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Apple Finally Updates MacBook Air with Retina Display, Touch ID (arstechnica.com)
274 points by evo_9 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 377 comments

Love the device but I can't get over how expensive it has gotten. A 20% price bump...

Sure, there's still the old Macbook Air around, but it wasn't updated and is based on a decade old model with a CPU/GPU that's a 3 years old (5th gen i5 from 2015), and a 128 PPI screen, that's a bit ridiculous.

If you want a modern machine you're looking at $1200 for the cheapest model.

That isn't even too bad but when you go abroad, all bets are off. I still don't get this.

USD/EUR rate has been as high as 1.4 and as low as 1.05 in the past 5 years, averaging about 1.2 USD/EUR. So a $1200 Macbook Air should be €1000, typically. It's not. Instead it's more, €1350.

Or in dollar terms, that's about $1620 at the 5y average exchange rates.

That's what EU students have to pay for a modern but entry-level Macbook in the new Air. The regular Macbook or Macbook Pro are of course even more expensive.

Okay so part of this is silly exchange rates and pricing, some of it related to high EU VAT by the way, not just Apple's pricing. But part of it is also a pretty damn expensive lineup, with this new Macbook Air coming in at 20% higher prices than the previous model.

Yes prices tend to move up, inflation is a thing... but technology is supposed to be the exception, where you can get better specs after a few years without moving the price point. They just bumped it up 20%, that's pretty ridiculous.

> Love the device but I can't get over how expensive it has gotten. A 20% price bump...

I got downvoted for posting this as a top-level comment, but it's insane to me how Apple's hardware specs have stagnated while maintaining the same price.

In 2014 I bought an entry-level Macbook Pro with retina display, 2.6 GHz i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB SSD for $1300.

In 2018 I can buy the entry-level Macbook Pro with retina display, 2.3 GHz i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB SSD, still for $1300.

In 2018 I can also now buy an entry-level Macbook Air with retina display, 1.6 GHz i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB SSD for $1200.

I'm in the market for a new laptop and I'm seriously considering making the jump to Linux rather than paying the same price for the same specs that were available 4.5 years ago.

I mean, I hear you and I agree (I wrote the post above you after all), pricing has been a bit tough.

But since you asked, some additional background information comparing the 2014 $1300 Mac to today's $1300 Mac (which isn't a 2018 model, but rather the 2017 model and prices.)

Geekbench 4 single/multicore scores are 30% and 42% faster respectively.

The latter can do 4k resolution output.

It's almost half a pound lighter, 0.2 inches thinner and about 0.3 inches less wide and less tall. Volume is more than 20% lower.

You get an hour extra battery life.

They're definitely not major, but it did get a bit better and with minor nominal salary increases the past few years (bit of inflation), it's effectively slightly cheaper, too.

Not the sort of progress you'd hope for. But to say they're the same specs as 4.5 years ago isn't completely true, either. It's the 2017 model, 3 years after the 2014 model, a bit faster, smaller, lighter, better battery life at slightly cheaper dollars. It's underwhelming for sure, the moment we see a serious step up from that you see the price increase by $500.

(The actual 2018 model is incomparably more expensive, but then the multicore score is 2.5x as fast as the 2014 model, twice as much SSD, 5k output resolution etc, but then it's $1800)

Fair. I don't think the actual processor matters much, I could have written "basic dual-core processor" to make my point. It's more frustrating that the entry-level RAM and storage options haven't increased at all in almost 5 years.

To your points: I'd rather have the old form factor and weight, multiple hours extra battery life, and a usable set of ports.

I compared the three entry-level laptops because I thought it was the most fair comparison, and because I knew the price of the 2014 equivalent. I'm actually looking for a model with 16 GB RAM and 256 or 512 GB SSD, and like you noted, that comes with a massive price gouge. I'd hope that at least the storage could have been upgraded on the base model over the last 4-5 years.

I think currently extra ram eats into the extra battery life, and Apple's been trading less ram for more battery life.

Also don't forget the less than 50% TDP budget of 7W now compared to last gens 15W.

I'm sympathetic to the complaint about price, but if your contention is that the devices are basically unchanged, then why buy a 2018 model? Why not buy a 2014 model?

And if you don't want to make that sacrifice, then there's probably something different about the device that Apple is assuming is worth ponying up for the upgrade for you.

(For starters, despite the similar clock speed and processor names, the processors are not the same speed.)

> (For starters, despite the similar clock speed and processor names, the processors are not the same speed.)

of course not, it's at least 4 years older.

I mean that would not be fair to compare them. I have a Late 2013 Mbp 15" it was priced at ~2.200€ it was the "entry" model of the mbp 15" however if you look now the price is going to the roof. 2.799,00 € is the new price, of course the processor is now faster, there are 4 years in between (well clock speed is lower, but more cores). What else has changed? Of couse It lost it's sd slot, and also lost 256gb of ssd storage (if you want the same storage than the 2013 model you need to pay an increase of 240 €!) what did also change? the graphics card, it now is a radeon (and of course more clock speed, it's 4 years older.

So how did the price changed:

* Late 2013 15" MBP: ~2.200,00 € (cheapest)

* Curr 2018 15" MBP: 2.799,00 € (cheapest)

* 2018 15" MBP: 3.039,00 € (same storage space)

that is totally unreasonable. The processor does not cost 600 € more (btw the i7-4850HQ costed roughly ~400€ hard to say since prices of that processor aren't well known, however the current mbp uses the i7-8750H which is actually priced officaly at 400 $, so should be less euro, but keep it 1:1 it would mean no increase) of course memory prices gone through the roof, but since that's the cheapest component that would justify a maximum of 100 €.

SO tl;dr

Late 2013 to Current with newer hardware for the same price means a increase of 839 € or 599 € (you can even remove 100€ and it wouldn't be ok) if you can take the storage hit. and all you get is a touchbar, which you probably might need or not.

Exactly! This is why I'm quite sympathetic. I just think it needs to be laid out like this to make it an effective point.

> I'm sympathetic to the complaint about price, but if your contention is that the devices are basically unchanged, then why buy a 2018 model? Why not buy a 2014 model?

Why buy a new model at all? I have a fully-spec'ed macbook mid 2012 which costed 1600 EUR and has 512Gb HDD thanks to a 256Gb SD Card. Benchmark-wise, the macbook air 2018 is not 2x faster in any benchmark. Still a dual core, still 8Gb RAM, 128Gb without SD Card slot, etc. For a model with equivalent HDD I have to pay >2k EUR for the 16Gb RAM and 512 SSD.

It's pretty impossible to justify upgrading from this 2012 model. That's 2000 EUR for a Retina display, and that's pretty much it. Throw in a 1 Tb SSD, 32 Gb RAM and a quad or six core, and upgrading might be worth it. But that would mean a macbook pro 2018 in the ~3k EUR range, which is a different price range and probably not worth paying given that these come without nvidia discreet graphics.

With this product line, it makes much more sense for me to upgrade to a Dell than to another macbook.

I've been considering that leap for years, fear of the effort to get to a non-annoying Linux laptop always drives me back to Mac.

I finally took the dive on a PixelBook to try out, figured that at least the basics (battery, wireless, sound, video, command-line) should be less-likely to be an annoyance. However, at $1649 (16GB, i7 quad-core 1.3G, 512 SSD), it's not much of a savings over a reasonably-similar Mac config ($1799-1899).

The new CPUs are a couple of generations ahead and considerably faster and at the same time more efficient. Just looking at the clock speed does not make sense.

Dude, I bought a max spec'ed macbook air mid 2012 with 256Gb SSD + 256Gb SD Card, a dual core, and 8Gb of RAM, for ~1600 EUR in 2012.

In 2018 I would have to pay 2000 EUR for 512Gb SSD, still a dual core, 16Gb of RAM that is only slightly more powerful than my mid 2012 machine (I haven't found benchmarks yet that manage to get a 2x difference) to the point where it is just not worth upgrading.

If I were to upgrade it, I would throw 1500 EUR at Dell for a quad core, 32Gb RAM, and a 1TB SSD, maybe with nvidia discreet graphics. A similarly spec'ed macbook pro sets you at 3-4k EUR...

The only people I can imagine buying macbooks in 2018 are those not paying for them themselves (company laptop) because for an individual they just don't make financial sense - one can get similarly spec'ed laptops for almost half the price.

sure Apple is expensive, but I think you're leaving out important details, like screen resolution, touchpad, keyboard (though that's been good for ages), OS improvements, power consumption, bluetooth and wifi, etc.

> OS improvements,

Mojave still works fine in a `2012` macbook air, which still does have >9h battery life (a new battery costs 60 EUR).

