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Portables (Apple) Apple

Apple Announces MacBook Air 1218

Posted by kdawson
from the thin-end-of-the-wedge dept.
Apple made four announcements at MacWorld Expo: the new MacBook Air, new features for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and movie rentals via iTunes from a TV without a computer involved. The new portable gets most of the attention. It is 0.76" thick at the thickest part, tapering to 0.16". It weighs 3 pounds and has a 13.3" screen and full-size, backlit keyboard. Its Intel chip is the diameter of a dime and the thickness of a nickel. The MacBook Air will cost $1799 and up. Its storage is either 80 GB disk or 64 GB solid-state drive. 2 GB of memory. It has no optical drive (an external one is available for $99) and features a way to wirelessly use the optical drive of any nearby Mac or PC with the proper software installed.
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Apple Announces MacBook Air

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  • by (H)elix1 (231155) * <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:49PM (#22054228) Homepage Journal
    From the apple site...

    Hard Drive

    Your MacBook Air comes standard with a Parallel ATA (PATA) 4200-rpm hard drive. Or you can choose a solid-state drive that delivers faster performance and greater durability.
    arrow_open.gif arrow_closed.gif Learn more Loading...

    80GB Parallel ATA Drive @ 4200 rpm
    64GB Solid State Drive [Add $999]

    Wow. Just Wow. Transcript from http://www.macrumorslive.com/ [macrumorslive.com]

    10:26 am New Ad for MacBook Air. Plays off of the ability to fit in an envelope.
    10:25 am Pre-orders today, shipping in two weeks
    10:24 am $1799
    10:24 am 2 GB Memory standard
    10:23 am 5 hours of Battery Life
    10:23 am No optical drive, but a Superdrive accessory is available for $99. Also, software comes with the MacBook Air that allows you to "borrow" a Mac or PCs optical drive.
    10:21 am 802.11n + Bluetooth 2.1/EDR
    10:20 am Other features: 45 Watt MagSafe, 1 USB 2.0 port, Micro-DVI, Audio Out
    10:19 am Steve retaking stage
    10:19 am Otellini: The processor is as thick as a nickle and as wide as a dime.
    10:18 am Apple asked Intel to shrink the Core 2 Duo. Intel shrunk the processor by 60%. Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel is taking the stage
    10:17 am 1.6 GHz Standard, 1.8 GHz Option -- Intel Core 2 Duo
    10:16 am 80 GB hard disk standard, 64 GB SSD as an option. "they're pricy, but they're fast"
    10:15 am 1.8" Hard Drive
    10:15 am How did we fit a Mac in here?
    10:15 am Move a window by double-tap and move. Rotate a photo by pivoting your index finger around your thumb. Of course, pinch-zoom.
    10:14 am Multi-touch trackpad
    10:13 am display is LED backlit. iSight is built-in. MacBook-like keyboard, but with an ambient light sensor
    10:12 am Magnetic latch, 13.3" widescreen display
    10:12 am MacBook Air is 0.16" to 0.76". The thickest part of the MacBook Air is thinner than the thinnest part of the Sony. It fits inside a envelope
    10:10 am We thought 3 lbs is a good target weight, but there was too much compromise with the other features
    10:10 am Most people think of Sony TZ series when they think of thin notebooks. Competition specs: 3 lbs, .8-1.2 inches, 11 or 12" display, miniature keyboard, and slower processor.
    10:08 am "The World's Thinnest Notebook"
    10:08 am As you know, Apple makes the best notebooks in the industry. Today, we are introducing a third kind of notebook. It's called the MacBook Air
    10:08 am 4th thing: There's something in the air
    10:07 am Steve has re-taken the stage
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:53PM (#22054334)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:53PM (#22054336)
    Compared to the MacBook:

    + Thinner
    + Lighter
    + Multitouch trackpad
    + Backlit keyboard
    + LED display
    +/- Height and width are identical
    +/- GPU is identical
    - more expensive
    - slower CPU
    - sucky 1.8" HD or expensive SSD
    - optical drive is optional external extra
    - 1 x USB, 1 x analog audio out, 0 x ethernet, 0 x firewire
    - less battery life

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:57PM (#22054466)
    That's not the half of it. If you decide to go with the flash disc (SSD), you'll have pony up over 3000 smackers.
  • Or... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:58PM (#22054484)
    ...you could just buy an ASUS Eee PC for 10% of the price, which whilst not as powerful would still be capable of doing everything you'd do on a sub-notebook anyway i.e. office, music, video, web.

