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What's wrong with the MacBook Air?

post #1 of 236
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Apple shipped a few MacBook Air units to its retail stores Friday, leaving the scant supply to mainly serve as in-store demo units. While our SSD model remains on order pending shipment, we managed to snag the one of the few available HDD-based units from one of the company's San Francisco outlets and have set to work on an in-depth review of its ins and outs.

Everyone Can Critique

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position of over those who offer up their work to ourselves and our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic actually risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends."

Those words of Anton Ego, voiced by Peter O'Toole in Pixar's Ratatouille, well describe the task in reviewing the new MacBook Air. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Steve Jobs had a hand in producing both the movie and the new laptop. While the heavy lifting was done by writers at Pixar and engineers at Apple, both push their audience and the industry to think differently.

Just prior to unveiling the MacBook Pro onstage at Macworld Expo, Jobs coyly highlighted Ratatouille as one of his favorite movies. That's because the rat in Ratatouille secretly was Jobs: the unlikely source of something new who has been delighting patrons and investors alike despite his real identity as an opinionated, reality distorting visionary who talks about his business in terms of art and design and craftsmanship that challenges the market's status quo rather than simply being another straight-laced bean counter promising to deliver more of the same old thing wrapped up in vapor and grandiose buzzwords.



As Ego's monologue noted, it would be easy and fun to negatively critique the new MacBook Air only as missing features of the MacBook Pro; however, the new model isn't just a rebadged Pro with a smaller 13.3" display, some shaved off specifications, and a $200 price cut. It's something entirely new, and asks to be evaluated at such. How well does it achieve what it sets out to deliver? You can help us determine that by sending in your suggestions for critically putting the new Air through its paces.

Avoiding the Plague of Featuritus Vulgaris

My dad taught me that when going out to buy something, I should first make a list of features I actually want, and then only buy those features. That way, I wouldn't be suckered into paying extra for impractical options that sound valuable in the marketing pitch but aren't anything I'd really ever use or need. My overall success in buying things has seemed directly proportional to how well I heeded his advice.

For most people buying a laptop, the essential feature list involves snappy performance, great mobility, and a thoughtful, practical design. However, when you look at the laptops currently on sale, many are layered with other rather impractical features that suddenly sound indispensable once you're aware they exist. A recent must-have addition on many new PC laptops is the fingerprint reader unit used to log in, as well as the assortment of lots of external buttons and switches to manually turn off wireless or to launch applications. These might be used on rare occasions, but their primary function seems to be to add clutter.

Look past the junk features, and many laptops miss the true target. Many lack enough RAM to be useful, supply limited video output features, go without Bluetooth in their base models, and otherwise skimp where they should shine. The MacBook Air is so completely stripped of junk featuritus that many critics are worried it won't appeal to mainstream users, just as they feared the iPod wouldn't appeal to broad audiences because it couldn't play FM radio, or as they feared the iPhone wouldn't be popular because it didn't have a physical slide out keypad.

Instead, all three Apple products aimed at delivering a strong and appealing design to the point where their specification numbers faded into the background. Apple markets its products, not as a list of GHz and GB numbers, but the same way top automakers do: as well built and attractively crafted machines that have enough under the hood so that they just work. Most car buyers are swayed by sexy designs they find appealing or the utilitarian practicality they need rather than the foot pounds of torque the vehicle's engine provides at a given RPM range.

The Air Feature Gap

One thing that pundits of all stripes have been conspicuously silent about when talking about the MacBook Air is its backlit keyboard, which makes it far more appealing to use in dimly lit conditions such as inside an airplane fuselage. It's almost as if Apple made a list of practical features that consumers actually use, and based its engineering decisions upon that, rather than simply assembling the specifications everyone else was shipping in a similarly identical form factor.

As a mobile laptop user, I've always bought an extra battery for every PowerBooks and MacBook Pro I've owned. I even had the weighty option to use two batteries at once in my late 90s PowerBook G3, which could swap out its optical drive for a second battery. The thing is, I've almost never actually used any of those spares. For example, I carried around an extra battery at Macworld, but never had the opportunity or need to swap it despite the scarcity of power outlets on the show floor. Despite that, I probably wouldn't buy a new MacBook Pro that didn't have a replaceable battery.

