The Macbook Air is growing on me – what about you?

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The Macbook Air is growing on me the more I look at it. I can see where it could fit into the life of a person that travels alot – or someone who very much wants a notebook and desktop experience.

My primary computer is my Macbook Pro. I’ve gotten used to only having one machine – and having that machine be a notebook. In fact, I haven’t spent much time on a desktop machine at all – that is, until Macworld. I found myself often times in the media room using the provided iMacs because their was no hassle getting connected to the wi-fi in the room.

Now, several days removed from those iMacs – I find myself wanting one very badly, and really missing the experience of using a desktop machine. How does that lead me back to the Macbook Air? Easy – if I had a desktop as powerful as a new iMac – I wouldn’t need a machine as powerful as my Macbook Pro for travel or just surfing and writing in the living room.

The Macbook Air, in concept, seems like the perfect companion to an iMac – but not at a starting price of $1,800. (article continues after the poll)

For my interest, the Macbook Air has to get in the $1,500 range or lower. I also wouldn’t be interested in the specs on this first generation of the device. Very soon we’ll see a Macbook Air with over a 100Gb hard drive, and I would have to have 100Gbs or more before it was even worth discussing.

The Macbook Air is a very interesting concept that I sincerely hope does well enough for the product to evolve. I almost feel like we’re looking at another “Cube”, though. I don’t know that the Macbook Air is going to be well received, or even perform as well as it should in the wild – and we won’t know for several weeks (or months really) yet if the device does perform well after it’s being used by regular people in regular scenarios.

So, like I said in the title, the Macbook Air is growing on me – but I think it will be a few generations down the line before it becomes something I can seriously consider purchasing. The question is – will it survive that long?

Comments

  1. I really didn’t like it too much when I first saw it. But its grown on me big time. I really like it, sure it doesn’t have every feature a bigger laptop has, but thats the point, its supposed to be small, light, easy to carry and have the ports you need, not EVERY port you need. If I did more traveling I would get one, but I don’t and for my simple browsing I have my iPod touch which is basically a mini computer so I don’t have a need for it, but I would like one. The keyboard and trackpad alone kick ass.

    As for the price, I would be willing to pay 1600 for one. Ideally 1400. I think the 1800 price was to be relatively similar to other “ultra portables” and because its a new product, they need to make up for the R&D costs somehow.

  2. The Wizard says:

    Thanks for the post Michael.

    BTW,the link to the poll doesn’t work from the RSS reader I use (google reader). I directs me to the homepage of the poll provider. It used to work before and this is the second poll in a that this happens. It works fine on apple gazette though.

    My answer was $1300. Cos you are giving up a lot. Don’t forget the shared VGA adapter and the missing audio input port. So unless you are totally aware of what you are getting and that you can’t do serious graphic or professional audio stuff which most mac users do. Don’t buy it because the concept of giving up reliable FW and relying totally on wireless storage or (One) usb port isn’t appealing to these kind of users. And you have mentioned the mediocre storage (80 GB) on the mediocre 4200 rpm (I am not sure about that number) hard drive (1.8 inch) used in the ipod which is too darn slow for OS X to function satisfactorily. At $1800 it’s just pure insanity to go out and buy one(think of a MBP or a 24” imac instead). At $1300, may be.

  3. For me, it has to be sub-MacBook price before I even consider it.

    Think about it, it has less processing power than the MacBook, a USB-only input. No optical drive, which, I understand Jobs’ point about the tangible disc going away, but right now it’s still useful.

    It’s not quite the machine that the MacBook is, but it’s $800 more. Essentially, you’re paying the premium for a 1/2 inch thinner and 2 lbs lighter machine. If that’s worth $800 to you, fine.

    Basically, when you read the specs, it’s a discount machine, and should be priced as such.

  4. Two less pounds of weight doesn’t make up for $700 in the pocket, the extra USB, internal Ethernet, faster CPU, and larger HDD.

    It didn’t last Tuesday. And it still doesn’t.

  5. This is essentially the laptop I was looking for back when I bought my 12″ Powerbook G4. Assuming you have a kick butt desktop, you only need enough power and HDD space to get you through a trip. Music and media live on your ipod and/or desktop. In the windows world, this kind of computer is quite common and priced about the same (or higher). It is targeted, I think, at business travelers.

    For me, my next computer will be a Desktop turning my laptop into just for travel/web/email. So… when I go to replace my laptop next year, the MacBook air becomes the perfect solution (at any price).

  6. I can’t live and die in front of a laptop. I need a desktop. Right now I only have a MacBook. I have it connected to a Cinema Display and I have a wireless keyboard and mouse so I can use it as a desktop. I like to sit in the kitchen with the MacBook from time to time, or surf the internet on the couch. But when it comes to getting stuff done, I have to sit at a desk in front of a monitor. However, it’s such a pain to have to disconnect it from the monitor and all my peripherals each time I want to go wireless.

    Just today I brought my MacBook to work to show a friend the marvel that is Xcode and Interface Builder. As I packed up my MacBook this morning I did think to myself, “You, know, this thing is kinda big just to drag all the way to work to show someone one application.” Now I can see where a MBA would come in handy: when I need a portable laptop, but not a whole computer.