    For some reason I thought when Apple release a sub-notebook that it might be something within a reasonable price range (i.e. less than the MacBooks), god only knows what made me think that.

    I was going to check the UK pricing but all I get when jumping to the UK Apple site is a 500 internal server error, the US version of the site is just unusably slow.

    I know these type of announcements are going to put a lot of strain on a site, but I don't remember any other large tech. companies suffering such an outage.
  • by Albanach (527650) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:00PM (#22054538) Homepage

    Not sure I'd trust one of those just now. No one is really talking about MTBF and I've heard that eventually they turn into a Read Only device.
    I thought everyone was [engadget.com] talking about SSD drives MTBF? 2 Million hours seems pretty good to me. 200+ Years really ought to be Enough For Anybody[tm].

    Seriously, they have no moving parts - which do you think will fail first? The manufacturers have been working on the limited write capacity for years such that they believe it's no longer an issue. Modern flash memory can already silently correct for any parts that can no longer be written.

    Now all we need is for production to ramp up and the cost to come down.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:01PM (#22054574)
    You serious? Have you priced out its competition? The closest is probably the Vaio, and it is more expensive. The Dell XPS is cheaper, but is bigger and heavier.
  • by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent.jan.gohNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:01PM (#22054600) Homepage
    There's a $50 (CDN) adaptor for airline power. If you're on a flight, just plug in. And it's cheaper than an extra battery.
  • Re:Short on Options! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ant2 (252143) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:05PM (#22054676)
    But! You can use "Remote Disk" to access the optical drive of a nearby Mac or PC running a little Remote Disk client. Yes, you can even reinstall the OS this way. http://www.apple.com/macbookair/wireless.html [apple.com]
  • Re:I'm underwhelmed (Score:5, Informative)

    by timster (32400) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:11PM (#22054812)
    I feel the same way about the iPhone -- with 16GB storage, it is in no way a replacement for my current iPod. But I suspect if he'd been willing to accept 1/16 of an inch increased thickness, we could be looking at 32GB or 64GB, and then you've got me as a customer.

    No way. The iPhone (which is 8GB max) uses flash and has zero space left inside. If you're talking 32GB flash, you're adding hundreds of dollars to an already hefty price to get that much flash, and you'd still possibly need to slim down the battery to make more space for flash chips (the thing is seriously packed inside). And a 32GB hard drive like the one in the current iPods wouldn't fit in 1/16 of an inch.
  • Re:Movie Rentals? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:12PM (#22054844)
    The portability is important to me. The Apple TV will sync back to my desktop. Anything I download from Xbox Live has to be deleted over time to make space for new programs (I have the 20 gig HD). If Apple TV had a DVD drive (which won't happen ever), it would make my Xbox 360 obsolete, except for gaming.
  • Re:Short on Options! (Score:2, Informative)

    by MrWhitefolkz (751859) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:18PM (#22055018)
    Apologize, you can get a USB Ethernet Adapter from Apple for $29...
  • by David Rolfe (38) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:18PM (#22055024) Homepage Journal

    You pay for expensive service to install a new one?
    This argument is often trotted out for the iPod, etc. It's specious. First, it's not expensive to install a new one -- it's free as part of your AppleCare. Second, in three to five years if you are still using the slow old Macbook Air you'll be able to self-replace or inexpensively (relative to other old laptop batteries) replace the battery in the same way you can painlessly and cheaply do it for old iPods and old Thinkpads (i.e., you've always been at the mercy of the part costs near end of life with any product).

    Other posters with a need to work untethered for 5 or more hours have a legitimate complaint. For them this laptop is not an option and they will either spend more for a slower Sony (if they have a 3 lb. model with replaceable batteries), or carry more weight for a faster Macbook. That's life.
  • by adisakp (705706) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:30PM (#22055286) Journal
    64GB Solid State Drive [Add $999]

    That's pretty clost the current going price for a 64 GB SSD.

    The cheapest 64 GB SSD I've seen so far is $949 from Dell [dell.com]

    In Early 2007, a 32GB SSD could set you back over $2,000 [techdepot.com] so the price per GB has already dropped by a factor of four in the past year.