However, the Air's light weight and slim profile offers significantly more portability than any other laptop Apple has ever offered, a factor that balances out its inability to trade out its battery pack for a spare. Given the new restrictions upon carrying extra batteries on airplanes, Apple's sealed battery decision makes sense for a light mobile laptop. That's not to say that some users will find the MacBook Pro a better fit, particularly if they have needs that require long term, battery-only operation.

The iPod and iPhone were reviled for having a sealed battery, but neither really presents a serious problem for users. The competitive market solved any fears that millions of iPods would be thrown away prematurely because of the relatively high cost of Apple's replacement service. It's easy to find do-it-yourself, higher capacity iPod battery kits for less than $10. The iPod and iPhone also have external battery accessories that allow them to use rechargeable AA or Lithium Polymer battery packs for extended use. If the Air presents any battery issues for users, expect third parties to provide solutions.

Similarly, I've also always paid a premium to have a SuperDrive in every laptop I've bought, despite the fact that in retrospect, I've actually burned less than a dozen DVDs in as many years of being primarily a mobile user. The simple fact is that many of features we think we desperately need in a laptop are not the same as what we'll actually use. That's also a key reason why Apple's product launches generate a hailstorm of pundit angst prior to selling well in the market.

And all those missing ports? Recall that the original iBook launched in 1999 also lacked FireWire, audio input, had a single USB port, and even offered no video output. It was also priced within $200 of the MacBook Air, yet sold well to the consumer market despite its flamboyant use of color and its risk-taking "toilet seat" design. The iBook SE that shipped the following year cost the same price as today's MacBook Air and still didn't offer VGA output or more than one USB port.

When critics say the MacBook Air won't sell in volume, it must be because they haven't witnessed the fawning interest displayed by users upon seeing it in person. In order to maximize that interest, Apple designed a new retail store window display that puts the MacBook Air on a revolving platform in front of a matte background of clouds and behind a gradient plexiglass sheet with the caption "thinovation."

It installed the new installations in place of the former giant iPhone display. The company appears to be unfazed by reports suggesting that it will have a hard time selling enough iPhones this year, and seems confident in its ability to bring ultra mobile laptops into the mainstream in 2008 just as it successfully pushed its high-end, sophisticated smartphone into the mass market last year.



What's on Your Feature List?

As we take the new MacBook Air to task and put it through its paces, we'll look at how well it does in the core requirements of performance, mobility, and design. We'll also evaluate how well its new software features, described in MacBook Air spawns new software solutions for missing hardware, serve as alternatives to built in optical and FireWire hardware.

What would you like to know about the Air? Post your comments or questions and we'll kick its tires for you that much harder in our upcoming in-depth review of the MacBook Air.
post #2 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

What would you like to know about the Air? Post your comments or questions and we'll kick its tires for you that much harder in our upcoming in-depth review of the MacBook Air.


Being a Macbook Pro owner I am interested in the Macbook Air as an ultralight mobile platform. I was looking for the Macbook Air to actually be the Macbook tablet but it did not appear. On the flip side The Macbook Air looks to be a close alternative. There are times when I do not want to go to the hassle of using the MBP due to it being a 17". Boot up times are better since 10.5 and that does not seem as big an issue for me as simply having to get some space to set it down. The Macbook Air looks like one could cradle it in their arm or hand and use the other for typing and mouse movements. I think a touch screen with the same funactionality as the iPhone and iPod touce would have been a nice added option but maybe in time it will appear...
post #3 of 236
"Given the new restrictions upon carrying extra batteries on airplanes,..." is an irrelevant comment.
The new restrictions do NOT affect people who want to carry an extra laptop battery.
post #4 of 236
A comparison chart of the application speeds between MB, MBA and MBP would be nice.
post #5 of 236
Perhaps my brain is a bit slow today, but I am missing the point of this story.