The touchpad is great, and it has an SD Card reader that can be used to bump its 256Gb SSD with slow extra storage for cheap.

So here I am, trying to find any reason that would justify upgrading a 2012 macbook air to a 2018 macbook air and the only thing that's worth it is the new display - sadly that's not worth > 2000 EUR.

I like the new keyboards well enough yet often turn to my 2014 Air for the soft and quiet typing.

You are comparing prices without VAT to prices with VAT. In France VAT is 20%, quite typical in the EU, so the comparison is not fair at all.

There's VAT in many states and cities in the United States, although typically at rates much lower than in the EU. Buying a MacBook Air in New York City for instance will be at least $1,300 (combined VAT rate of 8.875%).

[EDIT] Granted, the exchange rate is not great, but it's definitely not as bad as you make it sounds. In the EU sticker price is the final price, in the US the sticker price is a baseline on top of which any ridiculous fee and unexpected tax can (and will) be added. Unlike in the EU you really don't know how much you will pay until you get the final bill...

There’s currently no VAT in the US, there used to be a VAT in Michigan but currently there are only sales and use taxes, which aren’t universal. Buying a MacBoox Air for $1,199 in Oregon will cost $1,199 out of pocket.

Indeed you are correct, I'm not using the term VAT correctly. But here in New York you still have to go through three layers of sales taxes to acquire your MacBook Air: New York City local sales and use tax rate of 4.5%, New York State sales and use tax rate of 4%, and Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District surcharge of 0.375%

My main point was that it makes little sense to compare prices US prices without sales tax to EU prices with the VAT included. The second -more subtle- point that I wanted to get into but was really only skimming, is that the very meaning of the price on a sticker is vastly different in the EU and in US.

In the EU if you write 1,350 EUR on a sticker, anyone can walk in your store and buy that product at that price without paying a eurocent more. No handling fees, service fees, sales tax or any other obscure hidden tax. This is the law. Sticker price is final price. If it's not on the sticker the merchant has to pay for it. It's quite a shock when you first walk in a store in New York City while visiting from France and the price asked at checkout is not the one written on the sticker.

The law is the same for online sales, though shipping costs don't have to be included. Ridiculous $30 dollars "handling fees" or "service fees" on $50 tickets that you print at home, added at the very end of the lengthy checkout process, are to my knowledge completely forbidden. I'll be happy (in fact I'll be sad) to be corrected if I am wrong about that.

Ironically I buy from stores in New York or New Jersey over the internet and pay no tax in my home state. Adorama or B&H Photo

He's using "VAT" as a generic term. Think "sales tax."

Fair point!

But average sales tax in the US is about $100. It's still a $350 difference.

That's not an exchange rate issue, that's a political one. Presumably you get something out of these high sales tax, in the form of cheaper education, cheaper healthcare, better infrastructures, or a better social net. Why would Apple close that gap by charging the American customers more? If you want cheaper sales taxes, vote accordingly. Don't ask Apple to cover the difference.

Though you could argue that if Apple was paying its fair share of taxes (for your own favorite definition of fair share of taxes), maybe VAT could be lowered. Again, that's a political issue, not an exchange rate issue.

You misunderstand me, I'm saying after you take out the difference in sales tax you're still left with about a $350 gap that has nothing to do with sales tax.

I've got no complaints about the sales tax.

Let's compare prices without sales tax then.

US: 1,199 USD vs France: 1,124.17 EUR. 1,124.17 EUR translates to 1,275.31 USD according to Google, at the time of this writing. That's a difference of about 75 USD. Not great, but where do you get a 350 USD gap?

[EDIT] That $75 difference could actually be explained by the extra year of warranty for the EU version. Not the greatest bargain maybe, but Apple is hardly ripping off EU customers there. At least not more than the US ones...

The EU has higher warranty coverage (2 years instead of one), and that is priced in. The second year of keyboard replacements surely drives up the price.

Good point, this surely makes some difference, although doesn't explain the entire amount.

You can get 2 extra years of warranty for $250 through an AppleCare product. I'd assume the third year is most expensive, so the first year would be less than $125, perhaps $100.

And I'd assume they make a bit of profit on this insurance product, meaning the true cost of the warranty is less than $100, say it's $90 (assuming unusually low profit margins for Apple).

Further this product offers discounted service fees for accidental damage too, which isn't part of a regular warranty. As such, the cost of the warranty itself is likely to be even less than $90.

All of these are assumptions pulled out of my ass but I think it's probably safe to say the extra first year of the warranty to cost Apple less than $100.

The VAT in the US averages $100. That still leaves a $250 gap with EU prices. Definitely not as big as it seemed to me originally. Still I'd hope that gap may narrow a little bit in future!

As for the specific keyboard issue, I believe the warranty on that (and some other big Apple issues) is extended by a few years everywhere, so shouldn't explain regional differences in pricing.

> The second year of keyboard replacements surely drives up the price.

Isn't keyboard replacement free worldwide for 4 years?

That program doesn’t cover the 2018 models.

It's not free for Apple and it's likely cutting into their margin, hence the theory that they priced it in.

The lowest-priced Macbook was $1099 in 2006, which is $1370 accounting for inflation. The $999 model was actually the exception, probably priced that low on account of being long-in-the-tooth.

Welcome to the world where shareholders are valued more than customers. Honest, we consumers used to reap the benefits of tech advancing. Now the shareholders do.

I think the entry level macbook pro is better buy than this. For $100, the CPU is much better, and very likely the build quality too. And everything else including weight, keyboard, ports, battery life etc. mostly the same.

The thermals on the entry level Macbook pro (non touchbar) is atrocious. It has one less fan than the touchbar model and runs hotter and unless you're in an icy cold room it's guaranteed to make your palms sweaty like a teenager on prom night. I would imagine that the new power-sipping i5 they've put in the MBA will run much cooler.

Every aluminum Macbook makes your palms sweaty, the aluminum body is designed to shed heat. Even a charging iPhone can get very hot just browsing HN. I don't think Apple has ever produced a machine that runs cool to the touch.

They have made one - the original Macbook Air

The new MBA has touch ID though, whereas the entry level MBP doesn't. The convenience IS a lot of value for some people.

Do you think it's worth it over the entry level MBP considering the difference in the CPU?

I'm glad to have the thumb sensor on my MBP but in buying again I wouldn't pay extra for it.

It is nice to use Apple Pay from my Mac -- the twice I've done so. I could always have opened the page on my phone and use its sensor instead.

Other than that, moving my hand up to the corner isn't much faster, if at all, then simply typing my Mac password which is pretty well wired into my fingers anyway. In fact I had made a small config mod to use the touch sensor to authorise sudo, and in the end I undid it because typing was faster. And my watch unlocks my Mac most of the time. So a nice to have, sure, but not as revolutionary as it was on the phone.

Is that price inclusive of VAT? US prices don't include it by default and it can be up to 7.25% depending on the state and city.

It can be higher than 7.25%, but I'm only 2-3 hours away from Portland Oregon so whatever.

> where you can get better specs after a few years without moving the price point.

Yeah you can do that...on an OS that isn't locked to one hardware vendor i.e. Windows and Linux.

I wonder if a lot of people are leaving the Mac ecosystem.

Apple has been selling roughly ~19M Mac per year since 2012, and its new user to Mac has also been steady at ~50%. Apple has had 60M Mac user in 2012 announced in WWDC, and they has been nearing 100M since early 2017. I assume that actual number is larger than 90M at the time, so after nearly 20 Months, ~20M New Mac Users on board, it manage to add a total ~10M Active Install Base.

That is surprising for me, as I was expecting ~110M+ Mac User already, others analysts like Benedict Evans and Asymco put those number past ~120M. So for every 2 new Mac Users, there is one leaving.

I hardly call that good news by Apple Standard. And this high churn rate happens after early 2017. From 2012 to 2016-17, there is 4 / 5 New users for every 1 leaving the Mac Ecosystem.

The timing actually align with their sudden Interviews with Apple journalist on Mac, Mac Pro, and the release of iMac Pro.

And judging from these numbers, I would bet the release of MacBook Pro, iMac Pro and MacBook didn't restore the faith of its Mac users. Apple didn't care about its Mac lineup, this new MacBook Air as well as Mac mini were likely reaction to this churn, much like the iMac Pro.

Or may be, the timing has something to do with their New Keyboard Design, which they introduce to MacBook in 2015 and Pro in 2016, and they managed to fit that in this New MacBook Air.

I bought my first 15" MBP in 2006 after Apple switched to Intel. I was a student back then and I got it for about 1800 EUR. It was a beautiful machine, I could replace the battery myself without unscrewing anything, and if I wanted to upgrade the memory or HDD I could do that easily.