    However, like all technology, SSD's are getting cheaper and cheaper as component prices are falling and the mass production is picking up.
  • by Llywelyn (531070) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:42PM (#22055544) Homepage
    You could:

    * Buy the accessory for $99, then just not carry it with you when you travel.
    * Use the built-in software to "borrow" the optical drive on another Mac or PC and use that for ripping.
    * Rip it on your other system and then transfer it over the network.

    Basically there are several good options.
  • by jonnythan (79727) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:43PM (#22055558) Homepage
    Sorry, you're totally wrong.

    The DMCA, in no uncertain terms, criminalizes the very *act* of breaking the CSS encryption on DVDs.

    "No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title."
  • Time Capsule (Score:5, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:00PM (#22055894)
    The summary missed one of the new products, called "time capsule [apple.com]." It is basically an 802.11n wireless hub/Gb ethernet hub, with a built in hard drive for use with Time Machine to auto-backup all your macs. It's going for $500 for a terabyte, or $300 for a half terabyte. It is, of course, a small form factor without room for more drives. It will probably be the only backup solution that will really be easy enough for most of the home market, but not really all that cool for Slashdot types.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

    by c_forq (924234) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:03PM (#22055938)

    since the stupid computer doesn't have any convenient front ports for a USB flash drive.
    I've always used the one on the keyboard. However I guess this isn't available if you are using the wireless one, but you should be aware of that tradeoff.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:07PM (#22056026)

    This argument is often trotted out for the iPod, etc. It's specious. First, it's not expensive to install a new one -- it's free as part of your AppleCare.

    Bullshit. The warranty specifically excludes reduced battery consumption as a result of use/age, both under the standard warranty and the Applecare extended warranty. At least they're (more) upfront about it now than they used to be...they now mention that Lithium Ion batteries degrade with time and use, etc.

  • Re:Open Apple (Score:3, Informative)

    by hawaiian717 (559933) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:19PM (#22056252) Homepage
    The original Mac keyboards had only the Command symbol; adding the Open Apple to the key didn't come about until the advent of ADB, used on both the Apple IIGS and Macs from the Mac SE and Mac II until the iMac came along. I had assumed that a major reason that the Open Apple was added was since the Apple II family used it, it was needed to make things easier for users who wanted to use the same ADB keyboards on an Apple IIGS and on Macs. Though that doesn't explain why the Open Apple was kept on the keyboard once the Apple II line was no longer relevant; the OS never switched the keyboard shortcut graphic in menus from the Command symbol to the Open Apple.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Apple_512k.jpg [wikimedia.org] shows an early Mac keyboard with no Open Apple.
  • Re:But.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by sokoban (142301) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:27PM (#22056426) Homepage
    Blendtec. The will it blend videos. Whenever the guy blends something which produces dust, he says "don't breathe this"
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brett Johnson (649584) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:31PM (#22056522)
    Actually, it does have DVI output. From the press release:

    "Every MacBook Air includes a micro-DVI port so users can connect to Apple's gorgeous 20-inch or 23-inch Cinema Displays to extend their desktop or connect to projectors and other displays via DVI, VGA, Composite and S-video adapters. "

    Won't hook up to my 30" Cinema display, 'tho.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by mr_josh (1001605) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:38PM (#22056646)
    I am inclined to disagree with that analogy. I look at it more like, some people like red cars, some people like blue cars. If for some reason the blue car is more expensive than the red car, but you really really don't like red, and you have to have a car, is it worth it to pay more for the blue car? They are fundamentally the same, but you just can't stand walking out to your driveway every morning and staring at that hideous red car. That's why I pay more for a Mac. I could use Windows, it would get me where I want to go, but man is it ugly.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by tilandal (1004811) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:48PM (#22056868)
    Nope, the closest is the Thinkpad X61 from Lenovo. Same Processor, Same HD, only 1GB memory standard but starts at $1020. Thats 70% cheaper then the Apple.
  • by sexconker (1179573) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:48PM (#22056870)
    Those are several annoying hurdles.
    And transferring a DVD over a wireless network? HAH!
    At 2 MBps (more throughput than most people actually get with 802.11g), an actual DVD will take how long to transfer?

    About 8000 MB = 4000 seconds = over an hour.
    If you want them to compress the movie, then they lose quality and have to spend time compressing it, and still transfer about a gig of data.

    They obviously couldn't fit the damned optical drive in there, but $99 for an external drive is rape. Typical Apple.

