29 October 2010

11" macbook air = want

i visited the apple store yesterday to get some hands-on with the wee macbook air. i have very little actual need for such a machine, but damn is it excellent.

not quite enough for a main machine: there's no firewire port, so it couldn't support recording audio. and the screen may be a little too limiting to be able to run Eclipse/FlashBuilder and actually see enough of a file to code.

but aside from that, what can't it do?

- it seems fast enough for daily use for most tasks
- disk space is short, but it seems we're on the verge of a cloud-based revolution on which i could store the large music and photo libraries currently eating up a lot of space on my mbpro
- it lacks keyboard backlighting, but c'mon that's not a showstopper
- the screen, despite its small size, feels surprisingly roomy for most apps

the thing is hilariously portable. i could definitely see it as a business travel machine for me -- it could probably handle all but the largest Flex projects, I could get exchange email through the web (yuck, but still), and i could run open office if i really needed to edit Office docs. Assuming i could get a mini-display port to VGA cable for presenting, what's not to love?

Apple is pitching this as a laptop/iPad hybrid. I don't quite see that right now -- it seems all laptop and not iPad -- but Apple is dropping hints that Lion will add some iOS-ness to the device.

what I'd like to see hardware-wise, and frankly by now I thought this would be featured in all Apple laptops, is a 3G chip. I think it would make a lot of sense for this 11.6" MBA to be able to grab internet anywhere. maybe the next version?


JustJoeP said...

how much is the baseline starting price, of the one you saw there?

pyker said...

Bluetooth tethering from iphone would be nice, instead of built-in 3G.

Joe, it's a shame apple refuses to publish prices on the web, isn't it?

Ame said...

If you get it... then do I get your "old" laptop?

zim said...


zim said...

joe, it was the 128 gig one i was looking at.

zim said...

wouldn't BT be a lot slower, though? i can see why you'd want tethering, though, so you wouldn't need multiple data plans.

vendors *should* offer a single data plan for use across 3G-enabled devices for a single user. it's somewhat outrageous that they can be so obviously non-customer-focused, and get away with it. data=drug.

pyker said...

Or using iphone as a hotspot. BT is a lot slower than wifi, but is it slower than average 3G data?

Totally agreed that the plan-per-device model is customer-hating. It would be nice to see a vendor break ranks and gobble up market share with a friendly plan.

JustJoeP said...

didn't know if demand was driving higher prices on waiting list pre-orders locally.

Sorry that I asked.

zim said...

stopped by the apple store again last night. ame is tempted to trade in her < 1 year old macbook for the 11".

i did a "start up a whole bunch of apps" test and was mightily impressed. now, this was not after a reboot, so it's very possible that some of these apps had been launched previously and were still cached. e.g. Mail app was *instant*, with 64 unread messages indicated in the icon immediately.

the newest version of Office for mac was installed, and i was mightily *unimpressed* at the launch speed of Word, Excel, and PP that i launched. ages. then again, maybe those had not been launched previously, but i rather suspect it's due to bloat.

what was certainly true is that, post-launch, i could not cmd-q to quit any of the Office apps. instead, i was greeted with one of those "handy" popups asking me if i wanted to open an existing file or create a new one from a template.

a couple of the Apple apps gave me the same kind of popup, but those apps could be quit with cmd-q.

i'm not wholly familiar w/ Apple's style guidelines, but i reckon MS failed on that one.