Now here we are 12 years and a couple of Macs later. The current MBP is a bit more beautiful than the first one I got, it's noticeably thinner, the trackpad is bigger, but that's pretty much it. The rest is just technological advancements that have happened to the whole industry line-up of laptops (faster CPU, more RAM, SSDs, USB3, USB-C, Thunderbolt). And for that I now have to pay nearly double the price of my first MBP.

I think the sales people have taken control over Apple again. It just feels natural to look for an alternative at this point.

The really sad part is that Apple software, which is vastly superior to all competitors from my perspective, is no longer accessible for certain people due to the price hikes. I had hoped that Apple would take another path this time. They seem to have forgotten their decline during the 90s.

I don't know how anyone could reasonably conclude Apple's software is vastly superior. Apple has always been and continues to be a hardware-first company; their software always lags behind.

In the past two days I've had to reboot my mac twice because the headhone jack stopped working. At my previous job, the terminal program segfaulted at least once a week. Bluetooth is notoriously flaky and requires frequent reboots to fix. My entire OS locks up about twice a month and requires a full reboot. At one point, my OSX got in a state where whenever I would play a video full-screen it would lock within minutes and require a reboot.

When it comes to pure software quality, windows is hands-down the best platform. I worked in a .NET shop for 3 years and had zero problems with the actual OS. Linux is unfortunately the least stable of the three, but I prefer it and currently use it at work over OSX.

I'm currently working in a Microsoft shop, and Windows is driving me up the wall.

- Visual Studio (2017) crashes at least once a week without any kind of error reporting. It just closes. Gone.

- PowerShell is absolutely terrible and all terminal emulators are terrible. They are slow, clunky, and never feel 'native' to the OS.

- About a month ago I was in the middle of a problem, walked over to a colleague to discuss, and come back to a forced updating PC. This took upwards of an hour before I could work again.

- I regularly have files or folders that are apparently 'locked' in another process (which one?!), and to do anything with them I have to sign out and sign back in.

- Allowing any application to steal focus is just... The worst UI design decision that was ever made.

I could go on. There's so many annoyances, big to small. This is on a ~2 month old machine with equally fresh install of Windows 10 Pro and Visual Studio Professional. I really like C# and .NET, but Windows is driving me away.

I haven't used Mac OS seriously for about a year or two, so I won't comment on that. My Linux machine is the complete opposite, however. It never does anything that I didn't expect or put there. I always know exactly what is running, what it is doing, and what is isn't doing. I haven't had emacs crash on me yet. I update whenever I feel I have the time, but it's never as intrusive -- even big updates are done in a few minutes. Updates don't require restarts. Again, I could go on.

It's interesting how our experiences can be polar opposite, yet both be valid.

> I could go on. There's so many annoyances, big to small. This is on a ~2 month old machine with equally fresh install of Windows 10 Pro and Visual Studio Professional. I really like C# and .NET, but Windows is driving me away.

what about introducing .net core to your team? so you can actually write more code in mac/linux

I actually did a small project in .NET core here a few months ago. Pretty cool.

Sadly, older and bigger projects aren't as easily ported over, and do still require new features etc.

Nah, Mac users hate Windows. Personally, I don’t know how any power user can be productive on Windows, and I don’t know how people put up with the bugginess, forced reboots, and invasive telemetry. I use both heavily and hate Windows more with each passing day. It wasn’t so bad around Windows 7, but still not a productive environment for someone who relies on basic unix tools and a working terminal (I know about WSL...).

But these are just my preferences, and clearly many disagree.

Your reboot problem on the Mac was hardware, not software, by the way. Macs have had hardware reliability problems, and they usually mean the whole thing is junk, minus the case or screen. I wish Apple software on third party hardware was a viable option, personally.

What an obnoxious statement. No, not all Mac users 'hate Windows'. Yes, power users can be productive on Windows. Yes, macOS has bugs that require resets for some users.

> When it comes to pure software quality, windows is hands-down the best platform.

I've switched from mac to windows since this summer and I disagree. From the way windows defender interfers with usage to WiFi reception issues (Thinkpad 480s) to poor taskbar functionality to crappy setting screens to harder-to-read fonts, it's just not nowhere near macOS in terms of useability. But the keyboard and ports are that much better that I'm still putting up with it (while thinking about Linux).

I was a Windows user all my life (Started with Win98 as an 8 year old) but switched to MacOS once hitting "Windows Key" and typing 'Downloads' to jump to my Downloads folder became non-deterministic.

Like Windows 10 actually suggests some web / app store results first, and after about a second, it will remember that I have a local folder called 'Downloads', so instead of using 'Win+D.o.w.+Enter' as a shortcut, I have to wait for the computer to suggest Downloads as a suggestion.

This is on a top of the line Surface Book.

Besides that I spent hours trying to get colors working in a terminal emulator so I could use vim and tmux with syntax highlighting. I gave up and bought what I figured would be the last Macbook Air with USB-A and a decent keyboard.

Apple software is flawed and imperfect, but you still easily earn the outlay back in productivity within a year. So much time wasted fighting Windows or Linux to do basic tasks like reading email or running an IDE...

Well, I said it's vastly superior from my perspective and my perspective seems to be a bit different than yours.

I didn't intend to start a platform flame war here. I just wanted to say, it's sad that people lose access to that quality software (in my opinion) platform because of being priced out. If it were for today's prices, I doubt I would have been able to buy a Mac as a student in 2006.

If you enjoy Windows, then I am absolutely happy with that. For me personally, I have trouble getting past the forced Windows Update screen each time I boot it.

I've never had any of those issues, they sound like hardware problems to me honestly.

Not that I don't have a litany of complaints about macOS software quality, but it's mostly UI bugs (why the hell does it take a minute to drag a photo out of Photos.app?!), not stability issues.

For another anecdotal datapoint, I've /never/ had any of these issues with my 2015 Macbook Pro. I vastly prefer OSX software to Windows, both for usability and because the commandline is incredibly similar to other Linux distros.

> It just feels natural to look for an alternative at this point.

I don't consider myself an Apple fanboy (I'd certainly not buy an iphone). But as far as laptops go, I don't see any viable alternative. I'd get a MBP for Mac OS alone, but the hardware is great too.

If anything, there's plenty of alternatives in laptop space. From Surfaces, Lenovos, Dells, Huaweis to bunch of other really good hardware that is only marginally different. Even the OSes have converged to the point where they differ in mostly in the keyboard shortcuts and types of annoyances you deal with.

I tend to disagree on this one. Even if PC hardware has caught up to a certain extent, software has not. Windows is a nightmare from my perspective (usability, privacy, developer tools, lack of good shell, package management, etc.) and Linux is not a viable alternative when you need certain commercial software.

A commercial Linux alternative focussed at desktops with appropriate support for commercial software and an easy transition path for users coming from the Mac would be great.

Speaking of hardware: I recently got a Lenovo for Linux testing. Multi-touch trackpad frequently stops working after standby. Boot time and wake-up time is a lot worse than on my MacBooks. Sometimes it doesn't wake up and needs a cold reboot when I open up the lid. I never experienced any of those issues on my Macs. Not even in 2006.

shrug I regularly use all three and I'm always baffled by posts like yours. Yes, macOS might be marginally more polished, but it's pretty much a matter of few days to get used to new patterns of the OS and that's it.

But yeah, if you decided that you will never in your life ever use anything but Apple operating system, then you just don't have a choice in the market. You'll have to buy what they serve you.

I agree with starbugs, for the record. I'm not married to Mac laptops (I used PCs for many years) but even with the new great ultrabooks out there (which I keep a close eye on), I still haven't seen something that adequately replaces the Macbook. It's gotten a lot closer but I don't think the market has quite caught up yet.

What do you use them for? It’s hard to imagine a power user or developer not having a moderately strong preference one way or the other. If that fits your usage, I am a bit envious of your flexibility!

I develop software for mobile systems (with some backend work too). Why is it hard to imagine? I have bash on all three. I have VSCode on all three. I have vim on all three. I have chrome on all three. I have IntelliJ suite on all three.

Most of the developer stuff is pretty much cross platform these days. What's the big deal if you're typing into bash on Linux, macOS or Windows?

There is no Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Illustrator, ... on all three.

