Its been several days since Steve Jobs introduced the new Apple MacBook Air … during that time I have been thinking a lot abut what it is and what it isn’t. To tell you the truth, I am a bit conflicted over this. On one hand it is an amazingly thin and sexy piece of technology, but on the other hand it doesn’t have the same overall lure as did the 12″ PowerBook — to me. As I am sure my tech support group knows, I have been thinking of reasons why it would be important for me to have one … I can easily come up with the obvious — travel. But beyond that it is a difficult sell … trust me, once I see it I may be able to understand the overall value a little better
The thing that worries me a little is that it reminds me a little too much of the G4 Cube … I was in attendance at Macworld New York the year Steve introduced it and I can tell you I had a bad feeling about how it was positioned. It, like the Air, is a beautiful machine that seems to hit a nice spot but is delivered at a price point that puts it outside of reality. I always wanted a Cube (and I have one on display in my office now), but could never justify the price versus performance it offered. I worry the Air may fall into the same category. When Jobs reveled the price I felt my hopes of owning one drop … if it would have been in the $1000-1200 range it would be a no brainer. It sounds like lots of people have already pre-ordered, but I wonder about it long term.
Clearly the Air is designed to be a second machine … My MacBook Pro is really my primary machine and it powerful and versatile enough that I could eliminate all my other computers. The Air looks and feels like it is a companion to something else — maybe Apple is waiting to do the next big thing with syncing technology so an Air could really feel like an invisible extension to a user’s everyday machine. I doubt Apple will release a docking station like the Duo Dock … I also doubt the patent documents reveling an Apple dock will become a reality. The other thing I realize is that this thing is only a first generation machine — Apple will get better at this over time. The Cube was gorgeous, but didn’t work until it evolved into the Mini. I wonder if the Air will help Apple move to a true sub-notebook … only time will tell. There could be a new eco-system brewing here like the iTunes Store, iPod, and Apple TV but it will take time for it to come into focus. I have to remind myself that actually sat in a Cupertino conference room and told people from Apple that the iPod would fail without an SDK … I think I may have missed the mark on that one, so take these thoughts with a huge grain of salt. I just wonder if there is a market for this, or will the market grow up around the concept? Steve seems to know what he is doing … we shall see.