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MacBook Air: Thinning My Expectations


As many fellow gadget nerds might know, Apple released their new ultra-thin notebook this morning at the 2008 MacWorld Keynote. Rumors ran wild the weeks before the show as usual, and not surprisingly a lot of them came true.

The MacBook Air boasts as the "world's thinnest notebook," and certainly lives up to that mark. When I first saw the pictures of the slim computer, I was impressed. I've always thought my MacBook Pro was thin, but this really blew it out of the water. However, it was soon that my excitement would begin to fade.

Only did my disappointment begin once the big Steve started explaining the specs of this beauty. Running on a 1.6 or 1.8gHz Intel chip, with 2GB of RAM standard, the computer runs on an 80GB hard drive transplanted out of the iPod. An "optional" solid state 64GB drive was available, which Steve assured was "expensive, but fast." Hardly impressive.

That brings me to my main point; the price of the MacBook Air. Well, with the same screen size as the current ~$1000 MacBook, less expandability, less external ports to hook things up with, no optical drive, significantly less space, and slower, the MBA starts the bidding at $1799. That's almost double the price of the chubby (in comparison) MacBook.

And that solid state drive I mentioned? Remember Steve himself called it expensive, but just how expensive? Try $999. For a drive. With less space. So your choice as a consumer is to purchase the MBA with the larger 80GB HDD, and then you can either spend your extra $1000 on an additional MacBook, or a drive with less storage space (but faster!). Thanks, Apple.

The higher-end MBA with the 64-gig SSD and the "faster" (I use that term loosely) 1.8gHz chip begins at over $3000. So the choice is yours: a thin, slow, somewhat uncapable loaded MacBook Air, or for the same price, the top of the line desktop rocket Mac Pro which can power a small country.

I would be remotely interested in the MacBook Air if it replaced the MacBook, or started below or close to the same price. But this seems to be the growing trend of Apple where a new product, regardless of place in the market, hogs the headlines, while the true heroes of the lineup remain virtually untouched for years. Where's my revolutionary Mac Pro (aside from the slight update a week ago)? Where's the missing link that falls between the woefully underspec'd Mac Mini, and the completely overkill Mac Pro (and don't tell me about the iMac, the decision to kill the matte screen dashed all hopes of that being useful in the graphics industry). Where's my new, bigger, cheaper, Cinema Display? Apparently those hopes have vanished into thin air.



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Matthew James Taylor

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 2:28 pm

<p>You are paying the extra price for portability, if you need more power, go the Mac Pro.</p>
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Ryan author

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 2:29 pm

<p>What's unportable about my MacBook Pro, which for $200 more, kills the MBA in every way?</p>
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Chris c|g staffer

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 2:30 pm

<p>I love the "underwhelming" photoshop.</p>
<p>My thoughts:</p>
<p>I understand why they made it, but the price needs to be lower.</p>
<p>I see this being perfect for a photographer or designer who has a super high powered Mac Pro desktop at home and needs something slim and portable, but without the full functionality and power of a Mac Book Pro.</p>
<p>But realistically, they can get more computer out of a Mac Book, while sacrificing the ultra slimness.</p>
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Ryan author

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 2:32 pm

<p>That's my point. How can someone overlook both the MacBook's low price, and the MacBook Pro's amazing specs? I guess we really are that vain.</p>
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jeff

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 4:05 pm

<p>how is this related to cars?</p>
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Ryan author

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 4:28 pm

<p>@jeff</p>
<p>From our 'About Us' page: "While the site's blog and forums are skewed towards things with four wheels, don't be surprised to find yourself reading about outdoor lifestyle, Apple's newest gadget, a new album (unlikely that it will be oontz) and more."</p>
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Scooter

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 4:56 pm

<p>Apple FTL.</p>
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Bart c|g staffer

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 6:00 pm

<p>:weaksauce:</p>
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Mike

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 6:49 pm

<p>I'm not a huge fan of Apple, since a lot of their products appeal to the relatively mindless masses.</p>
<p>But I've been using a lenovo x60 tablet that was way overpriced considering the features it had to offer. While I paid extra, I enjoy what it has to offer compared to other machines out there.</p>
<p>Regarding the price. Yeah it's a fair bit for a device that reuses existing iPod parts.</p>
<p>But regarding the lack of memory/cpu, in all seriousness, you don't need more than 1.8GHz for most intents and purposes. The whole CPU issue is just a marketing gimmick to get people to upgrade.</p>
<p>While I can't do everything I need too, most applications like Photoshop still work on my Pentium 3.</p>
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Gavin

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 9:59 pm

<p>you're a moron. Look at the weight of the laptop. Only 1.36kg</p>
<p>Now go and look up other manufacturers who make super light laptops and compare their specs and price to the apple.</p>
<p>the apple is priced very very well for what it is. it's not meant to be like a macbook</p>
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John

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:35 pm

<p>This competes with the any of the other ultra light machines like the sony TZ machines. All of them are lots more expensive, and are not as cool or capable or as FAST as the Mac Air.</p>
<p>You can put windows on it and it just kicks the Sony's ass. You may not want one, at this price and this capability. But it IS really well priced for the category that it is in. And will sell butt loads.</p>
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Brandon

