Cult of Mac Writers React To The New MacBook Air

Cult of Mac Writers React To The New MacBook Air

Buster Heine: The new MacBook Air has a nice wafting odor of sex coming from the design (except for the metal bezel), but the specs and pricing are a bit disappointing for me. I’m not a rich businessman on the go, so I don’t think I’m in the target demographic of the new MBAs.

From a practical standpoint, the 13-inch is irrelevant. I’m really attracted to that beautiful 11.6 inch unit with a $999 price point, but there’s no point in replacing my 13’ Macbook Pro for an underpowered machine that is a few pounds lighter.

The new Macbook Airs confuse me. They seem designed to be a secondary computer, but if I already have an iPad + keyboard, an iPhone, and a MacBook Pro, there’s no point in buying it because it can’t handle everything a MacBook Pro can, and it’s too expensive to be an amateur’s computer. If Apple can bring down the price on the new units I might be tempted, but for now I’ll be resisting the urge to buy the new Apple gear, no matter how sexy it looks.

Leander Kahney: I don’t think it looks to bad for someone who does my kind of work — websurfing, email and light image editing. For me, a big screen and portability are the most important factors.

The big shortcoming is the lack of RAM. Even 4GB of RAM — a $100 option — might be too little for users who work with a lot of apps open at once.

Eli Milchman: Will I buy one? Heck no. The MacBook Air suffers from the same problem it always has — its niche is too narrow. It’s not cheap enough to be affordable as a second computer, like say, an iPad, and yet isn’t powerful enough to replace a desktop, like the MacBook or MBP can. It’s like an awkward middle sibling; a two-seater sports car that’s fun, but not really a daily driver, and out of the reach of most of us who can only afford one major machine.

John Brownlee: When we first started hearing the rumblings of a new MacBook Air, boasting a belly mostly stuffed with battery and an 11.6-inch display, I finally thought we get an Apple netbook. Sure, Apple wouldn’t call it that, since Steve Jobs has famously railed against them — he even called the iPad a “netbook killer” — and sure, it would have the standard Apple premium attached. That wouldn’t matter, though, because it would be what I wanted: an 11.6-inch MacBook with all-day battery life, the perfect production machine for an on-the-go blogger who wants to keep a minimal footprint in his gadget satchel.

Color me disappointed, then. The benchmarks will ultimately tell all, but at first blush, the new MacBook Air seems essentially to be the same machine as the old one: a woefully underpowered luxury laptop born more out of Cupertino’s fetishistic obsession with thinness than any real world utility.

Sure, moving to SSD is going to see some nice performance gains — SSDs are dollar for dollar the best upgrade you can make on a machine — but that 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor is just anemic, and 5 hours of wireless battery life is less than even the crappiest $300 netbook.

The 13.3-incher is more palatable, but it still boasts a pathetic processor and an even more pathetic 2GB of RAM without spending another $100 bucks… paltrier performance at a higher price than even the entry-level MacBook.

The thing that kills me is it’s easy to see how the MacBook Air could have been Apple’s netbook-to-end-all-netbooks if they’d increased the thickness of the case by just a dozen millimeters or two.They wouldn’t have had to underclock the processor as much, because they would have been able to fit in more battery. Heck, maybe they could have even crammed in more RAM at the same price.

Like the last Air, though, this is a machine hobbled by its own thinness… and if you aren’t ready to ejaculate your central nervous system over a paper-thin laptop, those sacrifices are hard to swallow.

David Martin: I’m disappointed in the new Macbook Air because I’m not interested in a computer that Apple thinks encompasses the future — when it doesn’t really. I sold my first Macbook Air because it was under whelming for the following reasons: slow CPU, less than 4GB base RAM, hardly any disk storage space, and lack of ports. The new Macbook Air encompasses the notebook size I’d like to see, but the insides certainly don’t. If this is Apple’s idea of the future — no thanks!  I’ll stick to my Macbook Pro 13’ , iPhone 4 and iPad for my mobile computing needs.

Giles Turnbull: It looks like a beautiful product but I don’t think I’ll be buying one. If I want a lightweight portable computer, I’ll buy an iPad, which offers better battery life and is far, far cheaper. Even if I splash out on a wireless keyboard to go with it.

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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