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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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  • I'm underwhelmed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by myawn (562028) <mike@theYawnsCOW.com minus herbivore> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:51PM (#22054302) Homepage
    I just don't share Steve's obsession with thin.

    I'm not willing to sacrifice processor speed, memory, disk drive space, and optical capability so that I can fit my laptop into an interoffice envelope.

    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.

  • by Llywelyn (531070) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:53PM (#22054346) Homepage
    Or you can buy them from Apple, download them from other sources, or rip them from your own DVDs.

    How is this related to lock-in again?
  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NetJunkie (56134) <jason...nash@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:56PM (#22054424)
    Just because it costs a lot doesn't mean it's overpriced. It's a deal compared to comparable Sony models with less power and aren't as thin.
  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:56PM (#22054428)
    Then get a MacBook. Sorry but you are not going to fit it into that form factor.

    "Wah Wah Wah, I want a replaceable battery in the iPod."
    Get a Nomad. Some companies even have players which take AAs.
    "But they're not tiny like an iPod".

    Compare a AA to an iPod... there's no way you're going to get it into that form factor.

    Go take the battery out of your laptop. Notice all the extra plastic around the battery. And then the laptop has to have plastic where the battery sits. So you're already essentially doubling the case thickness.

    Do you want a laptop that is 0.16" to 0.76" thick? Go grab a ruler and put that in perspective. There is no way in hell you're going to do that with a standard external battery.

     
  • Time Capsule (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hotsauce (514237) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:56PM (#22054446)
    BTW, I think Time Capsule is as important as the Air announcement. Can't get anyone to back up. But since it's also a wireless hub, and Time Machine autoconnects, people will actually start backing up while barely meaning to.
  • by Llywelyn (531070) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:57PM (#22054448) Homepage
    If you are not willing to accept those tradeoffs then you are not the target market for the MacBook Air. Might I suggest a MacBook or a MacBook Pro?
  • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:58PM (#22054470)
    Please tell me I'm misinterpreting that phrase. Want to buy one now, but that's a deal breaker. Argh!!!

    Wouldn't surprise me if true. Apple have discovered that if they seal the battery in, make it incredibly expensive and inconvenient to replace it, that people throw away an otherwise functional device and buy a new one. Sad but true.

  • by jonnythan (79727) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:58PM (#22054472) Homepage
    Well, it's illegal to rip DVDs.... and you won't be able to rent a DVD at the downstairs Blockbuster when your hotel's internet connection gets you a lovely 75 KB/s.
  • A few thoughts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by proxima (165692) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:59PM (#22054532)
    This laptop is too small and feature-limited to make a reasonable primary computer for many people, I think. Consider:

    1.) No wired ethernet. I don't know if I've seen a recent laptop without wired ethernet. Apple is pushing bluetooth and 802.11* hard. That brings me to

    2.) 1 USB port. Seriously? You can have wired ethernet OR a superdrive OR any of a huge number of wired devices, until you end up getting one of those tiny and somewhat annoying USB hubs which don't seem to be as reliable as having multiple USB ports.

    3.) 1.8" 80G hard drive. This is the hard drive they use in iPod classics. It's 4200RPM, and it's small by modern laptop standards. The only upgrade option is $1000 for the solid state drive. Why aren't they offering the 160G iPod drive?

    4.) Micro-DVI: Unlike the Macbooks, they actually stick a few of these adapters in the package.

    It just seems like they tried too hard to go all out for thinness (and with the case design, it's still 3lb like a lot of subnotebooks). One option I thought would make it a lot more attractive would be built-in ripping of DVDs into iTunes. That way it could still function as a useful movie player on the road. Instead, we get an announcement that some distributors (like Fox) will be including iTunes files on new DVDs. No thanks.

    There's probably a market niche for this product, but I don't think it's as big as the one for the 12" Powerbook G4. I'm still waiting for a suitable replacement in that category.
  • by feranick (858651) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @02:59PM (#22054534)
    What happens if your battery goes dead? You throw away the all thing? You pay for expensive service to install a new one? For many people swapping batteries are just a way to keep going with their work.
  • by CdBee (742846) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:02PM (#22054604)
    You can get 4 eee PCs for the price of this thing, in fact you can probably get 3 into its footprint. I was hoping they would properly challenge Sony and Dell's subnotebooks with a 10-inch screen device. Thinness is less important than width to me
  • Re:Movie Rentals? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:07PM (#22054722) Homepage Journal
    When he says "succeeded" he means popular and profitable. Available != Succeeded. How popular and profitable are XBox Live Marketplace movie rentals? This is the first time I've heard of them, if that's any indication.
  • by cashman73 (855518) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:09PM (#22054772) Journal
    Forget the movies! How am I going to install Duke Nukem Forever?!?! Or does DNF come preinstalled on this thing?
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:10PM (#22054802) Homepage
    You can buy an external optical drive or as the keynote mentioned: you can use a remote disk drive (over wireless) to boot/re-install your Air. That last thing is a really nice feature and I hope it gets extended to other devices as well, too much mucking around and loops to get something to boot how you want it ever since BIOS (and thus it's DOS-like hooks and limitations) came out in the 80's. The EFI firmware allows for such extensions and Apple is really using it well here.
  • by binary paladin (684759) <<binarypaladin> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:11PM (#22054824)
    I love reading macrumors.com whenever there is an impending product release like this.

    I kid you not I read a comment that was something like, "if it has dedicated video, I'll buy it in a heartbeat." Yeah, because they're clearly going after the gamer and 3D development market with these babies. You can always expect the:

    "If this product has I'll buy it in a heartbeat." or "If this product costs I'll snatch it up in a second." What we have above, concerning the battery is a sort of reverse play on the same old, same old:

    "Man I want to buy this product but is a deal breaker." Good lord.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chaboud (231590) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:13PM (#22054878) Homepage Journal
    Compared to Vaios that have a DVD drive or 200GB second drive built in?

    Really thin is only so useful. The Vaio TZ (along with some Japanese laptops that we don't get here in the states) allows you to change the way that you live. You can stuff those notebooks into a man-purse (Tumi makes some that fit rather well) and go. You can use them in the coach section of an airplane without fear of screen-crunch.

    I'm not saying that the Macbook Air is a bad thing. Thin notebooks are nice, but thickness is the dimension that I find least annoying in a notebook (keeping in mind that my thickest notebook is a comparably enormous Vaio FZ, and my favorite notebook is my Thinkpad T42). I wouldn't want my sub-notebook to be as thick as the old Thinkpads were (think DSM-IV hardcover) size, but the footprint matters as well.