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:43 pm

<p>I agree. Why buy the macbook air when you can buy the pro for not much more? But, I believe Apple is just trying to phase this in and eventually have it replace the macbook once hardware costs go down.</p>
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Darryl

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:45 pm

<p>Considering the price of the thing, they could have used the larger 160Gb drive of the iPod Classic rather than the 80Gb. Then again, who would buy the SSD version if they did that?</p>
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Ben

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:47 pm

<p>All the wealthy herds will migrate and buy one of these. Paris Hilton, the house wife down the street, the college student from the suburbs. They'll all have one. People are idiots. $1,800 for what a HP laptop could outdo for $800? Why are people such idiots and followers of the 'Apple'? I'm all about being cool, but I don't need an overpriced Ipod hard drive toting aluminum plate to be popular. Give me a HP laptop and let me do my work.</p>
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Justin

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:49 pm

<p>@Gavin</p>
<p>"Only 1.36kg"..</p>
<p>The macbook isn't even 1 kg more in weight, and offers a LOT more.</p>
<p>@John</p>
<p>Don't compare it to Sony, they're way overpriced. Compare it to something like the Dell XPS M1330, which is far less expensive, but much more expansive and the specs ANNIHILATE the macbook air.. minus the fact that it's like .4kg heavier and a tad bit thicker..</p>
<p>I'll have to disagree and say that this will not sell "buttloads". I don't feel that there's much of a market for it really. The 'masses' everyone is speaking about is all the college kids with macbooks nowadays.. Getting a mac because it's trendy.. Thing is, most of them have the base model with MAYBE a meager upgrade or two, that they used the educational discount to get. They don't want to spend the money for the better spec'ed machines.. Why? Because they're going to college, and that costs a lot of money.. Now the people you see with the more expensively priced sony TZ and the like.. They're usually business men who go on long trips and want the smallest thing possible.. So this COULD be marketed toward them, but I bet that they use at least one bit of software not compatible with Mac, so will therefore go with a Windows machine.. Now the others that this "could" be marketed toward, would be photographers and graphic designers.. But typically,they'd want a better spec'ed machine such as a macbook pro.. Or even a macbook.</p>
<p>Face it, the only REAL reason to buy this is to say that you have it and to have people drooling over it. The only other market I seem to see for this is dumb kid's whose parents are paying for it.</p>
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Amaresh

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:50 pm

<p>Can't help but laugh at anyone who buys the Air.</p>
<p>"Do you know that the geek with the Air lasts only 5 hours? </p>
<p>I last 24 with my Nano 2G."</p>
<p>Pathetic backup time for a primarily wireless device.</p>
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raymond

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:50 pm

<p>I think you're missing the point of paying extra for ultraportability. If you travel a lot, the extra 1 or 2 pounds/inches make a huge difference. It's the difference between being able to put your laptop in a briefcase and having to lug around a backpack or laptop case. People who use laptops for mostly business purposes (that don't require the fastest specs) will buy it. </p>
<p>That having been said, I think it was pretty idiotic not to include an optical drive. The $2,900 TZ is much better suited to "business needs" because it has a WLAN card, and optical drive, and probably has sturdier construction (carbon fiber).</p>
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Dan

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:52 pm

<p>As one who has stared at a Mac all day since 1998, I must agree that the death of the iMac matte screen is a tragedy. I've spent time in our local Apple store, trying to like the new iMac, but I can't get by the glossy screen. The overhead light reflection kills your eyes. As for marketing, Apple's moved the desktop into the high-end video crowd, cutting out web and print designers with a sticker-shock entry price. And the paper thin laptop is marketed to the same crowd that bought the iPhone because it was cool (but not terribly functional). The death of a company starts with over-confidence and ends with abandoning your core customers– those who actually make a living on a Mac and have been there since Power Computing.</p>
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unibonger

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:53 pm

<p>$999 for a hard drive? Even if it is solid state that is extortion. I feel sorry for the relatively small number of idiots who purchase that device only to have it outdated and surpassed within the next year.</p>
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Steve-O

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:54 pm

<p>I think you are missing the point. This laptop, much like the iPhone, is not meant for everyone. However, there are many people who will gladly sacrifice the HD space and speed for the ultra portability. Plus the multi-touch option is pretty slick.</p>
<p>I realize you are speaking from a power user's point of view, and I agree with most of your points, but you are not the person this product is meant for.</p>
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Jason

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:54 pm

<p>You say it's cheaper than other ultra portable laptops. So what? They are overpriced as well.<br />
Seriously, if you mac fanboys can't lift a macbook you should really go to the gym.</p>
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Aaron

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:55 pm

<p>Small has always meant higher cost in the laptop world. The comparably configured laptop that Steve Jobs started talking about — the Sony one he was showing in they Keynote — starts at $2099, making this $300 less with a 1.6GHz compared to the Sony's 1.06GHz.</p>
<p>I just don't think you completely understand laptops, sorry.</p>
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Mike

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:56 pm

<p>Your missing the point by comparing the MBA to the rest of the Macbook line-up. If you compare it to other ultra-portables on the market the specs look much more appealing. Some people are willing to pay a premium for a lighter, smaller machine - doesn't make sense to me, but it is what it is.</p>
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cardboardbox

