back to article Apple breathes new life into MacBook Air with overhauled 2018 model

Apple has given the moldering MacBook Air a new lease of life at the company's hardware event in Brooklyn today. For years Apple seemed to be nudging its most practical computer into an early grave. Instead of wanting folk to buy the increasingly neglected workhorse, they were instead ushered towards its more expensive …

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  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Vanilla USB-C ports or Thunderbolt 3?

    The lack of touchbar could be a winner, the convenience doesn't outweigh the price hike over non-touchbar on the Pro's imo. Like the fingerprint unlock though aspect though.

    Still not sure a 13" air has a place with the MacBook and the 13" Pro.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      To answer my own question - its TB3 ports :)

    2. Alan Watson

      Actually it's the non-Touchbar 13" pro whose place I would question. That's still the 2017 machine, complete with only a dual core cpu and earlier generation keyboard, but at the same price it commanded when newly released. It also has a single fan (the touchbar models always had 2, even for the same cpu), a weaker WiFi unit, and of course the same smaller number of ports that the Air has (just 2). Maybe a year ago, when the touchbar models had the same cpus and keyboards, you might have felt that the other compromises were worth it to save a little money, but with the same prices this year and a more significant spec difference I'd question its value.

      So personally I'd say buy the touchbar model if you need the extra power of the Pro, buy the Air if you don't.

  2. jason 7

    Well it will look so stylish...

    ...when it fails, is unrepairable and goes into landfill in a year or two.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Well it will look so stylish...

      Oh Really? How many Mac's fail within 2 years? Like it or not, like the lack repairability or not most Macs will be going strong for many more than 2 years.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Well it will look so stylish...

        Well going off the fancy keyboard that failed too soon in the MacBook pro 2016 I'd say plenty enough....

        1. jason 7

          Re: Well it will look so stylish...

          Yeah I don't think he's watched many Louis Rossmann videos either.

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Well it will look so stylish...

        Depends if you want the Apple store to repair it, from the looks of it Apple stores like to replace non essential parts and basically make repairs the same price as a new machine.

        Louis Rossmann on Youtube shows that actually they can be cheap to repair and even shows how to repair common parts. Although I hate Apple with a passion (OTHER MANUFACTURERS STOP COPYING THEM FFS AND USING GLUE ON EVERYTHING, I WANT TO BE ABLE TO REPLACE BATTERIES WITHOUT TAKING OUT A BLOODY HAIRDRIER!), as its a very few models actually they should be easier to repair.

      3. applebyJedi

        Re: Well it will look so stylish...

        My original 2014 Mac 5k has failed and it's £600 to repair. The computer that cost £2,000 has lasted 3 1/2 years.

      4. Jove Bronze badge

        Re: Well it will look so stylish...

        "Oh Really? How many Mac's fail within 2 years?"

        ... my MacBook Pro failed in less than two months.

        1. The Sprocket

          Re: Well it will look so stylish...

          I have a PowerBook G4 and an iBook G4 still operating just fine since being bought new in 2006. My previous laptop, a G3 Wallstreet from 1998 died in 2008 after 10 years of rigorous service.

          No. As a rule, Macbooks are pretty robust, but there are exceptions.

          1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

            Re: Well it will look so stylish...

            They used to be. Back when you could actually upgrade them.

        2. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Well it will look so stylish...

          Two months: Under warranty. 2 years in Europe: Most likely covered by consumer protection laws.

      5. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Well it will look so stylish...

        My 2006 MacBook got retired because I got a faster one, not because it didn't work. My 2010 MacBook works just fine after eight years.

    2. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

      Re: Well it will look so stylish...

      and goes into landfill..

      No, take it to the apple store and get a quote for $1200 then take it to an independent repair shop for a $5 DC power in cable...

      https://youtu.be/V7RXJP4mxCc

    3. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Gimp

      Re: Well it will look so stylish...

      Apple MacBook FreshAir ProBlemo - sounds cool!

    4. Ian Joyner

      Re: Well it will look so stylish...

      "...when it fails, is unrepairable and goes into landfill in a year or two."

      The only thing going to landfill is rubbish comments like this.

      Did you ever stop to consider that making things repairable makes them more susceptible to failure in the first place? Plug connectors fail. Things that are soldered into place are less likely to fail.

      Macs do not fail after 2 years. I have given a few of mine to relatives and they have made over 10 years old.