Is it based on the premise that AI readers/posters have not yet had the opportunity or interest to weigh in on "what they would like to know about the Air?"
post #6 of 236
1) Is the screen really glass?

2) How much do the separate components weigh? Specifically the battery and case.
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post #7 of 236
One of my main use cases for the MBA is to browse and add metadata to photos whilst working in the field, hence the desire for a lightweight and portable laptop. In fact the design of the MBA is ideal as my camera bag has adequate size to take the 13" size, and photo viewing will benefit from the large LED screen, whilst I'm already suffering from carrying around too many camera bodies, lenses, tripod, etc.

I use Aperture on my main machine, and so would like to use Aperture on the laptop as well, and then export Projects onto my Mac Pro when back home. I'm wondering what the performance is like given the integrated graphics? I don't intend to do any image editing, just previewing in fullscreen mode.
post #8 of 236
1. How long does the battery last?

2. How easy is it to transfer files/programs from one computer to the "air"?

3. Under normal room temperatures (say an airplane) is the "airs" cpu slowed down after extended use?
post #9 of 236
I love MacBook Air. I was hoping for a minimalist laptop, but I want to take it further. It screams for wireless syncing with iPhone.
post #10 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Rick View Post

I love MacBook Air. I was hoping for a minimalist laptop, but I want to take it further. It screams for wireless syncing with iPhone.

syncing? how about sharing the internet connection?
:-D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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post #11 of 236
Well written article. I applaud the writing. The only limiting factor the MBA is the lack of express card slot, and perhaps the slower processor. Otherwise, that's an awesome platform.

Besides I think it is just an experiment to see if Jobs can get away getting rid of the optical drive. Most people won't miss it. Give it 2 years. No more optical drives. All Software will be on a USB stick. It's too easily done, and waaay too cheap to do. The days of the DVD drive are all but gone. The elimination of the drive is inevitable. Movie Rentals, USB thumbdrives... no more need for the drive.
post #12 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Rick View Post

I love MacBook Air. I was hoping for a minimalist laptop, but I want to take it further. It screams for wireless syncing with iPhone.

I, along with countless others I am sure, have submitted this as a feature request to Apple. Even if you could sync with your laptop via bluetooth, not even the songs, just the info. Or take it one step further. Have the iPhone sync with .mac directly.
post #13 of 236
What I'm very concerned with is the physical durability of the laptop. It's so thin at the opening end I'd be concerned with wear and tear after a few months. How fragile is this thing?
post #14 of 236
Sorry - that was an awful analogy to Ratatouille.... Everyone was expecting Jobs to announce something, he wasn't a hidden rat.

But kudos for nice summary of why our expectations should match our needs on the MBA.

I pre-ordered a MBA, and it is shipping, but won't get to me for several days. I think it nicely meets my needs in most ways - that's why I bought one. But I do have some concerns, maybe you can address them.

I live in Japan, and I commute by train about 2-5 hours a day (total), and will use my MBA to give science lectures by PowerPoint, as well as emulate Windows to run some molecular biology software in the lab. I will drag this thing everywhere in a backpack or shoulder bag.

Q1 - Is this thing sturdy? Will it survive being in a padded sleeve in a backpack? If there are some notebooks in the same bag, is it gonna flex the thing's frame? My 12in PB has been very durable in my pack, but I worry about the MBA.

Q2- Will it run Parallels or VM-ware as well as my 1.83 Ghz Core Duo Mini does? ( I ordered the faster MBA processor).

Q3- How well will it work with an LCD projector? Any hiccups?

Q4 - Does that Ethernet Dongle give decent speeds via the USB?

Q5 - Does it get hot or noisy when you run something processor intensive?

Q6 - Is the case too wide to use the MBA while seated on a train?

Thanks!
post #15 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelesler View Post

I, along with countless others I am sure, have submitted this as a feature request to Apple. Even if you could sync with your laptop via bluetooth, not even the songs, just the info. Or take it one step further. Have the iPhone sync with .mac directly.

