back to article Apple ships Air

Apple has begun shipping its skinny MacBook Air laptop, a product that's managed to generate more controversy than even the iPhone has. Apple MacBook Air Apple's MacBook Air: slim... The notebook is between 4mm and 19mm thick. It has a length of 32cm, a width of 22.7cm and weighs in at just 1.36kg. It has an LED-backlit 13 …


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  1. Pete Slater


    It's the most useless computer I ever did see and there have been plenty of them in the past, lets be honest.

  2. Dave White
    Jobs Horns

    Best thing about this review

    "The other irritation most writers site - well, apart from the whole Apple hyperbole thing..."

    Never was a truer word said. Why is it that when Steve Jobs says anything that most of the press treat it like Holy Writ?

  3. James

    Someone at Apple can't do the maths !!

    "The 1.6GHz, 80GB Air costs £1199 in the UK and $1799 in the US. The 1.8GHz, 64GB SSD model costs £2028/$3098."

    Today exchange rate = 1.99

    $1799 / 1.99 = £905 (Difference = £295)

    $ 3098 / 1.99 = £1557 ( Difference = £471)

    Even allowing for the slight vagaries of the exchange rate this seems like a VERY HIGH UK premium! And yes, my company does (and has been) importing stuff from the US for over 20 years. We couldn't justify this type of mark-up and there is NO REASON for this from an organisation the size of Apple - oh apart from Greed, of course. DON'T LET APPLE GET AWAY WITH THIS. They're just treating UK customers with complete contempt!

  4. Stu Wilson
    Jobs Halo

    all tingly

    unquestionably a gorgeous piece of kit, but give it at least to 2nd gen before it really matures.

    one idea thats been bandied about vis-a-vis the battery life is to have a different type of power supply, one that contains a battery that can be charged up to supply the Air on long haul for those that need more than the 5 hours given by the internal battery.

  5. Paul

    Multiple batteries

    If you want to use multiple batteries, why not have an external pack that plugs into the power port. It would only weigh slightly more than a replacement battery (for the cable and enclosure), and would mean that you could continue working without having to turn the machine off.

    I can see third parties providing these pretty soon. They have been around for MP3 players and phones for years.

    As for replacements, it seems pretty easy to change, it won't take long before all those companies that replace your iPod battery start offering an Air service as well.

    As far as ports go, how many people, who can afford an Air, cannot afford a BT mouse? If you *really* need more ports, you can get a USB hub. The size and weight of 4-port USB hug pales into nothing compared to whatever device you a trying to plug into it, and cost bugger all.

    Seems like a lot of whinging about nothing really. If you don't like it, don't buy it. I won't be, far too expensive, I'll be getting an Eee once they have bigger screens (fingers crossed for 9-inch). But I know people for whom the Air would be ideal, small and lightweight, but with a big enough screen and keyboard to work for extended periods (it's the same size as the MacBook, just thinner).

    (A smile, cos everyone needs to chill a bit)

  6. Nick Fisher
    Thumb Up


    Lovely little device - have three on order for the lab here. Perfect as 2nd machines and mobile presentation/modelling/data-logging systems.

    I fail to understand why people are getting so steamed about the lack of an RJ45 connector. What's the problem, worried about naughty wireless h4c|<z0rz?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    But are they...

    ...sending them out in envelopes?

    P.S.> Congratulatiod you are the one millionth Reg reader to make this joke! Have a sandbag.

  8. Chris

    WalMart have been selling these for weeks

    WalMart have been selling these for weeks.

  9. James Pickett
    Jobs Horns


    One Air or six EeePC's? Looks a tad overpriced to me, but then it is from the Kings of charging what the market will bear...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Love the title

    Maybe it should read "Apple Ships Thin Air" when it's thickness (thinness?) is so hyped everywhere...

  11. Simon Oxlade

    @ Paul

    Re: attaching external batteries - I think you'll find the power connector is one of Apple's beloved magnetic power couplers, so attaching an external batterypack will just result with the weight of the batteries disconnecting the pack.

    I have a 7" Eee which is a borderline pocketmoney price and does everything I want out of a lappy except connect to my mobe out of the box. Apple have made some real dogs in their time, this appears to be another one...

    The Icon? Well, for the gratuitous mentions of 'lappy' and 'mobe' of course...

  12. jai
    Jobs Halo

    re: But are they...

    you can get a manilia envelop to protect your shiny new macbook air from bumps and scratches if you like:

    i'm tempted, but i think i'll wait for to bring out their sleevz design for the air instead.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >The machine comes with software that allows any Mac running OS X 10.4.10 or above, or a PC with Windows XP or Vista, to 'lend' the Air is optical drive over the airwaves for software installation - but not media playback, it seems.