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:57 pm

<p>you're essentially paying 700 dollars extra for a gimped version of the macbook pro one usb port, no ethernet port, no user replaceable battery, slower, etc</p>
<p>but hey its thin and lightweight</p>
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Mark

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:57 pm

<p>If I care about portability, I'll choose the Asus Eee pc, which is even smaller (not as thin) and only will cost me $400. It has a solid drive already (up to 16gb for a bit more $).</p>
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Thoughtful

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:57 pm

<p>Ultraportables are not for everybody. Once you start toting a truly portable laptop, it's a tough habit to kick. This thing's lightness pushes it past the tipping point. You can toss it in your bag for an afternoon on the go, no problem. I know people do that for 17″ MBPs, too. (Dad said that laptop has to last for all of college, dagnummit!)</p>
<p>It's not really game changing for us consumers, but it'll have an impact on manufacturers re: docks for ultraportables. I think the Thinkpad X61 and X61t are worthy competitors, but the docks Lenovo wants to sell you with them are pretty silly. Still, anyone interested or surprised by the lightness of the MBA should check these out, too.</p>
<p>I myself use a Thinkpad T42 with a media bay battery, so I'm used to working without a DVD drive. This laptop is holding up so well that I have no good reason to seriously consider buying an MBA. </p>
<p>(Not to mention early adopters for Apple 1g products are happiest after buying, before using)</p>
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Jaap Kreijkamp

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:58 pm

<p>Next to your article I see a thumbnail of the Mini Cooper S.<br />
Is this the fastest car around? Guess not<br />
Is it roomy then? Guess not<br />
Is it a cheap car? You get my point I hope.</p>
<p>The value of the Air is it's design. It's light, reasonably powerful that it can run most programs without problems, decent battery life it can sit through a continental flight or presentation and it's presentable.</p>
<p>Presentable is very important if you're an executive or sales person and meet a lot with potential customers. Maybe sad but we automatically judge people by things as their car, mobile, clothing and their presentation tools. Same reason why many companies spend a lot of time and money in powerpoint presentations with slick design although the same information could be as well presented on hand drawn sheets.</p>
<p>So are you a developer? Stick to macbook pro or macbook or your wintel lappie. If you're much on the road talking to other companies and selling a product or a service, maybe the air isn't a bad investment at all</p>
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Not a Fanboy

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:58 pm

<p>Great point. I'm not a fanboy of either PC or Mac, but this seems like a non-biased opinion considering the fact you already own Apple products. </p>
<p>This is just another one of those products that will sell (and probably very well) because it looks cool and nothing else.</p>
<p>Enjoy your optical driveoh wait nevermind.</p>
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Marc

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:59 pm

<p>You are obviously not the target consumer for this laptop. I'm sure Apple is fine with that.</p>
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Nate

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:59 pm

<p>Think of all the money that went into R&D for this computer. Think about how much they paid intel to develop the smaller core 2 duo. Consider the fact that it's dimensional volume makes it half the size of the MacBook. It makes perfect sense that it would cost more than a MacBook. If you are looking for a ultra high powered computer, this obviously isn't for you, but it is priced competitively for its market, and blows it's competition away performance-wise. You honestly think they could price this below the MacBook? That's madness.</p>
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ThatGirlAmber

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 10:59 pm

<p>The MACBOOK AIR is like your stereotypical blonde all brans, little to no brain </p>
<p>"it's not meant to be like a macbook" Yeeeeeeah and I guess that's why "Macbook" is half its name hmm yeahodd.</p>
<p>I expected more from Jobs We need an update PRO!</p>
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johnny rotten

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:00 pm

<p>Another brilliant marketing strategy by Apple — sell a crappy product that "looks" better for a higher price. Since lifting a 2 pounds laptop is such a chore</p>
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CJU

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:00 pm

<p>Ultraportable computers have always been priced higher and offered less than their regular sized counterparts. SONY has been doing this for 10-years. You cannot ding the MacBook Air on price/features, as in terms of ultraportables, it's priced right.</p>
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Edwin

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:02 pm

<p>I first thought the price for the Macbook Air was a bit to much, but comparing it to other ultra portables from different companies like Sony, made me realize its a good price. Not to mention, it is the thinnest laptop in the world. </p>
<p>Making such a thin laptop is not easy, it took Apple more then 2 years to make this happen, i think its a great product and people should stop complaining about it. If you don't like it, well, don't buy it, look elsewhere. </p>
<p>You think the Macbook is a better deal, well go for it, but please don't compare apples with oranges, if somebody buys the Macbook Air its because they want a ultra portable which the Macbook doesn't deliver. </p>
<p>People who buy the Macbook Air did it because they know the Macbook or the Mac Pro are not want there looking for. </p>
<p>The Macbook, Macbook Air and Mac Pro are targeting different needs, so i don't think you should compare them in anyway.</p>
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Todd

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:03 pm

<p>I just recently got a asus eee pc instead of a Macbook because I liked the eee pc's small size and weight. When I first saw the MBA I thought I had made a mistake getting a eee pc, but when I saw the price and the spec, I knew I had the better machine for my needs. Now I just wish I had gotten a 8″ eee pc instead.</p>
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Hunter

