MacBook Air

AndrewSipe's picture

Start your drooling...

pattyfab's picture

WOW!!! I actually need a new laptop. But I can't deal with only 13.3", I was gonna go for the 17".

Only one USB2 port though...? Whassup with that?

1985's picture

That first photo is quite deceptive, the angle hiding the bevelled edges making it appear thinner!

Si_Daniels's picture

I believe it comes with a drool resistant force field - the same one that enables it to hover.

Linda Cunningham's picture

That's how they manage to get it down to three pounds. :-)

It's tempting, but I want a bigger screen too.

1985's picture

No optical drive…

pattyfab's picture

No optical drive is CRAZY. Installing software remotely? What if this is to be your only machine?

AndrewSipe's picture

It introduces a few new features...

1. Remote Desktop... it uses the wireless network card (802.11N) to connect to any other networked computer and "borrows" their optical drives. This will let you install programs from disk, or burn CDs/DVDs. But if you don't have one, Apple is offering an external Superdrive for $100 more.

2. The 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz processors are 60% smaller than their predecessors.

3. It uses a multi-touch input pad instead of just a mouse pad.

4. Used in conjunction with, you don't really need much else.

I think it's pretty impressive. 3lbs and .76" at it's thickest point. I'm really more impressed with the technology and how it might factor in to the next iPhone.

AndrewSipe's picture

I haven't had an Apple product (outside of an iPod) in my life for over 5 years. I am however really impressed with the last batch of computers coming out of Cupertino and will probably have a new Mac by year's end.

Incase anyone thought I was just some overzealous Apple Fanboy.

pattyfab's picture

Another problem - the glossy screen. I vastly prefer the matte.

I would never buy a laptop that was dependent on an external drive or a wireless network for such basic functionality as installing software or watching a movie. It defeats the purpose of having a laptop. My current laptop doesn't have a CD/DVD burner and it's a huge pain. Plus I think one port isn't sufficient, no matter how wireless you go.

I'd rather go for the 17" MacBook Pro which is marked down (refurb) from $2799 to $2199.

AndrewSipe's picture

Hey, I'm not selling this stuff. Buy whatever you want. I'm just bringing it to everyone's attention.

Stephen Coles's picture

> No optical drive is CRAZY. Installing software remotely? What if this is to be your only machine?

For most people, it's not meant to be their only machine. It's for folks who want an ultra-portable.

Ken Messenger's picture

It seems a bit of a novelty to me. I'll admit to being an Apple fanboy but I don't see much of a market for this laptop. Small screen, no optical drive and heavy pricetag. It's nice if you've got a fat wallet and are only looking for the glitz factor.

pattyfab's picture

I know a lot of people who have only a laptop.

And 2 grand is a lot to pay for just an ultra-portable. But to each his own. I'll see what they add to it the next go-round. I never buy the first Mac anyway. It sure is purdy....

Chris Rugen's picture

This is a product that most of us design people will have no use for. But MAN is it cool.

I almost spit out my coffee when I read that the SSD hard drive adds $1,300 to the price. Solid state is not ready for the mainstream.

AndrewSipe's picture

Yeah, the Time Capsule wireless router/hard drive/print server is much more useful and actually affordable (as Apple products go).

I think the technological aspect of the Macbook Air is larger. Easily imagine the applications applied to a touchscreen tablet. And the networking aspect with limited I/O support, might be a push for security and simplicity on behalf of the user. This is what gets me excited, what these features might mean for future applications.

BlueStreak's picture

Let's ride the wayback machine to when we all said "No floppy drive is CRAZY." That takes us way back to 2003.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I have a client that has a PC laptop that is the tiniest, cutest little thing I've ever seen. Super light weight too. He uses it when he's on the road doing presentations. I think this is going to be targeted at that sort of high roller. Someone that can afford to have a travel machine.

blank's picture

If I traveled often it would be a great machine. A 15" laptop is too big to use comfortably outside of business class on most flights, and the low weight would be nice if I just tossed a USB hub into a suitcase. But for everyday use? Not a chance. That GMA 3100 just won’t cut it for World of Warcraft.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

@patty: The Air has one USB 2.0 port. Considering the fact that it has to be able to power that external SuperDrive, it’s reasonable to assume that it will power a lot of USB-devices with just one (unpowered) USB-hub.

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

Nickmulley's picture

Also it seems a lot for the money considering it is actually only 0.24" thinner than the 1" thick macbook pro.

for almost half the price you can get an iBook with the drives and faster speeds all for an extra 0.32", but I do admit the innovativeness of the whole wireless takeover is great, and I do think it is the way forward.

