Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Portables (Apple) Businesses Apple Hardware

In-Depth Review of the MacBook Air With Photos 244

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the long-road-ahead dept.
Engadget has the first really in-depth review of the MacBook Air that I have seen with plenty of great photos and specifics. They do a great job of highlighting the highs and the lows with plenty of concrete examples to back their claims up. It seems that while the MacBook Air is a great step towards ultra-portable computing, overall the pricepoint is just too high. Which is not surprising from a new Apple gadget I guess.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

In-Depth Review of the MacBook Air With Photos

Comments Filter:
  • by sayfawa (1099071) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @09:38AM (#22192760)
    I thought it was a well thought out review. Carefully worded to back up every statement so neither the fanboys or haters could jump all over him as being biased. Though some probably will. Only thing that irked me was how there were several lines that go something like "unlike most ultraportables, the MBA has..." or "also rare in an ultraportable is...". Well, who started calling this 13.3" thing an ultraportable anyway?

    Anyway, it did actually make clearer to me who would want this laptop.
    • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:02AM (#22192900) Journal
      Going by weight, emmmmmmaybe we can kind of, sort of call this ultra-portable, but like you, I've always considered the foot print to be an important aspect (I'm typing this on a 12" Powerbook, btw). And just going by the looks of the thing, I'd really love to own it, but not at this price.

      I've been a Mac owner since 1991, and my main machines have always been Macs. Currently I'm considering the Asus eee PC, which is both tiny and light, and which seems capable of handling 80% of my computing needs. It's so (comparatively) inexpensive that I'm tempted to buy now, even though I want to wait and see the 2nd generation of eee PCs.
      • Air Smaller (Score:3, Interesting)

        by shmlco (594907)
        At 12.8x8.94x0.16~0.76, the Air takes up 52.63 cubic inches of space in a bag or briefcase. Your 12" PowerBook, at 10.9x8.6x1.18, takes up a whopping 110.6 cubic inches of space in the same container, or over twice as much room.

        Further, the Air is only a third of an inch deeper (8.94 vs. 8.6), so in terms of depth (and in screen height when opened) they're functionally identical. As such, on a airline tray table they'd behave pretty much the same. (Since tray tables are typically 16.5" wide by 9.5-10.5" dee
        • by drsmithy (35869)

          Further, the Air is only a third of an inch deeper (8.94 vs. 8.6), so in terms of depth (and in screen height when opened) they're functionally identical. As such, on a airline tray table they'd behave pretty much the same. (Since tray tables are typically 16.5" wide by 9.5-10.5" deep, the Air's extra width has little impact. Still room for it and a cup of coffee.)

          Or you could get a regular MB, which takes up essentially the same amount of space on the tray table as an MBA, but is substantially more capab

    • by catwh0re (540371) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:20AM (#22192986)
      I just think they were stuck for things to talk about... when you spend a paragraph detailing how a different laptops power adaptor doesn't fit in the unit, or that if you have dirty/sweaty wrists you'll have to clean the unit (unlike any other material?) - then it just sounds like you've got nothing to really complain about.
    • by zakezuke (229119) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:31AM (#22193030)

      Well, who started calling this 13.3" thing an ultraportable anyway?
      It's under 5 pounds, and while it does have a larger than average foot print, it's pretty damned thin, and the fact that it uses that custom cpu, 1.8inch (thought it was 1.7) HD puts it into the ultra portable class.

      As I was discussing this with someone else, I would call it an ultra portable based on it's weight (sub 5lbs) and its thinness. For me, and keep in mind I'm not buying this, thinness represents more usable space savings. A 1/4 inch off the top to me means extra room for a couple of shirts or 75 to 150 sheets of paper. A 1/2 inch off the sides to me represents traveler sized shaving cream, tooth paste, perhaps a travelers brush and maybe a razor. The space crunch in my bag comes from thickness not width.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dfghjk (711126)
        Who cares what someone who packs his computer with toiletries thinks?

        Thinness is the ultimate measure only because Steve Jobs said so. Being slightly thinner than most while still having a full sized screen and keyboard does not make it an ultra-portable. Neither does a custom CPU package or an undesirable hard drive form factor.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Who cares what someone who packs his computer with toiletries thinks?

