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New cheaper MacBook Air found to have cheaper gimped SSD

The new MacBook Air might be cheaper and have an improved display, but its SSD performance has gone backwards. (Source: Apple)
The new MacBook Air might be cheaper and have an improved display, but its SSD performance has gone backwards. (Source: Apple)
You could say Tim Cook a highly effective CEO, or you could say he is a world champion penny pincher. Under Cook, Apple has found every way it can to save a few cents here and there to increase or preserve profit margins and the latest device to get the Tim Cook penny pinching treatment is the just refreshed MacBook Air.

Apple giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other when it comes to the new MacBook Air. The freshly minted MacBook Air with a fourth-time revised butterfly keyboard mechanism arrived with the good news that US$100 had been lopped off its starting price. However, now that it is in customer hands, it has become clear that Apple gimped the SSD in the new model to help bring its price down. It appears that Apple wasn't prepared to absorb the full cost of the price cut, but rather make the device cheaper by using an inferior component to its predecessor.

French Mac website Consomac has compared the MacBook Air (2019) SSD with the MacBook Air (2018) SSD and discovered an unpleasant surprise. Where last year's model had 920 MB/s write and 2 GB/s read speeds, this year's model has 1 GB/s read speeds and just 1.3 GB/s read speeds. While there is a minor gain in write speeds, there is a substantial drop off in read speeds. In most tasks, this probably won't be a major issue, but it introduces a new architectural bottleneck that didn't exist previously. Given the MacBook Air is fitted with a pokey 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip, you'd be hoping it could what it could to increase system bandwidth, not reduce it.

It is just the latest in multiple penny pinching exercises from Apple under CEO Tim Cook. Think of headphone jack adapter dongles no longer shipping with iPhones in the box, the general fewer ports and more expensive dongles strategy, and things like the mindboggling ongoing mark ups on soldered RAM and SSDs where the user has no option but to go with Apple if that is the device and spec you need. Sure, the US$100 price cut on the MacBook Air is nice, as is the addition of Apple's True Tone display tech, but wouldn't it be great if it didn't come with any strings attached?

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Apple has saved a few pennies on the MacBook Air SSD. (Source: Consomac)
Apple has saved a few pennies on the MacBook Air SSD. (Source: Consomac)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 07 > New cheaper MacBook Air found to have cheaper gimped SSD
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2019-07-16 (Update: 2019-07-17)
Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - News Editor
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.