In the same way as I look at the iPhone, I can't wait to see the second generation, that will truly be inspirational.

Si_Daniels's picture

Apparently it introduces a new way to pinch fonts...

"On web pages, you can increase the font size with the pinch maneuver."'s picture

heh, i was looking at this page: ... i really dont like the baseline on the face they are using to write "Major minor details."... Seems very uneven to me..

I love the laptop though. I am going to keep my current one tho, 13" is too small..
Visit my website for my portfolio:

Si_Daniels's picture

I think Myriad Light does have some issues - the g bothers me for some reason. A result of the MM'ing?

1985's picture

Haley Fiege knows best!

This is a far superior machine :)

1985's picture

Another quick look and it seems to have lost the BRAUN influence. Can't quite put my finger on why, it seems to be a cross between a fighter jet and a clamshell mobile phone. About the optical drive, its going to be a hassle for existing DVD collections but I shan't be a luddite, this is obviously the way things are going! BlueStreak is right about that.

I don't mean to be too disparaging, it cleary has interesting qualities.

eriks's picture

Another quick look and it seems to have lost the BRAUN influence.

Because that look depends on angular lines. But if you have a wedge shape and need to make it look even smaller than it already is, softer lines are better. You could also poke someone's eye out with a computer as thin as 4mm if it didn't have smooth bevels. Braun went to wedges in the late 70s and they were fashionable, horribly so, and didn't last long.
I've ordered my MacBook Air despite of its stupid name. I ride a bicycle to work and my Powerbook 15" is very heavy to take along, as it is on flights. I'm on an airplane a few times a week, so schlepping only half the weight around will make a huge difference. I use a big monitor both at home and at work with all the peripherals attached, so i don't need anything else. I do miss a Firewire connection, but then most small drives these days have USB 2.0 anyways. And when was the last time i put a DVD into my laptop? When i loaded Leopard. And how often does that happen? If one wanted to watch videos (which i don't), get them from a hard drive or use an ipod as external drive.


PS: disclaimer: i have a large collection of Braun equipment, like almost all their Hifi stuff from 1959 until the end, so i did quite enjoy having all that aluminum on my desk. Looks great with all that 60s stuff. And we still have the Braun calculator on the iPhone.

Zara Evens's picture

Jonathan Ive and Braun designer Dieter Rams share the same basic design principles, and I imagine Ive looks to Rams for inspiration often. Take a look at this article recently published by Gizmodo on the Braun/Apple connection:

My two cents on MacWorld08:
-MacBook Air is cool looking, but it lacks so much (ports, replaceable battery, etc…) that I can't imagine it being a very popular product for Apple.
-iPhone update was significant enough for me to delete all my jailbreak work, although I still greatly look forward to the SDK. Love the addition of group SMS and the mock-GPS feature works very well.
-Time Capsule looks very interesting. Too bad I JUST BOUGHT a new Extreme.

Nothing else really caught my eye, I thought Steve really disappointed us this year. I guess since last year's iPhone extravaganza, they are going to have to work extra hard to keep us interested. :)

The best thing about MacWorld is being in San Francisco and seeing the magic that is Apple marketing. I have yet to actually see the street teams in action (with the exception of coming out of BART this morning during the keynote and seeing all blank walls), but sometime during the keynote (every year, right on cue) every single available ad space along Market Street and in the Bart stations seem to automagically produce all the new Apple ads in a matter of minutes. You can go outside the moment the keynote is over and the city is just blanketed in fresh Apple material. I think it is brilliant.

pattyfab's picture

Nothing else really caught my eye, I thought Steve really disappointed us this year. I guess since last year’s iPhone extravaganza, they are going to have to work extra hard to keep us interested. :)

Apparently you aren't the only one who felt that way - Apple's stock fell significantly today.

I realize we're all going wireless and this machine is probably forward thinking in that regard, but I need a machine that serves my purposes RIGHT NOW and that includes a disk drive and more than one USB port. I often plug a mouse into my laptop (I know, I can get a wireless mouse) and use my USB flash drive a lot. I just wouldn't want to have to lug around a lot of peripherals in order to use my supposedly portable device. And I get a lot of materials from clients on CD or DVD so without a way to put them in... not so useful. It's all moot (for me) anyway since a 13.3" screen is way too small.

Erik, I think we'll all be interested when you get yours to hear what you think!

Zara - I just read your post again - no replaceable battery??? Like the iPhone. Really, what are they thinking. We can't be sending our machines away to get new batteries. Of course the battery on my powerbook has been dead for years and I only use it plugged in. Which is one reason I need a new machine.