    If only someone would bring back the old butterfly keyboard of the Thinkpad 701...
  • Re:Time Capsule (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:13PM (#22054886)
    I was thinking the same thing. Everyone wondered why an airdisk wouldn't work. I think now we have our answer. They wanted to force us to buy an apple product to do wifi backing up. Lame...
  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ikipou (1193603) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:14PM (#22054910) Homepage
    I agree the XPS is bigger and heavier (not that much anyway) but to gain 0.4kg, you loss the DVD, the CPU speed, the storage size and speed, and you paid much more for it. I don't pay 700$ more to have less.
  • Air (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jethro (14165) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:14PM (#22054912) Homepage
    At first I was psyched about the MacBook Air. I've been wanting a small MacBookPro for... well, since the MBP came out. I was goign to ask whether this thing has a glossy screen.

    But really, a non-replaceable battery in a LAPTOP? Especially when Apple says that the batteries are rated for 18 months with "ideal usage"? That seems... a bit off to me. Also I'm betting the harddrives aren't that easy to replace/upgrade.

    Come on, Apple! I'll take the same form-factor as a MacBook! Heck I'll take the same specs, just put a real keyboard on it and get rid of the glossy screen! I'll still pay $1,799!
  • by shinma (106792) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:21PM (#22055118) Homepage
    Where are you getting this 2k-3k number?

    It's $1799. $1898, if you add the optical drive accessory. And it's cheaper than comparable (but slower) subnotebooks from other PC manufacturers.
  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:22PM (#22055122)
    Target audience? When was the last time you were in an Apple store? The place was flooded with teens and parents. Right before fall semester starts its flooded with college freshmen. I was in there after christmas. A guy was in there with his daughter, she was going to get an iPhone. She was 14. There is a large population that falls under "rich" but above $100,000 a year. People that probably have insane amount of debt but have the latest and greatest.

    Could you imagine this in a college setting? 90% of these kids just use AIM, Mail, & Word. And before you go off ranting about how expensive it is for some college kid. Imagine those kids who drive new cars to college. The ones whose parents live in 500,000 houses and drive the latest from Mercedes. $5k is a drop in the bucket, I'm sure they can find another credit card to put it on.

    But you know what, they keep Apple in business. And as long as they do that I'm happy with the other toys Apple gives me (ZFS, Unix, Stuff that just works(tm)).

    The same reason I don't have a problem with BMW selling their 3 and 5 series to any yuppie that wants to buy it. People that won't even touch the performance of what it's capable of. Because those people give BMW money to make nice toys for me like the M3 which I can take out to the track.
  • by B3ryllium (571199) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:22PM (#22055124) Homepage
    To borrow from PennyArcade: "It's not FOR you." *condescending glare*
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:25PM (#22055208) Journal
    Huh? Who made you the official spokesperson for the needs of business users everywhere?

    I imagine this will see excellent sales among business users, regardless of the "integrated battery". A Core 2 Duo at 1.8Ghz isn't exactly "poor performing". My Macbook Pro is the first generation model with the original Core Duo (not Core 2) CPU in it. It still performs quite well for me, so I'd expect to see similar overall performance from the Macbook Air.

    Furthermore, as Apple pointed out, the thickest portion of this notebook is THINNER than the thinnest part of Sony's Vaio slim notebook line. The battery life is rated as high as 5 hours. The keyboard isn't some "compact" model with keys too closely spaced together, and the display is a full 13.3" instead of some 11" or 12" compromise.

    Considering the fact that notebooks are largely non user-serviceable to begin with, the need to mail this off for battery replacement shouldn't be a huge change for most laptop users. (When's the last time your full-size HP, Toshiba or Gateway laptop malfunctioned, and you were able to swap out the defective motherboard or video or display with parts picked up at your local retailer, huh?)

    Judging by how many notebooks I see in service with totally non-functional, worn out batteries in them - I think for many people, it's not even a priority..... They don't like the price of new li-ion batteries anyway, so they do without when the original wears out. If you have you car and airline charger/adapter, along with your AC power adapter, the ability to plug it in wherever you go still makes your portable computer pretty darn portable.
  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aluminumcube (542280) <(greg) (at) (elysion.com)> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:26PM (#22055230)
    The MacBook Air is NOT designed to be a "primary computer."

    In fact, the brilliance on Apple's part here is the recognition (FINALLY) that there are lots of people with big honkin desktop machines who also need a portable computer for going out to meetings, travel or just reading the web (on something bigger then a 3" screen) at the local coffee shop. For us, the Air is perfect - a minimalist extension of our main work computer.

    The only two complaints I have about the Air are the hard drive (you get to choose slow or obscenely expensive) and the fact that Apple hasn't really taken the concept of a satellite laptop as far as they could in OS X. It would be cool if my MacPro and my laptop used WiFi to sync up documents, preferences, media files and such. This problem is especially acute in iTunes where I have hundreds of GB of media on my main machine, but have to manually manage those things on my laptop. I wish Apple recognized this problem and solved it elegantly.

    Other then that, I already pre-ordered my MB Air with the SSD. I can't wait!
  • by modestmelody (1220424) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:30PM (#22055288)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609244 [newegg.com] Looks pretty decent to me. Newegg 64GB SSD for 1533, 64GB SSD from Apple for 999. This may be the first Apple upgrade ever to be cheaper from the factory than DIY.
  • by annodomini (544503) <lambda2000@yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:34PM (#22055348) Homepage
    Then, don't buy a subnotebook. The whole point of a subnotebook is that you sacrifice a bit on features and price in order to get something that's really damn small. You want a replaceable battery, buy a MacBook or MacBook Pro. You want something small, light, and sexy, buy a MacBook Air. Yes, it sucks that you don't have a replaceable battery, and it sucks that you don't have a DVD drive, and it sucks that you don't have an ethernet port. That's what you live with to get something so small. Some people really like having a small, ultraportable computer; some like having all kinds of features. Pick what's best for you, and buy it.
  • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:35PM (#22055360)
    Then get a MacBook. Sorry but you are not going to fit it into that form factor.

    "Wah Wah Wah, I want a replaceable battery in the iPod."


    An iPod is not comparable to a laptop.

    First, an iPod is about $200. Still expensive for what amounts to a disposable device (for those who don't know how to or don't want to pay to replace the battery), but a lot less than $1,800. An $1,800 device is *not* disposable.

    Also, again because of price and a fairly limited feature set, it's common to upgrade to new iPods every few years. But a lot of people use the same PC's for 5 years or more - all their stuff is on them, a lot of that stuff is hard to move, and anyway they still usually work fine after that time. That seems to be about the standard rule in my house; I just replaced a circa-2003 Dell for my wife, and my last unforced laptop purchase (ie. one not caused by my computer breaking out of warranty) was to replace a 1997 Thinkpad in 2002.

    By that time, both of those machines had been rendered long-since un-portable due to totally dead batteries. I didn't care much, as neither my wife nor I are real road warriors and we use our laptops more as desktop replacements. But that's not the market for the Macbook Air - it's an ultra-portable, it's meant to be carried around.

    It's patently ridiculous for an ultra-portable laptop to have a non-replaceable battery. The thing is basically going to be rendered useless to a lot of people within the span of 2 years. Oh I'm sure there will be a cottage industry popping up selling third-party batteries and the means to install them for the advanced. And I'm sure Apple will also provide this service... for a "nominal" fee. But that shouldn't be required; it's a freakin' subnotebook, for God's sake, it should have a replaceable battery.