It is a small computer afterall. The music and video could sync over wifi.
post #16 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by arhnow View Post

1. How long does the battery last?

2. How easy is it to transfer files/programs from one computer to the "air"?

3. Under normal room temperatures (say an airplane) is the "airs" cpu slowed down after extended use?

Just turn on file sharing. Better still, turn on iDisk Syncing. Weightless computing is the future. MBA is just a portal to your information.
post #17 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasein View Post

What I'm very concerned with is the physical durability of the laptop. It's so thin at the opening end I'd be concerned with wear and tear after a few months. How fragile is this thing?

I've read that it's pretty sturdy, but they're on display at the Apple Store. Go check it out.
post #18 of 236
Am I the only one lamenting the lack of on-board CD/DVD capability? To me that is a must. And no, I'm not interested in carrying the portable accessory CD/DVD.

- Ability to start up from a disk in case of a crash or hard disk problems
- Ability to easily install apps
- Watch DVDs on those long flights

My question is about wireless reception. Apple hasn't exactly been known for it's stellar wireless reception - expecially on MBPs. How is it on the Air? It's even more critical given that it is the only link from the Air to the outside world.

Why or why couldn't they have made a MBP 12" instead of or in addition to the Air?
post #19 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenstee View Post

Am I the only one lamenting the lack of on-board CD/DVD capability? To me that is a must. And no, I'm not interested in carrying the portable accessory CD/DVD.

- Ability to start up from a disk in case of a crash or hard disk problems
- Ability to easily install apps
- Watch DVDs on those long flights

My question is about wireless reception. Apple hasn't exactly been known for it's stellar wireless reception - expecially on MBPs. How is it on the Air? It's even more critical given that it is the only link from the Air to the outside world.

Why or why couldn't they have made a MBP 12" instead of or in addition to the Air?

1) If you use an optical drive often then the MBA isn't for you. As it happens to be Apple has not discontinued the rest of their notebook line.

2) There is Remote Disc. It's not as fast as an internal optical drive, but how many apps are installing anyway. I haven't used an optical drive to install 3rd party apps in years.

3) Using DVDs will drain your battery much faster than using the HDD. Smart travelers will at least copy the Video_TS folder to the HDD before flying.

4) I've read that Macs have poor wireless reception but I've been using the 802.11b Airport card since 2000 with different 3rd party wi-fi routers and I've never had a problem with a single dropping. I wonder if I'm lucky or if people who are having problems are doing something to their system.
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post #20 of 236
I am glad that the MacBook Air does not have an optical drive. The new inexpensive USB flash drives are much better than DVDs for repairing a corrupted hard drive. I purchased a Corsair Voyager 16 GB flash drive for less than $100. I installed Mac OS X 10.5.1, deleted nonessential programs and files, installed my disk utilities and "NeoOffice", disabled "Spotlight" and still have 7 GB of space left over. It can even be used to edit files without the hard drive.
\tFor watching movies on a plane, use the "HandBrake" program on your main computer to make a smaller version of the movies suitable for a small laptop screen. Then use the USB flash drive to transfer the movies to your MacBook Air. Viewing the movie from the hard drive uses less battery power than from a DVD drive.
post #21 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) Is the screen really glass?

As far as I know, all LCD screens use glass. Just not for the front face. I think the substrate glass is what was being mentioned in the presentation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Rick View Post

It is a small computer afterall. The music and video could sync over wifi.

But at most, it would only be twice as fast as USB 1.1. And you'd have to have some alternate means to charge the phone.
post #22 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

We will purchase when MacBook Air has:

- Firewire (Target Disk Mode for repairs is a must)

_ Ethernet port (Wireless is not everywhere)

- Video out port (again, Wireless is not everywhere)

- More USB ports (one is not enough)

Meanwhile, note that all that and in particular the Firewire port is possible even for tiny devices like the Kanguru Fire Flash (Firewire Flash Drive):

http://www.kanguru.com/fireflash.html

Using your logic I should be bitching about the 17" MBP being to big and too heavy and having ports that I'll never use. But that would be silly since it's not the only option available. Just like it's silly to complain about a specialized machine not having x,y,z when you are obviously not the target consumer and there other machines that better fit your needs.
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post #23 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelesler View Post

Well written article. I applaud the writing. The only limiting factor the MBA is the lack of express card slot,

I agree. I wish Apple would let the iPhone be a bluetooth modem, then the problem would be solved.

m

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post #24 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

"Given the new restrictions upon carrying extra batteries on airplanes,..." is an irrelevant comment.
The new restrictions do NOT affect people who want to carry an extra laptop battery.

