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How the MacBook Air stacks up against other ultra-light notebooks - Page 4

post #121 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony-in-japan2 View Post

About the article, it seems a little unfair to compare a 'not-yet-released' model to other current models (are some 2007 models?). How about waiting until other models have been updated (specs and prices for 2008) and then we can make fair comparisons.

Does the model year analogy really hold for computers?

No comparison like that can be made yet. I don't know when new competing models will be available, their final specs or what their street price will be, but the specs and prices of the MBAir are known now, and it will be available in about a week.

Quote:
About the MBA, I remember reading an article about Steve Jobs on his thoughts about the iPod. He (correct me if I am mistaken) expressed that ideally he wanted everyone to buy a new iPod each year. Of which his marketing aim, I guess, has worked from my own experience: I have x3 iPods now.

I cant help but wonder if he has applied this philosophy to the Macbook Air... judging by the specs and lack of expandability, the machine has an extremely short-term value (seasonal like fashion itself?). I wonder how many MBA owners are going to feel the desperate urge to ditch the 2008 model and buy the new model in 2009?

What happened to the rational idea of getting a laptop to last 4-5 years? Or am I being too idealistic in this ever-changing consumer world we all live in today?

I think you're stretching the idea with a strawman argument and reaching a false conclusion. I don't think the MBAir is a buy every year deal.

I don't think it's idealistic to keep computers for 4-5 years. I've done considerably longer in some cases.
post #122 of 142
That certainly does not apply to computers and if at all, it certainly doesn't apply to Macs. Macs are known for the longevity. Designing a Mac to only last a year would be an incredibly stupid thing, as it would be a complete break from the past 25 years of Mac design.
As for the one iPod per year... I have exactly one iPod, and it's a first generation 10GB model. So Steve's logic obviously failed with me.
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post #123 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony-in-japan2 View Post

About the article, it seems a little unfair to compare a 'not-yet-released' model to other current models (are some 2007 models?). How about waiting until other models have been updated (specs and prices for 2008) and then we can make fair comparisons.

About the MBA, I remember reading an article about Steve Jobs on his thoughts about the iPod. He (correct me if I am mistaken) expressed that ideally he wanted everyone to buy a new iPod each year. Of which his marketing aim, I guess, has worked from my own experience: I have x3 iPods now.

I cant help but wonder if he has applied this philosophy to the Macbook Air... judging by the specs and lack of expandability, the machine has an extremely short-term value (seasonal like fashion itself?). I wonder how many MBA owners are going to feel the desperate urge to ditch the 2008 model and buy the new model in 2009?

What happened to the rational idea of getting a laptop to last 4-5 years? Or am I being too idealistic in this ever-changing consumer world we all live in today?

The large companies I worked for had 12, 18 or 24 month leases on their computers. You may be on to something. Not that any C2D machine with 2GB RAM will completely obsolesce in a year's time but Jobs may be banking on the MBA being a more disposable machine that the rest of the line. Certainly the lack of user-changeable parts point to that.

I'd like to read more detail about this topic.
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post #124 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-News View Post

As for the one iPod per year... I have exactly one iPod, and it's a first generation 10GB model. So Steve's logic obviously failed with me.

And as I have precisely zero iPods in my possession, that gives a failure factor tending towards infinite... not the Loop but the killed 8.
post #125 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-News View Post

That certainly does not apply to computers and if at all, it certainly doesn't apply to Macs. Macs are known for the longevity. Designing a Mac to only last a year would be an incredibly stupid thing, as it would be a complete break from the past 25 years of Mac design.
As for the one iPod per year... I have exactly one iPod, and it's a first generation 10GB model. So Steve's logic obviously failed with me.

Okay, I admit, maybe the buy-an-iPod-a-year pattern applied to the MBA was unrealistically stretching it a little, but I do think change your Macbook Air every 2 years would be a more realistic marketing timeframe.

It is only because I have used Macs in the past and have been impressed with their longevity that the MBA seems to fall short. I have a wonderful 12" Powerbook G4 that I have used for over 4 years, every day, and it is still chugging away -- Tiger and now with the new Leopard (dualboot). I was on the lookout for an upgrade but I dont think that if I bought the MBA that I would get the same value and the 4-5 year usage as I have done on my Powerbook.

There is an interesting poll by the way on how many iPods we own.

Here is the link: http://www.macpolls.com/

The last time I checked, owning x3 (me) and owning x1 (you) are the most popular answers right now.
post #126 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It's not much difference, 7.26" vs. 7.05", a difference of about 3%. But the 13.3" is 1.6" or 16% wider.