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:04 pm

<p>I think Apple missed the point. Their notebooks by design are very "portable" and they are designed in an aesthetic that makes them already pretty thin. They currently pack great specs but they fall short of certain feature some people would like to see.</p>
<p>I was hoping that the MBA would be a great segway notebook between the macbook and the macbook pro. I didn't need it to fit inside a manila envelope. </p>
<p>Once again Apple has a developed a machine which they hope will force you to change how you work and has gone on a marketing offensive that doesn't give all the facts. So now to play a dvd or just use a CD on my laptop it's a hundred dollar super drive or remote disk which seems both very unportable compared to my built in slot drive on MB and MBP. Apple told us all that we live in this wi-fi filled world where there is no wires which yeah sounds good but now to just use a wired connection I need yet another accessories. I'm pretty sure there's no speakers on it so headphones. And please the notebook is slower than the entry MB and even slower then the Mac-Mini. Please don't get me started on teh "more pricey" ssd drive.</p>
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baud

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:06 pm

<p>Apparently you don't know much about solid state drives. Not only is it faster, but it's lighter and it uses less energy to perform the same tasks. That will stretch out the useful battery life. Disk space is not an issue because the only things that will be living on the laptop are the OS and the applications. All data is meant to be streamed over the 802.11n connection, that's the whole point. Sorry you missed it.</p>
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Sandy

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:06 pm

<p>First understand the main problem that the notebook is created to solve.focus is on portability here.core2duo on that thing is a feat in itself.I you want more power use your mac at home. Mainly this is meant to be a work laptopin no way a home mac replacementsomething light that you can carry aroundand no compromise on the screen or the keyboard.try typing on the sony T series and you will know what I mean.Yeah I have a MacbookPro myself and I am aware that for a couple hundred you get a pretty darn good laptop with graphics and optical drivesbut it all boils down to the one fact - work/portability.</p>
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Sean

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:06 pm

<p>How could ANYONE say this is a competitively priced machine? Asus makes machines as light with much faster CPU's for $100-200 less, with the same amount of RAM, bigger Hard drives, and more expansion ports while being just a tad thicker.</p>
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sput

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:06 pm

<p>product not for everyone, especially you, evidently. why must you air your shopping troubles to the world?</p>
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Alexander J

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:07 pm

<p>I call BS on the whole premise of this article. Seriously, you can't compare this to any of Apple's existing products because it's in an entirely different class, and in that class it's the fastest, cheapest, best-looking piece of hardware available to date. And if you want a cheap Apple display? Buy a Dell, because not surprisingly, they both use the exact same Samsung display panels in more than a few cases.</p>
<p>Way to grab the headlines by bashing a product the rest of the world is praising though. Talk about journalism with morals The "mindless masses" are the ones who praise people like you for "standing up to the man" for lack of a decent understanding of what they've accomplished.</p>
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mememe

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:07 pm

<p>Agree completely. I'm not interested in trading up my macbook for this thin beauty; the cost is too high and the performance too low. What the heck is apple waiting for? Wheres the 12 inch macbook or macbook pro? The 12" tibook - for all its flaws - was an ideal form factor. The 12" Wall Street is legendary. Gimme that at 1280×1024 and I buy. Thin is nice but length, width and performance trump it.</p>
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NotJohn

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

<p>Not to burst your bubble but the direct comparo in size to the macbook air is the SZ series (from sony) which is 13.3 inch, and has far more room for improvement than the Mac Book air, and an optical drive to boot. Not sure if that really makes a difference. </p>
<p>In any case a notebook that thin is very impressive, but I never liked apple (cept the ipod i own) so I wont be getting one.</p>
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Davidlow

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

<p>and the battery doesn't come out! I was really hoping to replace my aging 12″ G4 PowerBook with the MBA, but there's no way to use it more than 4 hours without recharging, since I can't make use of spare batteries.</p>
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mememe

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

<p>Er - rather 1280×800</p>
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eric

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

<p>"MacBook Error"</p>
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Charles

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

<p>I used to think the Macbook Pro was ultraportable too, until I moved to Tokyo. Ugh, carrying that thing around all day really gets heavy. Even the Macbook isn't exactly light. This machine is much closer to what I want. I wish they could of made it a little thicker on the thin end and put a few more features in, but it would push the weight up above 3lbs making the Macbook look better again. So many tradeoffs to bring out this machine. There is a market for it, and if I actually had a reason to bring my computer to work everyday I'd probably be ordering one right now, $3000 be damned.</p>
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david

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:12 pm

<p>Agreed. If not carrying the extra pound and a half of the Macbook is really worth that much, maybe you could spend the extra money on a gym membership?</p>
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Ed

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:12 pm

<p>It's not about how much their competitors price their ultra-slim laptops at, it really should be priced considering both the Macbook and Macbook Pro. Since Apple made the decision not to take out the Macbook lineup, Macbook Air should fall in between the two categories. </p>
<p>If it's that expensive for a ultra-portable laptop, I'll be glad to use my Macbook Pro over the Macbook Air. For more power, I'm willing to carry a little more weight.</p>
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Jonathan Field

