MacBook Air - First thoughts

MacBook Air - First thoughts

Summary: At Macworld 08 Steve Jobs introduced us to Apple's latest addition to the Mac family - MacBook Air. What's so special about the MacBook Air? It's the world's thinnest, most portable notebook.

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At Macworld 08 Steve Jobs introduced us to Apple's latest addition to the Mac family - MacBook Air.  What's so special about the MacBook Air?  It's the world's thinnest, most portable notebook.

MacBook Air - First thoughtsThe dimensions of the MacBook Air are unbelievable - 0.16-0.76 inch (0.4-1.94 cm) high by 12.8 inches (32.5 cm) by 8.94 inches (22.7 cm) and the whole package comes in at 3.0 pounds (1.36 kg).  Despite the small size, the MacBook Air is equipped with a 13.3-inch widescreen TFT panel capable of 1280 by 800 native resolution, and a full-size keyboard (which is backlit) with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys

MacBook Air - First thoughts

The system is based on Intel's Core 2 Duo processor range and comes in either 1.6 or 1.8GHz flavors and 2GB of DDR2 RAM.  Also squeezed in to this tiny aluminum box is an 80GB drive or an optional 64GB solid-state drive.

It seems that Apple has also caught the environmental bug - the MacBook Air seems like it's a little better for the sky (and the water, trees and everything else) than other Macs:

  • Highly recyclable, mercury-free aluminum enclosure
  • Mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free glass
  • PVC-free internal cables
  • Largely recyclable, low-volume packaging
  • Meets ENERGY STAR requirements
  • MacBook Air received a Silver rating from EPEAT

Peripheral connections seem a little mean - a single USB port, an audio out port and a micro-DVI port.  No Ethernet, no modem (sold separately as USB adaptors)

MacBook Air - First thoughtsAlso, the MacBook Air doesn't ship with an optical drive.  If you want one you have to buy the optional MacBook Air SuperDrive ($99). 

Here are some prices for you to mull over:

  • 1.6GHz, 80GB MacBook Air - $1,799.00
  • 1.6GHz, 64GB SSD - $2,798.00
  • 1.8GHz, 80GB MacBook Air - $2,099.00
  • 1.8GHz, 64GB SSD - $3,098.00

One downside that I can see - the battery is not user replaceable.  This is starting to become a trend for Apple.  I guess it's a good way to build a level of obsolescence into a product so people come back in the future and buy again.  Not sure how ethical, customer-friendly or environmentally-friendly that is though. 

Apple sure has a way of making the small seem big.  My prediction is that this is going to be a huge hit for Apple.

Thoughts?

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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59 comments
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  • i wont say huge hit

    the form factor is sexy and brilliant
    touch trackpad is very good
    back-light display and full keyboard are good
    eco-friendly - better.

    But,

    Mono Speakers??
    4200RPM HDD??
    1 USB??
    No dedicated graphics??
    $1799 for 1.6Ghz??
    $3000 for 1.8GHz and SSD???

    hmmm.. they will sell but, i dont think it'll be HUGE
    5ri
    • My guess is

      that this computer is going to be like the PowerMac G4 Cube. It was revolutionarily
      small (though larger than the Mac mini), very expensive, and lacked a lot of features.
      It didn't sell well either. Apple only made it so they could be the first to market with
      the smallest possible desktop computer.

      I think the best thing Apple will accomplish here is that for a while, all super-thin
      notebooks will be compared to this one.
      nova81426
    • Well...

      A Sony TZ is $2800 for the base model (1.06GHz). Thats the MacBook Air's competition.

      Sub notebooks are about size and weight. Speakers are not important, graphics are not important, the speed is the fastest of any sub-notebook. And there are not any 5400rpm 1.8" HD's.
      Stuka
      • re: Sony TZ

        [i]A Sony TZ is $2800 for the base model (1.06GHz). Thats the MacBook Air's competition.[/i]

        You must be looking at a different model than I. The TZ130N/B (1.06Ghz), includes a DVD RW, user replaceable battery, a 100GB HDD, and an ethernet port... comes in at 2.6 lbs and costs about $1,600.00 if you add the additional 1GB of DDR2 to match the MacBook Air. I would consider that the base model.
        Badgered
        • It's 2.7 pounds

          It's also thicker, with a smaller screen and half the RAM, though it does have a bigger
          hard drive (100 GB).

