Is this the wrong time to buy a laptop?

That and the enormous video card power it would take to drive that many pixels. But the Retina brand has already been diluted by the iPad and the laptops. The original specification for the iPhone was roughly 300 DPI. The iPad is much less, and the laps even less than the iPad. Apple’s marketing excuse for this is that you don’t hold an iPad as close as an iPhone, or something like that, but really it’s a technology limitation. This is part the video card problem, in part the expense, and in part battery usage concerns. Driving a 300 DPI display at laptop scales would require a huge amount of battery power to push the necessary light through the dense pixel layer. You can get away with this on the iPad and iPhone because these devices are primarily just a battery and a thin sheen of electronics. Laptops have much more sophisticated electronic components, which themselves require a lot more power to drive. On the iPad you can get away with devoting an iPad sized chunk of battery to primarily the display, because there isn’t much going on otherwise, and when there is (such as playing games) the battery life takes a dive off a cliff.

So yes, it would have been nice to see a high-res MBA, but as with the iPad mini—that’s just not the target for the device at this point in time. We need a few more generations in components and batteries for this to be feasible I think, just as it took a number of generations for high-res to somewhat leave the tiny iPhone screen.

The large-sceen retina horizon / might / be drawing closer… … ackground/

Battery life is KEY to me in a portable computer. If I have to carry the power adapter with me, I might as well have a bolted-on battery of the same weight, giving me a weekend’s worth of power sans cables. It’s the first time I’ve seen a laptop of any variety that prioritized usefulness away from an outlet over raw computing power, and I say it’s well past time (1 year past time for me). I fear that by the time I do need to replace my air, with the snails pace of battery tech progression, they’ll have retina displays but will be back to 5-6 hours of battery life.

That’d be nice, Retina on big screen, but I believe it when I see it :slight_smile:

On battery life: definitely long life is a key feature for laptops, but frankly on my MBP 13" Retina I can easily go over the six hours of uninterrupted usage with wifi on and fetching emails and web browsing and all that jazz. After six hours, my own internal battery is kind of dead anyway :slight_smile:

Right, but you’re paying for that with more weight and bulk. Getting the same performance profile out of these tiny MBA models is going to require better technology than we have right now.

The new mac air screen resolution, its still quite low and what about glossy screen do you think this is the way to go for a writers laptop. I love the thought of a smaller laptop, my Dell is 17 widescreen and its a pain hauling it out at airports and such, and heavy, not suitable to use on a airline or travelling by anything to be honest.

So I think the 13 is a good size and to go for top of the range and add on software your looking at about £1700 for the new one, is that value.

I am craving to get Scrivener for Mac for sure to :slight_smile:

Well, I haven’t been able to watch the keynote … my internet connection here behind the GFWoC is too slow, but unless they’ve downgraded the screen on the 13" MBA, it is fine. I’ve had mine since late 2010 and the screen is well big enough for Scrivener, though probably best if using a vertical split … i.e. L/R editors …it’s better with the inspector hid, though lately I haven’t even bothered to do that. I also use Adobe Garamond Pro 13 pt as my editor font and have no problem reading it, in spite of my fairly advanced age. So I wouldn’t worry about screen. Oh, and the glossy screen, I don’t even notice it.

As for a 17" Dell, I think you need to be into body building to lug that around. I have a 17" MBP, late 2011 … upgraded from my original 17" MBP which was even heavier, though I guess your Dell weighs even more. I got the MBA so as not to have to carry my MBPs around too much.

Mr X

Well since I bought a MBP 13” with Retina and SSD about a month ago, I looked at the new 13” MBA. When comparing the total cost, it might have been a little less for the MBA. But, the MBA still has only a couple connections. With the MBP has much more connectivity and expandability. So I am still very happy with my purchase.

Yeah, I wouldn’t classify either MBA screen as being “quite low”. They are both a good deal sharper than the average screen out there. I forget the precise numbers, but I think they are around 140 DPI (where the Retina laptop screen is around 200 DPI). That was in fact one of the things that I remarked upon back when it came out. It was a for its time a very sharp display that makes working with text a pleasure (though most will find they need to work in a slightly larger font size than they are accustomed to because the display isn’t scaled like the Retina is).

Regarding glossy screens: hate ‘em. Stupidest computer fad ever, but it’s not about to make me buy a netbook as an alternative (not that there are many matte netbooks either). The one good thing though is that Apple has done something to the glass to reduce glare from the initial models. They are not nearly as bad as they used to be.

Definitely. I’ve always said buying an MBA should not be your only computer. The port limitation is part of that, and I would also say the overall minimal horsepower is another. Apple fans are loath to call it a netbook, but it really should be thought of as one (even if it is a slightly more powerful one than normal). The SSD makes some things about it faster than you’d expect. Back when I first got it I ran some tests that were heavy disk I/O in nature, like compiling Apache from scratch and it was blisteringly fast at this because the bottleneck in software compilation is the thousands of files that are rapidly opening and closing. But toss something CPU/GPU-heavy at the MBA and it folds.

But that is fine for writing. I don’t need Photoshop on it. :slight_smile:

Thank you for your responses, I went into Waitrose /John Lewis last night while idling time before a knee MRI Scan and they had a small electronics section and the macair both 11 and 13 so I played happily for a while, these were the older models, but I have to say so light and the touch pad has a nice firm feel which I like, I am a bit of a mouse user still :slight_smile:.
I am still tempted to hang on until the new maverick comes out, but guessing upgrade to that would happen automatically.
The only other issue is not upsetting my bank balance with the final figure :smiley:

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to bring myself to call it by the “M” word. Just reading it gives me Sarah Palin campaign flashbacks. shudder

If you adopt the trackpad gestures, you’ll really miss them when you have to use a mouse on another computer. The only thing that I still have trouble with is the click-and-drag operation; even the multi-touch gesture for that often makes me want a pad the size of my keyboard.