If all you need is a text editor and a web browser, you pretty much could have been using all three systems for 20 years already.

at least a couple years back using a surface pro 3, windows apps was clearly not up to handle hi-resolution displays: the majority of apps I was using that wasn't VS Studio (7zip, notepad++, eclipse, etc) was completely unusable (especially by means of touch) without screwing around with scalability settings, and swapping it to various percentages depending on the app I was using. I vaguely remember firefox being acceptable but poor as well, but I'm not too sure about that one

Dunno the state now, but that experience makes me reluctant to look at higher end laptops with windows. Otherwise its just generally clunkier and weaker integration of the terminal, but those don't hurt nearly as much as the inconsistent rendering for using a daily driver

It's refusal to tell me what file/program is stopping me from safely removing my hdd is also absolutely infuriating

I am not sure about this. I have always worked with Windows professionally and until 4 years ago also had Windows laptops. Then on whim I bought a 2014 MBP for personal use and I think the software and hardware are much better than anything I have seen in the windows world. At work I can use Surface Book, Surface Pro and HP laptops and in my opinion they are far away from the level of quality of my MBP.

I agree, the software is the primary factor locking me in as well. I am happy to pay a premium for great hardware (and software), but I don't like the feeling of being ripped off. I guess at some point these bad feelings will outweigh the benefits of the platform. For me personally, that point isn't far in the future anymore.

> So for every 2 new Mac Users, there is one leaving.

The vast majority of this fluctuation could be down to Macs in the education and business leasing programs, rather than individual user-owners.

Specifically, schools are switching from Macs (in computer labs) and iOS devices (for students), to Chromebooks;

and some very large companies like IBM, who assign their employees Macs, are downsizing, and so returning/selling off those Macs.

Apple executives are probably telling themselves these people are just trading in their old laptops for iPads hence why they have been doubling down on iOS for the last 5 years. Milking the entire ecosystem for 30% compared to 0% on a laptop sure hasn't hurt, either.

Based on business results the Apple execs are right. To detriment of the relatively small number of professional users like software devs or photographers.

One can only hope that those software devs who create applications for both ecosystems don't leave for greener pastures, taking their software with them...

It will be interesting. I always thought that one success factor of iOS was that during that time Macbooks were incredibly popular among devs.

Yeah, these fools building the biggest company in the history of humanity. Taught them right!

Am I the only one, who is excited and considering buying this thing? I'm still on 2012 Air. It's good device, but showing it's age (slow CPU and only 4GB of Ram, the screen resolution is joke). But new Air seems very compelling to me. I'll miss the magsafe though.

Also I would like to know if the SSD can be upgraded later (unofficially of course). 2012 Air SSD can be replaced, using cheap reduction (from proprietary apple to standard M2). Not sure about the newer models.

Out of curiosity, what is the appeal of the new MacBook Air over a regular MacBook? Is it the 13" screen vs. the 12"?

I'd just assumed that when Apple introduced that crazy-thin 12" MacBook a couple years ago, it was meant to replace both product lines. I don't understand why it's necessary to maintain a third discrete product line. Why not add a 13" variant to the standard MacBook line with i5 and i7 processor choices? That would be similar to what they do with the MacBook Pro line.

Is there some other difference that I'm overlooking?

Yes that additional inch in screen. More ports (not significantly, but will please). And isn't the CPU in new Air actually faster than in Macbook? Also regarding, why they didn't ditched the Air in favour of Macbook. I believe that the Air is more recognisable (or even iconic) for some people (like me :)). Air was my first Apple product. Loving it.

The Macbook Air also has a fan. The base Macbook does not. The base Macbook therefor hits its thermal ceiling pretty much immediately and is suboptimal in hot environments. My girlfriend's overheats all the time.

Frankly, I think the three product lines should be shaped like this:

- Macbook: For price sensitive people. $800-900 to enter the Apple ecosystem.

- Macbook Air: Basically the current MBP with its fixation on power capped by form-factor. (Note: The new Air is heavier than the MBP!)

- Macbook Pro: A portable workstation that doesn't sacrifice everything for form factor. Apple doesn't have one of these right now. For example, prioritizes thermals so that it can sustain max performance instead of the bursty performance of the current MBPs.

The Macbook has a 4.5W chip and the Macbook Air has a 7W chip now. So you get 2 extra Watts TDP and an extra port. The Air is actually $100 cheaper and 1 inch larger screen effectively obsoleting the Macbook. The Macbook has always been a weird place, it should really be the budget budget mac, but has always been a lot more than the Air.

I imagine they are ditching the MacBook and just keeping the air and pro lines. It’s easier to distinguish the two, rather than “just MacBook” vs “MacBook Pro”. I also think air->new air is a better improvement to brag about than MacBook->new MacBook.

Double the RAM, Thunderbolt instead of USB-C, and two ports instead of one. That's worth the price... decrease? ;)

A big difference - 12" MB only supports a single 4K external display, whereas MBA supports dual 4K or single 5K.

I would wait about 6 more months to see how reliable the updated butterfly mechanism is. Having a failing keyboard is no fun, repair apparently takes ~1 week. The new Pro's (and probably the new Air) use a membrane to keep the dust out, but I'd wait and see if it works well enough.

The loss of MagSafe for me wasn‘t as bad as expeced, especially given that magnetic USB-C cables(1) are a thing now.

1) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Looyat-Magnetic-Cable-Macbook-Black...

Honestly I'm afraid to use uncertified cables and running an uncertified cable at 20v 4a just sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

Don't think about the wiring in your neighborhood then

Well don't be very excited. Have you heard of Louis Rossmann? He has some videos on Youtube regarding Apple's tactics to make its hardware hard to repair and ripoff people who get them repaired at the Apple Stores. Even CBC did a story on it.

This tired conspiracy theory neglects a few thing:

- Consumers have aptly demonstrated that they prefer low weight and thinness over expandability and replaceability. That's one of many reasonable explanations that do not assume bad faith.

- While repairs have gotten more difficult, reliability has increased at an even faster pace. Notebook components have failure rate far lower than a decade ago. The largest single change was the transition from mechanical, failure-prone HDDs to SSDs. The second largest change were improvements to batteries: these have an expected useable lifetime of 5 years+, whereas in the past it was maybe two years, and only you took specific care such as regular draining.

- Material science and manufacturing have also improved, allowing tighter specification: If your washing machine survives two decades that is a major failure of engineering.

That's because over-provisioning is wasteful, and ecologically harmful. Even in cases grow fond of such old machines, it is actually better to have them fail at some point, because improvements in power consumption more than compensate for shorter lifecycles.

Yes, I know this guy. I don't like the Apple repair (not) strategy. However I've also experience with several other laptop manufacturers. There are at least 5 laptops lying somewhere in my house. Most of them have broken hinges or broken plastic chassis so you can see inside them. Only exception is Toshiba with Pentium3 processor. Ancient but still rock solid, with no sign of wear (I could use it if it wasn't that slow). And the other one is this 6y old Macbook Air.

What I'm trying to say, is that people bitch about the Apple, but there many other horrible brands (models) out there. But there is not enough buyers to point that out as loud as in Apple case.

However the butterfly keyboard scares me a bit. They say it has been fixed, but personally don't have any feedback from Macbook Pro users and also this Air keyboard can be bit different.

My employer buys my computer. Doesn't matter to me how repairable it is.

Similar position as you (mid 2012 macbook air, 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5, 8Gb of RAM, 256Gb SSD + 256Gb SD Card).

I've upgraded its battery twice, last time this year, for 60 EUR each time, and its hitting > 9h of battery life right now.

What does seem compelling in the new Air to you?

I only see a similarly spec'ed system (Geekbench says its 40% faster): dual-core, ~same RAM, ~same HDD if I go for the 2000 EUR 512Gb SSD version, ... Retina display (this is huge), no macsafe, new keyboards (people have mixed feelings about these), ...

I find it hard to justify upgrading a system that's still working fine at such a high price tag (>2k EUR) just for a Retina display and ~30-40% faster CPU.

A modern quad/six core could deliver 4-6x speed-ups in some workflows, and discreet nvidia graphics could allow me to develop for CUDA, 1Tb SSD would be nice, etc. I could justify paying 2000 EUR for all these upgrades on top of a Retina display. But just for a retina display? I'd rather go skiing in the Alps for two weeks this winter for 1600 EUR and just buy an apple watch with the remaining 400 EUR =/

> Also I would like to know if the SSD can be upgraded later

During the presentation they showed the inside as well, highlighting the locations of RAM and SSD and both seemed to be soldered. As they're nowadays soldered in every other mobile Mac, replaceable parts in the new MacBook Air would surprise surprise me (although it'd be a pleasant surprise).

I think all of the recent macbooks have soldered ssds which are not replaceable. I doubt this one is going to buck that trend.

I thought I would miss the magsafe as well, but actually I like the USB-C charging better - you can charge from either side of the device, which is a lot more useful than I would have thought.

Both ports are on the same side though...

