Macworld Shocker — Is There a MacBook Air Backlash Brewing?

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It looks like there’s a mini backlash brewing against the beautiful but pricey MacBook Air — online at least.

Over at MacRumors, a “first impressions” gallery of the new sub-notebook is drawing far more negative reader comments than positive ones.

Yes, Mac fans like the Air’s thin profile, but there’s a lot of bitching about its limitations — the price, soldered ram, non-replaceable battery, and paying extra for an ethernet port or DVD drive.

“It’s an expensive, disposable toy,” says one MacRumors reader.

57 responses to “Macworld Shocker — Is There a MacBook Air Backlash Brewing?”

  1. Trev says:

    It’s an appliance, just like Steve always wanted the computer to be. Think of it as the Mac counterpart to the iPod.

  2. joe the mac says:

    This is laptop for girls !!!!!!!

  3. bence says:

    Its a kind of cabrio car. Ideal 2nd computer.

  4. Andrew DK says:

    It’s another option for people who want to buy a mac laptop; for people who don’t think they need more than 2g RAM, ethernet port, etc.

    People like me. I haven’t changed a damn thing about my iMac G5 since I got it and I’m perfectly happy with that.

    The people who feel the need to constantly take apart their computers can buy a MBP; it’s not like they’re being discontinued. Damn, lighten up folks.

  5. Daniel says:

    When the iPod was introduced, MacRumors members didn’t like it either…

    http://forums.macrumors.com/sh

    Bitching and moaning is the official sport of rumor watchers. It has nothing to do with how well a product will actually be received by the public.

  6. Mac Newb says:

    Ditto, Church. I can see this appealing to a lot of new Mac switchers and recent iPodders from this past Xmas.

  7. Fonts says:

    I just do not understand this “cannot change the battery” philosophy? It seems to me to be a “revenue generating” tactic. And the Ethernet is an absolute for me…and WiFi is not always an option when traveling…and if I have the choice such as at home, work or even visiting others…I would prefere the Ethernet for performance.

  8. Fonts says:

    one more note…if the keyboard is essentially the same as the Apple wired desktop Apple bluetooth…I would pass as I find them very hard to use for fast typing. Love the look – but after 2-weeks had to give up on it.

  9. TheJ says:

    Dispite the short comings, this is THE laptop for moble business people. They WON’T be ripping apart their laptops to do upgrades and will get a new laptop in 2 or 3 years anyway. That’s just how it is.

  10. Gideon says:

    I’m not surprised by the price, but it is a bit steep given the limitations.

    Still, I think a lot of the choices (one usb port, for instance) speak to the reality of how people actually use laptops most the time.

    I’m not going to rush out and buy one, but if my Macbook died tomorrow tht’s probably what I’d replace it with. My MacBook surfs the web, takes notes, emails and occasionally writes a paper. Everything else gets done on my iMac.

    I’m just dissapointed they didn’t manage to launch a Mac tablet.

  11. FantaSigns says:

    The “Air” pricing is another mea culpa Steve is going to have to swallow. They are trying to get an extra $1000 from people who are willing to be the first. From what I can see it is probably an $800 computer. I would have bought one at that price. The MacBook for me at $700 less is a better buy.

  12. C Rolls says:

    I am sort of surprised by the price, but ultra-portable PCs are still expensive (and not nearly as cool). So yeah, if you are concerned about the price, remember, Apple is sure to cut off $100-200 in the next few months.

  13. Ras says:

    hmph… “backlash”? Oh, please. There may be a lot of people out there who have dreamed of different kinds of boxes, and the MacBook Air wasn’t it. But I’ll take a real, engineered, product over “dreams”. This is a great tech achievement, no doubt about it. Its not perfect, but engineering is the art of choices to make the possible not the perfect. It will handily replace my limping along 12″ PB (bought the same week *it* was released). Would I like “more”? Sure, but it’s got all I need. Is $1799 too much? Nope, not when its a choice for paying a little more to save my aching back. If you’re disappointed, well then, don’t buy it. Its not as if Apple didn’t offer you a lot of different options for portable computing.
    I’m a little disappointed that Cult of Mac can’t make a better editorial choice in giving bandwidth to such feeble instant analysis. But, YMMV….