          An awful lot of people make frequent overnight or two-day business trips, for which packing one carry-on bag, including both computer and toiletries, makes the most sense. Of course you don't pack them in the same compartment, but a good multi-compartment laptop case designed for the frequent flier will allow you safely pack everything. And yes, in that case the thickness of the laptop is the limiting factor for how much other stuff you
        • by shmlco (594907)
          Regardless of whether or not you're hung up on definitions, I know which one I'd rather spend a lot of time actively working with and using on a day-to-day basis.

          If a super-small screen and cramped keyboard were the only consideration, I'd be writing articles on my iPhone. ;)
    • by T-Bone-T (1048702)
      Maybe it is just me, but 13" isn't that big. You say it is a whole 13" but simple conversion reveals it to be just over 1' wide.
    • by UttBuggly (871776)
      I agree. This was a very decent review. We have kids in college and the youngest needed a new laptop. We were going to get it at Xmas, but decided to see if something like the Air would be announced.

      After seeing it, and reading other reviews, we got him a tricked out MacBook with the DVI dongle for his big Samsung LCD display. With educational pricing, it was less than the Air by a bit. He gets a good compromise of weight and power for his needs.

      What the author pointed out is basically what we came to; not
    • Anyway, it did actually make clearer to me who would want this laptop.

      Although, I'm not so sure the author actually knows so: I thought it was strange to expect a Front Row remote and the USB optical drive with a laptop designed to leave out as many bulk-adding hardware features as possible. Perhaps he either expects people to pay extra for something they might not use, or that Steve was going to throw them in for free out of the goodness of his heart?
  • by Mister Transistor (259842) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @09:52AM (#22192838) Journal
    Pricepoint? The 90's called and they want their buzzword back. Gezzus, just say fucking "price". The amount something is for sale at is its price. Period. Sheesh.
    • by toddestan (632714)

      Pricepoint? The 90's called and they want their buzzword back. Gezzus, just say fucking "price". The amount something is for sale at is its price. Period. Sheesh.
      Except that Apple is all about their carefully chosen price points, in case you haven't noticed.
  • by emj (15659)
    I hope DVDs will go the same way as floppies already have, they are cumbersome and just takes up space. Create more PCs without DVDs..
    • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:08AM (#22192922) Journal
      I just got back from the future, and in the post apocalyptic road warrior world to come, shiny discs will be the main form of currency. The richest people are those that never threw away their AOL CDs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      Well, considering that 4 GB SDHC cards are common, and currently only cost $30, I think that eventually giant (by comparison) DVD media will disappear. Sure it's too expensive now, but give it 5 or 6 years. I still want something that doesn't get damaged by scratching like MiniDisc, or SD. Maybe some kind of bluray tech in a MiniDisc formfactor would be nice.
    • Why on earth would they do that? It's the main distribution media for software and movies and readers are backwards compatible with CDs, which are the main distribution format for music. None of that was ever true of the floppy.
      • It's the main distribution media for software ... None of that was ever true of the floppy.

        The 80s and 90s would like to have a word with you. Hell, I remember making my own 7.5.1 Macintosh boot disk (Required deleting color resources and stuff). 1.44 MB and I could boot into a full GUI.

        Yes, software was distributed primarily on Floppy's.

        And Apple (as they pointed out in the keynote) is hoping to move Music and Movie distribution from physical media to the Internet.

        • Whoops, should have said 'with the exception of software'. My bad. The rest is true though and even if distribution does change to primarily being over the Internet (Which it wont for quite a while, if ever), there's still going to be a massive legacy collection of physical media. I'd be very surprised if some sort of drive capable of reading CDs and DVDs disappeared any time in the next 10 years. I'd not be in the least bit surprised to still find something there in 20 years in fact.
    • by zakezuke (229119)

      I hope DVDs will go the same way as floppies already have, they are cumbersome and just takes up space. Create more PCs without DVDs..
      To be honest I don't see the issue. They are the standard. If you find them too bulky for your needs
      1) 80mm media
      2) jump drives
      3) copy to HD / virtual drive

      Nothing stopping you from putting your important portable shit on any of these.
    • by STrinity (723872)

      I hope DVDs will go the same way as floppies already have, they are cumbersome and just takes up space. Create more PCs without DVDs..
      I'm sorry, Mr. Jobs, but I'm not buying movies from iTunes.
  • News flash: portability is expensive. It costs money and processing power. And they have to pay Jon Ive a mint because he designs lots of cool doodads for Apple. I'm impressed that Apple convinced/strongarmed Intel into a CPU package shrink just for them. But it's not as fast as the other Core 2 Duos currently in the lineup:

    Another article here [macworld.com].
    • by DAldredge (2353)
      Intel will redo the packaging for anyone that is willing to cover the cost.
    • by Aphrika (756248) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:56AM (#22193198)

      News flash: portability is expensive
      Sort of... although I think thin is the expensive kicker here. The Asus eeePC is cheap and - dare I say it - a lot more portable and feature-laden than the Air (removable battery, 3 USB ports, ethernet).