I have an old macbook air too. My biggest fear is the new keyboard will be a downgrade.

2013 Air here, and I'm definitely getting one as soon as I can (8GB though).

Given that 15 minutes later, in the iPad part of the event, they claimed the new iPad is faster than 92% of all notebooks sold in the last year, the writing is on the wall. For me, the next Macbook to be excited about, would be one with an ARM processor.

Still, really disappointing that for the new Air they do not allow you to go to 1TB SSD, but they won't allow you upgrade from a dual-core i5. Feels like a political decision more than a technical one.

If Apple could sell you a quad-core CPU as an purchase-time $1000 upsell they would. They don't because it doesn't fit the power budget.

I'm pretty sure there would enough power budget, as the new Macbook Air has a similar volume than the 13" MacBook Pro and the MacBook Pro is already offered with quad-core CPUs.

My guess is that they want to have a clear differentiation between MacBook Air (= Dual-Core) and 13" MacBook Pro (= Quad-Core).

Only two cores for the air is bad. I would guess that only Apple will be selling a machine with a 2 core 8th gen i5. I can't see one on ark, they're all 4 core: https://ark.intel.com/products/series/122597/8th-Generation-...

Anandtech is suspecting that Apple is using an unannounced 5W TDP Amber-Lake CPU in the new MacBook Air [1]. That'd be an interesting choice as it'd bring the CPU performance closer to the 12" MacBook, than to the 13" MacBook Pro.

That sounds especially plausible as Apple claims that the MacBook Air has a ~20% longer battery life than the 13" MacBook Pro, albeit having a ~8% smaller battery.

[1]: https://www.anandtech.com/show/13531/apple-2018-macbook-air-...

And now confirmed.

What's interesting to me is that the current Dell XPS 13 (9370) is physically just a little bit bigger than an 11" MacBook Air and quad-core i7.

Its CPU and GPU aren't as fast as the new 13" MBP but as a rival to the MacBook Air it's very competitive.

I have a Developer Edition for evaluation and keep it in an old MacBook Air 11" case.

And thermal envelope budget.

Wouldn't that be an equivalent way of putting it?

> new iPad is faster than 92% of all notebooks sold in the last year, the writing is on the wall ... For me, the next Macbook to be excited about, would be one with an ARM processor.

With Windows laptop vendors making Snapdragon-based laptop designs, it's almost a certainty that the market will shift here. Those windows laptops are intended to keep executing code, stay connected to networks when you shut the lid (like your phone does). That must be some enormous battery-life gains.

It won't be a MacBook. They'll just sell you a $200 keyboard for the iPad pro and expect that to be good enough.

I've long been convinced the intention is to kill off the MacBook lineup.

Isn't the longevity of such a theory a rather convincing argument against it?

Eventually. I don't think they could ever have thrown x86 out quickly though, not without some cataclysmic event.

Even worse is the iMac lineup. In 2018, you've great 6 and 8 cores cpus in the market and it is still an overpriced quad core cpu.

The new Mac mini seems decent but still expensive for the package.

they do not allow you to go to 1TB SSD, but they won't allow you upgrade from a dual-core i5. Feels like a political decision more than a technical one.

Smells like a battery life compromise to me.

>Given that 15 minutes later, in the iPad part of the event, they claimed the new iPad is faster than 92% of all notebooks sold in the last year, the writing is on the wall. For me, the next Macbook to be excited about, would be one with an ARM processor.

hey not a huge technocrat when it comes to pc parts, but could u explain that part to me?

what is the writing on the wall?

what is arm exactly?

and what makes u think its better than whats being offered currently and that it will be in a macbook soon?

The "writing on the wall" refers to the story of Belshazzar's feast. Belshazzar throws a particularly blasphemous party, and a hand appears and writes "mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" on the wall, which the prophet Daniel translates as "weighed, weighed, found wanting: divided!" and means that the rule of the Babylonians comes to an end and the Medes and Persians will split the kingdom.

In other words, seeing the writing on the wall means that you have failed and will lose what you have.

ARM, in this context, means the processors that power Android phones, iPhones and tablets of all kinds. ARM is the designing company; many other companies license the design.

There is a lot of speculation that Apple will quit buying Intel CPUs and move to ARM CPUs, because Apple makes ARM CPUs.

ARM based processors which are used in most mobile devices and use a different instruction set, as opposed to x86 based processors, such as those available from Intel and AMD. Apple licensed the ARM technology and builds their own chips using it, and really good chips at that. So good, that some people are now calling for Apple to release an ARM based laptop (which has been done by others, but not to much popularity).

There would be advantages (power savings) and disadvantages (most existing MacOS software wouldn't work until recompiled at a minimum)

Odds are they already have ARM-based Macs in house, with all the cross-compilation stuff worked out. The reason they haven't made the switch yet isn't because of work they haven't done.

Back when they switched from the PowerPC chips to x86, it was revealed that they had been building experimental x86 Macs in-house for years. That's just good planning.

Oh, I'm fairly sure they've tested all their MacOS core software that comes with the OS (and the OS), but all the third party stuff and things in the MacOS app store likely need a lot more time. (at least for those that weren't already shipping iPhone/iPad versions).

My expectation is that any ARM laptop/desktop made by Apple would include some form of x86 emulation, just like they used during their PPC-x86 and 68k-PPC transitions.

> what makes u think its better than whats being offered currently and that it will be in a macbook soon?

Not the person you're replying to, but: 1) Apple hates being dependent on Intel's ability (or lack thereof) to execute on their processor roadmap, and 2) Apple will be able to use processors better suited to their needs.

Apple has switched chips several times. Around 1996 they moved from Motorola 68K chips to IBM PowerPC chips for the G1-G5 series of machines. PowerPC innovation fell behind Intel and around 2006, Apple decided to move to Intel chips to keep up with PC technology.

The move to Intel chips allowed dual boot Macs which I believe brought a whole new set of customers. Developers loved the ability to run Windows, Mac and Linux on the same hardware.

Microsoft has ARM versions of Windows produced for the Surface RT. If Apple switched to ARM to build their own chips, they have the ability to innovate quickly. But, they also have the risk of falling behind Intel again down the road.

> But, they also have the risk of falling behind Intel again down the road.

I think Apple’s got this one.

Summarizing a bit:

* Starting price of $1,199

* 13" display with trimmed bezels

* 2.75 lbs

* Higher resolution screen ("Over 4M pixels")

* HD front facing camera

* No Touch Bar (Yay!)

* No USB ports (Boo!)

Assuming it doesn't have any odd dust or logic board issues cropping up in the next couple months, I can see myself getting one of these.

> No USB ports

No USB-A ports. There are still 2 USB ports, but they are Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports.

Gah, just what I need, another adapter. I guess in this day and age pretty much everything is in the cloud but still, I like having at least one USB port. A little surprised they kept the mic jack

My phone, Sony camera, battery bank, and now laptop are all usb-c. I welcome this with open arms.

In contrast - my USB hubs, external USB drives, and CD reader are all USB A. My phone is Lightning. My spare chargers are two flavors of magsafe.

The cords I've begun to accumulate to work with a USB C computer have varying capabilities, to the point where I can't safely interchange them for fear of blowing past their tolerances accidentally.

I'm not so keen on this change.

If your drive enclosures are USB A you’re leaving massive throughout on the table and wasting your time for what would be a $30 part on Amazon.

The new “spare charger” is a 10kmAh battery pack which will have USB-C and some double as a way to jump start your car (assuming you still drive ICE). It’s also a worthwhile upgrade and much more useful than something that has you hunting for outlets at the airport, or god forbid, under your seat on a plane!

But a C D Reader? What is that? Is that like the radio that truckers used to use to talk to each other in the road?

>But a C D Reader? What is that? Is that like the radio that truckers used to use to talk to each other in the road?

Yes, like that in terms of: expect decades for complete migration as all benificial use cases for them have not yet been superceeded by technology sucessors.

Is a USB-C enclosure actually faster than USB 3.1 was with the old conenctors? As far as I know you can use all the same devices and just swap out the cable on a computer that wants a USB-C connector.

On the device end (for hard drives and hubs) you'd generally have a type-B connector (don't think I've ever seen one with USB-A, but I haven't had that many external drives). Type-B got got a bulkier version for superspeed, it looks silly but for something that lives at your desk, who cares?


If you get a new computer with USB-C, you can replace a single cable with USB-C to USB-B to keep using the same hub and the same USB-A devices plugged into it at the same speed as before:


> Is a USB-C enclosure actually faster than USB 3.1 was with the old conenctors?