You are 100% wrong because there are limitation on the size of spare batteries. 1) All batteries part of the device are ok. 2) No batteries may be in checked luggage. 3) Spare batteries carried with you must have less than 8 grams of lithium.
post #25 of 236
Hey,

These are my questions:

1.) Apple states up to 5h battery time with wireless. Can you confirm that?

2.) What's the average battery time if you turn off the wireless and mainly use Office and perhaps iTunes for music playback?

3.) How do you consider the MBA's performance in iMovie '08?
I currently run the app on my PB G4 and it's not bad, but not optimal, and I plan to use it a lot more in the coming months.
post #26 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by flydoggie View Post

You are 100% wrong because there are limitation on the size of spare batteries. 1) All batteries part of the device are ok. 2) No batteries may be in checked luggage. 3) Spare batteries carried with you must have less than 8 grams of lithium.

Wasn't there an Australian airline that prevented any inclusion of any spare batteries, regardless of being carried or checked?
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post #27 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by iextreme View Post

3.) How do you consider the MBA's performance in iMovie '08?
I currently run the app on my PB G4 and it's not bad, but not optimal, and I plan to use it a lot more in the coming months.

The MBA will kick any G4's arse in most tests. Even HDD read/writes should be on keel as most G4s had a 4200RPM HDD too.

Check out these initial MacWorld results.


edit: Thanks, iextreme.
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post #28 of 236
hey solipsism,

wanted to let you know that the link doesn't go to the initial test results of the MBA, but to results from May 2006.

I have seen the initial figures from MacWorld, but I want to know more details I guess. I was lucky to get my hands on a MBA today and its response was much quicker and alert than my PB G4, though I never had the option to try and do some editing as iMovie had no clips.

From my initial reaction, the only thing I think was negative was the thinness of the trackpad button. It's around 2/3 of the PB and really close to the edge, so my thumb usually misses it and hits the pad instead. Though it's not a big problem as I could just turn on pad tapping instead and get used to it.

One other thing that I noticed, is that the edges of the MBA are really sharp and not covered by a thin plastic rim like on the PB or MBP, which can be a bit annoying if you rest your wrists on them.
post #29 of 236
You want them to add five ports? Have you seen the inside of this thing? Where are they going to put five more ports? By the time they add all that mess, the thing wouldn't even BE a "MacBook Air" any more.

And it does have video out, so I don't see the problem there. As far as the ethernet, you can use a USB to ethernet dongle.

And just slap on a USB hub for those rare cases where you'd want to plug in a mouse and use wired ethernet.
--Johnny
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post #30 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

- Video out port (again, Wireless is not everywhere)

I can't help on any of the other things, but the Air does have a video out port that supports VGA, DVI, S-Video and composite.

Regarding the firewire flash drive, the 1GB version is $99, the 8GB version is over $200. I see ten 8GB USB flash drives for under $50 at Newegg. Fireflash only reads at 35 Megabits per second, Firewire's speed is wasted here.
post #31 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenstee View Post

Am I the only one lamenting the lack of on-board CD/DVD capability? To me that is a must. And no, I'm not interested in carrying the portable accessory CD/DVD.

No, you're not the only one, but this computer does not come with an optical drive - that is one of its features, not a drawback. If you need an internal optical drive, the regular MacBook is cheaper and has one. What's the problem?
Quote:
- Ability to start up from a disk in case of a crash or hard disk problems

Make a 7 GB partition the 80GB hard drive. Use Disk Utility to "Restore" your Mac OS X DVD to that partition, by borrowing the DVD drive from one of your other Macs with the new software.

