Originally Posted by jragosta
I guess you missed the entire point of the article. The MBA is not a smaller MBP. It's a different computer designed for people who don't need all that excess functionality.
If you want Fireware, video out, several USB ports, and Ethernet, then you want an MBP, not an MBA.
A lot of you seem to have the idea that the MBA doesn't have video out- I don't know where you got that, because it does- ships with both Micro DVI and Micro VGA adaptors- at least mine did!
To try to do a two line summary of this article, the MBA will be criticized (like many Apple products) because it doesn't conform to a conventional checklist approach to picking the product features to put in the design. Instead, what Apple did was pick the important most used quality for a light weight notebook, and incorporate those- and nothing more.
I have an MBP17. I use the DVD drive mainly for installing software, or importing a DVD to Drive in, and I'm never doing those on the road. An external light weight Superdrive that can be tossed in the luggage if needed in the hotel room works fine for me. My laptop is hardly ever are connected via ethernet, given my Airport Extreme at home and the ubiquity of wireless in US hotels these days.
I have a MacBook, loaned it to a friend, because the lack of a backlit keyboards is a real hassle on airline flights, and an inconvenience in dimly lit hotel rooms (the way I like them in the evening).
I'm sure you can see a pattern emerging here.
My MBA came in Friday, and a spent a few hours installing software on Saturday to put just what I need on it- cloning the MBP17 didn't seem the best way to go. All the apps I played with after installing, to assess performance, and they seemed to run just fine- I was concerned before actually having the system in hand how the 80GB 1.8" HD would do, but it seems quite adequate. Installed software includes iWorks, Office 2008, Adobe LightRoom, Scrivener, Pixelmator, Things, Journler, Curio, MathType, Together, Rosetta Stone, OmniPlan, ViaCAD, and OmniFocus. Lots of room left after dumping a bunch of data files on board- over 30GB.
Nothing really prepares you for how light it is and how nicely the form factor works, or the display looks. The Touchpad is a step up from previous Apple models, too, as is the functionality.
Though I've ordered an SF Bags Racer-X for it, I also found that it slips nicely in the document folder of an aluminum briefcase I have, with all the accessories, including a mouse and Belkin USB hub for site offices or the hotel room, and a set of noise canceling headphones. Can't do that with any other laptop I've got. It's just what I want for travel- of which I do a lot.