    It's kind of like selling a PDA without an LCD screen or a calculator without a numeric keypad. This thing's entire reason for existence is jeopardized by the lack of this feature.
  • by kchrist (938224) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:35PM (#22055368) Homepage
    Answer: Travelers. Or anyone who moves around a lot, whether they're traveling or working mobile around the city. Lightweight + small form factor = something you can fit into a backpack or any other bag you use, while not weighing you down. Now that I think about it, students fit this profile pretty well too.

    I see this as being a complement to your regular computer, something to take with you when you need mobility. Shame about the price though, at $1800 I think I'd rather just lug my Powerbook. I don't travel nearly enough to justify the cost.
  • by p0tat03 (985078) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:35PM (#22055380)

    - less battery life

    Last I checked you can't squeeze 5 hours out of a MacBook. With some extreme power saving measures you might be able to top 4.5h, but at that point you'd be afraid to even squint at the dimly lit screen.

  • by FroBugg (24957) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:37PM (#22055436) Homepage
    Or maybe they'd notice that they can save $700 and gain lots of features by giving up a third of an inch and going with a regular Macbook.

    It's just not worth it.
  • by Firehed (942385) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:39PM (#22055484) Homepage
    It's not a subnotebook. It's a thin notebook that sacrificed an optical drive to be really thin. This is exactly the same width and depth as the standard Macbook (give or take a couple hundredths of an inch). It even retains the insanely thick bezels around the edge of the screen of the Macbook. The eee is a subnotebook. This is just a very attractive, very thin standard notebook.

    But yeah, you're spot-on about the lock-in nonsense. If you want a thin machine, ditching the optical drive and moving to a 1.8" drive is the way to do it. It's been rumored for months that if Apple made a thin/small/light/sub notebook, it wouldn't have an optical drive. It's not like streaming DVD-quality video over 802.11n is a challenge - I can stream 1080p through two floors where I can't even see 802.11g signal. /wanted the new 12" that apparently just wasn't meant to be. desperately. *sobbing*
  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SeanMon (929653) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:40PM (#22055508) Homepage Journal
    The 160GB iPod Classic is .12'' thicker than the 80GB version because the drive is thicker. This model doesn't look like it can be easily expanded even by a couple mm...
  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MoxFulder (159829) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:43PM (#22055552) Homepage
    No ethernet port, only ONE usb2 port, no microphone jack? Honestly, how are you supposed to use this thing? What if you need to use Ethernet and a flash drive at the same time? Are you supposed to carry around a USB-to-ethernet dongle and a hub... possibly a POWERED hub?

    I love how people rave about Apple's "all-in-one" designs, yet in practice every all-in-one computer is a mess of external devices and cables. My grandma, for example, has an all-in-one iMac... with an external modem, an external floppy disk drive, and a hub... since the stupid computer doesn't have any convenient front ports for a USB flash drive.

    Oh, and no user-replaceable battery? Thanks but no thanks... there are lots of other ultra-portables that I'd choose over this one.
  • by Predius (560344) <josh.coombs@gma i l . com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:44PM (#22055576)
    But this laptop isn't really damn small, it's just thin. There is no good justification for it.
  • Re:Laugh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:44PM (#22055588)
    At least she doesn't suffer from Asberger's.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:49PM (#22055692)
    omg you're not genuinely unaware of the fact that for electronics, smaller is generally more advanced and hence more expensive are you?

    if not, why do you constantly talk about its price in terms of its size? ("For a little tiny thing like that...", "the cost of these small machines...")
  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jozef Nagy (1082101) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:50PM (#22055728) Homepage
    One of the most irritating pet peeves of mine from the days of working retail is what you stated. There's nothing more annoying than a customer complaining to you that something is "too expensive" because it costs more. What I would do to help them understand is to tell them "A Mercedes costs more than a Honda, but people still buy them. You pay more and you get more. The same applies to this product."
  • On USB hubs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by klossner (733867) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:54PM (#22055772)
    The reason a USB hub isn't as reliable is that it can't supply full power to each port because you don't plug in its external power supply. The hub then divides up 2.5 watts among all its ports. Devices have to get by with a fraction of full power, and some of them can't.
  • by fonik (776566) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:55PM (#22055800)
    Everyone goes to the Dodge dealer to look at a Dodge Viper. Some of them buy a Stratus or Neon. It's the halo effect. Even if the Macbook Air just gets people into the stores to buy the "omg better deal" Macbooks, it'll be a success for Apple.
  • 1280x800 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:00PM (#22055882) Homepage Journal
    Resolution too low. I wouldn't buy a computer under 900 lines of resolution.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:02PM (#22055928) Homepage Journal
    "It's expensive. For a little tiny thing like that, STARTING at $1800, is very expensive. I don't care if the competition is more expensive, that's got nothing to do with it. It's way too much money for a computer these days. "

    Not to sound condescending, but, I'm guessing that you just are not in the demographic they are targeting this towards. Apple pretty much seems to be marketing towards the upscale client, with a decent bit of disposable income to spare and that likes fun 'toys'.

    I'm not one of them, but, there are TONS of people out there, that make a lot of money...and to them, a couple grand for a toy is chump change. These are the same people that bought iPhones while others complained that they were too expensive too.

    If they don't sell well at that price point, then they did price it too expensively, but, I'm willing to bet, that they will sell quite a lot of these.

    Apple is not marketing really much towards the middle or low end of the computer market, they are targeting the upscale market with some sleek looking, and functionally 'nifty' products, and there IS a market for that out there obviously....just look at Apple's recent year sales figures.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:05PM (#22055986) Homepage Journal
    "I love how people rave about Apple's "all-in-one" designs, yet in practice every all-in-one computer is a mess of external devices and cables. My grandma, for example, has an all-in-one iMac... with an external modem, an external floppy disk drive, and a hub... since the stupid computer doesn't have any convenient front ports for a USB flash drive."

    I hate to 'rail' against Grandma here, but, in other people's defense, MOST people out there don't need a floppy drive, nor a modem for their laptops. Flash drives, cdroms, and wireless/ethernet seem to be the standards for today, and those all work well with most all laptops, Apple's included.

  • Re:Air (Score:2, Insightful)

    by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:08PM (#22056036)

    But really, a non-replaceable battery in a LAPTOP? Especially when Apple says that the batteries are rated for 18 months with "ideal usage"? That seems... a bit off to me.

    Kind of like the non-replaceable battery in the iPod [google.com]?

  • by David Rolfe (38) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:12PM (#22056114) Homepage Journal

    Oh yes, it sure is nice to have all my existing video reencoded into x264 just by wishing it was. Oh, and that extra detail already lost (that I have been living with and been fine with) should just magically reappear, right?
    If only you hadn't pirated all that shit in Xvid, it wouldn't be a problem. If only you weren't "backing up" your rented and borrowed DVDs in Divx and 3ivx and whatever else, lol, it wouldn't be a problem. You could solve the whole issue just by getting out your spindle of originals re-ripping them -- time well spent -- because they'd take up less space and/or look better in h264.

