac Books is the root term for Apples portables. So given that the AIRs are a variant of the Mac Book line up.

    Quote:

    This phrase is also used in the main page for MacBook Airs:

    http://www.apple.com/macbookair/



    would this mean that existing Macbook design will soon be retired?



    No not directly! As noted all of Apples portables are Mac Books, the AIRs being a sub species. However the current white Mac Book could disappear for other reasons.

    Quote:

    or is it more like "expect to see similar features as the MacBook (Pro?) line evolves"



    There should be no mistake as Steve said they are the future direction in laptops. I woild expect that future machines will be hybrids containing both SSDs and magnetic drives.

    Quote:

    (I do agree that it could be "none of the above" & I'm probably trying too hard to read between the lines)



    Well we could argue but we have gotten word from the horses mouth that future laptops will incorporate ideas from the new AIRs.



    As far as the White Mac Books fate I will call it threatened and nearly ready for the endangered species list. There are issues though that might see the White retain traction in the market place. One is storage capacity which easily beats the AIRs. Considering the "low" price on the AIRs I could see Apple refactoring the White into a lower cost platform. It should be possible to hit current performance profiles with alternative chips at a lower cost. With a similar trimming of features they should be able to get the base machine under $700.



    So yep I think the White Mac Book is going to be overhauled drastically. Or simply dropped.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,830moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajay View Post


    So the advertisement for the MacBook Air uses the phrase "The next generation of MacBooks"

    This phrase is also used in the main page for MacBook Airs:

    http://www.apple.com/macbookair/



    would this mean that existing Macbook design will soon be retired?

    or is it more like "expect to see similar features as the MacBook (Pro?) line evolves"



    This year I was expecting them to drop the Macbook in favour of a 13" MBA priced the same as the Macbook. This year was clearly too soon but they've hit the same $999 price with the 11". Comparing $999 MB to $999 MBA:



    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

    2GB DDR3 memory

    250GB hard drive

    NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics

    10-hour battery



    1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor

    2GB memory

    64GB flash storage

    NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics

    5-hour battery



    Similar screen resolution. Next year, they will get 128GB flash in it and may be able to bump the CPU speed up to 1.86GHz C2D or some fused CPU/GPU and the plastic Macbook can easily go along with the Air name.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    ajayajay Posts: 117member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    ... and the plastic Macbook can easily go along with the Air name.



    that would be a sweet evolution of sorts for the MacBook.



    & now I'm more interested in how this could/would translate into future MacBook Pros. For one, the new flash based storage design could benefit future MBPs - faster? sure... & leaner? maybe or maybe not since it would call for major design changes.



    IMHO, it also wouldn't be wishful thinking to expect more bang for the buck w.r.t. future MBPs. today we have an MBA with (comparatively) basal configuration for just under $1K... wonder how much extra would go into MBPs for the extra $1K - given that current MBPs are in the $2K range.



    Possible introduction of these new features into MBPs next year would be good timing for me to upgrade from my current black MacBook to the MBP.



    (BTW, we need a drool smiley in these boards! )
  • Reply 7 of 10
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,830moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajay View Post


    For one, the new flash based storage design could benefit future MBPs - faster? sure... & leaner? maybe or maybe not since it would call for major design changes.



    I've always been more of a fan of the squared design than the clamshell but when you see them next to each other, the style of the larger machines just looks old-fashioned:







    I wonder if they will design the Magsafe to be even thinner like make it as thin as the SD card slot and then use a thin USB 3 standard (combined with light peak) like the following:







    Then they can make it even thinner:







    Though the audio jack wouldn't work there with the current Magsafe design. They could put it on the other side or just supply a USB 3 to 3.5mm jack and you'd keep it attached to your headphones. Light Peak should supersede even Mini-DP eventually and Apple's 30-pin port.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    ...............



    Then they can make it even thinner:







    Though the audio jack wouldn't work there with the current Magsafe design. They could put it on the other side or just supply a USB 3 to 3.5mm jack and you'd keep it attached to your headphones. Light Peak should supersede even Mini-DP eventually and Apple's 30-pin port.



    Whats the advantage of being slightly thinner at the edges? There is a limit to how thin you cam make any laptop using current generation Intel processors due to thermal issues. To get thinner we would need much cooler processors and higher integration.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    ajayajay Posts: 117member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I've always been more of a fan of the squared design than the clamshell but when you see them next to each other, the style of the larger machines just looks old-fashioned:



    well, that was just waiting to happen, wasn't it?

    just when you're convinced that the current MBP is already pretty sleek for the power it packs, someone puts it next to MBA & makes the MBP look chubbier / old-fashioned!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Whats the advantage of being slightly thinner at the edges? There is a limit to how thin you cam make any laptop using current generation Intel processors due to thermal issues. To get thinner we would need much cooler processors and higher integration.



    I do agree that making the MBP thinner at the edges doesn't really help much, except maybe for improving the aesthetics.

    slimming down the entire package, now that appears quite possible. even then, the thinness of MBPs would be limited by the available USB / FW ports.

    IMHO, the LAN ports are the largest now & unless they are replaced by, say, USB or FW (via adapter dongles), there appears to be a limit to how thin future iterations can get.

    I assume Lightpeak technology is being viewed with interest because folks see potential in it. So perhaps it's just a matter of time before we know how it gets assimilated!

    micro-USBs... I'm not sure how practical they would be - because of the proliferation of USB-thumb drives & Apple itself showing signs that future OS-es could come on such media.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajay View Post


    well, that was just waiting to happen, wasn't it?

    just when you're convinced that the current MBP is already pretty sleek for the power it packs, someone puts it next to MBA & makes the MBP look chubbier / old-fashioned!



    Old fashion maybe. But the chubby look just implies more power.



    In any event many of us evaluate notebooks based on the units meeting our technical needs. In this regard the new AIRs are so close it hurts. One can only hope for an update soon ( yeah I know they just came out). I was no fan at all of the Original AIRs but these new machines are far far more impressive, it is just to bad the SSDs are so puny, the low clck rates don't help either.

    Quote:

    I do agree that making the MBP thinner at the edges doesn't really help much, except maybe for improving the aesthetics.



    Maybe!



    I still don't like that they dropped the Ethernet port though.

    Quote:

    slimming down the entire package, now that appears quite possible. even then, the thinness of MBPs would be limited by the available USB / FW ports.



    They can slim all they want as long as the new machines are measurably more powerful. Giving up a little bit for portability is what the AIRs are about, a MBP should be bleeding edge powerful. I'm not actually concerned about Firewire as it is dead on the vine, Ethernet though is another matter.

    Quote:

    IMHO, the LAN ports are the largest now & unless they are replaced by, say, USB or FW (via adapter dongles), there appears to be a limit to how thin future iterations can get.

    I assume Lightpeak technology is being viewed with interest because folks see potential in it. So perhaps it's just a matter of time before we know how it gets assimilated!

    micro-USBs... I'm not sure how practical they would be - because of the proliferation of USB-thumb drives & Apple itself showing signs that future OS-es could come on such media.



    Yes employing Micro USB on any device is a joke. There are far to many products expecting the common port. In any event USB isn't really that thick. Structurally you need some thicknees or else the machine will flap around like aluminum foil.



    In any event since the AIRs aren't enough machine I will take an interest in the new MBP when they come out. If apple puts in the same effort they put into the AIRs they should be really impressive.
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