      The other issue is that as the Mac hardware is essentially now the same as a PCs, there's not much stopping the likes of Sony from designing a similar form-factor laptop. Apple have proved the concept works, although I can envisage some people carrying around a bag of cables and adaptors to get the most out of it.

      On another note, I was interested to see how Intel shrunk the Core 2 for the Air - it seems they shrunk the PCB block rather than the chip die itself, which would make shrinking it a lot cheaper overall. Very nice work though - hopefully it'll encourage them to make their chips smaller overall in future.
      • by STrinity (723872) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @12:18PM (#22193774) Homepage

        Sort of... although I think thin is the expensive kicker here. The Asus eeePC is cheap and - dare I say it - a lot more portable and feature-laden than the Air (removable battery, 3 USB ports, ethernet).
        The Air has more features than some full size portables. Just look at this comparison [blogspot.com].
      • by soapbox (695743) *

        Sort of... although I think thin is the expensive kicker here. The Asus eeePC is cheap and - dare I say it - a lot more portable and feature-laden than the Air (removable battery, 3 USB ports, ethernet).

        I saw my first eeePC in the wild yesterday. I was impressed, and the girl using it was happy to show off the new toy*, but I was struck that there's no way I'd be typing on it for long. That keyboard is tiny. That's one thing about the Air (not that I'm buying one--my 2005 PowerBook 15" is fine for now)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rbanffy (584143)
        Comparing the MBA an the Eee is, to say the least, unfair. One is an exercise on how little and inexpensive you can make a comlhted wighojf crjppling it completely. The MBA is a full featured notebook that runs pretty much anything a desktop Mac runs. It may lack an ethernet port, buf Apple considers wired networks legacy tech (at my home it mostly is and in most of my clients it's only for the desktops). Even my printer has 802.11. For those who need cabled ethernet, there is a USB thingie. As for the opt
      • The Asus eeePC is cheap and - dare I say it - a lot more portable and feature-laden than the Air (removable battery, 3 USB ports, ethernet).

        OK - I've got an EEE and am not particularly inclined to buy a MBA, but I'm not sure about "feature laden". You've picked out some strengths - Ethernet, USB ports, portability and removable battery* but rather neglected RAM (512M vs 2G), storage capacity (4G vs 80G), CPU power (630MHz x 1 vs 1.6GHz x 2), screen (800x480 7" vs 1280x800 13"), trackpad (tiny with scroll

    • by miscz (888242)
      Portability is not that expensive anymore. You can buy 12" notebooks for about 700 euro or less. Yeah, they aren't that flat (37mm for Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo U9200, 43mm for Acer Aspire 2920) but they sport modern hardware too. And they have DVD drives... and ethernet ports.
  • Great! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Engadget has the first really in-depth review of the MacBook Air that I have seen with plenty of great photos and specifics. They do a great job of highlighting the highs and the lows with plenty of concrete examples to back their claims up. It seems that while the MacBook air is a great step towards ultra-portable computing, overall the pricepoint is just too high.

    Great post! :-)
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:19AM (#22192980)
    It's lighter and thinner than every other builder's shovel and it looks really great.

    OK, it is 20 times more expensive that a wooden-shafted version with a steel end, and it will only do the same work, but that's more than made up for by it's looks.

    Did I mention it looks great?

  • nice try (Score:5, Informative)

    by oever (233119) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:27AM (#22193018) Homepage
    The new MacBook Air will hopefully point laptop makers in the right direction: small and silent laptops. From what I can tell from the specs and the review, though, the MacBook Air is not as nice as the laptop on which I'm typing this: the Dell Latitude X1. Although the X1 is now out of production, it is still, in my opinion, the perfect laptop. Someone else has already taken the trouble of comparing [ormset.no] the two machines. Here's the summary:

    Dell Latitude X1 is smaller (albeit slightly thicker), has a gigabit ethernet port, comes with a external DVD burner, has two USB ports and and SD and a CF slot. The battery is easily removed and replaced or upgraded.