Then when and if you need to reinstall or boot from the installer disk, you just boot up with Option held down and choose the restored 7 GB partition. If the whole hard disk is shot, no DVD is going to help you anyway.
Quote:
- Ability to easily install apps

If you are bringing along the original DVDs of applications, then just install them before you leave the house?
Quote:
- Watch DVDs on those long flights

Use Handbrake to load up the Air with the videos that you want, and delete them from the hard drive as you finish watching each one. No DVDs to carry and lose, and much better battery life.
Quote:
Why or why couldn't they have made a MBP 12" instead of or in addition to the Air?

Because it wouldn't sell. When the MacBook has a bigger screen and is cheaper... customers would compare the two and scratch their heads - "WTF is this one for? It's smaller and more expensive...?"
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post #32 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

We will purchase when MacBook Air has:

- Firewire (Target Disk Mode for repairs is a must)

_ Ethernet port (Wireless is not everywhere)

- Video out port (again, Wireless is not everywhere)

- More USB ports (one is not enough)

Meanwhile, note that all that and in particular the Firewire port is possible even for tiny devices like the Kanguru Fire Flash (Firewire Flash Drive):

http://www.kanguru.com/fireflash.html

And one last thing... We also need this with both Firewire and Mac OS X inside:

OQO Model e2
http://www.oqo.com/intl

And once again, as with most people responding to the shortcomings of the MBA, you're all assuming this notebook is designed for you. It's not. For everyone here b******g that this notebook cannot possibly replace their feature-laden MBP's and desktops, there are the silent majority that will purchase the MBA precisely for what it was designed to provide. A lightweight, minimalist mobile COMPANION to a desktop computer.

I am in the silent majority. I will probably purchase an MBA once I actually see it in person. As a very mobile individual, this fits the bill quite nicely. If I want more features, I'll use my desktop when I get home.
post #33 of 236
The constant complaining is rather unbelievable; many of these people cannot conceive of the fact that Apple might make a product that only a certain number of people will consider and many also don't (can't?) read the specs before babbling on about the short-comings.

A glance at Apple's Air spec sheets will show you:

The Air has migration taken care of.
http://www.apple.com/macbookair/wireless.html

The Air has ethernet.
http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...?nplm=MB442Z/A

The Air has video out.
http://www.apple.com/macbookair/specs.html

With a hub, you can have all the USB ports you want. However, as a power user and a pre-orderer of the Air, I only use one USB port at a time on my laptop and thus have no need for more, which would be wasted space and weight. If you must have more, the Air was not designed for you; that's life.

For backup, there are plenty of USB 2 drives that work reasonably fast. I currently use my iPod video. Doesn't need charging from my laptop because it already has better battery life than the computer.

Please read the specs before bashing the machine; it has most of what you seem to want. It was certainly not designed for everybody. Nor was the MacPro.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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post #34 of 236
Many great points in this article/review/essay.

I'm a little tired of people saying they need 6 USB ports and a firewire port and more hard-drives and a replaceable battery and, and...and...more of everything in a LAPTOP!

The Air is a different kind of product. It's meant to have less, because for most people who want a laptop, they don't need all that stuff. Or at least a percentage of people out there don't need it all. It is a travel PC and really is a new category of machine. It has the minimum of what you would need. Unlike Word, and much of the horrible PC Hardware, this product asks: "What do you really, really need to travel light?"

It's a smart product and is not made for the special effects director who wants to edit while on a plane. It's a minimal product and needs to be reviewed that way. If you want everything in a computer while traveling, just pack your Tower on your next trip.

You can't get every bell and whistle and control the size/weight/battery of a device. Compromises are made, and this machine has altered the game a bit it how it arrives at that final list of what's in and what's out.

-M
http://cartoonshmartoon.blogspot.com/
post #35 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

syncing? how about sharing the internet connection?

