Adam Rice

My life and the world around me

MacBook Air reaction

The interesting thing about the MBA (heh) is that it is intended as an “outrigger” computer. While it could be barely self-sufficient, the idea seems to be that anyone owning one would have a bigger computer somewhere else. That’s a reasonable assumption and the outrigger market is a reasonable one to serve. But if that was Apple’s starting point, they’ve made some weird choices.

  • Price: $1800 is a big commitment for a secondary computer.
  • Size: It’s small, but it’s not that small; its footprint is big enough that it clearly bothers a lot of people. And for that matter, it seems that they could have shaved an inch off the width and half-inch off the depth without cutting into screen or keyboard.
  • Power: It’s not exactly high-spec, but it’s pretty high-spec.

There is an emerging trend of cheap and cheerful devices that aren’t practical as fully functioning standalone computers, but are fine for web-surfing, media playback, and lightweight work. Things like the Nokia N810 or the Asus Eee. Apple seems to be borrowing the outrigger aspect of these devices without picking up on their other features—low-power CPU, small screen, limited keyboard, etc—features that make them less than workhorses, but easier to schlepp around and longer running. The MBA is a more or less full-power serious work machine and fashion statement that isn’t quite self-sufficient but doesn’t quite embrace its second-computer status either.

It’s been widely speculated that Apple would, eventually, introduce something that would fit somewhere between a laptop and the iPhone. Like a tablet. It may be that the iPhone is Apple’s tablet, but the choices behind the MBA leave room at the low end of the market for something else. Some people are already filling that void by installing OS X on the Asus Eee. I don’t think the MBA is going to be it for a lot of people.

1 Comment

  1. I love the form factor and I think when that factor will be applied to all the other Macs (which should not take very long) _especially_ the iMac, we are going to have a very powerful brand image.

    I don’t think all the Macs are going to become _that_ thin, far from that, but it looks like a huge amount of research has gone into this machine and this is definitely going to trickle down.

    Regarding the machine itself, it looks like a lot of mobile Mac power users have been stuck with the 12″ PB and it seems this machine is exactly what they are looking for. It currently has the smallest footprint of all the portable Macs, and it is _much_ more powerful that the old 12″.

    Besides, when one considers the “design” tax on the Black MB, it is hard to ignore the fact that Apple is also targeting the whole student market where cool is worth much more that the few $100 necessary to buy it…

    I have no doubt this machine will be a huge hit…

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