Yeah. I know it is not a practical difference. But I have a Dell D420 12inch widescreen (from work) and an old ibook G4 12 4:3 aspect ratio. The difference in usable screen space is remarkable. The Dell is hard to read on and when I increase the font size, I only get a few vertical lines. Horrible for MS word or websurfing. The extra width is great for movies, but am trying to think of an application where it helps (perhaps certain excel spreadsheets).

This is why I am happy Apple went with a 13.3 for the MBA (even if I find the footprint could have been smaller in IMHO if they gave up some thinness). I'd have been happy with a 12 inch 4:3 from apple, but I realize full well the age of 4:3 is over...
post #127 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony-in-japan2 View Post

Okay, I admit, maybe the buy-an-iPod-a-year pattern applied to the MBA was unrealistically stretching it a little, but I do think change your Macbook Air every 2 years would be a more realistic marketing timeframe.

I fear this is just not likely for a few reasons:

1. People spending between 1700-3000 (without extras, software and applecare) don't see this as a short-term item.

2. You don't save any money by designing a less long lasting computer. All the component prices are what they are and the corners you cut harm performance and generally not longevity.

3. Your basic problem is that for 90% of computer users, the speed and extras of budget computers are more than enough for their needs and so used computers are just not as obsolescent.

Processor speeds double every 18months. But most of the programs we use change slowly, grow slightly and only use a fraction more processing or storage from generation to generation. MS word has changed little in 12. years. Its a bit bigger, but processing speeds have double 9 times in that period. So what motivation do you have to buy a new one?

By contrast, IPOD sales grew as people traded in Ipods for smaller ipods with battery life,more features, video, color, ipod touch etc. What will a computer offer me in two years that is different from today?

What will an MBA in 2 years have that today's does not. More processing speed, more memory, more storage on an SSD at less money. Not a big deal and I could probably buy a new SSD in 2 years.

So the only groups that appreciate the newest and best are gamers (not a big mac demographic) and power users in things like special effects, photography, graphic design. They are interested in such improvements, but probably limited to mac pros and 17inch macbook pros.

3. For more expensive goods, like cars, this only works due to company leasing. They do have computer leasing, but its tricky as there is a less developed resale market for computers with low resale values. Note that if resale prices are low, the lease prices have to be high to reflect that and leasing looks to be about the same costs as financing. It is also a smaller percentage of the value of a car to have it detailed and brought up to standards in a pre-owned program. The cost of shipping computers back, refurbishing and then reselling is not huge, but not incidental.

4. Flooding the market with cheap used macs will hurt sales of newer ones. Right now people often use computers until they break or keep the old one as a spare. If you flood the market every year or two with new ones, it could be flooded fast.
post #128 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCMacFan View Post

So the only groups that appreciate the newest and best are gamers (not a big mac demographic) and power users in things like special effects, photography, graphic design. They are interested in such improvements, but probably limited to mac pros and 17inch macbook pros.

The Air is for none of them, as you well know. The other group that wants the best are those with disposable income. The Air will succeed on that front.
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post #129 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jingo View Post

The biggest omission for me is the lack of a built-in SD card slot. Why not incorporate one? They don't take up much space and it would be an ideal way to expand storage. With 16GB cards becoming available that 80GB limit ceases to be such an issue, and being able to easily transfer images from cameras etc onto MBA would be great. Also you could rip DVDs to SD cards and then carry a library of them around with you for flights etc. Sure you can use an external reader, but why have to carry it around with you and dangle it out the side of the MBA when it could be neatly integrated?

I am a BIG fan of SD cards! Lots of storage in a miniscule package.
However, adding the extra port for something that only a fraction of people may use would seem a bit redundant.
I would say, maybe, since one may be likely to have one's camera and companion USB cable anyway, one could simply tether the camera containing the card to the notebook.
Also, there are many inexpensive USB adapters available, so it would be no more inconvenient than carrying a flash drive.
post #130 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCMacFan View Post

So what motivation do you have to buy a new one?

By contrast, IPOD sales grew as people traded in Ipods for smaller ipods with battery life,more features, video, color, ipod touch etc. What will a computer offer me in two years that is different from today?

What will an MBA in 2 years have that today's does not. More processing speed, more memory, more storage on an SSD at less money. Not a big deal and I could probably buy a new SSD in 2 years.

Thanks. While I agree with most of your points, when I read what you wrote above it simply clicked.