    No, the real issue you have with AppleTV's "lack of support" for Xvid is that you don't have originals/masters for your library: it doesn't support your vast library of torrented movies and pron.

    To mock the Betamax decision, the Apple TV isn't popular with your set because the technology isn't capable of substantial infringing uses.
  • by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:13PM (#22056146) Homepage
    Apple is leading into a market niche that is going to explode in the next few years.

    Note: Women are getting more education, and filling more elite/management positions than men [reason.com].

    Note: The CEO of Avon cosmetics joined Apple's board. [reason.com]

    Apple got a Gap board member to help with retail design and strategy. Apple got a Google board member to have a strong ally in networks and data distribution.

    Apple is not looking in to selling cosmetics, I can guarantee that. What Ms. Jung brings to the table is a huge amount of experience in marketing to women. Women who, per the first note, are going to be earning more, spending more, and who are an expanding market for techno-doo-dads which have been traditionally marketed to men.

    Oxygen network vs. Macbook Air? I don't know if that's what's going on here, but I think it's likely to think that Apple will be pushing their products--naming, ad campaigns and more, possibly even specific designs--in ways that will be more and more appealing to women. Making a laptop that's 3 lbs instead of 5 is not something that should be ignored by anyone who has ever noted the difference between the average man's hand/wrist strength and that of the average woman.

    Sony has done something similar, but half-a$$ed, with their "Bravia - A TV both Men and Women can Love" campaign. I think Apple will go down this road, and they will do it right.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sancho (17056) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:13PM (#22056150) Homepage
    It can't matter that much. There aren't many situations where it's necessary from a usability or pragmatic standpoint.

    These laptops are trendy, nothing more. If you want to be trendy, it's perfect--and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. But I'm going to get really tired of hearing how innovative Apple is with the Air when functionally, the only new thing is the touchpad (which, you'll note, they didn't put in their other notebook lines, possibly because they realize that it's the only thing that really separates the Air from the Macbook/Pro.
  • by keytoe (91531) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:14PM (#22056158) Homepage

    #1 - The Time Capsule. Haven't we had wireless NAS's since 802.11 became a standard? I've got a USB-2 external drive that does my backups now. This announcement does absolutely nothing for me.

    To be fair, the real feature is the seamless integration with Time Machine - not the fact that it's a NAS/WiFi base. If this makes it easy for my wife to back her data up from her desktop and her laptop without having to figure it out, it's a win. With a 1TB version, all four computers in our house can be automatically backed up with Time Machine by simply hitting the 'on' switch. I think that's pretty cool. To boot, it's reasonably priced for the features - which is odd for Apple peripheral gear.

    Everything else you said I agree with for the most part, however.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:16PM (#22056204) Journal
    Not specifically saying it applies in the case of this Apple kit, but sometimes paying more just gets you your desired brand name/image rather than anything more.

    A rather left-of-field example from me today: I benchmarked an Adaptec 1210SA PCI SATA controller against a 'generic' (Newlink) equivalent in a Linux box I was building. Both cards are based on the humble SiL 3112 chip. The performance difference was negligible, but the Adaptec controller was £48, the 'generic' was £12.

    Sony and Apple, in particular, strike me as examples of manufacturers that demand/expect a price premium for the brand name. Sure, there are elements of 'first to post' development costs built into their pricing, but in general you can usually buy better kit with more features for less.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:20PM (#22056280)
    Wanna bet the touchpad shows up on the other Apple notebooks as they are refreshed?

    People DO pay for size. A friend of mine paid almost as much for a Lenovo x61s (IIRC) a few months back. He loves it - it weighs half what his old laptop did, gets about 3-4x the battery life, and takes up so little room that he doesn't need a separate bag for it anymore. That's worth a few hundred bucks for a lot of people, and isn't simply a matter of "being trendy".

    I wouldn't want it as my primary computer, but it would certainly do the trick as a second computer (as my iBook does now...).
  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abeydoun (1096003) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:26PM (#22056402)
    Not to mention a replaceable battery.

    I have a Toshiba Portege R500. It's 2.4lbs, .77" thick, includes an optical drive, and has a replaceable battery (usually runs me a full 6hrs on one charge with average usage). Granted it's not as powerful as the mac (it has a 1.2ghz Core 2 Duo) doesn't have all the cute features of the mac (my favorite is the backlit keyboard), but it's lighter and has some essential practical benefits over the mac. IMHO I don't fully understand the hype that's behind the Air. It's not nearly as revolutionary as people are suggesting.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CountBrass (590228) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:26PM (#22056420)
    I don't think your last paragraph is right. 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: and how long has the Macbook been out now (and before it the Al Powerbook)? You get what you pay for.
  • Re:But.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aplusjimages (939458) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:27PM (#22056432) Journal
    Will it blend [youtube.com]
  • by twenex (139462) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:31PM (#22056510)
    160GB probably isn't an option because of the thickness of the drive... the 160GB ipod is a little thicker than the 80GB one (13.5mm vs. 10.5mm)

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zrobotics (760688) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:32PM (#22056542)
    You didn't happen to notice that the damn thing's approximately the size of a postage stamp, did you? The point of the air is that's it's incredibly thin. This isn't designed to be the most powerful, feature-laden notebook out there, it's designed to be portable. For instance, Intel re-designed the processor to make it significantly smaller. Things like that don't come cheap; hence, Apple charges more for the device. Yes, it isn't as powerful as the Pro, but it's designed to complement Apple's other notebooks, not replace them. Buy the Pro if you want more power/features, buy the Air if you need an eensy notebook. It doesn't make sense for Apple to sell 3 different notebook models that are all essentially the same thing. One's cheaper, one's more powerful, and one's small. Pick one. Personally, I'm impressed that the Air's still cheaper than the competition, considering that: A) it's a Mac B) It's smaller (thinner) than comparable notebooks C) it's decently powerful and has good battery life. I wouldn't buy one for video/audio editing, but for web-browsing, e-mail, and text editing it's perfect. And, let's face it, that's all that most consumers use a computer for.
  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:39PM (#22056654)
    Uh, I have 4 computers that I use regularly, so my Lenovo T61 is certainly not my "primary computer". But it has the same capabilities as a real system, unlike the MacBook Air.

    There are so many reasons to have a notebook that is a fully-featured computer, and only one not to: 2lbs. That's the difference between my T61 and the MacBook Air. There are smaller, lighter full-featured notebooks too. Notebooks with replacable batteries. Notebooks with Ethernet ports. Notebooks with optical drives.

    Apple went too far. I can understand leaving out the optical drive - it's probably the biggest part of the notebook. But one USB port? No FireWire? No Ethernet? No replacable battery? These are standard notebook features.

