Apple refreshes Macbook Air with Haswell and drops price


Apple has refreshed their Macbook Air line-up today that introduces the new Haswell Intel processors to the mix, other than that there have been no changes made to the hardware, meaning we won't be seeing solar panels and dual displays just yet.

One small, yet significant non-hardware change however does do your wallet a favor: the prices of the Macbook Air models have been dropped by $100 each-- a rather welcome move for their premium lineup which usually only extends to "last generation" devices from Apple.

The entry level 11" model now clocks in at $899 (sans an array of optional upgrades), and for that you'll get:

  • the new Haswell 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz,
  • Intel HD Graphics 5000,
  • 4GB memory, and
  • 128GB of PCIe-based flash storage.

You can check out the Apple Store for the four options that now range between $899 and $1199 for the base models.

One interesting point to note is that the 11" Macbook Air is now $100 cheaper than the Surface Pro 2 which costs $999, did Apple purposely undercut the Surface? Although the devices are different in nature, it's refreshing to see Apple being cheaper than at least one of their main rivals.

Source: The Verge | Image: Apple

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Would be a great laptop, if Apple used a better GPU - such as AMD or NVidia - not sure if the current Intel GPU is up to much? It never had good reputation previously, especial for games...

Simon Fowkes said,
Would be a great laptop, if Apple used a better GPU - such as AMD or NVidia - not sure if the current Intel GPU is up to much? It never had good reputation previously, especial for games...

It is an ultra-book - take a guess why gaming doesn't perform well on such a device.

Apple + "drops price" in the same sentence? Color me impressed. For Apple that's very, very difficult to do with me. Still too expensive for my tastes though.

The price drop seems like a move to compete with Surface Pro. They need to update the MacBook Pros too. I wish the MBP with Ethernet and SuperDrive built-in would have Retina display.

Haha.. Low price my ass, this should say US only. The Swedish price is 8495kr for the lowest specced edition that's $1295.

Learn to MOMS - you need to add 25% to US prices to compare with Sweden. Sure, it's still more expensive here, but it's not as crazy as you'd have everyone think.

Just noticed that if I where to buy a mac mini and wanted 2x 256gb SSD instead of a ATA disc. It would cost 5880kr more or $900. Do you blame MOMS here as well? And do you ignore the fact that I can buy a 512gb Samsung SSD for 2199kr MOMS included that's $330. Somehow Apple feel the need to charge $600 more.

Now is the time for Apple to become more aggressive in wooing dissatisfied Windows users. Until the Windows-8 mess is fixed (hopefully with Windows-9) there is a huge customer base looking for alternatives.

tsupersonic said,
Good price, bring on the Retina display on the MBA! I am tempted to sell my Surface Pro 2 for this

For some reason I get the feeling that the MacBook Air will be the last product to get Retina given that it appears that Apple is gearing up MacBook Air as a price fighter given their willingness to shave $100 off the price.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

For some reason I get the feeling that the MacBook Air will be the last product to get Retina given that it appears that Apple is gearing up MacBook Air as a price fighter given their willingness to shave $100 off the price.

Well all the big sellers have retina displays - MBP, iPhone/iPod Touch, iPad + iPad mini. The only things missing are the MBA, and iMac.

ZipZapRap said,
Terrific price! Anyone running Windows 8.1 on one of these?

I run a Windows 8.1 VM using VMware Fusion on my Macs. So if I need Windows on my Mac, it's there.

No real need to use it though. These days OS X does everything I need an OS to do far better than Windows.

ZipZapRap said,
Terrific price! Anyone running Windows 8.1 on one of these?

Tempted to get one, but cbf with OSX

Having used Windows on a Mac before - honestly the whole experience sucks from start to finish. OS X is something you'll either have to get used to if you want to experience the jaw dropping battery life or maybe have a look at an ultra-book from someone like Lenovo.

I run Windows 8.1 natively (using Bootcamp) on my rMBP (first-gen model, late 2012). Nothing to complain about, it's stable, it's fast and W8.1 scaling works perfectly with the 2880x1800 screen resolution.

The secret is to update the drivers and not use the ones provided by Apple with Bootcamp ;) Running Diablo 3 or StarCraft 2 isn't a good experience under OS X. But both games run at 60+FPS under Windows, thanks optimized drivers!

The most annoying thing I've found is that unlike iOS, OS X doesn't support Exchange ActiveSync so I'm forced to use IMAP with my Outlook.com account unless I want to use a third party client. The way I've got around this is to continue using Outlook.com for my Mail but switch my calendaring etc to iCloud and install Apple's add-on for Outlook on my PC.

I have been using OneDrive and Office 2011 without too many issues but I'm expecting things to improve a lot with Office 2014 later in the year.

singularity87 said,
The most annoying thing I've found is that unlike iOS, OS X doesn't support Exchange ActiveSync so I'm forced to use IMAP with my Outlook.com account unless I want to use a third party client.