  14. Greg says:

    I think the price is a big issue. I agree with everyone above- many will find it perfect for their needs. This is great for school teachers, who need something light (and seldom use a DVD drive). BUT, price price price. I wouldn’t pay that much.

  15. DavidDennis says:

    I think this machine is likely to be even more striking in person than it is in pictures, and those who just see the pictures are going to be blown away by it in the flesh.

    I don’t know if it’s more durable than the Macbooks, but it was certainly made with more craftsmanship and precision, and that costs the big bucks. So I don’t think it’s particularly expensive for what it is; in fact, I think the price is quite reasonable. If my memory serves, people paid about that for the 12″ PowerBook when it was initially introduced, and this looks like a much more complex feat of engineering.

    I think of it as the ideal machine for writers and other folks who don’t need huge computer power while out on the road. I could see myself owning one if I also had a Mac Pro for the times when I needed huge computer power.

    For my personal use, a MacBook Pro is going to be a lot better. But I predict it’s a home run for the niche. It’s certainly a lot more attractive than its rivals, based on the thin notebooks pointed out by C|Net as closest competition.

    D

  16. jsk says:

    Cube, 2.0

  17. killer101 says:

    I have to say that all in all it’s what I’d expect for ultra portable laptop.
    I travel 95% of the time all over the U.S. I need the power of a good laptop
    for running Adobe CS3, Microsoft Office, Warcraft for the slow nights at
    the hotel, creating ICC profiles ect.

    I go the Macbook Pro for the speed and for Bootcamp. Now I can carry just
    one laptop. But truly the weight is a big factor for me. Now with this laptop
    if it can do all that is was doing on the Macbook Pro I’ll be happy and impressed.
    As for one USB port…. Get a USB hub. I run two 4 port hubs on my Macbook now
    because two wasn’t enough. And as long as I can make an external HD work on
    a USB hub or even wireless then the 80gb PATA would be fine.

    I can’t see paying so much for the Solid State drive though. That’s just too much for me.
    I’ll just use External 2.5 inch drives.

    I’ll have to check it out once it shows up at an Apple store or local Apple VAR.
    But I can say that i’ve never been upset with any Apple product I’ve purchased
    through all the years. So I can’t see how this will be any different. The thing to
    remember is that this new laptop isn’t for everyone. The CEO, Salsperson, Road Warrior,
    House Mom, Mother In-law (Father In-Law) will find the ease of use of this machine
    and size something that will work for them. For me I use wireless almost 98% of the time.
    I only use a network port because a Hotel hasn’t moved to wireless yet. Otherwise
    everywhere I go I can do wireless.

    So for me… price is the main concern only. But in the niche it’s in I think it will do
    just fine. And truly I’ve never had to worry about upgrading my HD in my iPod.
    So I truly don’t care about the Battery or Harddrive. Ram is one issue but for what
    this comes with it will work for most people just fine.

  18. Destroyer says:

    $200 dolars more gives me a macbook pro.

  19. Faust says:

    The Macbook Air needs refining, that’s all. I don’t like how it is now, and besides, wtf is Apple thinking? Charging for an ethernet port and external DVD drive? It should be included with the Macbook Air for no extra charge. <_<

    Let’s hope Apple fixes this.

  20. Gregg Oden says:

    “$200 dollars more gives me a macbook pro.” Yes, a great machine. I recommend that you buy one. I’ve got one and it’s the ideal ‘sit in your easy chair and do serious computing’ machine. I wouldn’t trade it for this new machine. But it breaks my back lugging it around campus where I teach. I need a machine that supports the full OS (runs Keynote, Acrobat, Safari), has VGA to connect to the video projectors in the classrooms, and is otherwise as light as possible. Until they design a MBP that has a detachable base section that let’s me drop off and leave at home 2.5 lbs worth of stuff I can get along without during the day, then the only solution available is this paired with my current laptop. Which means, that until now, there’s been no solution. So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a big win.