Well, that would be killer. If it came with a built-in Verizon Wireless card for access to their data network then I'd expect the Air to act as a wireless router for my other devices (iPod, Nintendo DS, etc.).
post #36 of 236
Why does this article present the MBPro as The Alternative to the Air, rather than the MB (+ a $50 2GB=>total 2.5GB)?
Besides, that is, the $1800, the LED and the aluminum.
post #37 of 236
My question

-if you plug in an unpowered USB hub will it have enough power to run the DVD drive as well as one or two other peripherals?

Except for the lack of a second USB port (usually need 1 for a USB hub and one for a KVM switch) i think it has the perfect amount of ports. I have had a powerbook for the last 3 years and only ever use USB and only use my superdrive to burn the occasional Ubuntu disk or watch a DVD, but honestly most of my videos are on USB hds anyhow.
post #38 of 236
I am happy with the overall package of the Air. I think it's a beautiful piece of engineering, and what many have been looking for.
I also understand the many compromises that were necessary, and for the most part agree with the design choices.

There is however one point which I just cannot get past. It's unbelievable to me that this device's entire marketing/campaign strategy can revolve around the concept of "wireless" and "air", and yet Apple offers no convenient way to use mobile broadband.

There are two easy ways to do this:
1) Offer a built-in mobile broadband chip. Just as Dell and others do it, they could offer a choice during customization between Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint. This would be the best choice for the engineering/design team as they could locate the component where ever they needed to.

2) The better solution IMO, since it also allows much greater expandability, would be adding a small "34"-size Expresscard slot. This would allow those who wish to use mobile broadband to buy a compatible card after purchase time. Other's would also be able to use the slot for things like a 32GB/64GB flash storage expansion card, eSata or Firewire800/USB card, future Wifi upgrade card, etc.

An expresscard slot is also a much more pleasant option for mobile broadband because the 3G cards are small and thin, and when inserted, fit nearly all the way inside the laptop. The only other option is the USB dongle that hangs off the side of the laptop.

Even worse, because the Air's USB port area is recessed, standard USB mobile broadband devices CAN'T EVEN FIT in the USB port. So, in order to use one, you have to use a 3" USB extension cable. Consequently, this restricts you from using it without the laptop being seated on a desk or other surface.
How was this not foreseen?

Overall I think the Air is a beautiful and revolutionary piece of hardware, but this is one glaring omission that is bound to have an impact on many potentials buyers.
post #39 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) If you use an optical drive often then the MBA isn't for you. As it happens to be Apple has not discontinued the rest of their notebook line.

2) There is Remote Disc. It's not as fast as an internal optical drive, but how many apps are installing anyway. I haven't used an optical drive to install 3rd party apps in years.

3) Using DVDs will drain your battery much faster than using the HDD. Smart travelers will at least copy the Video_TS folder to the HDD before flying.

4) I've read that Macs have poor wireless reception but I've been using the 802.11b Airport card since 2000 with different 3rd party wi-fi routers and I've never had a problem with a single dropping. I wonder if I'm lucky or if people who are having problems are doing something to their system.

1. Very true. I need a portable as a desktop replacement. It is my only machine.
2. We'll see how this really works and how inconvenient it is to be dependent on other computers.
3. No good for loading my $.90 DVDs bought on the street when I'm in China. And won't this take up a lot of room on the already quite minimal size HD on the Air?
4. You have been lucky!
5. And one for you. How are you planning on starting an Air up if you have a problem and are on the road?
post #40 of 236
Urk. Typical day at the AI forums, looks like, with extra spicy hysterical reviews FTW.

Steve Jobs is like the rat in 'Ratatouille'?! Really now? Oy vey.


Edit-
Inner voice: Just go with it.
Me: Okay. :




Whaddya mean Euro iPhones sales are slow?!!


.
Cut-copy-paste, MMS, landscape keyboard, video-recording, voice-calling, and more... FINALLY
To the 'We Didn't Need It' Crowd/Apple Apologista Squad : Wrong again, lol
Thanks for listening to your...
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Cut-copy-paste, MMS, landscape keyboard, video-recording, voice-calling, and more... FINALLY
To the 'We Didn't Need It' Crowd/Apple Apologista Squad : Wrong again, lol
Thanks for listening to your...
Reply
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