    Seriously - how hard would it have been to include an ethernet jack?
    I bet dollars to donuts that the next revision has a GigE port on it.
  • You pay for size (Score:4, Informative)

    by Quila (201335) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:57PM (#22057062)
    That Dell is about the size of the MacBook, which costs less and is more powerful. It is lighter, but then it also has a smaller screen. It is far bigger than the MBA.

    A more apt comparison is the one Jobs did, with the Sony slim notebook, and the Sony's more expensive.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by Altus (1034) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:23PM (#22057452) Homepage

    Its also twice as thick, weights 25% more, has a smaller screen and as you say comes with half the ram. Also, in order to get a similar battery time you need the extra big battery. Still a fairly good deal if the Thinkpad has everything you need but for some people the lighter computer with the larger screen might be worth the money.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sancho (17056) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:29PM (#22057518) Homepage
    I'll summarize another post I made along the same lines.

    First, I wholeheartedly agree that there is a market for sub-notebooks. I've been wanting to pick one up myself. I consider the Macbook to be on the larger side of the sub-notebook class of computers. What I was talking about was specifically the Macbook Air, specifically compared to Apple's next smallest notebook.

    Here's what you get going from the stock Macbook to the Macbook Air:
    2 pounds lighter.
    0.25 inches thinner, at its thickest.
    Spiffy new touchpad.
    OLED screen, meaning that the LCD should last longer (this is a marginal improvement)
    1 extra gb of RAM, base (costs $150 to add to the Macbook on Apple's website, $50 to add after-market)
    Trendy new computer that few other people have.

    Here's what you give up:
    1 optical drive
    1 USB port
    1 Firewire port (probably not a big deal to travelers)
    1 replaceable battery (meaning that your travelers won't be able to carry a spare)
    1 hour of battery life (even worse considering the lack of a replaceable battery)
    1 ethernet jack (probably not a big deal, since wireless is slowly becoming ubiquitous)
    400mhz on the low end, 200mhz on the high end.
    Replaceable RAM (RAM starts going bad? Your Mac is going in for service. Hope it doesn't go bad after the warranty is up.)
    Stereo speakers
    Optical audio out
    $600

    I simply can't believe that the things you get are highly sought after.
  • Absolutely right (Score:2, Informative)

    by DingerX (847589) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:35PM (#22057640) Journal
    My Parents have 4 Macintoshes in their house. Two they use, and two that ended up obsolete simply because Apple made them that way ahead of their time (okay, okay, that iBook could have been brought up to speed for only a $150 software update and a $150 (on Ebay only) legacy 802.11b card, 'cos Apple wouldn't think of making 802.11g for old tech).

    Most people DON'T need all that. But most people DO need SOME of that. And if you add it all together, most people AREN'T going to get WHAT THEY NEED.

    Now, you can debate whether the Mac approach is better than Microsoft's (=We give you ALL you need, but each bit of it only works 80% of the time. Most people will need to use FIVE such elements, so it will only work, (Pet 2.0 fans, help me out here) 32.768% of the time), but the fact is, fashionable obsolescence is part of Apple's game plan. And we can always needle you for it.
  • Re:Short on Options! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:36PM (#22057654)
    EFI is nifty and all & I'd love to see it be able to netboot over 802.11n via bonjour

    It works.

    anyone else think that adding a DV-sized firewire port to this thing would have been trivial?

    Firewire requires 12V; battery on this is only 7.4V.

    (Posting anonymous.)
  • Re:Durability & EEE (Score:2, Informative)

    by zenkonami (971656) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:40PM (#22057724) Homepage Journal
    Having used an Eee, I can say that most of those problems are simply not an issue. Just using the default Linux OS, I've had the GUI e-mail client and Firefox with a few tabs running simultaneously with no problem. Open Office runs just fine (I suppose if you have multiple docs and spreadsheets open it may bog down fairly quickly.) As far as hooking up a digital camera, it has both USB and SD ports (tried this just the other day, and were able to transfer pictures the same way we do on our desktops.)

    To be fair, you're right about movies and music and I hope that's something that future generations of sublaptops will solve as solid state drives come down in price, though movies on an Eee would be a slightly disappointing affair due to the size of the screen. My only other gripe is the size of the keyboard, which I feel could have been just slightly larger, but at the price it's hard to complain.

    Let's just not forget that there's about a $1300 difference in price between these two machines, which is quite important if your very budget conscious and looking for a great student machine or something more useful than a PDA at around the same price.