      Then when they are past their life, there is a good recycling scheme in place so they don't go into landfill.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well it will look so stylish...

        I have given a few of mine to relatives and they have made over 10 years old

        How long does the battery last, in minutes?

      2. m0rt Silver badge

        @Ian Joyner Re: Well it will look so stylish...

        "Did you ever stop to consider that making things repairable makes them more susceptible to failure in the first place? "

        You never owned an original ThinkPad, I gather.

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: @Ian Joyner Well it will look so stylish...

          @m0rt Have to agree the IBM ThinkPad's we had were owned outlasted by an old P3 Panasonic Toughbook.

          HP Business laptops from just over 4 years ago used to all be easily to get into (Most cases one panel with a push clip and you were able to replace memory, hd's heatsinks and heatpipes) came with ok manuals, parts were a rip off but everything in the maintenance guides meant anyone could perform simple repairs (I remember touchpads being a pain in the arse on ProBook 6730b's but most people tended to crush the screen with a pen)

      3. moopet

        Re: Well it will look so stylish...

        "Macs do not fail after 2 years. "

        I've owned 2 macbooks, 1 macbook pro and 3 ipod nanos.

        One of the macbooks was DOA.

        One of the ipods was DOA

        The MBP died after about a year.

        The other MB and ipods and the replacement MB lasted fine for years.

        But you know what? That's still not a good ratio. if that was a PC manufacturer people would be calling them out on it.

    5. mrdalliard
      WTF?

      Re: Well it will look so stylish...

      Fails? Have you actually used one? I've had my Air for five and a half years. It's still a damn good machine. Admittedly, it's not get retina-this and touchbar-that and the battery doesn't quite have the capacity that it did, but I'd say that it's the best portable Mac I've had. It's surprisingly solid and dependable.

      I do have to say, though, that removing the SD card slot and all those other ports on the new model was a mistake - and let's not forget they've also adopted that new keyboard. I think I'll be keeping hold of my current machine for as long as I can.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Retina Display you say? Thunderbolt ports you say? An i5? In a 1.2Kg package you say?

    Oh, it's only got 8GB of RAM. Fuck's sake Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only 8GB RAM?

      My 10 year-old Macbook Pro runs just fine with 8GB, and it gets used for some non-trivial workloads (static analysis and the like).

      Don't forget, this is intended for document work, browsing and the like (not video editing and other memory-hungry use-cases).

      1. jason 7

        Re: Only 8GB RAM?

        Ahem, to kind of quote Blackadder...

        Then some sort of Chromebook is in order?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually, it looks like you can stick another 8GB in for $200. Somewhat begs the question as to what's the point of the 13" MBP.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        The point of the 13" MBP (2018) is more cores + hyperthreading and processor grunt. (ie for developers).

        You wouldnt want to run anything more than a basic VM on an Air.

        Interesting but little known fact the low power Macbook 2017 CPU's are roughly equivalent to 2014 13 MBP. I looked into a MacBook as a replacement for my beloved 11" Air with an added need for a bit more VM grunt.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          > Somewhat begs the question as to what's the point of the 13" MBP.

          Most likely thermal design - the Pro can run at full pelt for longer. That said, both this new Air and the Pro can off load work into an external GPU over Thunderbolt.

        2. Tom 38 Silver badge

          The point of the 13" MBP (2018) is more cores + hyperthreading and processor grunt. (ie for developers).

          You wouldnt want to run anything more than a basic VM on an Air.

          What the actual fuck? Who runs VMs when developing, is this 2012?

          I don't need much CPU whilst developing - you only work in one small area of your code at a time - but the thing which makes my laptop stop being useful for development is when it runs out of RAM, and can't keep all those different kubelets in memory.

          CPU? I haven't felt constrained CPU wise for ~10 years. RAM is the only thing I run out of when developing locally (and, I suppose, battery...)

          1. Def Silver badge

            can't keep all those different kubelets in memory.

            CPU? I haven't felt constrained CPU wise for ~10 years.

            I don't know what the fuck a kubelet is, but you obviously don't write them in C++, and you clearly don't need to compile them. If you did, you'd understand why you don't use a toy for development.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              A kubelet is the smallest component of a kubernetes cluster.

              Some of them I do actually write in C++, more in Go, most in some sort of scripting language, because writing all the things in C/C++ is a waste of fucking time.

              Still not CPU constrained.

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      16Gb is a build to order.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's 2.7 lbs in real money?