Just change IPOD in your paragraph into Macbook Air are see what we get:

Macbook Air sales grew as people traded in Macbook Airs for smaller Macbook Airs (e.g. smaller footprint) with battery life (e.g. extended life/easier to replace), more features (e.g. extra USB/Firewire or even 3G wireless), video (e.g. 65% brighter display/specialized graphics chip/higher resolution display) color (e.g. colored anodized aluminum range like iPod nanos), iPod Touch (e.g. touchscreen).

Okay, while some of the above are unrealistic (e.g. touchscreen), some examples are very realistic which I am sure Apple are considering for the next version and, if marketed right, attractive in enticing a current owner to trade in their MBA within that 2 year timeframe. Would any of the potential examples of the above entice you to ‘get a new one’? I certainly know that some of my examples above would entice me to click that ‘purchase’ button!

There is also the point of buying ‘because’ of style which I think it is one of the main attractions of the MBA. If this is the case, once the owner of the original MBA sees the newly styled, thinner (if you can get any thinner!), lighter, smaller, and in ‘many different colors’, version, as superficial as it sounds, I am sure it will be very tempting for many to change within a short time period of ownership.

What I am saying is that the success of the iPod, in my opinion, would no doubt have an influence on the way Steve Jobs would approach designing a new laptop (which I think is very much like a big iPod nano). In fact, I think the new Macbook Air and the basic silver iPod Nano (I have by the way and love it) complement each other very well as though they are from the same family range.

Also, just a question. If one bought a standard model with the 80GB 1.8" ATA Hard Drive, would one be able to change it into a Solid State Drive (SSD) once they become much cheaper in the near future? Or can you only change that 1.8" ATA drive into another 1.8" drive? (therefore making the much cheaper MBA limited compared to the expensive version).
post #131 of 142
I just ran across these specs on Engadget, for the Fujitsu P8010, to be released in feb. Note the features and weight:

"12.1-inch WXGA display, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, an 80GB SATA hard drive, Intel's SL7100 VL processor, a GMA GS965 integrated graphics set, audio in / out, gigabit Ethernet, WiFi and optional Bluetooth. Furthermore, you'll find PC Card / SD slots, VGA out, a trio of USB 2.0 connectors, 4-pin FireWire, a 56k modem, docking port and an optional 1.3-megapixel camera. Sure enough, documentation asserts that this bugger only weighs 2.69-pounds with a battery installed"

not too shabby. That 80GB SATA HD has to be much better than the 1.8" drive in the Air, or so I'd think.

--Air fan, nontheless
post #132 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony-in-japan2 View Post

Also, just a question. If one bought a standard model with the 80GB 1.8" ATA Hard Drive, would one be able to change it into a Solid State Drive (SSD) once they become much cheaper in the near future? Or can you only change that 1.8" ATA drive into another 1.8" drive? (therefore making the much cheaper MBA limited compared to the expensive version).

I think the 1.8" hard drive and the solid state drive are both the same shape (form factor). There are two different connectors for that size hard drive, you have to make sure you get the right one. But you should be able to swap an HDD for an SSD.
post #133 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

I just ran across these specs on Engadget, for the Fujitsu P8010, to be released in feb. Note the features and weight:

"12.1-inch WXGA display, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, an 80GB SATA hard drive, Intel's SL7100 VL processor, a GMA GS965 integrated graphics set, audio in / out, gigabit Ethernet, WiFi and optional Bluetooth. Furthermore, you'll find PC Card / SD slots, VGA out, a trio of USB 2.0 connectors, 4-pin FireWire, a 56k modem, docking port and an optional 1.3-megapixel camera. Sure enough, documentation asserts that this bugger only weighs 2.69-pounds with a battery installed"

not too shabby. That 80GB SATA HD has to be much better than the 1.8" drive in the Air, or so I'd think.

--Air fan, nontheless

I do like the 4:3 ration screen for such a small footprint, but I think that is turnoff to many. I wonder what the price is for the basic setup. I'm sure there is an extra large battery that raises the weight considerably.

The SL7100 is apparently 1.2GHz. Nonetheless, the MBA will process rings around the P8010.

I bet the Engadget commenters are going to use that blog entry to beat the MBA down.


PS: Because this machine may be ahead of its time, perhaps we need a memory of where Mac started.
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post #134 of 142
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Originally Posted by His Dudeness View Post

I can transfer movies to my 64 gig usb thumb drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by His Dudeness View Post

Bought it about 4 months ago brand new off of eBay for 145.00.