    You don't miss a replacable battery until two years down the line when your battery quits working and you have to send the whole machine to Apple to have it replaced for $200 (rather than spending $60 on eBay for a new battery).

    You don't miss having an Ethernet port until you want to transfer some DVD images from a desktop - what takes 2 hours on 802.11g (1MiB/s) takes 3 minutes over GigE (40 MiB/s).

    You don't miss having multiple USB ports until you want to plug in a USB drive while you're using a EVDO or HSDPA card. Hope you remembered to bring your USB hub.

    You don't miss having a microphone port until you realize that your USB headset takes up your only USB port. Oops. Hope you brought that USB hub.

    You don't miss having a full-sized display connector until you want to show something on a larger monitor. Hope you remembered to bring your mini-DVI to DVI adapter. And your DVI to VGA adapter.

    You don't miss the optical drive until someone asks you to watch their training video on DVD. Or a new movie. Or install MATLAB. Or Mathematica. Hope you brought your external optical drive. And a USB hub, since it uses your only USB port.

    So, I guess it comes down to this: you can bring a 5lb notebook and be ready for pretty much anything. Why would you give up all of that capability for 2lbs?
  • Not my experience (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MushMouth (5650) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:46PM (#22056806) Homepage
    Applecare is the extra warranty,

    Last week Apple gave me a brand new battery for an intel MacBook that is nearly 2 years old, even though it was out of warranty, and I never purchased applecare, they were simply not happy with the performance of their batteries. My had the vague symptoms of not lasting as long as it used to. There was no wining needed, I simply made an appointment at the Apple Store "Genius Bar" (for the next day), brought in my MacBook (forgot the receipt) and 10 minutes later I had my brand new battery.

  • by ContractualObligatio (850987) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:53PM (#22056968)
    > what are the advantages over a normal laptop?

    There are three consistently important things about portable devices - size, weight and battery life. Many people who can afford it are willing to pay for smaller, lighter and longer. It's that simple. If this perspective does not make sense to you - simply write yourself out of the target audience and get on with that which is important to you.

    Many users do not need a removable battery, optical drive or additional connectors. It's that simple. If you do, simply write yourself out of the target audience and get on with that which is important to you.

    There's a lot to be said about being able to understand another person's perspective and requirements. On a geek site, an engineering achievement such as an incredibly small laptop that (for instance) required Intel to produce a new, smaller chip design is worthy of respect rather than puerile comments about shiny toys. Reducing height by 25% and weight by 40% is a tough design goal. But if you can't understand the user, or appreciate the engineering - just get on with other things.
  • by protohiro1 (590732) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:00PM (#22057114) Homepage Journal
    Replacement for the battery costs $129. If this seems like a lot, be aware that a replacement battery for the regular Macbook is also $129, so this will be less profitable for apple (labor costs) must have made the choice for design reasons. More from apple: http://www.apple.com/support/macbookair/service/battery/ [apple.com]
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:01PM (#22057136) Homepage Journal

    No ethernet port, only ONE usb2 port, no microphone jack? Honestly, how are you supposed to use this thing? What if you need to use Ethernet and a flash drive at the same time? Are you supposed to carry around a USB-to-ethernet dongle and a hub... possibly a POWERED hub?

    Apple would reply, 'how last century'.

    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. And Apple fanbois aren't expected to be technical enough to worry about security issues.

    And, of course, you don't use a flash drive. You use that wireless ethernet to access your Time Capsule[TM] [apple.com], which it seems to me was the really interesting bit of today's announcement from Apple.

    So, if you're so mind-bogglingly primitive that you still think digital watches^W^W wired networks are a really neat idea, then you aren't part of Apple's target market for this machine.

    Oddly enough, it's the first Apple machine I've been tempted to buy. And although I like the form factor, the thing that sells it for me it the mouse-pad gestures, which are just so much richer and more intuitive than anything we've seen before. Next job, of course, is to hack something together so that that functionality is available in Linux/KDE...

  • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabre ... rg minus painter> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:02PM (#22057148) Homepage
    Check your google-foo at the door. Sony's specs [sony.com] are still online for this machine (click on "Marketing Specifications").

    Either way, it's still thicker and heavier for a smaller, lower-res screen, slower machine than the Apple, especially if you include the extended battery, which is necessary to make the Vaio run as long as the Apple (3.0-6.0 hours with the double-capacity battery for the Vaio, which takes the machine weight up to 3.1lbs and increases the height of it.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sancho (17056) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:14PM (#22057336) Homepage

    Wanna bet the touchpad shows up on the other Apple notebooks as they are refreshed?
    No, because it seems obvious that they'll do it. I was disappointed that the touchpad wasn't added to them today. Once everyone oohs and ahhs over how great it is, they'll add it to their other lines to increase the sales of those.

    People DO pay for size.
    I wasn't talking generically. I was talking specifically about the Macbook Air.

    There's size, and then there are the dimensions that really matter.

    The Macbook is 13.3". The Macbook Air is 13.3". Where they've cut down is on thickness (and not much on that) and weight (from 5 pounds on the Macbook to 3 pounds on the Macbook Air.) The weight is nice, if you don't mind a non-replaceable battery, no optical drive, and extremely limited expandability (one USB and one DVI.) The advertised battery life is actually lower than on the Macbook!

    Talking generically, you're right. People might spend more money on a smaller, lighter notebook. In this case, though, they're spending more money on a thinner, lighter notebook which eliminates a lot of the features that notebook users probably take for granted right now. I simply can't believe that there is a huge market for the feature set of the Macbook Air compared to the featureset of the Macbook. I can completely believe that the trendy nature of "the new Mac laptop" has a large market.
  • by MrMacman2u (831102) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:19PM (#22057416) Journal
    You have a few points that need to be corrected, I shall volunteer...

    #1 - The Time Capsule. Haven't we had wireless NAS's since 802.11 became a standard? I've got a USB-2 external drive that does my backups now. This announcement does absolutely nothing for me.

    Yes, the hardware is nothing new, but the excellent software and the sheer ease of use is going to be the key selling points with Time Capsule. So instead of farting around trying to get your back up software to work with your NAS, John Generic opens the box plugs it in and he/she is done. That's exciting for most people.

    #2 - The iPhone/iPod touch updates.

    I'll give you this one. Well done!

    #3 - The AppleTV/Movie Rental Service. Exciting, if the XBox360 hasn't been serving this capacity for over TWO YEARS. Wow, all the major labels, eh? Are they suddenly going to cut ties with all their other distribution partners? I didn't think so. And the price cut on the AppleTV was okay, but they *really* couldn't go just a bit further to put it below the $200 mark? Really, they must want this device to fail.

    Two problems. One, the XBox 360 costs more than the AppleTV and doesn't have the best (read: sad) compatibility with streaming video and other media in from Macs. Yeah you can play games with it also justifying the cost, blah blah blah, we're not talking games.