Outlook.com accounts work great with the Airmail app. I think Airmail only costs $1.99. A bargain :)

I was cruising Amazon earlier today looking for a new lightweight tablet or laptop for under $1000, surprised to see so few good choices. The Surface Pro just seemed to expensive for me, especially after you add the keyboard etc. I never even considered looking at Apple products until now, and if I can get it to dual boot, I think my search is over.

From what I have read you can dual boot Windows on it but the experience is not good. The power management, trackpad etc are all dependent on OS X to work optimally.

I bought mine primarily for the hardware capabilities in terms of battery life and for the most part silent running - I wasn't too bothered about whether it ran Windows or OS X (though I was curious about the latter). I haven't had many issues using it with my Windows PC.

And I bought one last month thinking that it wouldn't be refreshed until Broadwell much later in the year. Ah well.

The fact that they've done this makes me think the next major refresh will be that late due to Broadwell taking a while.

Two things I dislike about the MacBook Air: it's wedge shape, and that violet reflection the screen gives when in front of white light. Color is much better on a MacBook Pro I find. No Retina displays yet and only 4GB of RAM?

Come on Apple, time for a new Mac Mini with Haswell PLEASE!

Aahhh.... competition is a good thing. Price drops for everyone :-)

I wonder what Apple is going to do with their iPhone prices, now MS is a real software and devices company now.... WP8.1 is pretty good, and I 'converted' my whole family to Lumia phones for less than the price of an Iphone5 :-)

I have one of the pre-refresh Haswell MacBook Air's... 11", Core i7, 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM.. I went from a desktop PC to this laptop and I just hook it up to a monitor whenever I need to do design work or similar. Honestly the best computer I've ever owned, and really is no slouch. Aside from gaming (which as you'd expect isn't something it's awesome at) the machine absolutely flies.

The SSD benchmarks at a scarcely believable 730MB/sec for both read and write speeds :|

All fanboyism and trolling nonsense aside, it's a rocketship of a laptop - with the added bonus it weighs nothing, the battery life is great. The only thing it could benefit from is a higher resolution display! And maybe another USB port or two..

Do you use OS X or dual boot? Hearing a lot of people switching to laptops and then hooking them up to monitors over midi/towers these days :p Might be the way to go for me when I eventually upgrade (Y)

Steven P. said,
Do you use OS X or dual boot? Hearing a lot of people switching to laptops and then hooking them up to monitors over midi/towers these days :p Might be the way to go for me when I eventually upgrade (Y)

I just run OSX these days, but retain a Windows VM (on VMware Fusion) for anything Windows'y I need to use :) I dropped gaming at the same time as I bought the Air so have found very few other reasons for Windows since.

Obviously though with Bootcamp, dual booting Windows would be fairly trivial I guess. I would probably dual boot if I had a Mac Pro, so I could play games on that :)

Steven P. said,
Cheers, I thought it ran like it would natively on a winpc, but obviously it doesn't (Y)

It does if you use bootcamp. You can set up boot camp which is the easy process of dual booting windows on a mac. From there you can if you choose to virtualize windows based off that partition. So when your in mac and need to do a quick windows thing you can. But when you need all of the raw performance in windows you reboot and bam, same desktop and everything your use to working with / virtualized.

Steven P. said,
Cheers, I thought it ran like it would natively on a winpc, but obviously it doesn't (Y)

It does but with terrible performance due to ###### Apple drivers

Steven P. said,
That would be the 64gb model ($899).

You're right, difference in SSD size but I think the Surface Pro 2 has the better i5 no? I forget actually.

Steven P. said,

It includes the 4th gen i5 which was released last year. http://www.microsoftstore.com/...e-Pro-2/productID.286866600

They're clocked faster than the Haswell Apple uses, the original Surface Pro 2 run had the i5 4200U at 1.6Ghz and after December they've been shipping with the i5-4300U that's at 1.9Ghz. It looks to me like Apple is using the i5-4260U which is the only one at 1.4Ghz. They're the same generation though, at 22nm.

Mr. Dee said,
64 GBs? Lousy! MacBook Air beats the living daylights out of the Surface. Not to mention it looks better.

Not by being thicker, heavier, slower, and having a worse display.

George P said,

They're clocked faster than the Haswell Apple uses, the original Surface Pro 2 run had the i5 4200U at 1.6Ghz and after December they've been shipping with the i5-4300U that's at 1.9Ghz. It looks to me like Apple is using the i5-4260U which is the only one at 1.4Ghz. They're the same generation though, at 22nm.

The chip Apple uses has a much better GPU, but the CPU is weaker. It's a trade-off to fit the TDP and price I guess.

Either way, the Surface includes a 1920x1080 IPS screen which is much better than the one on the MacBook, plus it has touch screen and a Wacom digitizer which are pretty significant parts. It doesn't have a keyboard which you have to buy separately and there is no real keyboard dock that turns it into a real laptop with a solid hinge. So their uses cases don't entirely overlap.

