Apple Updates MacBook Air for 2014: Faster Haswell Parts & $100 Price Dropby Anand Lal Shimpi on April 29, 2014 10:18 AM EST
- Posted in
- MacBook Air
This morning Apple announced its 2014 MacBook Air refresh. With Intel's 14nm Broadwell SoC delayed, this mid-cycle update still uses Haswell ULT parts. The chassis and internal specs haven't changed, however the base CPU gets a slight speed bump. The 1.3GHz Core i5-4250U is replaced by a 1.4GHz Core i5-4260U. The extra 100MHz won't change much, you can expect a 0 - 3% increase in performance compared to last year's entry level model. The upgraded CPU option hasn't changed, and Apple continues to accept nothing less than Intel's HD 5000 (Haswell GT3) on any of its MBAs.
|Apple 2014 MacBook Air CPU Comparison|
|1.4GHz dual-core||1.7GHz dual-core|
|Standard On||11 & 13-inch MBA||Optional on Both|
|Intel Model||Core i5-4260U||Core i7-4650U|
|Base Clock Speed||1.4GHz||1.7GHz|
|Max SC Turbo||2.7GHz||3.3GHz|
|Max DC Turbo||2.4GHz||2.9GHz|
|Processor Graphics||Intel HD 5000||Intel HD 5000|
|GPU Clock (Base/Max)||200/1000MHz||200/1100MHz|
The bigger news is that, hot on the heels of a solid financial quarter, Apple is dropping all MBA prices by $100. The entry level 11.6-inch system now starts at $899. I suspect Apple is making room for an eventual MacBook Air with Retina Display. That design is expected to be a launch vehicle for Intel's Broadwell, but it's unclear how Intel's 14nm delays will impact the schedule for that product.
|2014 MacBook Air Refresh|
|11.6-inch||11.6-inch (high-end)||13.3-inch||13.3-inch (high-end)|
H: 0.11-0.68" (0.3-1.7cm)
W: 11.8" (30cm)
D: 7.56" (19.2cm)
H: 0.11-0.68" (0.3-1.7cm)
W: 12.8" (32.5cm)
D: 8.94" (22.7cm)
|Weight||2.38 lbs (1.08kg)||2.96 lbs (1.35kg)|
|CPU||1.4GHz dual-core Core i5||1.4GHz dual-core Core i5|
|GPU||Intel HD 5000|
|SSD||128GB PCIe SSD||256GB PCIe SSD||128GB PCIe SSD||256GB PCIe SSD|
|Display Resolution||1366 x 768||1440 x 900|
|Ports||Thunderbolt, 2x USB 3.0, headphone jack||Thunderbolt, 2x USB 3.0, SD card slot, headphone jack|
|Networking||2x2:2 802.11ac||2x2:2 802.11ac|
|Battery||38 Wh||54 Wh|
I was a fan of the 2013 MBA, and this price drop only makes the system more accessible. Unless you're holding out for a model with a Retina Display, the refresh is still a great buy.
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tipoo - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - linkAny idea when Broadwell macbooks are slated for?
MikhailT - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - linkAny time in 2015. Intel's not able to get it out this year, so they're doing a small spec bump instead.
I'd suspect '15 MBA is going to be a huge update with TB2, 14nm CPUs+ better IGP, retina display, and so on.
AnandtechLegacy - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - linkWhat does that say about Skylake? Intel said that despite Broadwell being delayed that Skylake wasn't. If broadwell comes out in early 2015 for devices as well as planned Broadwell K for desktops what does that say about Skylake Q2 release? Broadwell would be deprecated one quarter after it's debut, seems ridiculous to think Skylake wouldn't be delayed but then Skylake would miss out on the super profitable back to school season just as broadwell did this year which intel, apple etc. must be furious about. So if Skylake comes out later what does that say about the typical tick tock candence release schedule, no more Q2 releases? Or some mixing & matching?
Bkord123 - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - linkHi folks. Can someone break it down for me in basic terms? I've been flirting with a new MBA for about 3-4 years. Every year when it comes out, I read a ton of people saying the NEXT year is the one to get. First it was Ivy Bridge was going to be the game changer. Then Sandy Bridge. Or the reverse of that. Who cares. Then Haswell. Now Broadwell? I really thought I was going to buy it last year but so many people ripped the display for not being IPS and looking like shit off-axis that I held off. Who in the hell would care about .1 in processor speed? I like how your "improvement" could be 0-3%. Zero. Only Apple.
frostyfiredude - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - linkIn general if you can wait, do it, the future will always hold better products.
Right now though the MacBook AIrs are quite good, performance is solid, storage is very fast and SSD upgrades aren't too crazy costly anymore and battery life is excellent. So long as you don't need the high DPI display they're great machines and won't disappoint, while if you do the Retina MBP 13 isn't too much more and doesn't compromise size too much so is another good option.
jaydee - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - linkI think the 13" MBA is a pretty nice sweet spot right now. We know we are at least 6, more likely 9 months away from a Broadwell MBA, and that will probably come in a 12" form factor. I prefer 13", the battery life is outstanding right now, performance is very good, especially I/O with the PCI-E SSD.
I guess if you can wait up to 9 months, need a retina, don't mind 12" screen, and can not afford another $200 for the MBP, then you should wait for Broadwell MBA. Otherwise MBA/MBP are very good options.
wiz329 - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - linkHow about that Haswell rMBP review? That coming anytime soon?
tipoo - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - linkBy the time the Broadwell MBP is out :P
jaydee - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - linkThe only "real" news I see is the CPU bump. While the MSRP is $100 lower, the street price of the MBA has already been there on a lot of outlets. It's just making the price drop official and permanent. Which fits Apples strategy, they want people paying MSRP for their products, instead of paying $100 less, than a $100 higher MSRP product.