    The MacBook Air has a dualcore 1.6 GHz processor where the X1 has a single core that clocks 1.1 GHz. Also the Air can take 2GB versus the 1.25 GB of the X1.

    The X1 comes with an obligatory copy of Windows XP, but I upgraded it to Kubuntu Feisty. The MacBook comes with an obligatory copy of Mac OS X.

    I have been developing KDE4 on my X1 just fine. The extra speed would be nice, but for a portable machine battery life is more important.

    If the X1 were still in production, it would clearly be the better laptop.

    • As ultra portables go, my D420 is almost perfect. Small, light, plenty of power, replaceable battery, solid state drive, external optical drive....etc.

      The D430 is a current model, and can be had for less money.

      Unfortunately, if you want/need to run Mac OS, the MBA is the only game in town.

      -ted
    • Nice try, indeed (Score:3, Informative)

      by tgibbs (83782)
      You are seriously comparing a 1.1 GHz single core to a 1.6 GHz dual core? That's not even close to the same class of computing power.

      Meanwhile, people are quibbling that the MBA is slightly slower than other Mac dual core laptops...
    • Re:nice try (Score:5, Informative)

      by tgd (2822) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @11:29AM (#22193402)
      The X1 is a great laptop -- I love mine, but I'm sorry its not even close to the Airbook. Its extremely slow (less than half the speed of a 1.6ghz C2D), its got a small keyboard and a low-resolution display.

      Its *great* for use on an airplane because the seat in front of you can be back and you can still fit it on the tray. Its great for tossing in a bag.

      There is no way on Earth you could use it as a full-time laptop unless you had midget hands and only used Office.
      • by tgd (2822)
        Yes MacBook Air.

        I know I got it wrong. I've been on hold with Comcast for 90 minutes and my brain is turning to mush from their horrid hold music.

        I'd like to see how durable the Air is by cracking someone over the head over at Comcast.
    • The MacBook Air has a dualcore 1.6 GHz processor where the X1 has a single core that clocks 1.1 GHz. Also the Air can take 2GB versus the 1.25 GB of the X1.
      I'll take the faster CPU over an SD card slot any day of the week.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      Both systems make different compromises. MBAir has more memory and a lot more CPU power, but that blog post doesn't really seem to acknowledge that.

      The blog post you linked used some specious reasoning to show that the X1 is better at some of the comparisons. I think the X1 looks generally better, but the biases used to show that the X1 is better by a huge margin are as over the top as an Apple cheerleader's biases.

      I'll take just one example here. The calculation for "pixels per inch" is completely wrong
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Smurf (7981)

      Dell Latitude X1 is smaller (albeit slightly thicker)

      "Slightly" is quite an understatement. The article you cite quotes the dimensions as:

      MBA: 1.94×32.5×22.7 = 1431.235 cc
      X1: 2.5×28.6×19.68 = 1407.12 cc

      But the thickness of the MBA tapers from 0.76" = 1.930 cm to 0.16" = 0.406 cm. The average thickness is thus 0.46" (1.168 cm, so the X1 is 2.14 times thicker), and the actual volume is more like 861.692 (so the X1 is 1.63 times larger).

      And quite frankly that's not the only flaky part of the comparison. The author makes claims such as "t

  • by JonathanBoyd (644397) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:31AM (#22193036) Homepage
    That article's a mess: poor grammar; photos that focus more on looking arty rather than providing information (the fourth one down is near useless); horrendous distortion in some of the shots (the second one down makes the screen look like it's melting); and attempts to make the writer look smarter by using fancy words that the writer doesn't even know the meaning of (you cannot have an eliolated [answers.com] CPU). If you can get past that though, the content's not bad. I'm curious about what battery life would be like with the brightness turned down, WiFi and BLuetooth off and just using Office/iWork for some actual work. Just using TextEdit I was able to get 8 hours out of my old iBook, but my MacBook can't stretch that far.
    • by tgibbs (83782)

      ...and attempts to make the writer look smarter by using fancy words that the writer doesn't even know the meaning of (you cannot have an eliolated CPU).

      Maybe you should spend a bit more time with a dictionary before presuming to nitpick. "Etiolated" is not that fancy a word--it's hardly the first time I've seen it used in its broader meaning of "feeble."

      Even if one only knew about the specific horticultural meaning, it would be a pretty good metaphor.