Great value. I was just looking at macbook airs just yesterday and very almost bought one, i'm glad I waited off now!

Didn't the last models have Haswell as well though?

duoi said,
Right? I've never been a big Apple fan when it comes to actual computers but this price is delicious.

Indeed. Is there anything Windows based that has the same specs at this price point? I can't find anything with a PCIe SSD

bithush said,
That is a pretty nice price for an ultrabook with those specs :yes:

When you add the "educational discount", which most people can get, it's a bargain.

My only gripe is the 4gb ram, surely we're at a stage where 4gb is becoming obsolete and 8gb would be the norm?

I think *most* people using these MacBook Airs wouldn't need more than 4GB. I kind of begrudged paying so much for 8GB though when I bought a MBA last year.

bithush said,

Indeed. Is there anything Windows based that has the same specs at this price point? I can't find anything with a PCIe SSD

I could never find anything even when i got my Macbook Air, especially with student discount added. The MacBook Air is one product from Apple that I actually think is competitively priced compared to other Ultrabooks on the market.

Uplift said,

My only gripe is the 4gb ram, surely we're at a stage where 4gb is becoming obsolete and 8gb would be the norm?

I think it depends on what you're doing. The majority of people will get away with 4GB only, and it's only really massive multi-taskers, developers, and gamers that really take advantage of more than 4GB, and I don't think that they're typical uses of a Macbook Air.

bithush said,
That is a pretty nice price for an ultrabook with those specs :yes:

Agreed - I've got a MacBook 2013 non-Retina and I'm looking at getting a MacBook Air. It is funny how the 'Air' brand has now become the entry level product - lowering the price of the MacBook Air, the launch of the iPad Air so I wonder whether we'll see the launch of an iPhone Air in the next refresh.

Uplift said,

When you add the "educational discount", which most people can get, it's a bargain.

My only gripe is the 4gb ram, surely we're at a stage where 4gb is becoming obsolete and 8gb would be the norm?

Yes and no. I just upgraded my PC from 4GB to 8GB and i did not see any significant improvement in games and softwares. But yeah 4GB will probably become obsolete in the next 4 years or so. If you are doing heavy video editing or photo editing or complex 3d rendering you probably want a minimum of 8gb tough (probably even more). But for games, web development and design and development of small to medium sized desktop/mobile apps 4gb is still enough for now.

Really? Other than the PCIe SSD it's overall pretty basic-ultrabook specs. PCIe SSD while nice isn't really going to do better than a SATA SSD for standard usage.

PhilTheThrill said,

Have you even read the Ultrabook specification?

I did long ago and I know that according to the Intel spec it does not tick all the requirements but I still consider the MBA to be an Ultrabook.

Breach said,
Unless you do Photoshop editing or a heavy multitasker 4GB is plenty and IMO will be plenty for the next 5 years.

I used to think that was true but with so many average users doing video editing on their computers these days I can't help but feel that 8GB should be standard.

Breach said,
Unless you do Photoshop editing or a heavy multitasker 4GB is plenty and IMO will be plenty for the next 5 years.

I got a computer in 2009 for $700 and it had 4GB RAM. Any less than 8GB or the ability to install 8GB on a computer that costs more than $500 is just pathetic.

Really you should only have 4GB RAM if you do no multi tasking and just basic web browsing, and if you just do that why are you buying $1000 computers?

bithush said,

I used to think that was true but with so many average users doing video editing on their computers these days I can't help but feel that 8GB should be standard.

You can do personal video editing with 4gb of ram easily. I did it for the last 4 years or so. For personal/school tasks a 7200rpm HD will slow a system down WAY, WAY, WAY more than 4GB of ram.

LaP said,

You can do personal video editing with 4gb of ram easily. I did it for the last 4 years or so. For personal/school tasks a 7200rpm HD will slow a system down WAY, WAY, WAY more than 4GB of ram.

Yeah that is very true. The PCIe SSD makes up for the 4GB RAM :)

mrp04 said,
PCIe SSD while nice isn't really going to do better than a SATA SSD for standard usage.

Are you sure?
I read the review on TechSpot about the OCZ PCIe SSD and the #s tell me that read/write performance is improved by removing the SATA bottleneck.

I only hope Apple sourced a better supplier for MBA tho.

deadonthefloor said,

Are you sure?
I read the review on TechSpot about the OCZ PCIe SSD and the #s tell me that read/write performance is improved by removing the SATA bottleneck.

I only hope Apple sourced a better supplier for MBA tho.

Yes I'm sure. It has great benchmark numbers but you're not going to notice any difference in standard computer usage. SATA 3 is plenty fast. Things aren't going to be any noticeably faster with the PCIe SSD unless you're doing something that has extremely high random access requirements.