    C'mon El Reg, nobody other than Americans uses lbs for weight these days (and if you're going to be all international and nickname yourselves with an "El", you should really be all properly international with your units of measurement), so what's 2.7 lbs in real money… (or even fractions of PHBs wrapped in carpet)?

    (Ah, 1.22 kg, or so my phone tells me… That's pretty impressively light!)

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: What's 2.7 lbs in real money?

      "(Ah, 1.22 kg, or so my phone tells me… That's pretty impressively light!)"

      Nah not so lite , the Lenovo X1 Carbon is only 1,13 Kgs and with a slightly better config ( 14" IPS Screen, same shitty 8gb ram, better disk capacity 256Gb SSD ), it is more expensive though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's 2.7 lbs in real money?

        Since when was 8GB RAM "shittty" in an entry level device FFS?

        Sure it needs an SD card slot and more ports, but 8GB is enough for entry and most users.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: What's 2.7 lbs in real money?

          Since when was 8GB RAM "shittty" in an entry level device FFS?

          Since the Internet and browsers decided to use 150mb per page....

          And anyone in IT is likely to have 20 or more pages/tabs open at once.

          Then you remove Windows overheads. Then you remove your daily applications + Office/Outlook overheads, then there's that YT video in the backgrounds or a radio streaming and a couple of rdp sessions..

          Suddenly 8gb seems very limited...

          OK you standard user might use less but you can be sure that their PC is full of shitty games and a broken antivirus and the OS is screaming for updates, whilst Candy Crush or similar is hogging a max.... And they too start to feel the limit.

          Memory costs very little today, except for Apple memory that is. So why limit it from the beginning h.

          Shit if even my telephone has 4gb why would my pc have so little....

          This is just vendor greed....

      2. moopet

        Re: What's 2.7 lbs in real money?

        I remember having a couple of Sharp MM20s, that weighed 900g each. Sure they were underpowered but this was back in the days where they came with Windows 95, so if a random manufacturer could do it then...

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: What's 2.7 lbs in real money?

      >so what's 2.7 lbs in real money…

      0.2916 Jub of course...

      > (or even fractions of PHBs wrapped in carpet)

      I like this -->

    3. Marco Fontani

      Re: What's 2.7 lbs in real money?

      so what's 2.7 lbs in real money… (or even fractions of PHBs wrapped in carpet)?

      I'll be sure to weigh him next time I see him and I wrap it on a carpet - but meanwhile here's the Reg Standards' Bureau's take on how much 2.7lbs is.

      It's about a seventh of an adult badger, give or take. Or, in other words, you'd need about 1225 new Macbook Airs to have the same weight as one skateboarding rhinoceros.

    4. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Boffin

      Re: What's 2.7 lbs in real money?

      £ 2.70 = $ 3.43 (at today's exchange rates)

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Retina Grade Density

    And what is the actual resolution, on their site they don't appear to actually give a resolution outside of the fact that there are 4 million pixels ? confusing ....

    @Gordon : It appears as though there are 2 (sic) "Thunderbolt 3(USB-C)" ports..

  6. Dave559 Bronze badge

    1440×900

    The introduction of a retina display is very welcome, but that "old" 1440×900 is, even now, still a heck of a better than the average non-Mac craptop ever ships with!

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: 1440×900

      You can't compare a £200 low end laptop with any Apple device, of course its going to look rubbish spec wise and shiney plasticy wise.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: 1440×900

        I believe the resolution is 2560x1600 (4096000 pixels in total). Apple's made that display at this size for a while, so it makes the most sense.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: 1440×900

          Don't the Retina displays double the pixels and hence reduce the actual resolution?

  7. JulieM Silver badge

    But

    How much does it weigh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But

      Depends which side of the planet you are on.

  8. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    128GB???????

    I know I am not the target market for this but even as a base model 128GB of SSD seems really tight, given that I can buy a 256Gb M.2 for £46.98 that's pretty awful when combined with the lack of an sd slot for expansion.

  9. James 51 Silver badge
    Meh

    It has the same number and type of ports as a Gemini. Higher res screen but then you can stick linux on the Gemini and it has a micro sd slot and there's a 4G model. Probably a fraction of the price.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Linux on the new MacBook Air

      Give it a few weeks or so I'm sure that at least one Linux Distro will work just fine on the new laptop.

      The same goes with Windows 10 but I don't know why anyone would do that (sic).

      My 2012 15in MBP runs CentOS 7 very nicely.

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