          It's a good competing laptop, no doubt, but for the hard-core road warrior that is the
          target market for this, I think the MacBook Air has the edge.
          frgough
          • hmm

            [i]It's 2.7 pounds It's also thicker, with a smaller screen and half the RAM, though it does have a bigger hard drive (100 GB).[/i]

            hmm, my supplier listed it as 2.6... but we'll go with your figure (2.7). I added the cost of the extra 1GB of RAM into the $1,600 price already.

            As I stated earlier I believe the "Air" will sell very well. But it still seems over priced IMO. I think that the price will drop in a few months after release just like the iPhone did.
            Badgered
    • EDU. SPOU+ STUPID

      EDU. SPOU+ STUPID
      hmaynard28
  • Very Nice Design

    Excluded the ethernet port and the battery isn't user replaceable.Other than that its nice but not incredible.
    theimpressed
  • RE: MacBook Air - First thoughts

    shore is purty, but i'm not sure that i'd jump for joy just yet. Other than the reasons mentioned above, some other concerns might be heat and durability.
    As nice as it looks, I think i'll wait a few months before jumping in and buying one...but it shore is purty...
    Chungaw
  • How big...

    is the AC adapter?
    RocketEater
    • Same size

      as the MacBook adapter. Which is like 3x3x0.75 or something.
      Stuka
      • Should be smaller.

        The MacBook has a 60W adapter. The Air has a 45W adapter.
        msalzberg
  • It's a great looking laptop...

    ...and will most likely be great for travelling users. The machine has enough horsepower and space to actually be usable and is amazingly thin and light. I'd love to travel with this machine. Wireless-only might be an issue at some places, but not many...so I don't consider that a big issue and I can always buy a 100MB usb port adapter. The single USB port is a bit irksome (since I plug in a wireless mouse and external HD)...but nothing that can't be solved with a hub or other creative means. I can live with the 1 USB for the size of this laptop...but I hope that 2 ports are included as standard in future models. The powersupply seems diminuative and is the 45W MagSafe power adapter....they also have the airplane adapter for it (for flights over 5 hours).

    The biggest downside that I can see is the battery not being replacable. I can see maybe a $500 iPhone, but I guess Apple now just considers $3000 laptops now disposable? That's not reasonable. The battery should ALWAYS be replacable IMHO.
    lawryll9
    • Get a BlueTooth mouse

      And you wont need to plug it in. Just push the sync button.
      Stuka
    • Sigh.

      The battery IS replaceable. Just not by you. And Li-Ion batteries are good for 500
      charges which is right around three years of typical use. So basically after three years,
      if you aren't buying a new laptop, you get the battery replaced for $130.
      frgough
      • I think the concern here is not 3 years from now

        but 3 hours from now, when you can not recharge the unit, but instead need to swap out the battery on the run.
        GuidingLight
  • RE: MacBook Air - First thoughts

    I like the design... mostly it's size and weight. I'm sure it will do very well.

    But seriously, no Ethernet Port, no Internal Optical Drive, no user replaceable battery... and $1800 for the cheapest one? That's a bit much.
    Badgered
    • Compare to the Sony Vaio TZ...

      Compare to the Sony Vaio TZ:

      Intel? Core? 2 Duo Processor U7700 @ 1.33GHz
      Hybrid 64GB Solid State Drive, 250GB hard drive
      External DVD?R/RW DL optical drive

      No ethernet, either. It's also $1000 more expensive because it includes the SSD. With
      the AirBook, it's $1000 option.
      olePigeon
      • Grabbed specs from Sony's website, another user...

        Grabbed specs from Sony's website, another user points out there's a different model
        that includes an ethernet port and built-in drive. I can't imagine that being very
        small, though.
        olePigeon
        • Not so sure about that

          [i]another user points out there's a different model
          that includes an ethernet port and built-in drive. I can't imagine that being very small, though.[/i]

          the TZ130N/B manages to add both and still keep the weight down to 2.6 lbs and that's not including a SSD. So I would assume it wouldn't weigh that much more, if any. It is however a slower CPU than the MacBook Air.

          Don't get me wrong, I think the design is nice and it should sell very well. But just as I felt about the iPhone when it was first introduced... it's priced to high, IMO.
          Badgered