I'm not seeing 64 gig flash drives for $145 on ebay or anywhere else--there, the cheapest 64 gig flash drives are about $1300. Cheapest I've been able to find elsewhere is Kanguru's 32 gig for $400 (they used to sell a 64 gig, but don't now for some reason; it was introduced April 2004, when it first sold for $2800--there's some price-drop perspective). What's the name of the company you bought yours from, and the manufacturer? Is it USB 2.0 or 1.1 (some companies still make a slightly lower-cost 1.1 version for some reason).
post #135 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsawyercjs View Post

I'm not seeing 64 gig flash drives for $145 on ebay or anywhere else--there, the cheapest 64 gig flash drives are about $1300. Cheapest I've been able to find elsewhere is Kanguru's 32 gig for $400 (they used to sell a 64 gig, but don't now for some reason; it was introduced April 2004, when it first sold for $2800--there's some price-drop perspective). What's the name of the company you bought yours from, and the manufacturer? Is it USB 2.0 or 1.1 (some companies still make a slightly lower-cost 1.1 version for some reason).


Yeah yeah, all this talk about 64 gig SSD made me type 64 gig flash drive all over the place, when I knew good and well it's a freakin 16 gig drive.

But still, 80 gig drive is plenty for the average Joe, imho. Unless you got loads of porn, which I don't, or loads of movies, which I do. But most of that I keep on my other laptop, which I can transfer bit by bit to a Macbook Air if I choose to do so.
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post #136 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

I just ran across these specs on Engadget, for the Fujitsu P8010, to be released in feb. Note the features and weight:

"12.1-inch WXGA display, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, an 80GB SATA hard drive...audio in / out, gigabit Ethernet, WiFi and optional Bluetooth...PC Card / SD slots, VGA out, a trio of USB 2.0 connectors, 4-pin FireWire, a 56k modem, docking port and an optional 1.3-megapixel camera. Sure enough, documentation asserts that this bugger only weighs 2.69-pounds with a battery installed"

http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/08/h...-p8010-laptop/

Much thicker than the MBA (it looks like they didn't try hard to make it thin), and ugly (looks like a 90s technoid dream). Though I wonder how they managed to make it only 2.7 pounds, with everything thrown in. Shows it can be done, at least weight-wise.

But it does have ports. Apple's decision to remove ports from the MBA seems more of an attempt to accelerate the untethering of computers to their wires (as well as an economic decision to make it cheaper). Including a Firewire port and its circuitry wouldn't have made the MBA thicker than it is, but it would have meant more devices that people could plug into it, using wires, and I don't think Apple wanted people seeing it that way, all wirey and such--limiting the number of ports, limits the number of wires that will be seen attached to it. Plus, even though you can plug in a USB drive, the wireless emphasis encourages the use of Apple's new wireless hard drive they'd be happy to sell you too, to further promote the concept. Fewer wires also might mean fewer wires for people to trip over or otherwise snag, reducing the number of incidents that might send the MBA flying to the floor to break.

The lack of a DVD drive means Apple is also happy to sell you its expanded movie rental/download service, for people who want to play movies on the MBA but don't want to carry around an external DVD drive, and can't figure out how to rip DVDs and put them onto a USB flash drive. Coincidence?
post #137 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsawyercjs View Post

http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/08/h...-p8010-laptop/

Much thicker than the MBA (it looks like they didn't try hard to make it thin), and ugly (looks like a 90s technoid dream). Though I wonder how they managed to make it only 2.7 pounds, with everything thrown in. Shows it can be done, at least weight-wise.

In fact, as others in this thread have also stated, thinner, lighter and more port/feature-packed subnotebooks existed years before the Air. The MB Air may be the sexiest laptop alive, but looks aside, Apple did not achieve any groundbreaking engineering feats with the Air. At All. Period. They are to be commended for offering a sexy, light machine with 1) a decent-sized display and 2) excellent keyboard, two great features otherwise missing from the subnote market space, but -- that is not an engineering feat as much as a savvy marketing decision.

The MB Air seems to bear a striking genetic resemblance design-wise with the Sony Vaio X505, which came out in 2004: the clean lines and overall tapered 'sliver'-like shape being the most obvious denotation. True, the X505 sported a smaller, 1024x768 10.4"-screen, but X505's thickest dimension was a thinner-than-Air .75" at the hinge (though a thicker-than-Air .3" at the front edge), and it weighed 1.85lbs -- lighter, a lot lighter, than the MB Air. AND, at the same time, it packed in multiple USB ports, firewire, PCMCIA port, memory card slot, and all the other once-standard ports missing from the Air, into an even smaller space. True, the X505's battery was only your standard 3hrs, and they expected you to use PCMCIA for wifi, but keep in mind this was what -- almost 4 years ago? Obviously battery technology and miniturization processes have increased significantly since then.