    OMG, I'm starting to sound like an Asus fanboy...
  • Re:But.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by darthflo (1095225) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:51PM (#22057878)
    My Thinkpad tablet has survived two- to three-foot drops onto concrete, being banged against walls while I was holding it on the display and lots of other abuse with but a few minor blemishes. It's not as thin as an MB Air, but it's also a single-hinge model. Multi-hinge notebooks can be built to almost any thinness desired thanks to (expensive) modern alloys.
  • by ucblockhead (63650) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:57PM (#22057982) Homepage Journal
  • Re:AAPL tanks (Score:3, Informative)

    by GaryPatterson (852699) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:57PM (#22057988)
    History shows AAPL always slumps after major announcements. It's probably indicative of people buying stock as it rises towards the keynote and then selling quickly after that peak.
  • Re:Short on Options! (Score:2, Informative)

    by YukonTech (841015) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:18PM (#22058298)
    EFI, It m has not been fully realized yet, but the EFI in all new macs supports wireless netbooting. I wouldn't be surprised if they finally enabled it in the new macbook Air... EFI can boot over wireless (where BIOS can't) because EFI has the ability to run each piece of hardware OS independant. So EFI could control the wireless interface, connect to a netboot server, and place the image on the HD.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lars T. (470328) <Lars...Traeger@@@googlemail...com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:23PM (#22058376) Journal

    So, how do you connect your flash drive AND cd-rom at the same time? Or are you in the possession of a wireless cd-rom drive?
    Actually, the MacBook Air comes with a feature called Remote Disc [apple.com]:

    However, for those times when you still need to install software on MacBook Air from a CD or DVD, a new feature called Remote Disc lets you wirelessly use or "borrow" the optical drive of a Mac or PC in the vicinity. So you can have full access to an optical drive without having to haul one around.
    That's for those who can't handle a passive USB-hub.
  • by Javit (68742) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:29PM (#22058460)
    You should look up replacing the hard disk on a 12" iBook G4, it's an hour long job your first time. Here's a great walkthrough: http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/iBook-G4-12-Inch/Hard-Drive-Replacement/83/14/ [ifixit.com].
  • by jimfrost (58153) * <jimf@frostbytes.com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:51PM (#22058792) Homepage
    Actually the #1 cause of accidents is failure to yield the right of way (often by failing to obey traffic control signals).

    When it comes to whether or not speed is a primary cause of accidents you should be aware that if you include all roads in the U.S. then the average speed an accident occurs at is 29mph. If you take highways out of the picture it drops to 27mph. This data suggests that speed is not causal in most situations.

    Given this data (and if you don't believe me, by all means go look it up -- that's what I did) you should wonder why it is that traffic enforcement focuses on speeding almost to the exclusion of everything else, even though speeding is a very small fraction of the problem. But speeding is easy to enforce and brings in a lot of revenue, both for the government and (critically) for the insurance companies. This is a major part of why speed limits are artificially low on highways in the U.S.; it's easy money.

    If we were really interested in safety we'd spend a lot more time enforcing rules at intersections where almost all accidents occur. Unfortunately automated tools like red light cameras have not proven effective in reducing accident rates; quite the contrary, they have boosted them. There are numerous theories as to why this is, but the one I adhere to is that the yellow light period is usually shortened when it should be lengthened. The way it is now people slam the brakes on when the light goes yellow and they get rear-ended. Oops.

    Oh, about that MacBook Air. I would like one. It's not quite what I want -- I want a 13" MacBook Pro -- but I love the form factor. The huge downside I see is not the lack of an optical drive, which I can carry if I need or not if I don't, but the non-replaceable battery. 5 hours, even if that is a real number, is not enough for a cross-country flight. If or when my MacBook finally dies I will probably get one regardless, the MacBook has not been durable enough, but it would be a lot more useful if I could carry spare batteries.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:58PM (#22058894)
    It's not an OLED display, it is an LCD display with LED backlighting (no electrofluorescent panel - which generally contain mercury). Going with LED backlighting has a few pluses: generally brighter, less power hungry, "green".
  • by mbessey (304651) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @07:00PM (#22058928) Homepage Journal
    As it was explained to me when I worked there, the Legal team at Apple feels that they'd be vulnerable to shareholder lawsuits if they gave away something that customers would be willing to pay for. This is traditionally attributed to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but I think the intent of the policy is more general than that.

