Apple put a slower SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air to trim costs

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Apple last week refreshed its base model MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, adding faster CPUs and better displays while lowering the cost of entry.

The new MacBook Air now starts at $1,099 – a full $100 less than before, but on Monday, we learned the source of the price cut – slower hardware.

French tech site Consomac recently tested the 2019 MacBook Air with 256GB of storage. Using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, the team recorded write speeds of 1 GB/s and read speeds of 1.3 GB/s. In comparison, last year’s equivalent model managed 920 MB/s on the write side but a much faster 2 GB/s when reading.

For those keeping count, that’s a significant 35 percent drop in read speed.

Unless you work with large files on a regular basis, odds are, most people probably won’t notice the difference in day-to-day activity but they will notice paying $100 less at check-out (and with a student discount, the MacBook Air can be yours for only $999).

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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Once again, the title of this article is misleading to get views. I can't believe I need to defend Apple here, but the SSD Apple is using is getting better write speeds compared to the last gen model. It's faster in one area but slower in another. It's a calculated trade off that works in this instance.
Completely agree! I love the Apple-haters that come on here :)
 
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MonsterZero

TS Evangelist
Once again, the title of this article is misleading to get views. I can't believe I need to defend Apple here, but the SSD Apple is using is getting better write speeds compared to the last gen model. It's faster in one area but slower in another. It's a calculated trade off that works in this instance.
Completely agree! I love the Apple-haters that come on here :)
Well let me just rain on your parade a bit. Why complain? This is just piss poor hardware.

They are selling you guys budget SSDs at premium prices. With SSD Prices being so low right now it is just another smack in the face to you guys.

You could easily be sporting 3500MBs read, 1500MBs writes and like 512GB or better with a simple aftermarket NVMe SSD.

Apple literally picked the clearance bin of SSDs. My 5 year old OCZ vertex 2 SATA SSD probably gets better read/writes than this piece of ****.
 

Vrmithrax

TechSpot Paladin
Once again, the title of this article is misleading to get views. I can't believe I need to defend Apple here, but the SSD Apple is using is getting better write speeds compared to the last gen model. It's faster in one area but slower in another. It's a calculated trade off that works in this instance.
An approximately 10% uptick in write speed vs a 35% downgrade in read speed? Then, when you consider that your average system does far more reading than writing to the drive, I find nothing "misleading" about categorizing the drive as slower. Yes, it was a calculated trade off, but the numbers ARE fairly high for the amount of speed users are giving up.

I'm no fan of Apple, and my first knee-jerk reaction to the article was probably like most who don't care for Apple - grumbling about charging premium prices for mid-range hardware, etc. But, realistically, the decision to go with the components they chose could have been driven by any number of factors beyond just pure greed - supply chain availability for particular drives, for example. Hard to know the whys behind the decisions, all we can do is speculate. And, let's face it, you're getting a slower drive but you are also paying less money, so it's not like they just threw crap hardware in there and kept charging their full price.
 

ZackL04

TS Guru
Once again, the title of this article is misleading to get views. I can't believe I need to defend Apple here, but the SSD Apple is using is getting better write speeds compared to the last gen model. It's faster in one area but slower in another. It's a calculated trade off that works in this instance.
An approximately 10% uptick in write speed vs a 35% downgrade in read speed? Then, when you consider that your average system does far more reading than writing to the drive, I find nothing "misleading" about categorizing the drive as slower. Yes, it was a calculated trade off, but the numbers ARE fairly high for the amount of speed users are giving up.

I'm no fan of Apple, and my first knee-jerk reaction to the article was probably like most who don't care for Apple - grumbling about charging premium prices for mid-range hardware, etc. But, realistically, the decision to go with the components they chose could have been driven by any number of factors beyond just pure greed - supply chain availability for particular drives, for example. Hard to know the whys behind the decisions, all we can do is speculate. And, let's face it, you're getting a slower drive but you are also paying less money, so it's not like they just threw crap hardware in there and kept charging their full price.
Id prefer the faster write speeds vs the faster read speeds that my dual core cpu cant even leverage
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Well let me just rain on your parade a bit. Why complain? This is just piss poor hardware.

They are selling you guys budget SSDs at premium prices. With SSD Prices being so low right now it is just another smack in the face to you guys.

You could easily be sporting 3500MBs read, 1500MBs writes and like 512GB or better with a simple aftermarket NVMe SSD.

Apple literally picked the clearance bin of SSDs. My 5 year old OCZ vertex 2 SATA SSD probably gets better read/writes than this piece of ****.
Care to provide some evidence for your lies? A Samsung 970 - which is just about the only ssd that could provide your ridiculous stats, would NOT be any cheaper.... this is $1100 for the entire laptop.... not too shabby since last model cost $100 more....
 

FF222

TS Addict
"Apple put a slower SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air to trim costs"
vs
"Apple put a slower SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air to INCREASE ITS PROFITS"

Here. I fixed it for you. You're welcome.
 

ypsylon

TS Booster
You could understand that if Apple put x2 NVMe drive to add two more TB3 ports on Air, but no they shafted drive, not expanded I/O at all and kept the prices.

Such a lovely company.
 

Lounds

TS Maniac
Once again, the title of this article is misleading to get views. I can't believe I need to defend Apple here, but the SSD Apple is using is getting better write speeds compared to the last gen model. It's faster in one area but slower in another. It's a calculated trade off that works in this instance.
Completely agree! I love the Apple-haters that come on here :)
Well let me just rain on your parade a bit. Why complain? This is just piss poor hardware.