    I’ve already decided to buy the new Mac Pro. I’m just waiting for the new Nvidia 8800 cards to become available. I can then use my MacBook like a real laptop. But now, I wonder if I should put it up in eBay and save up for a MacBook Air. Afterall, my laptop does not need to be a desktop replacement. I’ll only need access to things like iLife and the internet. So the MacBook might me “too much” laptop.

    I can see a real use for the MacBook Air, and the more I look at it, the more I want one. But $1800 is such a hefty price to pay for such a small convenience.

  7. I would deffinatly be interested in an Air but not at that price. I think it should be at least $1400, if not lower. And the lower the better.

  8. You can’t buy a cadillac with food stamps. I think the AIR is worth it’s price. Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and get one or that they’ll be flying off the shelves. For me (like Michael said) this is more of a second computer for those that do “serious” work. I think it’ll also appeal to the college crowd (except for maybe the price tag). Either way, I’d buy one.

  9. You know, the loss of the ports or the smaller hard drive is not surprising the more I think about it. I think Apple is on a mission to slim down the data hogs (Of which I am one) . My iPod is a 40 GB model and I can carry everything on it (audio) but I really had to think about what I want to carry on my iPhone. 8 GB from 40 GB was not easy but I made more out of it than it really is. I have not missed those other 32 GB’s and I just move things around when I want other stuff like Christmas music over the holidays. Green Day, take a break. Come on down Burl, Dean, and Bing! The ports thing is not a big deal. USB hubs are silly small so I can always take one of those if I was going someplace for an extended amount of time and use it at home. Firewire? Well, I got nuthin’ for you on that one. However, if you are doing something that requires firewire the MBA is not really the machine for you anyway.

  10. I just wanted to add for all the people bitching about the price, other sub notebooks are from 1900-2100 in cost, so this is cheaper than the most of them with better hardware.

    Just so you know.

  11. Hello,
    I put $1099 (wishing it won’t be traduced to 1099€ in Europe) because the production cost should be relatively low. Sold that price, the MacBook Air will be a must must have for me. At $1800 it is definitively out of reach and useless as I am very happy with my new iMac. If I go on the road, I still have my “old” PowerBook with constant hesitation if I have to sell or keep it.
    By the way, I am looking forward to see and touch one. I seems a wonderful machine.

  12. If you like your MacBook Pro, then you will be happier with a baseline Mac Book than with the MacBook Air. The MacBook Air is for people that DON’T like the MacBook and DON’T like the MacBook Pro – people that think those are too heavy.

    The MacBook Air is for the serious traveller, and not someone just traveling to the living room. For them, the MacBook is more powerful AND less expensive.

    IF the MacBook Air was MORE DURABLE than the MacBook, then it would be the notebook for me. I haven’t heard Apple make THAT claim.

  13. I totally agree. Just wait 1 or 2 generations and it could be an awesome device.

    Right now I think it is more a concept product, just like the ipod touch where Apple tries to get some feedback from real world use (while making some cash too) which will be incorporated into future products and upgrades.

    The first reception of the Macbook Air was mixed – I’m pretty sure Apple will learn from this and fix some of the shortcomings in the next version…maybe add a 2nd USB port, increase HDD size…

  14. jadedcritic says:

    As I read people’s comments, and think about it….Safe to say, I don’t get it. Really don’t. I have a macbook pro, and I’m quite pleased with it. I have substantial difficulty trying to understand people who say it’s too heavy. Good lord, I carry around more then this in my beer gut. It’s NOT THAT HEAVY. My schoolbooks weigh more.

    It’s fair to say that Air is a wacky nice piece of engineering, and intellectually cool, I find it mind-bendingly cool that they made something so thin, but I fail to see the need.

    People who think it’s too heavy should try carrying that old powermac I gave away. It was a pre-intel model. Slick case, not especially quiet, but quite functional, and I’d put probably a good four hard drives in there. I gave it to a friend of mine. Brought it to work and left it in his office. Problem is we have a big parking lot, and inbetween carrying it across the parking lot and through the building into his office. THAT was TOO HEAVY. I went to go eat dinner afterward and I literally couldn’t hold the fork straight because my forearm muscles were involuntarily shaking.

  15. Dan Ashley says:

    The price point does not bother me. Ultralights are tradeoffs between performance, size and features. To get a small size, you need to trade off somewhere else.

    I would have preferred a different tradeoff in features/performance.

    A smaller 12.1″ screen, perhaps with slightly lower resolution, would have allowed for a smaller machine at the same price point. More important than just size is weight. A 12.1 inch screen would have allowed for a lighter machine. This is a tradeoff I would have preferred.

    The lack of an optical drive is fine. But I would have liked a hard-wired ethernet port.

    And now for the killer feature. One advantage of the Palm platform is that it sync’s with your main computer. All info, whether entered on the computer or on the Palm, is kept in sync, with the push of one (1) button. It would be a killer feature to allow this machine to sync with my desktop Mac.

