Remember the Manila Mac AirMail sleeve? It's that sleeve for the Mac Book Air that's designed to look like a traditional manila envelope like the one in the Apple ads.
The AirMail sleeve was promoted with a big splash shortly after the announcement of the MacBook Air at Macworld Expo 2008 in January. I ordered one for US$29.95 on 18 January after the Web site claimed to be shipping units on 29 January, just like the MacBook Air. Since then the price has been increased to US$39.95.
On the 29 January Manila Mac sent out an email saying that heavy demand pushed the AirMail back "about a week." On 9 February another email, "another two weeks." On 18 March I received an email stating that my AirMail had shipped and it arrived today, almost two later.
|Image Gallery: I've created a gallery of photographs of the Manila Mac AirMail sleeve.|
AirMail is constructed from a naugahyde-like synthetic material ("do you know how many Nauga's died to make this thing?!") lined with "thick fleece." The problem is that the thick fleece is only about an eighth of an inch thick which doesn't provide much protection to the MacBook Air inside. To their credit Manila Mac discloses this on their Web site stating "It is not suitable, however, for any extreme use." Amen to that.
Fit and finish is fair to average. The stitching is straight and even and everything lines up pretty well. I'd prefer if the flap was a tiny bit longer though, it currently overlaps the bottom of the case by an inch or so when closed causing the ends of the flaps to lift up. The closure itself is two red buttons that are tied together by a red cord. My cord wasn't attached at one end so I made a knot so that it would stay put. Not deal breakers, but not the quality level I was hoping for either.
The AirMail is a novel sleeve and a conversation starter but shouldn't be used for much else. It's workable if you carry it inside a well-padded bag, but I wouldn't recommend relying on it for any sort of real protection. If you're looking a high-quality, protective sleeve take a look at the size 13-2 SleeveCase from Waterfield.
More pictures are in this gallery.