They are selling you guys budget SSDs at premium prices. With SSD Prices being so low right now it is just another smack in the face to you guys.

You could easily be sporting 3500MBs read, 1500MBs writes and like 512GB or better with a simple aftermarket NVMe SSD.

Apple literally picked the clearance bin of SSDs. My 5 year old OCZ vertex 2 SATA SSD probably gets better read/writes than this piece of ****.
Why lie? that OCZ vertex 2 is SATA 2 for a start.
 

kmo911

TS Booster
Now lets some choose if they want to dowgrade to lesser 120 gb ssd or m2 drive if supported. it would be like running a voodoo 3 on pci .vs agp x8 v 3 3000. pci are stuck at 133 mb. agp are more fast. and if mini pcie 4.0 compared when it gets out. you dont want to downgrade the best with a laptop pc desktop. its enough speed but in cad it would be waitingtime to min ohrs days. benchmarking a ssd or 3dmark it from bootcamp 1803 (not 1903) getting blocked for some reasons.
 

Vrmithrax

TechSpot Paladin
And yet they dropped the price... Hmm..
Yah, the ardent anti-Apple crowd (of which I am admittedly one) typically seem to either gloss over that fact, or they just have a reading block that won't let them see anything that might shed a positive light on Apple. Many can't stand to have facts cloud the issues at hand.

They made a choice. Slower drive? Yes. Lower price point? Yes, by what is probably close to the price differential in drives (plus their margin). To be honest, even though there might be a marginal performance hit that users may or may not notice in daily use, the fact that the price lowered is pretty impressive - compare that to some of the recent phone pricing trends, where new generations or refreshes just keep climbing in price. It's nice to see a drop in the "Apple premium" for a change.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
"Apple put a slower SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air to trim costs"
vs
"Apple put a slower SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air to INCREASE ITS PROFITS"

Here. I fixed it for you. You're welcome.
And yet they dropped the price... Hmm..
If you think is a contradiction, you need to get back to elementary school and le-learn the basic of math.
Dropping the price $100 is not increasing profit. There was a high profit margin before the alteration in SSD choice. Your profit margin argument is null and void. If you want to talk about high profit margin. You will need to talk about their entire line, not just this one device. This topic is about the choice in changing one component. And a decrease of $100 is a fair value for that one component change.
 

Vrmithrax

TechSpot Paladin
If you think is a contradiction, you need to get back to elementary school and le-learn the basic of math.
It directly contradicts your assertion that they increased profits. They put in lower cost drive hardware, and also lowered the price (likely by more than what the cost difference between the faster and slower drive hardware would have been, by the way). That rather invalidates the assumption that they did it for more profits. Because math.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
If you think is a contradiction, you need to get back to elementary school and le-learn the basic of math.
I see you're a proponent of the "new math".... where 2+2 = 5...

Let's try some REALITY.... the Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 250GB NVMe SSD costs $70 on Amazon...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MG119KG/?tag=httpwwwtechsp-20

It has Read/Write speeds of 3,500/3,300 MB/s.... that's dramatically better than either last year or this year's Macbook - and since Apple is buying in bulk, I'm willing to wager they wouldn't be paying $70 per drive...

Therefore, using normal math (2+2=4), I'm going to conclude that Apple is saving far less than $100 by using a slightly cheaper drive. The MINIMUM they are saving would be $70 - and that's assuming the new SSD was FREE and that the previous one actually cost $70.

As I think we can safely say that both of those assumptions are wrong - the new SSD is certainly NOT free, and the old SSD almost certainly cost LESS than $70 - by decreasing the price of the Macbook by $100, Apple is making LESS profit.

Care to continue this debate?

My only condition: you have to use old math, not this newfangled one you are using :)

Edit: I should also point out that I'm an elementary school teacher... and yes, I do teach math!
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
OMG - @Squid Surprise, you have outdone yourself with all that old school math. :D

Edit:
P.S. - It feels strange to be defending Apple for once.
While I often defend Apple on this site, it's usually just because most people just blindly hate on them and I feel someone ought to...

But this time it's a simple no brainer... any time a company wants to sell something better (and despite the SSD, the rest of the components ARE better) than they sold last year for a cheaper price, we ought to be lauding them, not criticizing.

The only critique I would have accepted was that Apple saw that last year's sales weren't as high as they felt they should have been - and adjusted the price accordingly.

The golden rule of business is almost always: sell your product for as much as you can without costing you any current or future sales.
 

FF222

TS Addict
It directly contradicts your assertion that they increased profits.
Just as I said: some people definitely need to get back to school. Also shows how clueless the average consumer is when it comes to how businesses operate, what constitutes a profit, or how it is generated.

Hint: a price drop of $100 (or any amount for that matter) in the SRP doesn't necessarily mean (not even a tiny bit) that the manufacturer's profits have dropped even by just a single cent. And putting stuff that costs them less into their products is always a net saving to the manufacturer, regardless of how their SRP changes.

In reality manufacturers/merchants never drop their prices, unless their own costs also get lower by at least the same magnitude, and they're forced to do so by market forces.

And don't even get me started how manufacturers are not buying components at retail prices, or how changes in retail pricing are absolutely not indicative for how much manufacturers get their components for. Because, well, why talk about advanced level stuff when people are totally ignorant of even the most basic facts of business and accounting.
 
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