With their new MacBook Air, “Apple has fulfilled its goals in terms of thinness. The Air is a lithe sheath of aluminum so slim that it can slide under my office door,” Steven Levy reports for Newsweek.
“Packed inside the shell–which is three quarters of an inch at its thickest point, trailing off to a wispy 0.16 inches–is two gigabytes of memory, a bright 13.3-inch screen (lit by cutting-edge LED technology) and a full-size keyboard. This is a top-of-the-line array for a subnotebook. And, of course, it runs the Macintosh Leopard operating system, which you know, if you’ve seen the ads, is superior to Microsoft’s competing Vista OS. (The commercials are right.) Did I mention that it’s really skinny? When I slip it in the sleeve of my backpack where my six-pound MacBook Pro usually travels, the pocket still looks empty. Surely this is salve for the shoulders of anyone who springs the $1,799 it costs to buy,” Levy reports. “The gentle curves and the absence of protrusions make this an instant object of techno-lust, another notch in Apple’s belt of design triumphs.”
“Apple was unstinting in including an excellent keyboard with its great automatic backlighting feature, which radiates illumination in dim conditions. Its brain is the powerful Intel Core 2 Duo processor (though running at a lower clock speed that Apple offers in other laptops). It’s got a built-in video camera for conferencing. The screen is big for a subnotebook, and quite bright. And the battery life is quite acceptable–I didn’t have time for a definitive study but was getting only slightly less than the five hours per charge that Apple promises,” Levy reports.
“The maximum built-in storage option–the only one–is an 80-gigabyte hard drive. Apple insists that if it used the 160-gig hard disk drive it offers in its high-end iPod classic, it would blow the profile of the MacBook Air. Eighty gigs isn’t much these days; you can get a bigger drive on even Apple’s low-end MacBook. In one sense, this is a prescient look forward to the day when people will store their all-digital assets remotely, ‘in the cloud’ as this concept is called. But since it’s still a couple of years before my voluminous iTunes collection of movies and songs will be stashed in the ether, I need a computer with a standard-size drive, and the MacBook Air will work for me only as a second machine, a luxury item for on-the-go use,” Levy reports.
MacDailyNews Take: If not “in the cloud,” MacBook Air users would likely store their movies and songs on their iPods. An iPod classic (80GB or 160GB) – especially with Disk Mode enabled – would be the perfect complement to MacBook Air. Tossing their iPod in their bag to use as an external MacBook Air drive (hard drive or flash drive depending on your iPod) to store and transfer data files seems to us what a MacBook Air user would want to do as it only adds a few ounces. iPods are so complementary to MacBook Air, in fact, that Apple might want to consider a special bundle of the two with some savings; similarly to how Apple offers $100 when you buy a printer with a new Mac.
Levy concludes, “Though I can quibble with a few of Apple’s choices of what to take off, the product’s dimensions and design make the case that the losses were not in vain. The things that Apple left on were the ingredients for a quality computer. And did I mention how thin it is?”
More in the full review here.