    Two, there WAS a price cut, so hush. Apple would have been justified in leaving the price point the same just as it tends to do with all it's systems, upgrade the hardware, leave the price point the same. Yes, loosing that last $30 to bring the price under 200 would have been nice, but not doing so is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, wanting the device to fail.

    #4 - The MacBook Air. It's really just a masturbation toy for the rich gadget hound -- it does nothing new besides be smaller, and it does it slower and more expensively to boot.

    You're not the target audience. Stop talking.

    It's a laptop for people who want something more portable, lighter and smaller than the MacBook, of which there are plenty. For most people you can't make a laptop small or light enough and as a bonus it does make an excellent status symbol. Guess what? ALL of Apples products are considered status symbols. Outstanding style, design and functionality at a premium price, thats what a large part of Apple's market demands, so Apple delivers. It doen't HAVE to be the end-all be-all of portable computing, there are two other perfectly capable models in the line up to do that.

    Regarding the price, small cost money to MAKE so small costs money to BUY because people WANT small!!

    As for the wireless CD sharing, I've been doing the same thing via Apples file sharing since '92, it's nothing new, they're just gonna make doing it easier and slicker so that John and Jane Generic can do it in their sleep.

    What WOULD have been impressive:
    - A new headless Mac Desktop that fits between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro.
    No arguements here, been practically begging Apple for this for years.

    - An iPhone Nano, about the size of the old iPod Nano with 1-2gb of memory for $99-$149.
    You want a blow job from Steve with that too? Not happening. The iPhone is extremly sucessful at it's current size and price point. In 5 years maybe we'll see a Nano iPhone for around $200, until then go buy a Centro [palm.com]

    - A Mac tablet running full Leopard with multitouch. Bonus points if it's under $1500.
    The market is not demanding a tablet Mac, only frothing geeks that want a "masturbation toy" I believe you said.

    - An iMac with a curved monitor like what's been shown at CES.
    Shut up.

    - Price drops on the iPhone, iPod Touch, or Mac Mini.
    It took 4 or 5 years of CONSTANT UNRIVALED SUCESS for Apple to drop the price on the iPod... Ask again in a few years for
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pimpimpim (811140) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:22PM (#22057450)
    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?

    You obviously didn't get the point. Fact is, 1 USB port is not enough. Even the 300 euro EEE pc has 3 of them, and don't think they didn't try to save on both money and space on that thing...

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toQDuj (806112) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:41PM (#22057742) Homepage Journal
    Well, I usually use only one, max. In the few cases that I cannot absolutely have any less than two active at the very same time, I can find a hub here or there. Mind you, only in cases that, for some reason, I cannot possibly do without one of the two devices for a while.

    Face it, one is very often enough.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:01PM (#22058062) Homepage
    Even if you have the disposable income, the Air might not appeal. It's essentially a Macbook with a bunch of stuff stripped out, a slower processor, and a redesigned case. The remote cd-rom application is not all that amazing -- I imagine it's just some rehash of Appletalk. It's sort of like an extreme version of the Macbook "black" penalty -- except now it's an extra $800.

    And mods note -- I'm not an Apple hater. I spring for $2k powerbooks, well, now it'll be macbook pros, for my office (replace at 3 year intervals) and I have a Macbook which I use as my personal kick around machine, and before that, a 12 inch iBook.

    Another problem with the Air is the same problem the Macbook has -- it's WIDE. The 12in iBook made a great travel computer. The macbook is on the wide side and feels a little more delicate than the iBook. If the Air had a smaller footprint, it would make sense in the product line. As it is, it looks like an expensive wide wafer -- fewer features than a Macbook at nearly twice the price. Even for people with money to burn, it doesn't seem the best place to burn it.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:23PM (#22058368)

    Flash drives, cdroms, and wireless/ethernet seem to be the standards for today, and those all work well with most all laptops, Apple's included.
    Not with only one USB port they don't.

  • Re:AAPL tanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Onan (25162) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:23PM (#22058370)

    "Tanks"? "OUCH"? Alarmist much?

    It's a down day. AAPL's down 5.4% The Nasdaq is down 2.5%.

    More to the point, the stock always runs up in the month before macworld, and dips immediately afterward. That's because everyone buys beforehand and sells immediately afterward to take advantage of this cycle, not because of anything related to whatever gets announced.

    Notice the exact same dip [google.com] immediately after the beginning of every year.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:52PM (#22058798) Homepage
    The perfect example of one who is not the target market, and who does not get it.

    Me? I'm not the target market, either but I used to be. The target for the Macbook Air is the road-warrior, the person who racks up enough frequent flyer miles in a year to fly to Paris for Christmas. I know, I used to be that guy and I would've killed for this device. As it was, I had a Toshiba Portege that was awesome, though underpowered even when it was state of the art. It did me perfectly, and fit like a champ in a briefcase that I could carry into the cabin of the flight. The 5 hour battery life was also more than enough for 99% of the flights I took in the mainland US, and the flights I took within Europe. The only time I would have used the laptop more would've been on an international flight... and most of them either have rather good in flight entertainment options these days, power sockets in the seats or I had my iPod.

    I have a Macbook Pro which I love to death, but I have no need of a laptop like the Air in my current job or my life. I like the expandable, heavy and reliable Pro which has run like a champ for me for two years and has given me very little trouble. If I were back in the road-warrior business, I'd be all over the Air as a primary laptop for business, using home networking for the majority of my big file storage and just keeping the necessities on the Air.

    This isn't an audio studio laptop... Apple has one for that; it's the Pro. It's also not a consumer laptop... Apple has one of those; the Macbook. This is one aimed at a very specific market segment; those who need an ultra-portable computer but are less than impressed with the options available elsewhere. And at 3lbs with a 13" screen, this is just an incredible piece of technology. Hell, I'd consider one of these for the geek value if I had $2K to drop on it right now. The price point and the name say it's not for the average consumer... the lack of optical, CPU speed, expandability and so forth say it's not for the A/V pro. Like every Apple product except the iPod, it's aimed at a very specific market segment... and one that's been screaming out for exactly this for a long time.

    Oh, and if you want to bring issue with the lack of an optical drive... well, I have one in my Pro which I rarely use except when I'm at "home base". And if I'm at home base, what's wrong with me hooking up a USB drive to do the same? Oh, and there's a $99 external drive available as an option if it's really important.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tawnos (1030370) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:56PM (#22058866)
    ...Isn't Remote Disk just mounting a network shared media?
  • Mod down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @07:10PM (#22059084) Homepage

    #1 - The Time Capsule. Haven't we had wireless NAS's since 802.11 became a standard? I've got a USB-2 external drive that does my backups now. This announcement does absolutely nothing for me.

    Iomega [iomega.com] vs. Time Capsule [apple.com]
    See any differences? Price, size? Not revolutionary, but a fine product.
    I have an AE with a USB harddrive, it does almost nothing for me either.
    So what?
    Wow, that is really interesting, thanks mods.