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:13 pm

<p>"I'm not a huge fan of Apple, since a lot of their products appeal to the relatively mindless masses."</p>
<p>That's just an odd thing to say, considering that Apple has a minor marketshare on everything but the iPod. And their "for the masses" computers have a paltry 7% marketshare, just recently up from 5%.</p>
<p>But as to the MacBook Air: it's useless to me since I want a full featured laptop. But I have friends who would be very willing to sacrifice money and features for a dramatically thinner, lighter laptop. It's not for me, it's for them. So I find it amusing that people who want more features are complaining since they can already get what they want for cheaper!</p>
<p>Apple had to cut features to shrink it. And they had to spend money. Either you're the target market or you're not. If you're not, don't piss on someone else's desire for this type of machine.</p>
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Roberto

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:13 pm

<p>It is really nice and thin but as the article said it lacks the power, i rather buy something that has the capacity and capability of a mac book pro while sacrificing a centimeter and a couple of ounces besides who really cares about how thin it is? As for me all i care about is performance and a drive to put DVDs in. Very nice design nontheless</p>
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Steve Johansson

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:14 pm

<p>Who would ever buy an iPod mini? For, like a few dollars more, you get 5x the storage, and it's not that much bigger? Apple is so dumb! The iPod mini will fail! Apple blew it this time!</p>
<p>Oh, wait. That one worked out pretty good.</p>
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rob

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:14 pm

<p>You are missing the point. This laptop is sex appeal. It's not meant to be a production unit. People who need all the widgets will get the Mac Pro. This is for the same people who had to have a $600 iphone.</p>
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Nick Marques

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:14 pm

<p>Nice post! You might check out my impressions here - <a href="#" onclick="return false;" rel="nofollow">http://www.muzicman82.net/2008/01/15/my-thoughts-on-the-apple-macbook-air/</a></p>
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justin

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:15 pm

<p>i couldn't agree with you more. this isn't a mac book, its a 13.3″ iphone. color me disappointed, stevey.</p>
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Kyle W.

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

<p>I agree that I was kinda of "underwhelmed" with the line-up that was presented at Macworld. With all the hype with so many gadgets and this announcement pretty much being the biggest I was disappointed. I believe the price is to high for the current model although it fits the niche category very well. I can only hope that in a few months either they upgrade the stats and make improvements to it or they release a better model of it because it is a great idea just a little rushed it seemed.</p>
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mememe

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

<p>Justin - the market is there. It consists of salespeople, directors, executives, and others to whom image is key. As well as the generally well-to-do and fashionable - a not insignificant share of apples existing base.</p>
<p>Its not too interesting to me, a serious user / developer who's going to be reminded daily of what I'm missing in terms of battery, optical drive, ethernet ports (I like 100mb music library transfers, thanks) and so on. It's just sad to think that I have probably a year at least for a full featured 12′ or smaller ultraportable from apple. And to me portable means width and length as much as thickness and weight.</p>
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David

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:18 pm

<p>Going to agree with Gavin. It is not Apple's fault that the SSD is high. Those things are freaking expensive especially when you get the high yield (best quality) drives. $1000 is typical. </p>
<p>Maybe this device is not aimed at you. That's fine get a Macbook. I personally have been waiting for this. Every year I go to NAB with my heavy Powerbook/Mac Pro wish and dreaming for a lighter Mac. Now I can get one for a relatively low 1800 bucks when compared to similarly sized and powered PCs.</p>
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Casey

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:20 pm

<p>Well, I have to agree with you on some things. I was disappointed when i saw that the Air only went up to 1.8GHz. I was also surprised more than shocked in the HD space. I don't think many people would be spending all that extra money for a smaller hard drive, even if it is "faster." That i thought was boarder-lining insanity. Knowing apple in the past though, they make computers run very well on minimal tech. specs. My iMac is an 800 MHz PowerPC G4, with only 768 MB SDRAM. It is still holding up, in some areas, to new computers (not from apple) with more than twice those numbers. If you need a laptop for doing school work, mail, internet surfing, some games. I don't think the air would be a bad way to go. I personally would love to see someone keep it in one of those manilla envelopes in their computer bag. If you need a computer thats portable, easy to use, nothing to major in the editing area, and not too much hard core gaming, I would get the Air. I'm going to hold off for another year, to see if Apple will decide to do anything with it, AKA price drops, HD, CPU, Graphics. There are some areas that would go nicely with a few touch ups.</p>
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Adam

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:21 pm

<p>Yes, how dare Apple charge $999 for a solid state disk when they can be purchased on the open market for.. oh, right, $999.</p>
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Nathan

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:21 pm

<p>@Ryan "What's unportable about my MacBook Pro, which for $200 more, kills the MBA in every way?"</p>
<p>You couldn't have said it any better my thoughts exactly</p>
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Will

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:21 pm

<p>You missed the point, my man. It's the best thin-notebook around. You're saying you wouldn't buy a thin notebook because of yada yada. It's like saying I wouldn't buy a motorcycle 'cause it doesn't have a trunk for my groceries.</p>
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David Lano

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:23 pm

<p>Ryan, I can see where you are coming from. I have been in the market for a new MacBook* and originally had my eye on the MacBook Pro. When rumors started going around about the new MacBook Air my hopes were high. I was expecting a thinner and lighter version of the MacBook Pro including LED screen, solid-state hard drive, etc. I have always steered towards high performance instead of portabilitybut now I am seeing them as equally important. I really was hoping Apple would make the decision for me and create an ultra portable MacBook Pro, but unfortunately I will have to choose.</p>
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InLoveWithSteveJobs