    In general, updates to existing products are not allowed to be free if they add new features, only if they fix bugs. There are a bunch of exceptions, including for products that are given away, like iTunes. I expect that the iPhone is actually being "sold" a bit at a time over the course of the mandatory 2-year contract, and so since customers are still technically paying for them, it's okay to add new features in a software update.

    I didn't much like this explanation the first time I heard it, but given the number of shareholder lawsuits Apple already gets every year, they definitely have reason to be cautious. As long as the prices for feature upgrades remain relatively low, it probably won't anger the customer base too much, and it'll hopefully keep the class-action lawyers at bay.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @07:01PM (#22058944) Homepage Journal

    I dont think there's a laptop out there that even comes close to the Macbook Pro (or even the Macbook) in terms of "quality" even if you ignore OSX
    Really? I think there are plenty, and most of them cost at least 30% less than the MBP.

    I don't consider features like a backlit keyboard or a FireWire 800 port to be necessities, so I have no problem comparing the MBP to competing models that have the same size screen, same CPU, same hard drive and optical drive, same networking features, etc. but a much lower price tag. For example, a configured HP dv6700t with the same basic specs as the low-end MacBook Pro costs $958.99 - less than half as much as the MBP.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by dhuff (42785) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @08:09PM (#22059890)
    Most people won't go anywhere without a laptop mouse, including myself. #1

    So get a bluetooth mouse. That'll leave your USB port open...

  • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dr. Spork (142693) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @08:22PM (#22060036)
    Actually, you got this wrong and you didn't see the pictures. The package of the standard C2D got shrunk - not the die. For the non-technical: The processor from above has two surraces: the silvery one and the green one. Intel shrunk the green part by quite a lot. linky [apple.com] (scroll down).
  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gmaOPENBSDil.com minus bsd> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @08:35PM (#22060174) Journal
    I've never encountered RAM going bad. I've encountered a lot of RAM being bad to begin with, however.
    Sure, it could happen. Congratulations, a high-tech laptop is less serviceable than a whitebox PC. Whoddathunk it?
    As for the optical drive, I use mine every other month, why should I carry it around every day?
    The battery ... 95% of users don't swap them around, the only exceptions being those who need extra long battery life. So we have established that the Air isn't going to compete in the rugged industrial laptop category ... that's quite the bummer, buddy!
    Optical audio out? Completely useless. Stream over wifi or Bluetooth (has Apple implement hifi audio on their bluetooth stack in Leopard?). Apple sells a device for that.
    You're missing the point. The Air is not replacing the MacBook, it's a new product. So yeah, it's expensive. Too expensive for me, I'm keeping my MacBook and will buy an EEE to carry around, but this is a nice product and will sell like hotcakes, no doubt about it.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Informative)

    by erikvcl (43470) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @08:44PM (#22060240) Homepage
    > The answer is you don't use a wired ethernet - Xerox designed ethernet
    > to be wireless back in the seventies, that's why it's called ethernet.
    > Running it over wires was only ever supposed to be a short term hack
    > while they sorted out getting the radio link working.

    Do you have any evidence at all for this statement?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet [wikipedia.org]

    Wired networking in general and wired ethernet, in specific, is not a "short-term hack". Physical networks will always have higher bandwidth and greater security than their wireless siblings. The reason is basic physics. Wireless communication has to deal with tons of issues (interference, etc.) that wired networks don't have to.
  • The Air costs a lot more. My X61 came in at about $1400, whereas the air starts out at $1800! That's $400 for a brand identity on slightly inferior hardware.

    You can get a Lenovo Thinkpad comparable (pretty much chip for chip) to the $1200 Macbook for under $900. The Mac mini is under $400 worth of hardware for $600. This is the "Mac Tax", it's what you pay for the ability to run OS X. Mac fanatics will come up with a fantasy price comparison that will make the difference go away, or claim that the Wintel boxes aren't as reliable, but the difference is real. But the difference is also worth it - it's not "brand identity" that we're getting, it's the ability to run applications that don't suck on an OS that doesn't suck.