    Or my desktop Windows computer. Talk about a backdoor into the enterprise. Imagine if investment bankers and CEOs with Windows laptops or desktops started toting a 2.5 lb Macbook Air, which remains completely sync’d with their Windows box back at the office? Maybe even sync it over the internet, when they get to their destination hotel?

    - Dan

  16. SuperMatt says:

    I do not have that much of a problem with the price. The best ultraportables on the market before this were Sony’s, and they are just as, if not more, expensive (although you can get better discounts at retail with Sony). Plus, the ultraportables I’ve worked with recently have the core solo processors and run vista extremely slowly. One user I worked with said “I thought this was supposed to be the latest model; why is it so slow?” Another good thing about the Macbook Air is that it fits a 13.3″ screen into a 3-lb package. Those tiny 9 to 11″ screens are ok, but you really lose workspace and the resolution makes text truly squint-worthy. If I were in the market for an ultraportable, I think I’d get the Macbook Air even at its current price. However, I’ll probably wait for the next Macbook Pro update since I use my laptop for everything, not as a supplement to a desktop.

  17. Its really a brilliant blog . I like the way you have written this . Its simply great . awesome !

  18. The fact that it lacks a optical drive really hurts its price value in my opinion. Also in my opinion, it should be the computer that eventually takes over the mac book, because in NO way is it a sub notebook.

    I guess its just not really growing on me, but to me the people it speaks to is People in college, and the General Business man. Thats the same people the Mac Book speaks to isnt it? .. So If i didnt need amazing graphics to run my computer, i would be fine paying 1400 for that computer..

  19. Don’t make such a big fuss about price when you buy quality

  20. I have a 12-inch Powerbook which I use as my main machine at home, hooked up to a 22-inch LCD monitor, USB mini keyboard and mouse (if anyone knows a wireless mouse that doesn’t suck in terms of battery life and snappiness, let me know), and external desktop hard disk. When I need to step out to a client’s place I simply put the thing to sleep, disconnect it from the peripherals and put it in my bag.

    The 12-inch Powerbook is the perfect small computer. This MacBook Air is not. I bought my 12-inch Powerbook when I could have saved $400-500 by getting an iBook with similar specs. I don’t think the $300 premium this MacBook Air is asking is worth the same way.

    So, no, it hasn’t grown on me, no.

  21. If they had kept the Firewire port or given it an eSATA port so that on the desktop it could behave more like a desktop computer, and kept the footprint as compact as the 12-inch PB so that i could behave more like the subnotebook it is claimed to be, then it might just grow on me.

    You know, I’ve never heard anyone complain that their notebook was not thin enough before, but I have heard plenty moan about how it’s too big, so I’m not sure which user group Apple has been listening to.

    Speaking of which, unless the MacBook Air lies flat on the desk, that 0.16″ is really a marketing sleight of hand. The real thickness surely is the distance from the surface of the desk to the upper surface of the wristrest?

  22. > Don’t make such a big fuss about price when you buy quality

    I’d be careful with such generalisations. Let’s just see which problems this Rev 1 machine has. Discolouring, expanding batteries, display glitches…?

    I’m still glad I didn’t buy a Rev1 MBP. Learned from my mistake buying a G3 Kanga Powerbook for 4000 bucks. The Quality and Reliability sure was not worth the price.

    So yeah, another reason to stay away from the MBA…It’s Revision 01!! :P

  23. Shane Kranenburg says:

    When I first saw the macbook air I thought I thought it was fairly impressive, however there are a couple of things that bug me about it, and price is not really one of them.

    First, I keep hearing this device would be great for people who travel… Yes it’s portable but so is my macbook. And I find it extremely useful that it (the macbook) has an ethernet port, as I often stay at places that still don’t have wi-fi, (yes, I know I live in New Zealand) It’s also still one of the fastest ways to transfer data from my macbook to another.

    Second, this is something that just kinda annoys me personally. Why bring it out with a version with a 64gb flash harddisk? I mean 64 gb?! Come on!!!! And why price it at $3000? Yes it would be fast but then if you needed speed and performance you would have bought a macbook pro, right?

    As for and optical drive and firewire? Not quite ready to give them up.

    So, in my opinion, not THAT great for travel, and if you want performance there is a better alternative… I’ll stick with my Macbook for now : )

    By the way I do love apple and would NEVER go back to windows, but this just isn’t for me.

  24. All good things to those who wait. MacBook Pro 12-inch
    http://mbp12.com

  25. I’ve had a chance to use the Air in a Apple store – rock solid. The thing I’m concerned about is how to sync my files between my iMac and the Air. Now I use Chronosync because I can specify which folders to sync – without messing up settings between the iMac and PowerBook. I use the Firewire target mode to attach my PowerBook to my iMac and about 3 to 5 minutes later my desktop, documents folder and mail, address, ical, omnifocus and Yojimbo folders are synced. (I don’t sync photos or music cause the 80 gig PowerBook isn’t big enough…)

    To do this with the Air I figure I’d have to link to it as a computer on the network and run Chronosync over WiFi – which should work.

    Apple really needs to figure this out better – syncing an Air to a desktop should be as easy as syncing my iPhone.

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