I suspect the next generation MacBook Air is coming soon. With Lion it will be pretty wonderful but I do have some particular wants.
Memory – 4GB
The current generation MacBook Air (MBA) is a bit lacking in this department. The current models, not even just the low-end, small 11-inch models, ship with only 2GB of memory. I realize that having a solid-state drive alleviates much of the need for having a massive reservoir of RAM. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t help. Everyone knows that Firefox runs with an absurd memory footprint and I can’t even imagine what Lion runs under-the-hood as services and just how much memory that uses. Good features, indeed, but memory intensive for sure. Most Windows-based laptops come standard with 4GB these days with a 6GB or 8GB upgrade for not much more.
Battery life – 7+
The low-end MacBook Air was slated for a 5-hour battery life. The larger model was only two hours more. I realize that Steve said these tests were far more stringent than traditional battery testing, but I don’t trust it. I need more than 3.5 and 5.5 hours of life. I need something more akin to 8 or 9. I want that high model to offer me 8 hours of ideal life and maybe 6.5 of real-world usage life. That would be reasonable.
Bezel – Black like a Mac
Honestly, there is nothing more beautiful on an iMac or MacBook Pro than where the aluminium meets the black horizon bezel. It’s striking and breath-taking. I don’t know specifically why Apple decided to omit it, but I thought it had something to do with the thin-factor. Why not unite the line of notebooks with the same unified bezel? It makes sense and looks fantastic.
Price – Cuts
So, of course, price. I like the 11-inch price starting at $999. But then, why not go cheaper? There was an iMac six years ago that broke the sub-$800 mark and it was possible back then. Will an $799 or $899 discourage iPad sales? I doubt it would; it would instead encourage those sales. Money not spent on the MacBook Air will be spent on something else so it’s possible that an iPad is in the ballpark. My imaginary line up would run something like this:
- MBA 11” + Core 2 Duo 1.4 GHz + 64GB SSD + 2GB RAM (current generation) — $799
The current MacBook Air models are still good for a lot of people; normal people don’t know and don’t care what Thunderbolt is and won’t miss it. So the cheapest model will be that old, original MacBook Air. It would be great to run with the faster Core 2 Duo in the base model but the problem is the battery and I doubt it could take the hit.
- MBA 11” + Sandy Bridge + 64GB SSD + 2GB RAM (new generation) — $899
The next step up is an updated 11-inch of the original line running with the new processor and the same old 2GB of RAM. It’s lower than $1000 and it will still draw attention.
- MBA 11” + Sandy Bridge + 64GB SSD + 4GB RAM (new generation) — $999
The true base model of old, the $1000 model. Basically an upgraded set of RAM and that’s all the difference. From here, it gets going.
- MBA 13” + Sandy Bridge* + 128GB SSD + 4GB RAM (new generation) — $1249
With the bigger screen, faster processor and a larger SSD, it will jump from $1000 to $1250. This is the one I would buy if it existed.
- MBA 13” + Sandy Bridge* + 256GB SSD + 4GB RAM (new generation) — $1549
The current high-end MacBook Air is set at $1599 which is staggering. A $50 price cut on that isn’t much, but it’s something.
My idea is that these will make sales increase despite making less per unit itself. I don’t know – I don’t know my hardware sales strategy. I would go for that 13-inch 128GB SSD model myself – speedy, bigger enough and definitely long-lasting. Honestly, I can’t see this happening – Apple will probably just keep the same old line-up and cease innovation in a market they own. But, with these kinds of changes, this line will become the consumer line and the MacBook Pro will essentially be just that – the professional line. Portability above all else here; power above all else there.
We’ll see soon.