Skip to main content

Why Apple Needs To Update The MacBook Air

When Apple launched the 12" MacBook a year and a half ago many took it as a sign that the MacBook Air was reaching the end of its shelf life and would disappear from Apple's product catalogue in the not too distant future.

Those same people are expressing surprise over rumours of an incoming MBA update, and they're wrong to, because it betrays a misunderstanding of the way that Tim Cook's Apple does business.

The MacBook Air is far and away the cheapest Apple laptop available today. Yes the iPad Pro is a cheaper option, but outside of Apple and a handful of tech bloggers with wildly divergent use cases, there is no one who really believes that an iPad Pro can substitute for a real computer.

As the cheapest Apple laptop on the market there are some compromises - a lower resolution screen for example - yet it's still a significantly more expensive machine than directly comparable Windows laptops.

Which entirely explains its presence on Apple's roster. A machine that maintains Apple's aspirational position in the market whilst still being a capable and premium machine. For buyers whose first experience of Apple has been their iPhone it's a way for Apple to gently ease them further into its ecosystem, with the expectation that the more Apple devices a customer has, the more they are likely to desire.

With hardware sales under pressure it would unwise of Apple to raise the bar to Mac computing by somewhere around 50%, which means the MacBook Air stays and will continue to receive refreshes to keep it competent amongst its peers.

I'm not expecting any major changes to the MBA, or at least not until Apple figures out a way to reduce the build cost whilst retaining the premium build and pricing, but don't expect the MBA to be going anywhere just yet.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…