Apple

The New MacBook Air is Cheaper: Apple Cuts Corners by Using SSDs with Lower Speeds

In the beginning, the mid ’90s that is, Laptop computers used to be both underpowered and expensive. While technology, in general, was quite expensive, everything was considered state of the art. As we progressed, so did our technological advancements. The technology was suddenly something that was meant for everyone. Sadly though, Apple, for a lack of a better word, never really followed the status quo. Ever since the beginning, Apple computers have been more expensive than the others in the market.

In all fairness though, when it comes to the components of these machines at a micro level, they are quite the quality standards. Take Apple SSDs, for example. While Samsungs boasts it is 980Evo and others in the lineup, Apple’s SSDs have completely overtaken the market standards. It is perhaps Apple’s integration that takes the cake. Therefore, for these benchmarks, Apple has always taken a premium on its SSD expansion schemes. Even today, if one wishes to upgrade from a 512GB SSD option to a 1TB one, for a MacBook Pro 15 inch, it would cost a whopping 200$ extra. For a 2TB option, 600$. So much for price per GB decreasing as you increase the memory. The current MacBook starts at 1100$ for the cheapest one (sue me for not typing 1099$), and even that price point, it offers only a 128GB SSD. That’s the premium I was talking about.

The New MacBook Air

Apple recently refreshed its entire MacBook lineup. While some models did hit the dust (Rest in Peace MacBook), others were refreshed for the better. We saw the entry level MacBook Pro to get the touch bar and touch ID, not to mention a beefier processor. Most importantly, in 2018, Apple finally reintroduced the MacBook Air, one of the most ignored machines by Apple. While it did come out to be a very nice upgrade, Apple made changes in the 2019 version of it by introducing a true tone display. Not only that, for the first time in forever (not to quote Frozen), Apple decided to reduce the cost. While everyone was excited by the idea, considering that the previous MacBook was indeed the cheapest one to be offered, this one being close to that really posed an attractive offer. The new MacBook Air is going for a starting price of 1099$ now.

MacBook Air
The New MacBook Air comes with a cheaper price tag

Considering Apple, a company which charges so much for simple upgrades, decided to decrease costs, people started to worry where they decided to cut the corners. In a report by 9to5Mac, it was indeed confirmed where Apple got the room to make the MacBook Air 2019 cheaper.

According to the report, the new MacBook Air boasts an SSD which is actually slower than the one found in the 2018 model from the design and spec refresh. Usually, the best tool for testing out Mac Disk speeds is BlackMagic Disk Speed Test. In the article, testers at Consomac tested the SSD read and write speeds.

Blackmagic
Benchmark results by Consomac. These suggest that the SSD on the 2018 Air supported faster read speeds

According to their tests, the new MacBook Air, while having superior write speeds, lacked significantly in the read side of things. To put it into perspective, the relatively older MacBook Air tested out at a 2GB/s Read and 0.9GB/s write speeds. Consequently, the newer model’s test came out to be 1.3GB/s on the read side and 1GB/s on the write speed. While there is no significant difference between the write speeds, there is a heavy 35 per cent loss in the read ones. This is quite a let down if seen out of context. Now why do I say that?

Why These Tests Do Not Matter

Perhaps to understand the situation better, a context of the picture should be developed first. Currently, the MacBook Air starts off at 1099$. Luckily the students enjoy a further hundred dollar reduction on the retail price. While it may not sound much but thinking about the bigger picture, Apple has gone down quite the bucks for each machine. For students, even more.

Apple’s Current Laptop lineup

Considering all of that, a slightly slower SSD does not mean slower performance. For reference, if the two Macs were placed side by side and tasks run on them, the newer model would most definitely not be overshadowed by the older one by being “35%” slower. Trust me, it won’t be the case. Secondly, out of all the things Apple could have pushed out of the device, they decided to cut corners on this particular component and to be honest, it is one of the smartest decisions they have taken. While giving users an excellent display, a questionable keyboard (let’s not go there), thunderbolt 3 USB C based ports and an amazing trackpad which sets industry standards, Apple manages to give a good enough processor and memory too. In all of that, if the storage media, which is still an SSD just by the way, would be a tad bit slower, the machine should not have points slashed. Especially when the MacBook Air offers quite the competitive price point, for those who’d want to enter the Mac Ecosystem.

In my opinion, this was quite a step by Apple. In recent years, Apple has faced reductions in sales. The iPhones have not been doing quite so well ever since the iPhone X came out with the 1000$ price tag. Apple couldn’t even grip the budget market with the iPhone XR. Thus, Apple’s safety resort is its Mac lineup. Today, most of the YouTubers and content creators edit videos on the go and use MacBook Pros. These people use a secondary laptop or device for browsing or writing scripts. These may be the iPads and now, with this price point, even the MacBook Air. With its form factor and now the price cut, it would be quite the competitor to be in people’s bags. In the future, users would definitely love to see MacBook’s with more competitive price tags. Obviously, in MacBook Pros, a cut back like this would not be very welcome but perhaps the Trillion Dollar company can definitely find a way around this. I believe, things may be looking up for Apple in the near future.


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