As I understand it, USB-C-to-USB-C (with USB 3.2) is the only connector combination supporting Gen 2×2, 20Gb/s mode (since it leverages the pins included to support flipping the connector; it's also the only combination to support Gen 1×2, but that's the same speed as Gen 2×1, so it's unclear why you'd do that.)

USB A (w/USB 3.1+) can support Gen 2×1 (SuperSpeed+) at 10Gb/s. USB B (w/USB 3.0+), AFAIK, only supports Gen 1 (SuperSpeed) (5Gb/s).

Ah you're right. First I've heard of USB 3.2, but here's news from 2017: https://www.anandtech.com/show/11667/usb32-update

I have a USB-C drive enclosure, but looking at the specs it's only USB 3.1. Newegg doesn't even have 3.2 as an option when searching by external interface in their hard drive enclosures section. The day when you're actually losing anything by not having USB-C devices seems a ways off still.

> The cords I've begun to accumulate to work with a USB C computer have varying capabilities

USB-A had these problems back in 1998. It's early days for USB-C, but I think a few more hardware iterations and hopefully things will start settling down.

Right now USB-C controllers are too complex and expensive to fit in low-end devices (think $49 TV dongles).

>for fear of blowing past their tolerances accidentally

this is not how USB-C works. you might end up with a cable that doesn't support high voltage, but it simply won't upgrade to a higher voltage and your device will charge slower or not at all.

I agree that it's frustrating that all USB-C cables aren't interchangeable, but to imply they're potentially unsafe is wrong. There was a bunch of out-of-spec cables on the market shortly after USB-C came into use with the nexus phones and the macbook pro, but that problem has almost entirely been solved, and is still a much smaller problem than cheap aftermarket USB-A charging bricks sold by the same sketchy vendors.

I got an out-of-spec USB-C cable three weeks ago.

While driving a long distance, I noticed that I had failed to bring any way to charge my phone in the car, so I bought a USB-A to USB-C cable at a rest stop convenience store.

It served its immediate purpose of not leaving me lost with a dead battery. But it doesn't charge many other devices, and it only works when plugged in with the USB logo facing down.

I don't consider the problem of fake USB-C cables solved.

(I have no idea what brand it is, and the convenience store themselves probably bought whatever the cheapest counterfeit thing on Amazon was)

yeah my nexus 5x melted thanks to a USB-C cable that I didn't strike me as off-brand or fake. So I'm skittish about USB C now. oh well.

What, the annoyance every time you need to plug in a USB stick or a mouse you down own? Even now, after two years of USB-C macbook, it's still incredible how annoying having to look for those damn dongles is.

You do understand that you can have BOTH ports on the laptop right - see for example how Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon engineers manage to stuff usable ports on the same chasis size.

The google pixel 2015 was the top of the heap for ports. 2 usb-c ports, headphones!, 2 usb-a, sd card. All laptops should have this. It's just endless pain. Certainly 2 usb-c ports are better than 1. But why not put 4? Even better usb-c + usb-a.

> Certainly 2 usb-c ports are better than 1. But why not put 4? Even better usb-c + usb-a.

Because they're not just Type C ports, they're TB3 ports, Intel's stinginess with respect to PCIe lanes & TB3 controller integration means it's hard to put many of those in a machine especially on low-end CPUs, and I guess Apple prefers uniformising capabilities to an extent (even if performances can differ see e.g. the 13" MBP) to having multiple ports with the exact same connector but completely divergent capabilities.

I mean I've got 2 AT keyboards and 3 PS/2 mice in my drawer. Why can't I plug these into the latest MacBook pro? It's a travesty.

I gotchu fam!

AT > PS/2 > usb A > usb C

If I were you, I'd stick all that crap inside the massive schoolbus sized AT keyboard where you can't see it. There is probably plenty of room.

Hell, go ahead an integrate a USB hub too, then you can use the keyboard itself to adapt other legacy devices to usb C.

You can’t use a ps/2 keyboard using an adapter on the Mac, it doesn’t work. I’ve tried.

why didn't they include an ADB port?

Because svideo is a terrible serial protocol.

It's getting better every year, as peripherals and other devices switch over to USB-C. Apple's imposition of USB-C as the one cable has been very frustrating, but we're starting to see the fruits of it.

if apple were truly imposing USB-C as the "one cable" it would be less frustrating. it's crazy that still, three years after the macbook pro switched to all usb-c, if you go to the apple store and buy a brand new iPhone and a brand new mac, you need an aftermarket cable to connect the two.

Aftermarket means it was supplied by an accessory manufacturer and not the original equipment manufacturer, generally without the OEM's blessing. It's really more of a car term than a computer term.

No you don't -- apple sells a cable with lighting on one end and type c on the other end. I have one.

Given that the new iPad has type C I assume that's the future for iPhones as well.

maybe i used the wrong word, does aftermarket not mean you have to buy it separately from the actual product?

I think it's often used to indicate third-party products.

>you need an aftermarket cable to connect the two.

or you can connect wirelessly.

>you need an aftermarket cable to connect the two.

You don't need a cable at all, because they connect over AirDrop.

>> It's getting better every year, as peripherals and other devices switch over to USB-C.

Speaking for normal people, though, how often do they turn over their devices and peripherals?

When I bought my laptop over a year ago, I made sure it had USB-C/TB3 from a future-proofing perspective, but I have yet to actually buy any device that connects to it via USB-C, and I don't foresee myself buying many either. On the other hand, I still have a ton of older devices that are USB-A that I still use.

Even when it comes to USB keys, I still prefer USB-A, because it's more than likely that I'll need to connect it to a device that doesn't have USB-C.

I do have some mobile devices that charge by USB-C like my phone, but I still charge them off of USB-A power sources.

Normal people don't plug shit into their computers. Neither do I, for that matter.

He's crude, but he's not wrong. 90% of the market will never use more than one USB-C port. And even then, almost exclusively for charging.

1. power in 2. audio out

I'm probably going to get crucified for this, but I wish they would have dropped the mic jack in return to a third TB3 port (so they would be accessible form either side of the computer).

God, no. The TRRS port is the last thing I want to see go.

Let's go to Reddit, 'tis a silly place.

To be fair I already have to carry a ethernet and a display adapter with me. Switching to an USB-C means I don't need other adapters anymore.

At least one USB-A port should be the minimum though.

Between no USB-A with Apple notebooks and no USB-C on the Surface Laptop I don't know whats worse...

No USB ports.

Upvoting this because it was ridiculously down-voted, and I'm not sure why.

No, USB-C ports are not 'USB' ports. Not as 'USB' ports have been for at least a decade and a half. Almost two.

USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 managed to all use the same connector, and not charge us out the ass for adapters to use the same hardware.

If you're not pissed about USB-C, or you somehow think that having a port you can no longer plug any of your previous devices into without a costly and non-bundled adapter is equivalent to having an actual, standard USB port, you probably simply haven't had to deal with dongle life.

We have an inside joke at my work where we literally call these ports 'not-USB'.

The fact that Apple's flagship phone and flagship computer can't connect out of the box without paying for an additional cable indicates blatantly how horrible this situation is. That they had the audacity to release phones only a month ago that were still incompatible after all this time almost makes me feel that they are intentionally messing with us.

> USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 managed to all use the same connector,

No, they didn't.

USB 1.0 used A and B connectors

USB 2.0 added Mini A and Mini B

USB 2.0 Revised added the Micro A and Micro B connectors

USB 3.0 modified the A and B connectors, and the Micro A and Micro B connectors, and deprecated the Mini A and Mini B connectors.

USB 3.1 added the C connector.

USB 3.2 didn't mess with connectors, for once.

(And it's even a little more complicated if you talk about sockets, because then you need to talk about the Mini and Micro AB sockets, as well as sockets corresponding directly to each of the connectors.)

costly and non-bundled adapter

While it’s mildly inconvenient that none are bundled, USB-C ports are passively compatible with USB-A - I can purchase a 3-pack of adaptors on Amazon for £3.59.

In practice I’ve rarely found it an inconvenience. More often the problem is having to plug into a display in a conference room or whatever, which sometimes makes me miss the HDMI port that was built in to the older MacBook Pro.

It was probably ridiculously downvoted for being worthless snark that adds nothing to the conversation.

As to "costly", a USB -> USBC hub can be had for around the same price as a regular hub on Amazon, starting around $4.99 and going up from there.

And a Dual Core CPU for $1200, app compatibility aside the CPU in the new MBA might be arguably slower than the A12 bionic.

It's literally going to be the same CPU as in the current 12" Macbooks with a slightly relaxed power envelope which now begs the question why is the Macbook Air even a separate product? at this point it brings nothing to the table other than being slightly larger and slightly cheaper version of the Macbook.