    • by cbart387 (1192883)
      Thank goodness. I was looking for comments on the article (which was what the summary was pointing to after all) but all the other comments were bitching about the laptop itself. The grammar didn't bother me but looking back at the article you're absolutely right about the pictures. They (at least most) look like something you'd use for a splash page on a website instead of showing proper perspective.
  • by autophile (640621) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @10:56AM (#22193194)

    Lord knows I love all things Apple-y, but not the MBA. That being said, perhaps the MBA is a showcase machine, not really designed to be practical, but to show off new technologies for light laptops. And, unlike concept cars, you can drive this one home with you.

    I guess that's positive enough spin :)

    --Rob

  • Boot from USB?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Saturday January 26, 2008 @12:08PM (#22193684) Homepage
    Apple disabled the booting of system CDs from USB CD drive a long time ago (required either a direct connect drive or fire wire) I figure the special CD drive changes the situation for the MacBook air.
    • Actually, it's only PowerPC Macs which cannot boot from USB . PPC can boot from internal ATA, SCSI, or FireWire. Intel Macs can boot from those, plus USB.
  • From the article: It fits in a manila folder, you can slide it under a door, and if you threw it hard enough you could probably chop someone in half with the thing.

    So instead of the MacBook Air we should call it Oddjob's Laptop? Seems appropriate given that it's an Apple and they definitely made some bizarre choices when designing it.
  • Personally, I've been convinced that the MBA isn't for me because of the lack of 3G (which would be my definition of "Air") and it looks like the USB port is actually a bad piece of design, which ruins it for my usual "I pay extra for good looking designs" fetish.

    Overall, a good review - it's nice to see it acknowledged that thin, light and stylish is a feature some people will pay for. But there's one thing in particular that bugs me about all reviews of the MBA, namely the lack of replaceable battery. I s
  • by shagoth (100818) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @01:14PM (#22194158) Homepage
    I was an Apple loyalist through the worst of times, I was first out the door to buy a Titanium laptop. I have diversified a lot in the last couple of years. Those things said, I really, really want to like the MacBook Air. It's a gorgeous machine. It evokes the same kind of visceral "must own" response that the original Titanium Powerbooks did. This machine makes too many compromises to be a primary machine for the serious poweruser or developer. No ethernet, no WWAN, no optical drive, no firewire and oddly no audio-in. In headier times, having one of these machines for sofa browsing would be great, but that's not where I am right now nor or most of the computing "professionals" that I know.

    It's hard to know the target market for this machine, though it's clear the machine was designed for Steve personally. I'm sure that this machine will look great sticking out of the designer backpack on the passenger seat of a new 3-series BMW that Mommy and Daddy bought for college commuting, but it's hard to relate to a market that far removed from the kind of office that has machines in varying states of assembly. The MBA is a glorious consumer machine but the slashdot crowd is not the core market for this product.

    Ultimately, the slashdot crowd isn't Apple's market at all and it's a happy accident for Apple that slashdot intersects with other products aimed at Apple's core demographics.
    • by eclectic4 (665330)
      "This machine makes too many compromises to be a primary machine for the serious poweruser or developer."

      As it's been said a gazzilion times, it's not meant to be a desktop replacement, or a "power" users portable machine. It's an ultra-portable, meant to be nothing more.
      • That's fine, but then I question who the MBA is aimed at. I'm pretty sure more laptops sell than desktops at this point (it was close the last time I saw numbers and the trend showed laptops over taking desktops soon enough). So that leads me to believe people aren't buying laptops as second machines (like the MBA is positioned to be), but as primary machines. Can you see a college kid having a desktop and a MBA to carry around? No, they want a single laptop that they can have everything on and not use
  • Misses the point. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quibbler (175041) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @01:25PM (#22194234)
    As Engadget does too often for my taste, the review misses the point of this product entirely. Please pull your head out of the tech-sheets long enough to look at the thing as a 'product' not a 'laptop'

    The MacBook Air is not for old-school hardware-centric geeks. Its not for 'road warriors'. In fact, I think the crafty (doubtless purposeful) acronym "MBA" should tell you alot. This product is designed for management types, social types, the fringe of the tech-savvy users. I will go so far as to say if you don't love the MBA, you're not in the the target market group. All the MBA nay-sayers remind me of film critics panning a movie like StarWars saying how trite, contrived, overstated, and juvenile it is. The fact is that for millions (billions?) of people, StarWars is the magnum opus of film. If you don't agree, you're not wrong, worse you're just he wrong reviewer, and too tunnel-visioned to realize it.

