MacBook Air: Not Massively Impressed, In General

So the MacBook Air debuted today. Aside from the multitouch trackpad and the 802.11n, I’m not really very excited by this.

Why? Because I don’t care how thin it is. After a certain threshhold, thin doesn’t matter. My MacBook Pro is plenty thin at, what, 1.5″ wide?

The Air has one USB port, no FireWire, a relatively small hard drive, a relatively slow CPU, no Ethernet (not that I use Ethernet). The battery isn’t user-replaceable. And it’s still too goddamn big. This isn’t a sub-notebook, it’s just a skinny under-functional notebook. And unless that screen is tolerant of torsion, I suspect it’s pretty easy to break.

For fuck’s sake, Steve, I want a full-fledged Apple UMPC, not this silly thing. Smaller footprint, not narrow footprint.

The new Apple TV looks kinda cool. And the Time Capsule dedicated back-up server is nice. But the Air is, honestly, something of a disappointment.

I want a multitouch pad, though. Bad. It would be cool if Apple made a USB version.

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  1. I don’t know why Mac always gets such kudos for its designs. I find them usually heavy on “sleek” and “gloss”, and light on practicality. You’re right — what’s the use of having an ultra-thin laptop if it’s the size of my dining room table?

  2. It’s as wide as it is because they decided to go with a full-sized keyboard. Personally I’m glad. Having now had hands-on experience with both the OTPC and the Asus-EEE, I can say with absolute authority that 3/4-sized keyboards suck syphilitic orangutan balls.

    It’s an ultra-lightweight version of the 13.3″ MacBook — which is already pretty damn small. Weighs less than three pounds. Sounds perfect to me.

    Quit your bellyaching and buy me one, Ellis. Buy me one this instant.

    Relatively small HDD and only one USB port are both just fine for its intended use. It’s not meant to be a “desktop replacement” (Hello from 2003!), it’s meant for business travelers, students, and drunken writers.

    I support it wholeheartedly and without reservation. burb

  3. Concur on the Air. Weight, battery life, and durability have been more important to me for the past few years.

    That said, it’s only a 13.3″ widescreen, so it’s not that big. Probably about the same footprint as my 3-year-old 12″ laptop (which has a wider bezel), it weighs a pound less, and it has two more hours of battery life.

    It’s a thin-and-light, similar in concept to many Sony Vaio offerings of the past few years (including the CPU and storage compromises). It’s a very credible offering in that category, and Apple hasn’t had one before. It’s important to realize that thin-and-lights aren’t aimed at folks like us to work on, unless we want them as a second portable.

    I suspect that the OS support for the multitouch pad points to an eventual USB pad for the desktops (and older laptops), but only after it gets built in to the other MacBooks.

    Some prognostication: Apple might have an eventual multitouch tablet UMPC, but only when it won’t strain the manufacturing capacity for supplying the iPod Touch and iPhone at the existing sizes (and they’re still going to be ramping that up for a while). This (and the more difficult quality control for larger screens) means that it might take another couple of years, and I’d actually think that it would more likely first take the form of a larger version of the iPod Touch, rather than an actual general-purpose UMPC.

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