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:23 pm

<p>HOW DARE YOU INSULT THE MACBOOK AIR! Steve Jobs says its worth it so its fucking worth it. I wish I was a woman so I could have steve's long hard maccock inside me ohhhh steve</p>
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PetieG

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:27 pm

<p>Try lugging around a 15″ MBP, with CDs/DVD, cables, tools, etc. in a backpack all day long as you visit clients to support them i'd welcome the MBA if it had an expresscard slot (Sprint EVDO req'd) i also welcome losing several pounds from my load ..</p>
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Richard John

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:27 pm

<p>John, to put Windows on it, you'll need to buy/borrow that external SuperDrive.</p>
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Ryan author

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:28 pm

<p>@ Gavin</p>
<p>Ummif it isn't meant to be classified as a macbook, then why is it called the Macbook Air? This has to be Apple's most ridiculous product since Newton.</p>
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Marcus

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:28 pm

<p>the reason it is so expensive is because the processor was shrunk 60% that is near impossible. you are also paying for the compact mother board so if you go complaining that the specs aren't like a macbook (which i own) look at everything your getting *super thin battery *way smaller Processor *more compact mother board * and yes it may be part of an ipod but that is a great product, a tiny hard drive. the biggest reason you would even consider getting the SSD was because there are no moving parts.<br />
All in all i think the macbook air will be a success and all you people out there complaining your either jealous or you haven't looked at the big picture.</p>
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Rajj

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:28 pm

<p>wow, this is really hot product. I m gonna get it now</p>
<p>Rajj</p>
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Matt Goodloe

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:29 pm

<p>People will pay for the MBA, regardless of the flaws and such.</p>
<p>The way I see it, it's a step in a new direction for Apple. Killing optical drives. Wireless is key. Portable, lots of battery life, and staying connected.</p>
<p>It pairs extremely well with the Time Capsule, along side a more powerful Mac (Book Pro, or Pro), it's also a great pair.</p>
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Jenheta

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:33 pm

<p>And you do not even mention the worst :<br />
nothing is user upgradable for that hefty price. Memory ? already maxed out. Battery ? HD ? nothing. You have to send it back to Apple. Good luck on that.</p>
<p>But, hey, I am overwhelmed. Today's release just showed me how valuable my Macbook is now.</p>
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Pax

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:34 pm

<p>Quote "Regarding the price. Yeah it's a fair bit for a device that reuses existing iPod parts."</p>
<p>You do know that the Air is using a unique and redesigned Intel Core 2 Duo chip in a package half the size? and that the entire motherboard is the length of a pencil? Most of the interior space is actually used to house a 5 hour battery, which is unheard of in these ultra-portables. The engineering that went into this thing is unbelievable, and, as always, one must pay the price for innovation and to be first on the block with one. How one can say that Apple only releases products for "the mindless masses" is beyond me. Apple continually stirs my imagination and drives the market in innovation. Even Apple haters should appreciate how they keep the competitors innovating as well.</p>
<p>Having said that, I won't be getting one. Why not? As cool and amazing that it is, I need a laptop that has more performance and storage.</p>
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James

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:36 pm

<p>Im thinking the solid state drive is a major battery extender.</p>
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Dan

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:36 pm

<p>Yeah I think you've missed the point is that it's for a particularly different market in which it fits in VERY well.</p>
<p>It's a fantastic machine for road warriors, bloggers, Photoshop CS 3 will run on it quite well; Xcode and all those tools should all work pretty well so you know. </p>
<p>I think they've done a decent job. Yet, I do understand the kind of let down feeling you have. (Where's my induction charging [Which would be utterly unfeasible anyway!])</p>
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Jake

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:38 pm

<p>Think about it this way:<br />
Because it's Apple and people will buy it just to be cool, and they WILL go for the 64gb SSD, all the purchasing and manufacture of 64gb SSDs will lead to lower SSD prices.</p>
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Bill

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:38 pm

<p>I was underwhelmed as well, however, only because I have no use for it. My 17″ MacBook Pro is just what I need. I was really looking forward to new, bigger Cinema displays. I need a new monitor and was hoping Apple would have something new to offer me.</p>
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Sam

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:39 pm

<p>"or for the same price, the top of the line desktop rocket Mac Pro which can power a small country." - classic</p>
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Pax

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:40 pm

<p>Quote "And you do not even mention the worst :<br />
nothing is user upgradable for that hefty price. Memory ? already maxed out. Battery ? HD ? nothing. You have to send it back to Apple. Good luck on that."</p>
<p>Uh 2 GB not enough memory for you?! and the battery replacement price has already been established as $129, same as the MacBook Pro, and INCLUDES FREE INSTALLATION.</p>
<p>Everyone has their own needs/requirements, THAT IS WHY APPLE MAKES MORE THAN ONE PRODUCT PEOPLE! For instance, I could never see myself using the MacBook. Give me a Pro for the performance, or an Air for the portability/sexiness. In my eyes, the MacBook is ass, but I don't crap all over it.</p>
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kuyote

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:43 pm

<p>Don't worry. Steve started the price out high, so in a month he can drop it and piss off all the early adopters. It will be $1200 next month.</p>
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KirkH