    This article actually comes closest to the truth by repeating itself on how solid the keyboard/engineering 'feels'. Bingo! Two points. (I'd have to see the audio port in question- that sounds like a possible legitimate problem.) But look, the target market doesn't care about how much gigahurtses or how many RAMS it has... The target market for the MBA cares about looking really good at client meeting and having a beautiful, dependable machine. And by this measure, the MBA solidly delivers.

    The only competent criticism I've seen from this review (or really from any review) is the lack of 3G/Edge built in for always-on internet. While I'm sure it would be a great boost to the product and the image of the MBA to have it, I say with almost certainty that this was an issue with the carriers, not Apple's engineers.

    Finally a smidge about the tech: 2gb isn't enough for you? 2gb is overkill except for hardcore adobe geeks. I'm pleased they put that much in. MacBooks ship with 1gb, and almost nobody ever goes over 2gb. Remember, this is OSX, not Windows. Ethernet, HD, processor: all are ample for the aforementioned target market. No optical drive? for what? Who actually installs software after you buy the machine? Oh, I get one for $99? Should I buy two incase I need to install the software again? Are you familiar with the target market yet? This is a laptop for people who don't like computers, to love.
    • by drmerope (771119)

      Maybe you're missing the point that small changes could have made the product noticeably more useful. Unfortunately the story is out: Jobs and Ives worked on the form-factor mockup. Then the rest of the team got tasked to make stuff fit in there. Surprise, surprise someone (Jobs) needed to go back and budge on the form factor a bit. The tapered edges for instance steal substantial internal space from the case but don't offer the user very much.

      You say that the MBA isn't for "road warriors" but rather

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ronanbear (924575)
      2gb is what you need if you're thinking about running Parallels. If it's hard to upgrade then you run into all sorts of problems. It's probably not all that expensive to add the ram once the extra engineering involved in fitting the stuff is taken account of and also the difficulties that are encountered with build to ordering, stocking additional ram, warranty claims.

      Also, it's not really 2gb of ram. The integrated graphics take their share and that would really make 1gb impractical. Performance is going t
    • by drsmithy (35869)

      As Engadget does too often for my taste, the review misses the point of this product entirely. Please pull your head out of the tech-sheets long enough to look at the thing as a 'product' not a 'laptop'

      Doesn't work as a "product" either (at least for any product where "works as a computer" is a significant factor). A regular old MB gives you essentially the same amount of portability at a much lower cost (and with much more functionality).

      This is a laptop for people who don't like computers, to love.

      T

  • I have so far noticed no confirmation at all: Does the Macbook Air have a kensington lock slot, perhaps hidden in a corner somewhere?

    That small size does seem like it works wonders in terms of making the computer less obtrusive, but that also means it's quite easy to sneak off under one's shirt, which makes such a lock rather a necessity. Furthermore, most retail outlets pull the batteries out of laptops, in part to avoid the batteries being stolen and in part to prevent the battery from being run down.

    If b
    • Simple, you can look but not touch!

      Put a locked display case in the centre of the room. People will flock from far away just to catch a glimpse of it!

      "But it has no firewire port!"
      "But it has no gigabit ethernet!"
      "But it has no DVD writer!"
      "It costs $US700 more than a MacBook!"

      "But it's less than 200mm thick!"
  • I'm sure that Apple will sell quite few of these things, but to my mind the point of a laptop is to carry around less stuff, not more.

    Sitting around at home with a reliable WIFI connection it may be fine, but if I were travelling I'd feel obliged to also drag along the external DVD, the external Ethernet dongle, an external USB hub (probably powered), and I suspect a few other things that I would later realize Apple has left out.

    It's interesting that no-one seems to comment on the lack of a dial up mo
    • Ethernet or Modem Dongle? We don't need no stinking dongles....

      http://groups.google.com/group/mac-book-air/web/networking-tweaks [google.com]
    • by shmlco (594907)
      I think the point here is WHERE you carry all of those things. Most of the time when I travel I carry my iPhone and its cable, my notebook, and a single charger in my backback, and then I put additional uSB chargers, dongles, cables, connectors, and other thingamabobs in a bag in the luggage, where a few extra ounces isn't going to be noticed. You may want those things handy, but you don't need to carrythem.

