Posted by: Garrick | January 16, 2008

My thoughts on the Macbook Air

On January 15th, 2008, 200 days after the released of the insanely successful iPhone, Apple has released the new ultra light Macbook Air. As a proud Macbook owner (first gen black Core Duo), I was impressed at first with its presence (mostly due to Steve Jobs now infamous “reality distortion field”). Now looking over the specs, I realize that I am not all that keen on this new product.

Don’t get me wrong, the Air is impressive. It is the thinnest laptop in production (or ever as I am led to believe). The battery life promises to be quite good. But it is lacking in many of the departments that made me love my “BlackBook”.

Here is a list of my current gripes (not that my opinion matters, but many will agree with me):

  • Battery- Non user-replaceable means time without my machine when it finally dies. $129 for the replacement with a free install makes it livable
  • RAM- 2Gb is just about perfect for a machine like this, but yet again, it is not replaceable (I am going to assume it only has one RAM slot, and the 2GB stick may even be soldered in).
  • No optical drive- Actually, I won’t complain about this. They have added software to connect to any Mac or PC disk drive and use that, or for $99 you can buy a matching external drive. No big deal.
  • SIZE- It is the thinnest notebook computer available, but I don’t feel it is much smaller than the 15″ MBP. Definitely thinner, but overall dimensions (width and depth) are only slightly smaller. I would have been much more impressed with a 10″ or 12″ model. That would not have allowed for the standard size Macbook keyboard, but would have put it in a true “Ultra-Portable” class.
  • Hard Drive- They needed a solid state flash drive option to remain competitive, but adding $1000 to the price tag to get there and getting less storage too boot (64Gb) is not the way to go. The price for the drive is very competitive, most other manufacturers are charging hundreds more for the same drive.For the standard hard drive option, going with the 1.8″ iPod style hard drives was a great idea, but 80GB is not cutting it today.
  • Lack of ports- One USB, no Firewire, and no Ethernet. No thanks. I rarely have anything hooked to my ports other than my firewire drive (for Time Machine) and my iPod, but when I do, In usually have more than one item plugged in, and I hate using hubs.

That all being said, there is definitely a market for this notebook. Mostly as a second machine. The styling and light weight will help its sales greatly. As with most products that Apple puts out, it can only improve with time.



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