I suspect that the resemblance between the Air and the X505 is no accident, since Apple lured away an entire Vaio engineering team from Sony, I think it was in 2005 -- about 12 engineers or something, remember that? I think this is probably the real story behind the Air that no one is talking about. And it hardly seems a coincidence that shortly thereafter Sony Vaio's began to suck -- hard. The TR2/TR3 was the last decent subnote they made.

In my view, the most revolutonary subnote-sized laptop of recent years in terms of engineering, albeit not looks, is Panasonic's W series, beginning with the W2 back in 2004 (or was it 2003?) up to the current W7. This model packs 12.1" display, an optical drive and all the standard ports/wireless/etc, in a 2.64lb package! And its battery boasts an incredible real-world 5hrs, and thats with wifi on. (I used to have a W2, so I know. The latest model I think boasts even longer battery life, but I'm not sure of real-world times.) And its dead silent, using the bottom of the keyboard as CPU heatsink, requiring no active cooling. It even had quasi-'gesture'-like trackpad capabilities in 2004, allowing scrolling by tracing your fingers in (counter)clockwise around the edges.

The Air deserves all the praise its getting for its looks, and for deciding to finally put a decent-sized keyboard on a subnote, but not, imho, for any supposed engineering achievements, which simply pale in comparison to comparatively ancient competing models like those I mention above. (I say this not as an Apple hater or anything of the sort, but rather as a consistent Apple user since the Apple II days on.)
post #138 of 142
I'd have to agree. There are (minus OS X) considerably more balanced products out there in the subnotebook market. Products that actually are a portable computer, not just a portable typewriter.
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post #139 of 142
Yeah, I know. Because you can't run any software at all on a Macbook Air since it is nothing more than a typewriter. What kind of sense does this make?

Once again, someone imposing their viewpoint on the subject who hates the laptop.
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post #140 of 142
Another mac fanboy article fawning over what was only ever a very average computer in a thin package. It's a terrible value, even if you're set on a mac, for people with more money than sense who are willing to spend more for less.

You can sense the complete lack of any sort of fairness in the comparisons made in the article when they list having OSX as a "leading feature" in their little charts, and anything else as not. Yes, an operating system that doesn't run as many commercial titles and won't play most commercially available games is quite obviously "leading", which is why roughly 89% of users go for something else. It might seem that an argument from numbers is lacking, but since the author arbitrarily picks OSX as being a "leading feature", without defining what makes it one, numbers of users seems to work as well as anything. "Let's just add a point to its score that doesn't mean anything, like that free center square on the bingo board."

Yes, the Air is very thin. Which is fine for cutting cakes, but if you want a decent bang for your buck, buy almost anything else. Also, it's not the thinnest anymore, and in fact was never actually the thinnest laptop in the world. There were a couple of others that were thinner before it. They didn't do very well, and I guess apple decided it could safely ignore them and tell a little lie, as "World's Thinnest Laptop, Except These Other, Thinner Laptops" doesn't read as well. It's not even the thinnest laptop in production anymore, though I wouldn't buy that one, either. It also lacks features, and is very expensive for the few included features. I'll just stick with my netbook.
post #141 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistwalker View Post

Which is fine for cutting cakes, but if you want a decent bang for your buck, buy almost anything else. Also, it's not the thinnest anymore, and in fact was never actually the thinnest laptop in the world. There were a couple of others that were thinner before it.

1) Your silly hyperbole aside, by your argument no computer with a modern CPU or any notebook is viable because you get the most bang for your buck with a older desktop.

2) Its not the thinnest anymore, but it was when it came out. Its still the thinest for the power it has and it will be getting Core i7 next year. It was the first to use the SFF (small form factor) ULV (ultra-low voltage) C2D (Core2 Duos) from Intel. After the MBA arrived others copied it. The problem is that they changed more for even less. Engineering a svelte, ultra-light notebook isnt the same as buying components off the shelf to make a gaming desktop.

3) The machine doesnt fit my needs because I want more storage capacity than a 1.8 drive can hold, but I can see how this machine can fit certain users needs. To say that everyone who has a ultra-light notebook has more money than sense shows that you have neither. Not fitting your needs doesnt mean it doesnt fit someone elses needs.
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post #142 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistwalker View Post

Another mac fanboy article fawning ......

What on earth possesses someone to join a forum simply to rant about an article that is nearly TWO YEARS OLD?

Weird!
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