      And Apple dropped internal modems in all of their notebooks back when they made the Intel switch.
  • by constantnormal (512494) on Saturday January 26, 2008 @02:02PM (#22194534)
    In virtually every review of any computer, with few exceptions, the reviewer treats the product as if it is intended to be of general use by all computer users. The truth is that no computer is of general use for everyone. People don't complain that the OLPC is underpowered, or lacks a DVD burner -- it is obviously targeted at a specific market segment. A Macbook Pro is also targeted at a different market segment -- one that attempts to replace a desktop machine, while sacrificing little along the way. The Macbook targets the cost-conscious portable computer user, who needs a machine that does a bit of everything, sacrificing perfection for cost. It's a heck of a bargain, and sells accordingly. The MBA targets a different market segment.

    The MBA targets the upscale mobile user who needs a notebook for traveling, that sacrifices little in the uses one encounters while traveling. This would seem to hit the mark. How many people carry stacks of DVDs to watch while traveling? Especially when so much content is downloadable and with Apple pushing iTMS video rentals. I can easily see airport wifi video rental franchises catering to this market. Does it run Office? Yes -- either the OS X version of Office, or Windows via a variety of ways. Corporate email platforms supported? check.

    The horsepower seems perfectly adequate to me, as I surf the web and am typing this on a 1 GHZ iBook G4 (my desktop machine is a venerable Powermac G5 dual 2 GHz machine, something that is pretty close the the MBA in horsepower). The 1.6/1.8 GHz Core Duo seems admirably powered to me, perhaps not to a full-time gamer, but THAT'S NOT THE MARKET THIS IS TARGETING.

    If we compare the competition in this marketplace, the MBA seems very robust, with more horsepower, a better display, better keyboard, and a price that is comparable to its ultralite competitors as well. For a traveling business person, especially one with a corporate-supplied notebook, this would be a VERY desirable machine. Gotta have the corporate-approved Windows install? Install it via Boot Camp and run Windows, Apple is still happy to make the sale and get an entry into the corporate markets.

    Watch and see if these machines don't start showing up at business conferences, or accompanying CEOs on weekend golfing boondoggles via the corporate jet. Or with journalists (broadcast and print) who travel a lot. Heck, a significant amount of production feature film editing has been done using less capable notebooks than this in the not-too-distant past -- although no one would use a machine of this performance level today, when others are better suited to the task (it's a DIFFERENT MARKET).

    The biggest failure I can see, given the targeted market segment, is the lack of a cellular connection capability. And given that such a feature would lock one into a particular cellular network, I can understand the omission -- but a space to add such a card at a later time would have been nice.

    Fer the FSM's sake, pull yer heads out and quitcher moanin about it not being the machine made personally for YOU. That machine does not exist, and likely never will. It's why we look at what's available and choose what best suits our needs. Just because I have no use for an OLPC or a high-end GPU, does not mean that those things are doomed to failure, it only means that I have no use for them. Nothing more.

    If a given product satifies nobody's needs, or has a competitor that is superior in either price or fit, then it is in danger of failure. The Macbook Air is not.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by willy_me (212994)

      Great comment, but I would like to make one observation.

      The biggest failure I can see, given the targeted market segment, is the lack of a cellular connection capability. And given that such a feature would lock one into a particular cellular network, I can understand the omission -- but a space to add such a card at a later time would have been nice.

      OSX can simply utilize a cell phone as a cellular connection via a bluetooth link. Since those who purchase a MBA will most likely already be carrying a

  • I did. I'm glad I did, the thing rocks, especially after I plugged 2GB RAM and a 8GB SDHC into it.

    Here's why an Eee PC rocks:

    - Eee software is 99.9% hackable. Replace your OS with another distro, or boot off the SD slot.
    - Eee hardware is hugely hackable. For another $450, you can plug in additional USB hubs, a GPS module, bluetooth, another SDHC card reader with another 8GB SDHC card, another 4GB USB drive, a 802.11N wifi, an FM transmitter, a Conexant modem, and a 2GB DDR2 memory module. All of it internal
    • Eee software is 99.9% hackable. Replace your OS with another distro, or boot off the SD slot.

      The 'distro' of my choice isn't legally available for the Eee PC, nor for anyone else in the target market for the Macbook Air.

      Why pay the premium for the Mac except to get the Mac software and usability?

      Well, that's kind of the point, isn't it? Why would you bother comparing it with anything that's not running OSX?

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

Working...