MacBook Air

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

MacBook Air

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.

5 thoughts on “MacBook Air

  1. I still run a Cube. Still works great (ok, I did throw a new CPU into it a few years ago, haven’t tried Leopard on it).

    Someone asked me why I was interested in the Air…just as I was clicking in my pre-order. You nailed it when you said it seems to be a great secondary machine. I’m typing this on a quad-core Mac Pro (and half typing this so I don’t get tempted to order a new eight-core). Fewer pounds on the road should be a huge win, guess I’ll know in a couple weeks.

    Meanwhile, I know you too well…you must have ordered one…

  2. I would agree that this is strictly a road warrior. I think it’s important in that it shows just how small they can go, but it makes me wonder about its durability. I’d be afraid it’s so thin it could break easily, and I wonder how well it disperses heat. Time will tell I guess. For me, I’ll stick with my 17″ Powerbook.

    I’m still waiting for the iPod that plugs into a monitor and keyboard. Wouldn’t it be great to carry your main computer around in your shirt pocket? I believe that’ll be the next step. The “Let’s Get Small” technology in the Air may allow them to head in that direction.

  3. Honestly, when I heard the rumors, I was thinking of a 10-12 inch lightweight machine with limited functionality that would cost about $600-$800. Basically, a machine for blogging, notes, and presentations, but not a graphics powerhouse. Or to think of it another way, an iPhone with a big screen and keyboard.

    The multi-touch pad is pretty cool though. I expect that feature to be in all new Apple laptop models.

  4. I’ve now been living on my Air when not at my desk since the middle of June 2008 and I can’t be happier! The size is amazing and the performance provides me with enough get up and go for nearly any occasion. I’ve done light video editing on the machine using iMovie and Flip HD software … I’ve edited podcasts with GarageBand as well. Where this thing shines is in battery life and portability. Even now when I pick up one of the new MacBooks or MacBook Pros I can’t imagine going back to that big of a machine.

    I might even be able to use this as my only work machine!

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