    The machine comes with software that lets you map a shared network drive?? and not very well if you can't play back media. I haven't used macos before, but i would expect this sort of functionality to be fairly standard?

  14. Stephen Gazard

    re: someone at apple can't do the maths

    VAT at 17.5% puts it to 1099 for teh cheaper model. US prices are always exclusive of the VAT as sales tax varies, and is not always applicable depending on the state where the goods are sold and then shipped to.

    It's not so bad, but there are also going to be shipping costs etc. added on for getting from the US to here...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Pete Slater - calm down, son.

    See, that's the beauty of the Air. If you don't like it, you don't have to buy one.

    Astounding, but true.

  16. Anthony Hulse

    Not that I want one of these things, but...

    "$1799 / 1.99 = £905 (Difference = £295)"

    "$ 3098 / 1.99 = £1557 ( Difference = £471)"

    Always remember on these comparisons that sales tax is added to the advertised price in the US, unlike in the UK where it is normally included. Exclusive of VAT, the UK prices are £1024.43 & £1725.96. (Difference = £119.43 or £168.96)) is therefore more accurate.

    Still not great mind, but you can't blame a company for the money the Chancellor takes.

  17. Mark
    Thumb Down


    Shame it's running apples crap OS! What is all the fuss with Apple computers anyway? Just cos they make them slightly smaller to other computer makers they think they can charge you double the price for the hardware.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would you hate a computer?

    I mean really, you have to be pretty f**king sad to hate something you've never used. Have no interest in it, don't care for it, sure, but hate it? That's nuts.

  19. Oliver Smith


    The US price doesn't include any sales tax, the UK price includes VAT.

    That takes up the majority of the price difference between the two, and I suspect other import duties and associated rip-off Britain costs are responsible for the rest of the price differences.

  20. jai

    re: @ Paul

    but presumably you aren't standing in the middle of a field typing on the laptop with one hand whilst holding it in mid-air with the other

    so you can rest the battery pack on the desk next to the laptop

    OR if you are in the middle of a field, kneel down or put out a blanket or something and rest the battery pack on your knees, the blanket, or even in a pocket, cos not only will you look a nonce holding it up with one hand the whole time, but you'll probably get cramp in your arm also

  21. David S

    Apples never hang, right?

    I only ask because sometimes my Windows laptop gets all introspective and sullen and the only way to cheer it up is to remove its battery 'cos even the power switch isn't responding. I hope this is purely a Windows thing, though, 'cos if one of these new-fangled air jobbies gets the same kind of blues it's going to be a choice between whipping out a screwdriver or waiting for the batteries to run out...

    I dunno. The things laptop designers will do for a sleek line...

  22. Sean Purdy

    Battery life problem?

    Easy - just buy two!

  23. Stu Wilson

    re: @paul

    >> attaching external batteries - I think you'll find the power connector is one of Apple's beloved magnetic power couplers, so attaching an external batterypack will just result with the weight of the batteries disconnecting the pack.

    OMG'z you mean the actual PSU will pull out just the same? why has no one seen this, the magsafe adaptor will pull out!

    for crying out loud, the battery will have enough of a lead to fit where you want to put it, without the weight of the pack causing the magsafe adaptor to disconnect. frigtard.

  24. Dan_Hibiki

    Think different - get assimilated

    The end result of the Air is going to be hundreds of Apple junkies carrying around bundles of USB adapters and battery packs.

    People make fun of Microsoft for being Borg like but ultimately Apple is the one that will turn you in to a wire bound cyborg ... although on the plus side you will be whiter and prettier then the other borgs.

    Also your cube will have beveled edges.

  25. jordan02

    umm yeah.....

    So im sitting at my condo, theres over 18 wireless networks, some even using N band, so many netowks it interferes with my wireless....okay so I buy a an overpriced adapter over and above the 2g's I allready spent on the system so I can get an ethernet port, then want to listen to Cd's or install stuff from discs, oh oh! , gotta buy a separate USB optical drive! more $$ , OH NO! but my adapter for the ethernet port is taking up the ONLY usb port so I cant hook up my optical drive at the same time.....time to go buy another adapter, the USB port adapter, more $, so I plug my USB port adapter into my only usb slot, then plug both my usb optical drive and ethernet adapter into the USB port adapter, now I carry around a bag full of adapters, how convient! using all these adapters has worn the battery down sooner than anticipated and I need a replacment....oh oh, I gotta send my notbook in for days maby even weeks to have the battery replaced?!? Man I love my apple its so freaking trendy though, never buying pc again!

  26. Steve Ives

    Someone at the Reg forums can't do the maths !!

    Price differnce is about £115 once tax/VAT is factored in.

    US/UK price differences are annoying, and the reasons companies give (mainly TAX) do not explain the difference. However, the other reason often quote - the 'cost of doing business in the UK - does have some truth.