I think Apple is rethinking its product matrix.

This new MBA is the entry-level system. The 12" MB is an upgrade option if you value thin/light/battery life -- the new "executive laptop". The MBP is an upgrade option if you need power or screen space.

12" MB: No touch ID, slower CPU, crappy last-gen keyboard that breaks all the time.

Typing this from my 2017 12" MacBook...have not had a single issue with the keyboard. In fact, I have grown to quite like it. Sure it's not my beloved WASD Code with the Cherry Clears, but it's one of the better portable keyboards in terms of typing experience of late, in my opinion.

It’s not ‘arguably’ slower - it absolutely is. That CPU was already slower than last year’s A11 Fusion CPU, the A12X will blow it away.

> It's literally going to be the same CPU as in the current 12" Macbooks with a slightly relaxed power envelope

Is it? I was under the impression that these were different chips.

They are different chips in the sense of being different generations. It's interesting that the Air is a "Y" part which is the same low-power/lower performance family as the Macbook. No updates for the Macbook yet otherwise they probably would be the same.

Macbook 12" 2017 = i7-7Y75 (top spec, cheaper ones are lower clocked i3/i5 Y)

Macbook Air 2018 = i7-8510Y (617 graphics supposedly faster)

You can hardly call them different generations there is zero difference in the core, the Intel Graphics 617 is also looking to be a pure marketing BS it's the same Gen9 GT2 iGPU as the 615 (we have had benchmarks for it on gfx bench for a while now), maybe it will get a 50mhz more graphics boost clock but even that is doubtful since the results are the same as the 615.

Like it wouldn't surprise me if the whole i7-8510Y thing is literally Apple going to Intel and saying please increase the SKU of the same CPU you gave Google for the Slate so it would appear as like ours is faster on paper.


The results are so close that they are both within the margin of error of each other and within the normal thermal/power constraints you have between two different mobile systems.

The challenge with mobile parts is that 25-30% performance delta's are not unheard of between two systems with identical parts on paper but very different thermal and power delivery solutions.

I'm not sure it's an i7-8510Y - note that the MacBook Air specs [1] say it's an i5 chip. (And you can't upgrade it to an i7 either.) I'm not sure we know what chip it actually is yet.

[1] https://www.apple.com/au/shop/buy-mac/macbook-air/silver-1.6...

The i7-8510Y is the only one with the specified 617 graphics, but thanks for pointing out that difference. Maybe they have a slightly lower-spec custom i5 SKU from Intel? I'd be surprised though if it wasn't a Y-device nevertheless.

Looks like it's landed in Intel ARK now - i5-8210Y:


Thanks for posting - that's a pretty big yawn part. The Haswell in my current old Macbook Pro (a wonderful laptop) beats that easily enough.

The only thing custom in it is the naming, the GT2 is a single slice iGPU there is nothing to enable in it over the 615 which is already a full slice my bet is that if there is any difference is that the 617 has a boost clock of 1100 instead of 1050mhz or something silly like this.

i5 and i7 are the same chip with HT enabled on the latter but disabled on the former.

It’s still the same Amber Lake dies which are the same as KBLY.

Yes, Intel hasn't made a new CPU core for like 3 years now, this will be an Amber Lake Y CPU which are identical in function, features and performance to Kabby Lake Y.

Both are Dual Core, 4 Threads, 4MB Cache same Intel GT2 Graphics, there is literally not a single difference between them besides the SKU numbers.



It boggles my mind that Apple hasn't switched to AMD Ryzen yet. Lower cost for them, more cores/higher overall performance for their customers. What's not to like?

But no, they'd rather try and sell people $20,000 Xeon Mac Pros with half the cores of an AMD Threadripper and like 4x the price.

Raven Ridge does not offer more cores than Intel CPUs, these are 4 Core dies with an iGPU while Intel offers upto 6 and now 8 with an iGPU.

While Ryzen has good power efficiency as far as power gating goes and power management it's still behind Intel considerably which we can see in actual usability batter tests it will take probably 2 more generations until AMD has the same power management capabilities as Intel does not only for the CPU but for the entire system since Intel has been developing the centralized power management since the Centrino platform.

The future is application processors. No point in switching to another general purpose CPU.

> HD front facing camera

It amazes me that notebook makers still advertise a 720p camera as being a feature. Are we never going to get anything more than 720p for webcams? Am I the only one who wants 4k video conferencing?

Or not even 4k, I'd be good having something that matches my phone's selfie camera.

Your phone's selfie camera is significantly thicker than the display assembly here.

New keyboard has a "4x more stable butterfly mechanism."

I'm still limping along on a 2012 Air. This could finally be the upgrade.

What does "stable" mean?

Keys don't stop working because of dust anymore..?

> What does "stable" mean?

They mean the entire keys descends evenly even if you press the key near the edge, see: https://youtu.be/afNHG3jyPU4?t=265

That's what I thought.

The keyboard on my old 2016 MBP stopped functioning after 3 months: repeated characters, missing characters.

Who cares about stability!? Those keyboards don't work as keyboards!

Having recently been switched from a 2013 MBP to 2018 MBP -- the older keycaps could wiggle a little bit if you rested your fingers on them. The new keys don't exhibit this behavior, but don't feel as nice to type on.

They are talking about the 1st gen butterfly problems. 2013 was pre-butterfly.

I think it's a non-problem.

The new keyboards cease functioning with dust particles.

Any idea why the processor is only 1.5? I have a 2011 Model with 1.8ghz

Does your 2011 model have 3 Ghz turbo boost? That's just how modern processors work - lower clocks but still higher performance.

I looked up the specs - the 2011 1.8GHz was an i7-2677M. It did have a Turbo Boost up to 2.9Ghz.

This is the correct answer. 'Base clock' is just the steady-state clock speed given power and thermals. Boost clock is more relevant in general usage.

I have a newer MBP (with touchbar, ugh) and I'm quite jealous of this form factor and setup. I probably could perform most of my work on this just as well and it would have been heck of a lot cheaper.

Have you checked its form factor? It has the same width and depth as the 13" MacBook Pro and is even higher.

And no firewire!!! OMG.

No USB ports? How is that even workable?

It has two TB3/Type C ports, GP is just lying for effect.

So they finally removed the last computer with mag safe and a good keyboard from their lineup. I am not at all happy about that. All this computer needed was a new cpu, memory and a type-c port.

Magsafe is done. The writing was on the wall when the rMBP switched to USBC. If you want a magnetic breakaway USBC cable, just buy one.

Are there any breakaway USB-C's that work with 45-65W? Serious question.

There are, but they aren't good. This [1] still seems to be the best offering by the most established brand. The reason people want Apple to make them isn't because they aren't available. It is because a version made by Apple would be expected to be far superior to anything else on the market. I assume Apple knows this and is not yet able to deliver on that quality so they simply aren't offering it.

[1] - https://www.amazon.com/Griffin-BreakSafe-Magnetic-Breakaway-...

That does not square with my recollections of managing a fleet of Macbooks with Magsafe adapters.

Last time I looked into it they all sucked, every single product full of negative reviews, common theme being they stop working after a month or so of use.

There are literally dozens, just google or search Amazon, here's an example: https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Charger-Charging-Breaksafe-N...

Then I have good news - they didn't remove it, they're still selling it!


I wasn't a fan of magsafe. I'd rather have a machine that doesn't die if you look at it funny apart from the narrow case of falling over the cable.

(I have killed three macbooks)

Not only that I've seen a magsafe connector on fire.

Personally I disliked Magsafe because it never worked for its intended design. I say this in a household with three Magsafe laptops. The most common case where Magsafe disconnected was sitting on my lap. The laptop isn't wide enough to not hit my leg occasionally, causing the connecter to disconnect.

But other than that, it's supposed to be a breakaway, right? So if my laptop is sitting on the table and I trip on the cord, the cord unplugs. But that's never happened to me. If you pull the cable straight out (like if it's wrapped around your leg and you pull your leg away), the cord will stay connected and will easily pull the laptop off the table. I don't know if it was designed for heavier laptops or what, but Magsafe has never broken away for me when the cable is pulled straight out.

The only time it works as intended is if I step on the cable and it pulls the cable down, or if my leg hits the connector and it pushes straight up.

Indeed, if the cable is pulled parallel to the surface the laptop is placed upon, MagSafe won't unplug. There has to be at least some up/downward movement for it to "work".

The main problem I see with the removal of MagSafe is that you will run out of ports while charging. Sure, I could buy the umpteen dock/hub/whatever, I guess...

And a new display

Never mind all that; it has an Escape key! (When they dropped it on the latest MacBook Pro, I feared that this portended its general demise on the whole laptop line...)

