Inside Apple’s MacBook Air – and who’s this ultra-portable for, anyway?

“The MacBook Air, at least on paper isn’t all that special, it’s simply Apple’s attempt at an ultra-portable. Honestly, the MacBook or MacBook Pro is a better solution for the vast majority of people, and I’m not completely convinced that the perfect ultra-portable is even possible with today’s technology,” Anand Lal Shimpi writes for AnandTech.

“Performance appears to be all but solved. The fact that Apple can cram a nearly-2GHz Core 2 Duo into the MacBook Air either means that Moore’s law has caught up with our desires or Apple is going to make it so you can no longer have children,” Lal Shimpi writes.

“The hard drive is a definite weak point of the MacBook Air, but the SSD option is bound to fix slow disk performance in this ultra-portable devices… Cost is going to be a problem, but it looks like Apple isn’t really overcharging for the 64GB option. Apple’s cost on the 64GB SSD is at least $800, making the markup to $999 justifiable… Thankfully since SSDs are based on Flash, price will continue to drop over the coming months/years making it a more affordable option on the Air,” Lal Shimpi writes.

“The lack of a user replaceable battery is less of an issue as you’d think at first glance. The biggest problem is that you can’t carry a spare, but lugging around an extra battery would really eat into the MacBook Air’s portability factor,” Lal Shimpi writes.

“Apple is putting a lot of faith in the ubiquity of WiFi, given that it’s the only way to get online with the MacBook Air. It’s not unusual to see a lack of connectivity options on such a small computer… [but] the problem is that WiFi isn’t quite everywhere, WWAN or Ethernet are necessary to ensure connectivity in more places. There is a single USB port on the MacBook Air so you can always connect a 3G dongle from a cellular provider, but that’s a more clumsy solution than simply sticking in an ExpressCard,” Lal Shimpi writes.

“The screen resolution on the MacBook Air is a bit low for my tastes, but OS X does a good job of window management so it’s possible that productivity won’t be hurt too much,” Lal Shimpi writes. “The full sized keyboard is a welcome change from most ultra-portables; for someone who does a lot of writing, it’s quite possibly the most important feature of the Air. My concern still ends up being whether the MacBook Air will be another in a long list of ultra-portables that simply loses its appeal after a while. We’ll know for sure soon enough.”

Full article, with much more, including info about MacBook Air’s processor, – recommended for those considering MacBook Air – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Makka” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: As with any product, Apple’s MacBook Air will appeal to a certain type of customer. Road warriors, students, salespeople, connoisseurs of style, etc, The only question is are there enough of those customers out there to make the product a success? Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has been right far more often than not, seems to think so – or the product would not exist today. The secret to MacBook Air’s success may well lie in Apple’s growing network of retail stores: actually touching, holding, and using the Air is a very different and much more compelling experience than just viewing images and videos of the unit online.

64 Comments

  1. I have no desire for the Air… I’d rather have a MacBook. Still one of the smallest notebooks out there, better specs, more connections, a SuperDrive and its cheaper. Can’t go wrong… And if I really wanted to, I’d throw a solid state drive in it and be good to go.

  2. you guys… how quickly we forget:

    The iPod mini was blasted a few years ago for introducing 1/5th of the memory of larger iPods for just $50 less. Why not move up to regular iPods, others asked.

    But let’s keep going. What about the 16 gig iPod touch versus the 80 gig iPod Classic? Again, the same “no-brainer” where capacity is concerned.

    But don’t be fooled: Apple has users’ indifference curves very carefully plotted out, as well as average disposable incomes for nearly every demographic. While Macbook Pros might have more power, the extra power isn’t needed. And it’s thick. Macbooks, meanwhile, are the lower end model: thick also, ugly, not even glass + aluminum. Apple hopes that a series of rational decisions on the part of the consumer might land him into a happy zone where he can reason his way into buying the latest but maybe not-so-greatest.

    Macbook Pro: “I can get more, but do I really need more?”
    Macbook: “I can get less, but do I really need less?”
    Macbook Air: “Yes. Sexy.”

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