John Gruber in his iPad mini review:
Both the 11-inch Air and full-size iPad 3/4 make more sense to me as devices for people who only want to carry one portable computer. But if I’m going to carry both, I think it makes more sense to get a bigger MacBook and the smaller iPad Mini.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit the past week. I have been carrying around an iPad (3) and 13-inch MacBook Air for most of the past year. (The Retina 15-inch MacBook Pro is my desktop machine for now.) But I think I’m going to change things up. I think I’m going to go with a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (review forthcoming) and the iPad mini in my bag. Power + Portability.
For trips, I think I’ll still just take the regular-size iPad, when all I basically want to do is check the web, do some email, and write. Still thinking all this through though.
Given that the size and weight of an iPad+keyboard is likely similar to a small MacBook, how would you describe the advantage of the iPad? Is it the focus of one-use-at-a-time, the usability of touch, or something less obvious?
Asked by osakasteve
Well, first and foremost, for the regular consumer, the iPad+keyboard combo will be *much* cheaper than a MacBook Air.
But in terms of usage, I have an 11-inch Air and an iPad+keyboard, and I find the latter to much more enjoyable these days. The key for me: one app, one screen. Yes, there are notifications, but with iOS 6, you can easily silence them for a set period of time and just work, read, etc.
This combined with the touch element actually makes me feel more productive when I’m using the iPad. I definitely prefer doing email on it (again, with the keyboard). With several other apps, I’ve mastered the touch UI far better than I ever have a desktop experience. And several native apps just *feel* faster than their web-based versions.
As much as I like the 11-inch Air, I can’t get past the battery being significantly worse than the 13-inch Air. It’s basically two full hours worse. For that reason alone, I couldn’t recommend it over the 13-inch. And the iPad battery blows all MacBook batteries away. Another huge plus.
So while it’s a close call between the 13-inch Air and the iPad+keyboard, I have to give the edge to the iPad right now. I realize many people will disagree, but it’s working great for me.
No clue if the timing (Q2) that DigiTimes is reporting is correct, but the idea sounds about right.
As previously discussed, the MacBook Air has become so good that it’s going to continue to eat into MacBook Pro sales. Apple needs something to differentiate the Pro — especially if there is a 15-inch Air. That something could well be a laptop with a “Retina” display.
It’s important to note that when you typically hear about higher resolution screens, it generally means smaller elements on that screen. But if these screens are double the resolution of current models, Apple could do what they did with the iPhone (and soon iPad) screen, leaving the scale the same while greatly increasing the pixel density.
The drool is already dripping on keyboards of Photoshop and Final Cut users.
There is a lot of talk out there right now about the supposed 15-inch MacBook Air. I haven’t heard anything specific besides the usual whispers of new product numbers floating around out there. It seems pretty likely that something is coming.
What’s a bit odd about this talk is Apple’s entire MacBook line. Namely, there is no actual MacBook anymore, just the Air and the Pro. If the Air gains a 15-inch model, the line between those two blurs even more.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of consolidation. Just pure speculation here, but maybe the Air becomes simply the “MacBook” and the focus is on the 11, 13, and new 15-inch models. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro drops the 13-inch model and focuses on the 15, and 17-inch models.
The current Air models are more than fast enough for most consumers. And I’m not sure why anyone would buy a 13-inch Pro unless they really want that optical drive.
Maybe it’s time to separate the Pro line by doing something like a super high resolution screen and maybe insane battery life (10+ hours).
Or maybe the 15-inch thin MacBook is meant to be a hybrid of a Pro and an Air. Maybe it has more ports, better battery life, and a higher price — but loses the optical drive. It’s dead anyway.
I’ve talked to a lot of people who want a 15-inch screen on their Air. I’m sort of the opposite. At first I thought the 13-inch Air would be too small for everyday work (I was moving from a 15-inch Pro). Now it’s my main machine for everything. And I actually think I might prefer the 11-inch size if it didn’t mean taking a 2-hour hit on battery life dropping down from the 13.
Battery life matters more to me now than anything else. Each of the last two MacBook Air models has been more than fast enough for what I need from a computer. Give me one with a full 10 hour battery and I’d be tempted, no matter the screen size.