    Oh, by the way: "GMA X3100 (which is the best *embedded* card on the market)"? It may be better than the execrable GMA 950, but if I was getting a Thinkpad I'd still pay the extra $200 to get an nVidia or ATI GPU... even if it was embedded. Intel GPUs have been SO bad for SO long that there's no way I'll trust them to get it right until they've established a solid track record.
  • Re:I have to say (Score:3, Informative)

    by wirelessbuzzers (552513) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:26AM (#22064504)

    I currently use an laptop well under 3 pounds, the IBM/lenovo X61. It has very similar specs, with a core 2 duo and GMA X3100 (which is the best *embedded* card on the market).
    I have an x61s. It's a nice line. Like the x61, they're about 3lbs (not "well under 3lbs", like maybe 2.9?) with a 3/4-hour battery, or 3.5 with the extended 6/8 battery. The s gets more battery life than the non-s, and is maybe slightly lighter (?), but slower.

    The differences that I note are this:
    1. The air is a lot thinner and less sturdy than the X61 for the same weight. This may be a stylistic plus, but it also makes the hardware a lot less breakable, and I think they made the wrong choice here.
    Maybe, maybe not. It does have a metal shell, unlike the x61, and MagSafe, so you're less likely to pull it off a desk. Though I wonder what the metal shell will do to wireless reception. Also, I hate to say it, but the x61 shell is kind of shoddy for a ThinkPad. Mine is already cracked around the CPU fan vent, and I've been pretty nice to it.

    2. The Air is only 1.6 Ghz for a core 2 duo. My X61 came in at 2.2 Ghz.
    It uses a low-voltage processor, like the x61s. It gets more battery life than the x61 (even the s), at least in the 3lb configuration, unless Apple is lying more than Lenovo. Anyway, many ultraportables use 1.2GHz ULV processors, so Apple is taking the middle of the road here.

    3. The Air costs a lot more. My X61 came in at about $1400, whereas the air starts out at $1800! That's $400 for a brand identity on slightly inferior hardware.
    Expensive, yes, but inferior isn't clear yet. It has a lot of features that the X61 doesn't. 802.11n, keyboard backlight (that LED on the ThinkPad is not a substitute), 13.3" higher-res display, magsafe, magnetic latch, multitouch trackpad (conspicuously missing from the x), camera, microphone. Also, let's admit it, ThinkPads are ugly. Not as bad as Dells, but nothing compared to the shiny of a high-end Mac.

    Also, it ships with Leopard instead of Vista.

    4. The Air has a tiny by current standards harddrive (80 gigs) probably to make the solid state version not look so bad.
    It has a 1.8" HDD. Smaller and uses less power, but more expensive and less capacity.

    5. The Air's one strong point is that it has DVI out, whereas the X61 only has VGA out. Since there are DVI to s-video adapters, this means the Air can play movies on the tv, whereas the X61 cannot.
    Yup. And you can connect it to a nicer LCD. On the other hand, the other ports are pretty limited. No ethernet (not "airy" enough?), no mic-in (of course, it has an internal mic), no firewire (oh, the irony), no sd reader, no express slot. And only one USB port. This isn't as bad as it sounds, because you probably have a hub on your desk anyway, and you're not going to need more than one port on the road. Probably.

    Still, it seems silly not to include Ethernet. I suppose there's an adapter, but blah.

    6. The air has an optional (it's in the $3000 dollar model) solid state drive. I'm not sure what real benefits you get by paying for this.
    Faster (especially for random reads), lower power consumption, lighter weight, no moving parts, more rugged, geek cred.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by Penguin's Advocate (126803) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @10:58AM (#22066438)
    That's an upgrade from a 32GB SSD to a 64GB SSD. The Air is an upgrade from a normal HDD to an SSD. Completely different starting points in terms of price. Apple's price is still perfectly fair.
  • by Stu Charlton (1311) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @12:50PM (#22068048) Homepage
    The problem is more related to revenue recognition with a hardware + software bundle, and is similar to why they charged $2 for the 802.11n enabler.

    Basically, software is tied to hardware as a "bundle", but if you provide "extra features" at a later date, then you technically did not deliver full bundle, and should not have recognized the revenue from the original sale. This is because accounting rules try to remove "shenanigans" that have happened in the systems integrators of the past where software was promised but was still being built after the deal had closed & revenue recognized!

    So, if Apple were to give away the iPod Touch update for free, they'd have to restate their earnings from back when it was first released, because they didn't technically "sell" the Touch back then, they completed delivery now.

    If, however, they charge for the update, at a nominal price, it's considered a set of extras and isn't tied to the original bundle.

    The iPhone doesn't have to deal with this because they accrue the revenue over several years.

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