All right. I guess everyone has seen the new MacBook Air when Mr. Stevie pulled it out from the brown paper bag. Wow, it is thin! According to the Apple website,
MacBook Air is ultrathin, ultraportable, and ultra unlike anything else. But you don’t lose inches and pounds overnight. It’s the result of rethinking conventions. Of multiple wireless innovations. And of breakthrough design. With MacBook Air, mobile computng suddenly has a new standard.
Thanks for reminding me that I can’t lose inches and pounds overnight — gotta get back to my exercise plan. However, being “ultraportable” is exactly what Apple is trying to sell MacBook Air at. On the scale it weights 1.36kg, which is almost a whole kilo lighter than its fat brethren MacBook the unportable (2.27kg). At 0.4-1.94cm thin, you will have to buy those notebook bags with 5cm of padding so you won’t accidentally snap it in half when you throw it around.
Its CPU is a tad slower than MacBook at 1.6/1.8GHz. There is no optical drive included, i.e. at cost extra. The hard disk is either a small’ish 1.8″ 80GB or 64GB solid state drive (as an AUD$1,409 upgrade!), battery is not self-serviceable, and RAM is soldered on… It is the price you have to pay when it is designed for the niche market of ultraportable, where rivals like Sony Vaio and Toshiba Portege were used to charge their customers at a premium.
Will I buy one? No way. Starting at AUD$2,499 it is almost a whole big one more expensive than equally equipped MacBook. I know I am getting old but 1 extra kilogram is not a biggie to me. Apple knows how to design a beautiful package, preaching a message not why people will need one, but why you would want one. Being a cold hearted pragmatic, unfortunately Stevie’s distortion field has pretty weak effect on me. That’s probably why I still have not had an iPod.
But let me tell you what other ultraportable notebook has taken my fancy — Asus Eee PC. It is small. It is light. It sold like a hotcake — because it is cheap. You can buy a brand new one from OfficeWorks for $488, or less if you shop hard on eBay. It weights only 0.92kg so you probably won’t even feel it when you throw one into your bag.
Obviously there are some issues, and the Asus’ $488 Eee PC is probably not a good comparison with Apple’s $2,499 MacBook Air.
- 900MHz Celeron underclocked to 667MHz. Don’t expect a speed demon here.
- 4GB SSD is probably not even enough for your photo collection.
- 7″ LCD at an awkward resolution of 800×480 is not good even watching DVDs.
- 21-35mm thickness. Yes it is thick.
- It runs Linux.
- You need to be a midget to type on it.
But at less than $500, it has everything a person need to get work done, i.e. press Ctrl-Alt-T to bring up an Xterm — what else do you need to get work done? :) It has Wifi to access Internet, has a ethernet adapter (which MacBook Air lacks), has a card reader, runs OpenOffice.org, runs Firefox, etc. With the current climate, maybe an Eee PC would be a more prudent decision for ultraportable?
Which ultraportable would you get? Air or Eee?