    #2 - The iPhone/iPod touch updates. I was really hoping to hear an announcement regarding the hardware. More memory. Smaller form factor. Lower price. Open network. Instead we see a few lousy software upgrades (woo, quasi-GPS that's been in the system for a week now). And, a nice F-U to the early adopters in a 20$ upgrade for the Touch. Glad noone bought me one of those for xmas. Anyone who did get one in the last 30 days should immediately return it and get one of the "new" ones with the additional features for free. And take a crap in the box, before they do.

    Why the F-U? You knew the touch didn't have those functions originally, now it's a measly $20 add-on. So?
    Sure, free is better, but it's not like you got a raw deal. Care to explain?
    Thanks again mods.

    #3 - The AppleTV/Movie Rental Service. Exciting, if the XBox360 hasn't been serving this capacity for over TWO YEARS. Wow, all the major labels, eh? Are they suddenly going to cut ties with all their other distribution partners? I didn't think so. And the price cut on the AppleTV was okay, but they *really* couldn't go just a bit further to put it below the $200 mark? Really, they must want this device to fail.

    Apple is poised to leapfrog Microsoft's rental attempts in the blink of an eye. It's not INSIGNIFICANT that they've managed to get every major studio on board! Does Microsoft?
    The Apple TV is now cheaper than the cheapest XBox 360. It also looks, sounds, and fits good next to a TV. There's also the additional incentives to rent videos through iTunes due to the transferability to iPod/iPhone/computer. There will still be an appeal for 360's, but that doesn't mean this device will fail.
    Interesting? Please mods...

    #4 - The MacBook Air. It's really just a masturbation toy for the rich gadget hound -- it does nothing new besides be smaller, and it does it slower and more expensively to boot. Wow, it fits in an envelope. Unless you're mailing me one, I'm not interested. Multitouch pad? Give it a month, they'll be on all the MacBooks. The size factor will very quickly be copied by Sony/Dell/et al, so Windows fanbois can rest easy. What would have made it revolutionary? If it were JUST a screen, no Keyboard, no fancy touchpad. Or, if it were under a thousand dollars. THAT would have been impressive. Made of Aluminum? And you thought the last generation MacBooks broke easily! Remote Disk? I've been sharing my CD-ROM drive via windows networking since 1996. It even works over wireless!

    We get it, you're not in the market for a sub-notebook, and/or poor. Waaaaaaah! Move on, others are in the market.
    "The size factor will very quickly be copied by" Well, which is it? It's a flying piece of shit on one hand, but Sony and Dell will attempt to quickly copy it on the other. Well? You sound more like the "Windows fanboi that wants to rest easy" yourself.
    Poop on multitouch, poop on form factor, poop on Apple, poop on price, poop on aluminum (seriously?), poop on MacBooks, poop on EFI-level wireless Remote Disc (excellent display of ignorance). Poop on us all because you wont buy one.
    Very interesting indeed mods.

    Since you were so kind, I'm going to poop AL

  • Re:WTF? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Atti K. (1169503) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @07:18PM (#22059208)

    And, of course, you don't use a flash drive. You use that wireless ethernet to access your Time Capsule[TM] [apple.com], which it seems to me was the really interesting bit of today's announcement from Apple.

    A base station with a hard drive interesting? Well. I've had it for some time now, and I suppose many geeks from here have something like that too. (Asus Wifi router + ATA HDD + USB enclosure + openwrt and samba to share it out). It probably won't work with TimeMachine[TM] though :) (but it does download torrents and stuff from edonkey:) Anyway, their price looks good on this one, but it's not revolutionary.
  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @07:53PM (#22059706)

    There's a lot to be said about being able to understand another person's perspective and requirements. On a geek site, an engineering achievement such as an incredibly small laptop that (for instance) required Intel to produce a new, smaller chip design is worthy of respect rather than puerile comments about shiny toys. Reducing height by 25% and weight by 40% is a tough design goal. But if you can't understand the user, or appreciate the engineering - just get on with other things.


    I can't understand why it lacks simple connectors like an Ethernet port or more than one USB port.

    Perhaps Apple should stop telling us what we "don't need" and provide something that we doneed.

    As for the "new, smaller chip design", no, it's not new - but Apple wants you to think it is. It's the same LV Core 2 that's been sold for over a year, using the same soldered-to-board BGA design. Smaller PC notebooks (like the ultraportable Sony and Toshiba models) use the same CPU, or, in some cases, the even-lower-power ULV variant.

    The OQO is "incredibly small". The MacBook Air is not. Similarly sized and sometimes lighter PC notebooks have been on the market for years. Go look at the Toshiba Portege series from 10 years ago, or the PictureBook. Even my 5-year-old Compaq Armada M300 was similar in size, and I got it for $300 on eBay. It had a removable battery, integrated Ethernet, and 2 USB ports too. And a PC Card slot.

    When you drop the optical drive and use a smaller (1.8") HDD, it's easy to make a small notebook.

    It's not about us "understanding your perspective". It's about us calling bullshit on the Apple hype. The MacBook Air has some serious problems. One USB port in this day and age is simply absurd. No WWAN on an ultraportable notebook is absurd. A non-removable battery is absurd. These are not features, and they aren't necessary to build a small notebook. They are design decisions Apple made because they thought they knew better than their users. The sad part is, their fanboys will buy it hook, line and sinker.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Absentminded-Artist (560582) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @09:17PM (#22060518) Homepage
    It really depends on your usage. For instance, I rarely tether my MacBook to a ethernet cable. I need to put a CD/DVD into my optical drive once every few months. I don't need the Time Capsule because I've already got Time Machine working across the WiFi network doing hourly backups. My MacBook's built-in mic works for my recording needs. I've never needed access to more than one USB port. The MacBook Air is perfect for my needs. Then when one considers how light the thing is, my shoulder is already telling me what my next laptop purchase is going to be.

    BTW, the battery issue is a non-issue. Apple service centers will replace the battery for the standard price and not charge for labor. This means to me that the battery is replaceable by hackers and will within weeks have how-tos available on the internet from multiple locations.

    My question is: Why don't people understand that Apple's tight and tiny designs don't allow for battery hatches? Either you like the slick form factor and the trade-offs that come with it, or you buy another vendor's product.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by onefriedrice (1171917) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @09:24PM (#22060604)

    People say that Apple missed the mark with everything they release. Sometimes they do, but lately it hasn't been very often. One thing Apple knows is their customers. Apple Marketing is truly superb. When you say that Apple "missed the mark," what you really mean is they missed the mark for you, but most likely you weren't in their target market for this device in the first place.

    That said, you may be right. Maybe nobody will buy it, but I don't think so.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by greyhueofdoubt (1159527) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @09:47PM (#22060878) Homepage Journal
    I'm not going to buy this Air either (at least not at this price), but I heard your argument a thousand times about the iPhone. People are NOT rational actors, economically speaking. I WANT this computer. Many people will want this computer. If you think that the "wow" factor doesn't sell, then I advise you to look in your phonebook for the porsche, BMW, and mercedes dealers in your area.