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:44 pm

<p>Mac is screwed. They've hit what I call "The good enough limit". They're running out of reasons to charge top dollar for their pretty gadgets so they add video screens to Ipod Nanos, flatten laptops, etc. </p>
<p>This is called creative destruction and it's the reason creating products that kick ass and don't break is dangerous.</p>
<p>When the .03 inch Macbook is released for $4000 next year when you can get an EeePC for $200 with Wimax, possession Macs will start to have the same appeal as unnecessarily large SUVs. In other words, a way to show the world just how important completely impractical material possessions are to you.</p>
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anenokoji

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:48 pm

<p>Look, to make it this small, intel had to custom make their core 2 duo. This is expensive. you complain about the ssd drives. but SSD is still expensive. everywhere you go. it's not like apple is price gouging. if it doesn't suit your needs, don't buy it. but, I dont need a powerful laptop. i want a tiny , lightweight laptop that is easy to take where ever I go. i have a huge desktop that does all my power crunching.</p>
<p>the price is on par with other ultra portable laptops. unless you want an utter piece of shit like avaratec. </p>
<p>remember, smaller components = more money.</p>
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Statops

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:50 pm

<p>Cry more. Did it ever occur to you, in your selfish 'graphics industry' mind, that perhaps you aren't the target market for this product?</p>
<p>One of the great things about an Apple release. All the angry people automatically assume that Apple was targeting them and missed horribly. No one cares about your expectations, or what you wanted, or what you think is wrong with the product. I mean really, the conclusion of all of these MacBook Air Lowered Expectation sob stories is that the engineers at Apple weren't designing a custom computer to your specification. Boo-fucking-hoo.</p>
<p>Some people will like it, some people will hate it, some people will buy it.</p>
<p>You do realize that it's your own fault. You pour over the rumor mills and listen to all of the crazy ideas people have, latch on to one you think sounds good, with no real evidence that it's real, and then become depressed and cut your wrists when it doesn't turn out the way you wanted.</p>
<p>You're putting all of these personal constraints on the machine that quite frankly, a lot of people simply aren't going to have. A lot of people love the gloss screen. A lot of people would love to have something like this that is small and light and doesn't way much in their backpack. It would be a great laptop to have around the house for when someone comes over and wants to look something up on the internet. It has potential for 'mobile computer labs' that a lot of elementary/high schools have. It has potential for thin client applications.</p>
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Anthony

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:50 pm

<p>"This competes with the any of the other ultra light machines like the sony TZ machines. All of them are lots more expensive, and are not as cool or capable or as FAST as the Mac Air."</p>
<p>Capable? Aside from the internal camera, What makes this thing so capable, is it the small hard drive or the lack of an optical drive? All for the cost of a much more capable MacBook Pro? </p>
<p>Matt mentioned that you pay a premium for extreme portability. But you lose that extreme portability when you have to carry around an external drive just to perform basic functions (e.g installing software, ripping/burning CDs and DVDs). </p>
<p>But you never know, Apple successfully marketed a lack of features as a feature with the iPod Shuffle. They might be able to do it again.</p>
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Statops

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:52 pm

<p>rofl. way=weigh. i type too fast.</p>
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Emanuel

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:54 pm

<p>Considering the retail price of a 64GB SSD notebook drive ($1500), the $999 price tag is actually pretty nice.</p>
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Pax

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:54 pm

<p>Ryan, the Newton was not a ridiculous product, it was just before it's time. And perhaps the MBA is as well, judging by all you haters. However I don't think so, it will do very well. And to all you people bitching about the lack of an optical drive, you are all the same people that bitched when Apple dropped the floppy drive. I know I never use the optical drive in my lappy, I use my iMac for that.</p>
<p>And to David how much smaller do you think they can get the MacBook Pro and still keep everything inside?! Give your head a shake man, the G4 Titanium was smaller, but had technical problems from being TOO small (screen issues, optical drive rubbing, etc)</p>
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Kevin

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:55 pm

<p>I'm sorry but you missed the point. The MacBook Air was not designed for persons who want a more expensive MacBook; it was designed for professionals and students with money who value weight as the biggest holdback to a laptop. How many of you remember buying a laptop looking forward to taking with you. I know I did when I bought my Dell Latitude in 2002 to bring to school. It cost $2200. It sucked. No one thinks this is a desktop replacement. But how many of you were running complex Photoshop filters or doing FinalCut editing on your MacBook?</p>
<p>Your entire rant was bitching about the price, but as Gavin and John point out Sony is the only maker of similar laptops in the compact, lightweight and sexy market space. (The Lenovo x61 is awesome and has high value, but is clearly targeted to a different market, and the x-series would need to be changed significantly more than the recent update to catch up to the MBA.)</p>
<p>I am disappointed that the SSD is a $1000 upgrade. I was surprised by this and thought you could buy one a lot cheaper but my research found Super Talent 1.8″ 64 GB SSD drives cost ~$1600. So maybe not.</p>
<p>I am confused by one design decision–the CPU. I'm glad that a C2D in under the hood but to be running at 1.6 or 1.8 GHz it must be a low power variant (I know it's custom for the MBA) instead of an ultra-low power variant. Because the 2 things that matter most to the target buyer is #1 weight/size but #2 is battery life, not clockspeed.</p>
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Dave

