Macbook Air – initial reaction

Well, the speculation was true. Apple have today announced the MacBook Air.

I must admit it looks like an exercise in packaging, as with all Apple products. One thing to point out is that the ‘real’ images on the Apple site look loads better than the camera phone shots on the streaming news feeds from the actual Keynote address.

Things I like about it. Well, the size for a start. I use a 15″ MacBook Pro at work and having one at home seems like overkill for my domestic Flickr, iPhoto, iTunes and Safari activities. Especially as pretty much all of my home mac use is literally laptop-based. The ability to connect to another machine’s optical drive will save £65 by not having to purchase the separate drive. Let’s face it, I rarely insert CDs or DVDs into my machine at home, preferring a portable hard drive for storage and for the rare occasions when I install software, doing it wirelessly will be fine. The development of the track pad to include more sophisticated gestures akin to the iPhone and iPod Touch is a nice development.

What I’m not so sure about, however, is the price point. The entry level model seems to sit awkwardly, hovering £100 below the base MacBook Pro which is faster, can drive a bigger external display, has a larger hard drive, upgradeable memory, removable battery etc etc. The 1.8 GHz model is £229 more expensive than a 17″ MacBook Pro! Looking at the options, that solid state memory is over 600 quid! I know producing something on that size is expensive but this might end up being a repeat of the days when users were confused as to whether to get a 14″ G4 iBook or a 12″ G4 PowerBook. Didn’t take long for Apple to kill the 12″ pro-level machine.

I don’t know, what I’m pretty sure of though is that this will suck loads of mac fans in and probably points to the future of their laptop development in the omission of the optical drive and a reliance on faster wireless networks for reading and writing files. Remember what people said with the first iMac omitting the floppy drive? And look where we are now!

Suffice to say, mine’s on pre-order! The base-spec one if you were wondering.

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