I can’t comment on Sarah Palin, but I do know that click-and-drag is super easy if you have tap to click activated. You can actually take your finger off the trackpad during a click-and-drag operation to drag in multiple finger “hops” across the trackpad. That is, your finger hops, but the cursor doesn’t. Try it, it makes more sense when you do it. Alternatively, you can replace one finger with another (kind of like a finger moonwalk) to achieve the same effect, but I find finger hopping easier.

Or just get used to the sensitivity cranked all the way up, that is what I did and I never run out of space while moving the cursor around or dragging. A little flick is enough to send it all the way across, and meanwhile if you move really slow the precision is still there.

If you want a “writer’s laptop” the MacBook Air 11" is perfect. Absolutely perfect. Previous mentions about relatively slow speed, and bottlenecks, are . . . to be frank . . . silly. If you need a computer for heavy-duty image/video work than the MBA is probably not the machine for you. But for writing, and for Scrivener? Perfection.

I much prefer the 11" and I think it tends to work better with Scrivener. This is primarily because the 13" and 11" aren’t just different sizes (duh), but they use different ratios. The 13" is in a 4:3 ratio (think old school TV) and the 11" is in a 16:9 ratio (think HD). Because of how Scrivener works (lots of width with binder, main area, then inspector), the 16:9 ratio is much nicer. (There would be some exceptions to this in some usage scenarios.)

At any rate, the 11" is great for writing, web design (I do a lot of that with it), brainstorming (Scapple, mindmaps, etc.), and more.

'fraid I couldn’t agree less. Much as I look at the 11" model and think, “I’d love one of those”, the much greater space on the 13" can only be of help in Scrivener … and it is not 4:3 — how you turn 1440:900 into 4:3 I cannot imagine; it’s 16:10 as opposed to 16:9 on the 11" (1366:768). In other words you have a bit more screen area in both directions … and that’s a disadvantage? I cannot imagine that in whatever usage scenario you care to name; slightly less portable because a little bit heavier and less compact for fitting in a bage, yes … but more screen space even if a slightly different ratio, I really can’t see being a disadvantage.

Mr X

Mr. X: You said it best: “I can’t imagine.” Let’s leave it at that. Forget about exact ratios, the 11 is a joy to use. As you mention it’s smaller, more portable.

If someone absolutely needs the screen space then, yes, get the 13". And I’m very familiar with screen space having the 27" iMac. And yet . . . I still prefer using Scrivener on my 11" MBA! Imagine that!

Mr. X: You said it best: “I can’t imagine.” Let’s leave it at that. Forget about exact ratios, the 11 is a joy to use. As you mention it’s smaller, more portable.

If someone absolutely needs the screen space then, yes, get the 13". And I’m very familiar with screen space having the 27" iMac. And yet . . . I still prefer using Scrivener on my 11" MBA! Imagine that.

Damned server timed out … lost the message! Here we go again …

Actually, yes … I have a 17" MBP “portable desktop” — screen resolution same as a 21" monitor — but I prefer the MBA for Scrivener. And although I look at the 11" MBAs with concupiscence, I think I’d find one cramped. As I work with translations, I have open: the Binder — quite wide; left editor for the translation I’m working on; right editor for the source text; inspector for foot/endnotes. On the 13", my two editors are plenty wide enough even without going full-screen; I think with the 11" I’d have to turn either the binder or inspector on and off when needed. I know that’s just a shortcut away, but I don’t have to worry about a shortcut.

But as I’ve said elsewhere, de gustibus non est disputandum. :slight_smile:

Mr X

Mr X: I think if I were doing translation work like you, then I’d also prefer the 13" for all the reasons you discussed. Quite understandable.

Realistically both versions are great computers, both work well with Scrivener. And hopefully the original poster has enough info at this point that they can make the best decision given their particular situation. I certainly don’t see any reason to put off buying a laptop at this point, just making a decison on which is best for their particular needs.

There’s another factor those debating the merits of a 11" versus 13" MBA might want to examine. It was pointed out to me by one of the staff when I visited Seattle’s Apple Store last year, I was interested in a MBA and tilting toward the 11" for portability.

The screen on the 11", he said, it a bit more pixilated than that on the 13". I checked and that did seem to be true. The 13" screen did seem sharper, at least in the too-bright lighting of an Apple Store. That, plus the greater battery life, moved me decisively toward the 13".

I’m not sure if that’s still true of the latest models. The cause might be the screen manufacturer rather than the pixel count. But if you spend as much time in front of a screen as I do, it is worth examining.

Also, if you get one of the new MBAs, think seriously about paying $100 to get 8 Gig of memory. Yes, it is galling to pay that much. Just as prices began to climb earlier this year, I picked up 16 Gig for my Mac mini for just under $100. For the MBA, Apple is charging that much for what is, in effect, just 4 Gig of memory. Price gouging.

The only way you can get more memory in a MBA is at purchase, and adding more is the best way to future proof a Mac. In addition to the RAM compression that’ll be in Mavericks (how I hate that silly name), having twice the memory should add several more years of useful life to that MBA, particularly if you use multiple applications at one time.

It was an inability to get effectively more than 3 Gig of RAM in my old iMac that forced me to upgrade it to a Mac mini. Limited memory was slowing me down and making apps such as InDesign unstable. And I soon as I got the Mac mini, I upgraded to 16 Gig via third parties. There’ll probably be third parties such as OWC supplying SSD upgrades to MBAs, but no one wants to deal with upgrading soldered-in RAM.