    This computer is sexy as hell. Recession or not, people will buy it.

    -b
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @11:15PM (#22061778) Homepage
    There's an airline adapter on Apple's webpage. I have one for my MBP. Don't use it as much as I expected to... but I also don't change the battery... ever. And if you're a road-warrior in the car... well, I've never had a problem finding either (a) a coffee shop or (b) the outlet in my car to charge my laptop.

    If you can't get done in 5 hours what you need to get done on a plane, then you're not working very efficiently. If I am on a flight more than 5 hours, sitting in that seat for that time with my laptop is going to get old quick... and on a shorter flight the non-removable battery is a complete non-issue.

    Maybe a problem with when you fly to a destination? Well, again, most rental cars have outlets... all it takes is a very small adapter these days.

    My Macbook Pro gets ~3 hours on the battery. To-date I've never needed to swap it out... I don't even own a second battery. It's not that I don't do work; I just work efficiently. I can also raise my battery life by dimming the screen, turning off the wireless and Bluetooth, etc.... that helps.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ottffssent (18387) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @01:04AM (#22062796)
    >The target for the Macbook Air is the road-warrior, the person who racks up enough frequent flyer miles in a year to fly to Paris for Christmas.

    Don't those people already have X-series Thinkpads? I know I do. Granted, this one's about twice as fast (maybe 3x), 15% lighter, and has a nicer screen. The price is about the same. But my Thinkpad has another hour of battery life (and it's removable too), twice the USB ports, firewire, gigE, a CF reader, IR, a PC-CARD slot, a real video port, parallel, and a dock connector. And it's 6 years old.

    Dropping all the extra bits my X31 has would save probably more than that 15% weight, so what we're left with is that in 6 years Apple's got a faster machine with a better screen. That's really disappointing.

    The wireless CD drive sharing Apple's doing is cool. I'd like to see EFI replace the legacy BIOS in the rest of the market so we can start seeing more of that kind of thing. But the hardware they're selling is a badly designed Thinkpad shaped like a squished chiclet. And it's not black.
  • by Too Much Noise (755847) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @04:13AM (#22063828) Journal

    Yes, you can even reinstall the OS this way. http://www.apple.com/macbookair/wireless.html [apple.com] [apple.com]


    Um. Where did you see that one? I read

    3. Install the software on MacBook Air.

    In the Finder on MacBook Air, under Devices, select the icon that says Remote Disc. Click on the computer you enabled, and then double-click to open the software DVD. Now proceed with the installation just as if you had a built-in optical drive.


    Now, as wonderful as EFI can be, I don't think it brings Finder up when it can't find a partition to boot from. Or even that it brings up a working wifi connection in such a case. So could you now help an old man understand how apple would achieve such a feat (or point me to exactly where it said it did)?
  • by ContractualObligatio (850987) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @05:19AM (#22064198)

    I can't understand why it lacks simple connectors like an Ethernet port or more than one USB port.

    Well, I've only had a MacBook for four months, which isn't a huge amount of time to go on, but I've not used the Ethernet port once so I'm guessing because it's not necessary. And in eight years of doing the whole road warrior thing with PC laptops - ditto on two USB ports. I know many of my colleagues would disagree because of a need for USB mouse + memory stick. But presumably there's enough people like me out there for whom the design does provide something we need.

    As for the "new, smaller chip design", no, it's not new - but Apple wants you to think it is.

    I'm pretty sure the 22mm package is new, but I'm happy to be corrected if you can provide a reference.

    The OQO is "incredibly small". The MacBook Air is not. Similarly sized and sometimes lighter PC notebooks have been on the market for years

    Oh, come on. Yes, the OQO is smaller but it's a handheld. Yes, similarly sized PC notebooks have been on the market for years and guess what - I think they're incredibly small too! And dearly wish I got something like that from my work. However, from an engineering perspective I can also recognise the effort and achievement in the shape of the MacBook Air, because the tapered shape means less space to work in. Engineering at the margins is usually tough. The M300 damn sure wasn't $300 when it came out - it was $1000 more expensive.

    When you drop the optical drive and use a smaller (1.8") HDD, it's easy to make a small notebook.

    It's even easier to bullshit online, and the lack of comparable alternatives available suggests you're full of it.

    It's not about us "understanding your perspective"

    Actually, it is. When intelligent, experienced, successful IT people say "I like the look of that product, it's what I need for mobile computing" and you can't understand it - that is a problem with you. And if you can't understand, just walk away.

    The sad part is, their fanboys will buy it hook, line and sinker.

    Yeah, gee, I'm such a sucker. Spending a few weeks wages on something that I know fits my requirements based on years of experience. How ever do I manage to get through life? My last expensive purchase was an American Deluxe Series Ash Telecaster. Pretty basic, no fancy paint job, simple wiring, no humbuckers, no auto-tuning, no whammy bar, no B-Bender, no onboard processing, no mother of pearl scratch plate, no trim, no access to the 24th fret, etc etc. But hey, I've got other guitars. This one looks great, feels great, and provides all the functionality I need from a guitar when I want to just pick up and play. I know my tools, I know their limitations, and I'm willing to part with cash for designs I like. Just because Springsteen's guitar lacks the functionality of Steve Vai's doesn't mean Bruce doesn't get good artistic and/or commercial results out of it. I can live with a single tone control. If that kind of thinking makes me a fanboy, so be it. Having experienced the joy of going from opening my notebook lid to recording riffs within seconds, I'm currently believing Apple have an overall better understanding of what I want from a computer than any other vendor.

  • by jhylkema (545853) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:18AM (#22064738)
    Wait, it doesn't have a DVD drive. Nevermind.

    Seriously, this is ridiculous. No Ethernet port, no optical drive, no modem, no nothing? At this price point? It's absurd! But hey, it's thiiiiin and kyooooot, so the idiot yuppie iPhone buyers will lap it up.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ktappe (747125) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @09:17AM (#22065450)

    Most people won't go anywhere without a laptop mouse
    I challenge that. Just because you do so don't assume others do too. Very few laptop users I know use mice with them. Of course, most of those users are MacBook users, so perhaps they are very comfortable with the input abilities Apple provides (that is, they're not stuck with a "nipple" in the middle of their keyboard, etc.)
  • by revscat (35618) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @12:44PM (#22067924) Journal

    Fuck you, my insecure little cupcake.

    If you don't like it don't buy it. But get off your sanctimonious high-horse, your false belief that your purchasing decisions are the One True Way and that anyone who differs is a fucking idiot. What you chose to buy does not make you better than other people.

    "No nothing"? Except for... a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 2 gig of RAM, 802.11n wireless, USB2, backlit keyboard, built-in iSight, LED display, 5 hour battery life. Not to mention the software.

    Yeah, I guess other than that nothing. If I were a business traveler I'd want one of these. I'm not, so I don't. But I'm not such a child as to think that I'm better than anyone who might.

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