Stephen Coles's picture

As usual, John Gruber has a the most astute take on the Air. In short, it's best as a secondary machine, like I imagined.

aluminum's picture

It'll impress the clients and that cute person that sits across from you at the coffee shop.

There comes a point where I don't want/need smaller, though. I have a tough time finding things as it is.

Ch's picture

very expensive. costs more than a more versatile and more expandable laptop. what's the point ?

carsten's picture

The only really impressive thing I can find is the iPhone Touch pad.
The rest is not enough for a new MacBook. I doubt the MacBook Air will be that successful.
I will definitely stay with my old one ^^.

dan_reynolds's picture

Doesn't this critique sound like how everyone boo-hooed the iMac ten years ago? You know, not a strong or powerful computer, too expensive compared with the competitors' less-pricey models, aimed at a niche market, not expandable, screen too small, AND NO FLOPPY DISK DRIVE!

Jobs was right then, so I'm not going to write him off now.

Ch's picture

but it's more expensive and less powerful than their own existing products, not to mention competitor's.

my question stands: what's the point ?

if it's just sexy slimness, it's not a viable workhorse - it's just a vanity accessory.

pattyfab's picture

Well Dan when they make the MacBook Air as good as the iMac, I'll get one. The early iMacs weren't powerful or expandable enough for designers, now they are. I'm sure this will be too, in time.

Expandability is less of a plus these days then it used to be earlier on, when computers were expected to last longer. Nowadays it's almost as cheap to buy a new one, and they come out with upgrades and speed boosts so often. My Mac IIci (a whopping $3500) lasted me 10 years. By the end it was only good for email and word processing. I've had my Powerbook since 2001 - it was the first Titanium and am due to replace it. But not with the Air.

Chris - it is a vanity accessory, but I know that for people who lug their laptops around all the time its weight is a powerful draw. My brother for example has been waiting for Mac to come out with a lightweight laptop.

aluminum's picture

"if it’s just sexy slimness, it’s not a viable workhorse - it’s just a vanity accessory."

And we all know there's zero money to be made in vanity accessories. ;0)

Ch's picture

yes it's probably good for folks who travel, write, etc.
my criteria is biased toward processing and memory as per my video work.
as for the cost and the vanity, hell, i'd buy one tomorrow if i had
money to burn. my criteria is also biased by indy freelance budget constraints !

Ashleyco's picture

What a pile of rubbish this Mac really is crap . It has one port !!!???? the usability of this thing is absolutely zero.
Plus the screen is the size of a fingernail. Come on Steve Jobs , you can do better than this .....

begsini's picture

while i certainly understand the practical limitations, i think this Air is conceptually quite forward looking.

as the sun CEO said years ago already (name?), the network is the computer.

what is really valuable is the information we have access to (whether news we can look up, music we can buy, or the vector data defining our artwork). our physical interfaces with the information will continue to become more immaterial.

John Hudson's picture

Is the 3lb weight including battery? I found when I was shopping for a small, light travel laptop three years ago that most of the specs gave weight not including battery. Since the battery is often the heaviest component in a laptop, it can make a significant difference.

Si_Daniels's picture

As the battery is factory sealed (one of the gripes from the long-haul set) I can't imagine how they'd quote weight without it.

Stephen Coles's picture

Factor sealed = screwed in. You can replace it, but it's not very convenient.

blank's picture

Actually, it’s just one Phillips-head screw. That might not be convenient for people who lug extra batteries around, but now that governments and airlines are banning extra batteries due to the explosive tendencies of cheap Asian batteries, it’s not much of an issue.

Si_Daniels's picture

True, but on that long flight to London you wouldn't be allowed to take a screwdriver on board.

Si_Daniels's picture

>but now that governments and airlines are banning extra batteries due to the explosive tendencies of cheap Asian batteries

Once again Apple thinking ahead. Damn they're good!

pattyfab's picture

Brilliant quote from the engadget thread:

And in other news, the 2009 lineup for Apple is projected to have the new MacBook Vapor. At only 0.1" thin, the MacBook Vapor sports all of the features of the MacBook Air, only minus the hard drive, CPU, and display. The MacBook Vapor will ship in early 2009 and retail for only $2,399!

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Isn’t there some equation re what a person burns off in calories per hour for every pound lugged around?

In a couple of months you’ll be able to discern whether a person has a MacBook Air or a regular laptop in his/her totebag by looking at the girth of the person: the former ones will be noticably heavier, haha!

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

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