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:57 pm

<p>$999 for a 64 GB SSD is actually a VERY competitive price:<br />
32 GB SSD @ Newegg: $439 <a href="#" onclick="return false;" rel="nofollow">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313024</a><br />
128 GB SSD @ Newegg: $3219 <a href="#" onclick="return false;" rel="nofollow">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609245</a></p>
<p>If you double the 32 GB price and halve the 128 GB price you get $878 and $1609. Take the average of those and you get $1243, which by itself would be an extremely competitive price: <a href="#" onclick="return false;" rel="nofollow">http://www.google.com/products?q=64+GB+SSD</a></p>
<p>As for the processor, it's been mentioned previously that "comparable" laptops really don't compare in features or in price.</p>
<p>For the computer, it's far from underwhelming. It's completely astounding that Apple can make such a computer for that price. Of course it's not going to have the expandability options of a MacBook or MacBook Pro, because the people who would buy a MacBook Pro are the sort of people who wouldn't be using a MacBook Air. Apple, in my opinion, has created an extremely competitive laptop that is perfect for the market they're aiming to sell it in.</p>
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Ray

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:58 pm

<p>Yeah, yeah, thin and sexy - so does the size of this mean that it will be plagued by even more overheating problems just like the MBP. </p>
<p>Thinner isnt better, not if it is still going to roast yer testies.</p>
<p>I wonder if there is a direct correlation to the amount of MacBook owners and the world infertility charts.</p>
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Pax

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:59 pm

<p>to Richard John quote "John, to put Windows on it, you'll need to buy/borrow that external SuperDrive"</p>
<p>Wrong again, maybe do some research before pretending to know what you are talking about. New software allows the optical drive of a nearby networked PC or Mac to be used as if it is MBA's own.</p>
<p>This laptop is designed from the ground up as a portable, wireless enabled device. Forget your old thinking people, this is truly a paradigm shift. We will see others follow Apple, as we often do these days.</p>
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Jeremy

Tuesday 1/15, 2008 at 11:59 pm

<p>> "Macbook Error"<br />
That's a good one!</p>
<p>I too am disappointed with the MBA. Occasionally Apple (ie: Steve) insists on making a product that emphasizes style over substance. The MBA joins the G4 Cube in this regard.</p>
<p>I understand the desire to reduce weight but removing useful features to achieve that goal is ludicrous. When the top two points on your laptop's spec sheet are "thin" and "shiny" then you know your product is in trouble.</p>
<p>I'll stick with my MacBook (running 10.4.11), Steve.</p>
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Ray

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:00 am

<p>MacBook Air = Mac Cube</p>
<p>I predict this laptop will be as devastating to Apple as the Cube was, except that now at least they are in better financial shape to deal with it.</p>
<p>This notebook, although extremely impressive, will see similar success as the Cube. It's another example of Apple showing off their design and engineering skills at the expense of practicality.</p>
<p>I agree with the author, it's way too expensive and limiting and will only really appeal to the true gadget junkies and enthusiasts. Being thin is nice, but not with so many sacrifices and at such a high premium.</p>
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Josh

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:03 am

<p>I think it most amusing the way that apple fanboys delude themselves into thinking apple is different than other companies. They seem to think that apple cares more about them than making money.</p>
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Shawn

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:08 am

<p>Like the "underwhelming" take on Apple ads. But if you wanted to be really cheeky, just put "whelming" with the MBA under it.</p>
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Rick

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:13 am

<p>You do realize that replacing the 1.8 inch drive with a SSD drive isn't just "faster" it is incredibly faster. Boot times drop to almost 0, application loading time drops, battery life skyrockets, Basically anytime you do anything that would have to access the HD it is way faster.</p>
<p>Now does that make the mac air worth 3,000+ not for me. But for people who want a fast, light portable machine with incredible battery life it is a damn good deal. </p>
<p>And the price of the flash drive will only drop with time. As for space this isn't designed to be peoples only compter, or main computer none of my laptops have ever used over 40 gig (Mind you my desktop taps out at 1.5 TB)</p>
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Mark

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:13 am

<p>This thing is perfect.</p>
<p>It's the perfect replacement for my 12″ G4 Powerbook. A 1.6 GHz Core Duo is more than enough speed; let's face it, if I want to do anything that requires more than two processor cores running at 1.6GHz each, I'm probably not going to use a laptop.</p>
<p>And don't underestimate the solid state drive. If you've ever used a machine that has one, holy crap, you would know the $999 is well worth it. Disk IO on that thing will be a monster, especially with the Mac's faster bus speeds lately. Safari cache reads and writes are going to blow away even the quad Xeon desktop.</p>
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Jon Wilson

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:15 am

<p>Yeah! It doesn't even have an optical drive!!</p>
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Paul In SF

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:15 am

<p>I think that I will just stick with my 2 lb, 3 USB, $400 Eee PC for now.</p>
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Ceryen

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:18 am

<p>I agree that the MacBook Air is really expensive. However, people criticizing the cost of the SSD drive need to do some research first. Most 64 GB SSD drives cost far more than $1000.</p>
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Jon Wilson

Wednesday 1/16, 2008 at 12:19 am

<p>.Suddenly remembers when he replaced his Hi-Fi Walkman CD Player with a considerably more expensive "iPod".</p>
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