  21. Steve says:

    It’s too wide. Plus, it’d be cheaper to get a SSD SATA for my current MacBook, and reap the benefits of 5+ hours of battery.

    I was hoping for a new 12″ one. I miss the 12″ PowerBook. I also miss my G3 PowerBook Pismo.

  22. Dann says:

    I’m not a as well. I thought the whole keynote was full of products taht weren’t up to par with the rest of the Apple lineup. And what was with the whole “going green” spiel at the end along with the song hating on the Bush Administration. Views on politics were unwanted. Shoddyness all around.

    More detailed thoughts here.

    http://coreminimalist.blogspot

  23. Martijn says:

    The negative comments are from spotty nerdy boys, who think you need a cooled videocard to write a Word document. For people who are actually most of the time on the road and who need computing power while travelling, this is bliss.

  24. Si says:

    Agree with Martijn, above.

    Business professional road-warriors who are constantly on the move and who just need MS Office, a web-browser and email for the most part will lap – no pun intended – this up.

    They simply don’t need nerd power toys, they want a stylish expensive looking computer that befits their status and will jump at the chance for a package that sheds so much weight and size. Plus they pretty much live in environments where wi-fi and power sockets are ‘on-tap’ so it’s just not an issue for them.

    For all those that don’t ‘get it’ – it’s just not made for you. Sorry.

  25. Si says:

    Agree with Martijn, above.

    Business professional road-warriors who are constantly on the move and who just need MS Office, a web-browser and email for the most part will lap – no pun intended – this up.

    They simply don’t need nerd power toys, they want a stylish expensive looking computer that befits their status and will jump at the chance for a package that sheds so much weight and size. Plus they pretty much live in environments where wi-fi and power sockets are ‘on-tap’ so it’s just not an issue for them.

    For all those that don’t ‘get it’ – it’s just not made for you. Sorry.

  26. DaveA says:

    Not a single, reasoned comment about the increased reliability of soldered RAM and battery connections!

    Increased integration like this is a direct result of the need to remove rails and connectors in order to meet the thinner spec. People need to understand that this is a step forward, not backward. Give up the old thinking! You don’t need a door and connector for RAM if its got enough onboard.

    Geeze, I’m surprised people aren’t also grumping about the lack of access to the graphics card so they can change that out, too! Get a clue–no connectors there either. Less mechanical connectors = increased reliability. Ask any engineer worth his salt. So how much is a more-reliable system that takes a pounding worth to you!?

  27. newave says:

    Its the G4 Cube of laptops…

  28. Steve says:

    I purchased a Cube. I will purchase an Air.

    How do I use my MacBook?

    Well, I use 1 USB, I don’t use the firewire, Apart from initial software loading (rare as I tend to download) and CD ripping I don’t use the Combo drive. I connect wirelessly so never use the Ethernet socket. Come to think of it I don’t even use the iSight camera or the microphone. I never use the mini-DV out either.

    I also value form over performance although I cannot see a compromise in the Air.

    I think I am the perfect Air customer.

    Perhaps there will be an iPod Air that just has a charging socket with syncing via wireless.

  29. Bob Lunn says:

    I don’t understand the Air Mac, and its positioning in-between the low and high end MacBooks. The design is elegant, and should appeal to image conscious people with money. If it had an optical drive and the solid state memory “disk” with accompanying high battery life (no power drain from spinning disk drives), I would expect it to be positioned above the MacBook Pro in terms of pricing.

    Without the optical drive, the hassle factor is higher, and without the solid state “disk”, it seems destined to cannibalize sales from both ends of the MacBook lineup.