What’s most interesting here is that the 13-inch MacBook Air and the 15-inch MacBook Pro have the exact same resolution: 1440x900. This is why I had no problem replacing my Pro with an Air.
Does a 15-inch Air go closer to the 17-inch Pro’s 1920x1200 resolution? Or maybe it does 1680x1050? If so, why would anyone buy the 15-inch Pro? What about the 13-inch Pro? For the optical drive? Please.
To me, the 13-inch Air seems like the perfect size for my needs right now. But I would be tempted by a 15-inch if the battery life was even better. Right now the 13-inch Air gets 7 hours while the 11-inch gets 5. Could a 15-inch Air get 9 hours?
If so, what’s the weight trade-off? The 13-inch Air is just a sliver under 3 pounds currently. The 15-inch Pro is 5.6 pounds. The 13-inch Pro is 4.5 pounds. Could a 15-inch Air be 4 pounds?
Or. What about this:
What if a 15-inch Air replaces the 13-inch Pro in Apple’s line-up? Apple keeps the high-end 15-inch and 17-inch Pro for actual pros, but realizes the most others will be fine given how powerful the Air is now.
This would make Apple’s notebook offerings look like this:
If they do that, maybe the Air eventually does get renamed to simply “MacBook”.
Sounds about right to me. Laptopmag.com has the full results.
Since last October, anyone who has asked for my advice about which Mac to buy, I’ve said MacBook Air. Most follow up with, “really — over the MacBook Pro?” Yes, most people I know don’t need a Pro. I certainly haven’t since last October.
And with the new MacBook Airs, as these numbers show, you really don’t.
No clue if this is true or not, but it is definitely one thing that would get me to upgrade. I’ve been on the fence since my current Air is more than fast enough for everything I need. But my desire to have the latest and greatest of everything presses on…
As does this scene from Batman Begins.
Update: And no. But almost!
I have no actual knowledge of this, but Apple holding the new Macbook Air’s back until OS X Lion is ready to roll sounds about right to me. I think there will be enough people excited about OS X Lion that some percentage will use it as an excuse to buy a new computer. And what better time to buy than when Apple releases a new version of their best computer (the MacBook Air)?
Also remember, OS X Lion will only be available through the Mac App Store. There will be no way to buy it in Apple Stores. That is, unless you buy a new computer that comes pre-loaded with it…
So it looks like the MacBook Pros will be keeping the optical drives. And they’ll weigh in at 2.04 kg, which is 4.5 lbs — the same weight of the current 13” MBP. In fact, by these specs, they’ll be the exact same size.
They are getting spec bumps and this new “Thunderbolt” high-speed input (the artist formerly known as “Light Peak”). But it has a lame old 5400 rpm standard hard drive.
Unless I’m missing something, I’m still not seeing any really compelling reason to get one of these over a MacBook Air (besides video production, obviously, but why wouldn’t you use a 17”?). The 13” Air is 2.9 pounds.
The unstated x-factor may be battery life. The current 13” MBP gets up to 10 hours. If they can stretch that to 12 hours, it could be worth it. That would be a full 5 hours beyond the the 13” Air.
It’s also not clear if “HD” FaceTime is different from the current variety. The current iSight cameras are capable of 1280x1024 but often limited to 640x480.
Can I just reiterate my love for the new MacBook Air?
It has now been about a month since I first reviewed the product. At the time, I noted that it had replaced my MacBook Pro as my go-to computer. Some thought that might be a knee-jerk reaction. But a month later, the story is still very much the same. I never turn on the MacBook Pro anymore. It’s Air all the way.
And I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Yes, the Pro is obviously more powerful, but for 99% of the things I do, I just don’t need all that power. What’s sort of amazing to me is that I’m just using the baseline 13-inch Air model too, with only the 1.86 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM…
It’s perhaps a little ridiculous, but I’m even considering getting the 11-inch model too just for situations where I want to be really mobile. But the 13-inch seems pretty perfect as a all-day work laptop.
I haven’t seen any data on it yet, but I have a feeling the Air is going to be a massive success when it comes to sales. The first one wasn’t. But the first one was a flawed product. This version, in my mind, is the best Mac product out there.
My initial feelings about the then-unannounced product seem dead-on.