Loss of escape key is the reason I cancelled my MacBook Pro order, so it's a relief that this abominable change did not infect the Air. I'd been bookmarking the Microsoft Surface for when my 2012 Retina MBP finally expires.

on their website / in their video, it has an escape key or am i mistaken? https://www.apple.com/macbook-air/

All recent 15 inch and higher-end 13 inch MacBook Pro models come with a "Touch Bar" where the Escape and Function key row ought to go. Sometimes a soft button will appear near the left edge of the Touch Bar that says "Escape", but there's no physical feedback when you touch it, and it doesn't protrude from the surface of the keyboard housing, nor have any key travel like the physical keys do, so all-in-all it's funky to touch-type. Not a happy thing for vim and emacs users, as well as for the korn shell, where it invokes command completion (as on the Tenex / Tops20 shell, for that matter).

I’m a bit confused as to where the base model MacBook Pro without the TouchBar fits into the lineup now.

It was always pretty clear to me that the 12 inch MacBook replaced the 11 inch air, and the 13 inch MacBook Pro without TouchBar replaced the 13 inch air.

There’s barely any difference between the Pro without TouchBar and the new Air. The extra hundred dollars for the Pro gets you a slightly older but faster process at the expense of an additional quarter pound of weight.

They didn't update it with the 2018 Macbook Pro refresh, presumably because this new Air was coming. I'd expect it to quietly disappear.

That makes sense, although it’s a little unfortunate. I would have preferred they update the Pro instead of releasing the new Air with a weaker processor and graphics.

There's also, finally, a new Mac Mini!

"The most specced-out Mac mini can feature 64 GB RAM, 4.6GHz 6-core Core i7 CPUs, a 2 TB SDD and 10 Gigabit ethernet."

Whoa, the internals aren't just a MacBook Air now?

The price has skyrocketed though, entry model is $800 (used to be $500), the top end with all options is $4200.

It would be interesting to compare that to an equivalent Intel NUC, my guess is you are paying a lot for the ability to run macOS.

The Mac Mini (standard configs) are pretty comparable to the latest Intel NUC, compared to something like this https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/boards-kits... (and folks can debate whether the Mini's 6-cores and no dGPU is better/worse than the NUC's 4-cores with a Radeon GPU).

What's neat is that the Mini now runs a full desktop CPU (60W TDP?). So while the default configs of the Mac Mini are roughly equivalent to a NUC , the Mini has higher max upgrade headroom and a fully-tricked-out Mini will significantly surpass a NUC in speed/memory/networking.

There aren't NUCs that compare. You can't buy a NUC with an i7 6 core, one with 64GB of memory, or one with 10GBit.

There aren't NUCs that compare for all variants.

According to Reddit, NUCs mostly have mobile processors. NUCs with desktop processors like the latest Mac Mini tend to be more expensive than the Mac Mini.

Thats probably just inflation since the last update :)

It's the addition of RAM that kills the price though. A jump from 32GB to 64GB is $800USD!

Unless there's another pair of SODIMM slots hidden somewhere out of view, that'd be because the 64GB configuration requires a pair of 32GB DDR4 SODIMMs. These were only announced by manufacturers earlier this year, and aren't even available at most retailers yet.

The current line is a bit weird. MacBook 12” vs MacBook Air 13” vs MacBook Pro 13” without Touch Bar.

I just wish they release a 14” MacBook. That would have made more sense.

Exactly. The Macbook feels out of place now. It has one less USB-C port, less battery power, and is $100 more expensive with lesser specs.

And it has a different name. Before this new Air came out, I figured they were just going to kill the Air line and release a 13" Macbook at a cheaper price. (Which is essentially what this is)

The base MacBook has 256GB Storage. I still don't think that merits it being $100 more expensive than the base Air, but sigh.

I guess the MacBook Air brand is just much more popular at this point. Being the "first utrabook" and considering you see many more Airs in the wild than New MacBooks, they probably just decided it'd be better for marketing.

The Macbook feels out of place now

Think of it as an entry-level, but fully capable Mac. For people who use their phone almost exclusively, but need a computer once or twice a month for work.

That's exactly how my wife uses hers.

I worked full time on one at some point. Doing RoR dev. It wasn't powerful enough. But the form factor is really fun. You can hold it with one hand and type on it.

But now the entry level Macbook Air is better than the Macbook in every way except the base storage level.

The 12" MacBook is still better in terms of portability.

That's a hell of a premium device for doing work once or twice in a month.

Different strokes. Her primary concern is size, not price, and it's the last of the small Apple laptops.

It's smaller and way lighter, though. In a past life I flew by air several times per week; I would've bought the 12" in a heartbeat if it existed.

Don't forget they're still selling the old MacBook Air for $999

I said this exact thing to a coworker less than 3 minutes ago!

I just got a surface book 2 after having trouble adjusting to the touch bar mbp. It is not perfect in any way but everything I care about (thermals, battery, performance, keyboard) got so much better. WSL is a good enough shell replacement and windows as a whole feels more productive. The touch and tablet mode is surprisingly handy. It is weird but after 10 years die-hard mac user I don’t feel it no more. No matter how hard I try, iOS keeps being a toy (media consumption/browsing) and mac has the wrong priorities. Maybe that changes with next years Pro lineup. Right now I am a refugee in the Microsoft ecosystem. And I like it.

Funny, I just got a 2017 Macbook Air because Windows 10 was annoying me with news-in-my-start-menu and a change in how start-button-search worked from all the previous Windows OSes.

WSL got me used to using bash in my daily work flow, but having a Darwin system with unix in its bones is heaven to me.

Funny how tastes can change :)

> 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, with 4MB L3 cache... Intel UHD Graphics 617

https://twitter.com/tum_apisak/status/1034639298174148608 it's a custom chip made for Apple. Look at the other Amber Lake Y chips: https://ark.intel.com/products/codename/186968/Amber-Lake-Y they have lower base but higher Turbo and UHD 615 not UHD 617.

Any idea how these compare to the 2.9Ghz dual core i7 in the 2015 MacBook Pro 13"?

I'm expecting these to be slower, but have no concept of what an apples to apples comparison looks like there since clock speed can be so misleading between generations. Ditto the UHD 617 vs. Iris 6100, for that matter.

> since clock speed can be so misleading between generations

I am sorry but no. They haven't been misleading for a long, long time. IPC grew from Sandy Bridge to Kaby Lake only by 20% https://www.hardocp.com/article/2017/01/13/kaby_lake_7700k_v... and since then nothing because Intel is barely doing more than tweaking the Turbo profiles because 10nm is not happening. All these years the progress was more in power consumption than anything else. Note how ThinkPads (and the world) moved from 35W dual core to 15W dual core chips. So if you compare them clock to clock you won't be far. But you don't know what clock of the chip actually will be because the problem with Y CPUs the problem always was: how good is the cooling, how long are they are able to maintain their top Turbo before throttling. Noone can say as there are no Amber Lake laptops yet and much less an Apple. What we can say with surety is even if it has exceptional great cooling it can only keep up with the 5557U in single core, in multi core performance it'll be half at best.

The UHD 617 is not officially launched but https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-HD-615-Mobile-Ka... the Iris Pro is a different class to the HD 615. I do not expect anything groundbreaking between the HD 615 and the 617. Check the difference between 610 and 615: https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel--HD-610-Desktop-...

Awesome, thanks for this and the context around clock speed not being quite as misleading anymore modulo thermal throttling.

My takeaway here is that my 2015 MBP13 will still blow away a new MBA then, so no reason to upgrade.

Edit: the GPU comparison may be off, though. MBP13 used an Iris 6100, not an Iris Pro. Problem is I can't find official reference anywhere to an Iris Pro 6100, so have no idea what's reporting for this benchmark. What I do know is the Iris 6100 benched worse than the Iris Pro 5200, whereas this IP6100 in the link benches better.

We're inching ever so gradually toward idlewords's 2016 piece "Benjamin Button Reviews The New MacBook Pro".[1]

[1] https://blog.pinboard.in/2016/10/benjamin_button_reviews_the...

Reminds me of the "Upgrade to Windows 7" article that was doing the rounds when Windows 8 was big.

I feel that both were appropriate. I think that Windows 7 was in many ways, better than Windows 8; the MacBook Pros before the 2016 redesign were in many ways, better than the ones after that.

I'm sure there will be a design that will be better than the 2015 model (Which I recently bought, second hand, after using the 2016 one for a bit over a year.) But we haven't seen it yet. Similarily, I'd rather use the modern Windows 10 rather than Windows 7. But Windows 8 or Windows 10 at its inception? Heck no.

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