    All companies charge more in the UK, not just Apple, and they do pay more for doing business here - more petrol for transportatiosn, office supplies, rent etc etc.

    In this case, the £115 price difference would not be enough to justify buying a US model over an above a UK model.

  27. Tim Strutt Silver badge

    Just a thought

    Weren't Apple the first to stop putting a floppy drive in their kit?

    I remember the cries of "Nobody will buy it - It doesn't even have a floppy!" It took about 5 years, but now, nobody ships stuff with a 3-and-a-half inch drive - Must save a couple of quid.

    I won't mention Paris and small hard and floppy drives. Mine is the sun-hat with "Australia" written on it.

  28. Paul
    Thumb Up


    As I said in my post, I'm probably getting an Eee; like you, it does everything I need out of a small laptop, especially for when I'm on call.

    But like I said, some people need more power/full-size keyboard/large screen, than the Eee can deliver, and are prepared to pay the money for it.

    Different strokes for different folks. You may not see a need for the Air, but that doesn't mean other people don't. For you and I the Eee's low price and small size more than makes up for the small screen, keyboard, slow processor, and limited memory/hd, because those things arn't an issue for us. I suspect that the Air will appeal to those who want an (almost) full power laptop, but also want something lightweight that they can carry around. such is the wonders of the free market.

    So, the Air isn't for me, or you, but I don't think it's a lemon, just something of a niche product.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Apples never hang? Right.

    No need to yank the battery out. Just hold down the power button for five seconds should you need to reset the machine.

    So David S, yeah, it is just a Windows thing.

  30. Steven Hunter

    NO 3rd party MagSafe

    What everyone seems to forget about the MagSafe connectors is that Apple has a patent on it. And as of right now, they're not licensing it out. So no 3rd party MagSafe battery packs or air/auto adapters will be produced until that patent expires or Apple allows 3rd party companies to do so.

  31. Paul


    Err, how often do you use your laptop onehanded in the middle of a field?

    Just curious...

    If you do that on a regular basis (maybe you are a surveyor, archiologist, or farmer) then feel free to buy a different laptop, but trust me, you are definitly in the minority when it comes to your laptop requirements. I don't think Apple will be losing much sleep over the all important cow worrying laptop user market segment.

    @Anonymous - Bang on, why do people get so upset when someone (especially Apple) release a product that they don't like? Just don't buy it and get on with your life. That's the marvel of the market economy. People don't get so upset when car manufacturers do that, what's so different about computers and mobiles? There are lots of companies making things that I don't want.

    @Jordan - The Air appears to be targeted at people who already have another primary machine so can use the remote drive access function. This is actually built into the firmware, allowing you to boot off a network drive (i.e. to re-install if you need to).

    So you've spent $1,800 on a laptop, and you can't afford a $29 ethernet adapter and a $10 usb hub? Right...

    May I sugest that you don't buy the Air (just like me :o), and buy something else instead? Just thought I'd suggest it, since you seem to be under the impression that someone is forcing you to buy it. If that isn't the case I'm at a loss as to why you are so upset about someone making something that you don't like, when there are plenty of people making laptops which have DVD drives, ethernet and USB ports which you could buy instead.

    It's a radical idea, but you never know this market capitalism thing might catch on one of these days...

  32. Chris J

    Re: Why would you hate a computer?

    I agree - the amount of hatred this computer seems to have drummed up is crazy. It's also a bit suprising that people are talking as if this is revolutionary product.

    It seems to me that the concept (thin, light, easy to carry around) and the implementation (no optical drive) is very similar to the Toshiba Portege 2000. If you're familiar with other Portege models, search for this one - it was significantly thinner and smaller than even other models in that series (except the Portege 2010, which was identical in form factor).

    I owned that computer around 2001 - 2006. Like the Air, it was less powerful than its contemporaries and, as it got older, it struggled to keep up with newer applications designed for faster machines.

    But it was perfect for carrying around and using in the places you're likely to need a laptop (at clients', in coffee shops, on the sofa etc). I was a student and a freelance developer at the time; the Portege was powerful enough to run Word and my IDE of choice (can't remember what it was, mind). Perfect.

    I understand why people get irritated with Apple but there are plenty of alternatives. If you don't want the Air but fancy a small laptop you have plenty of options from Toshiba, Sony, Samsung etc. Likewise if you want screaming performance you probably need a desktop (or at least a "desktop replacement" laptop). Personally I think OS X is an excellent operating system (Unix + usability = perfect) and am happy to pay a slight premium for the hardware to gain access to that, not to mention the creative software and ease of use it offers.

    I don't need one right now, but the Air will sell in crate-loads to its presumed target audience of designers and media executives! The Air isn't an innovation or a revelation; it's just a skinny computer.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on... have to admit the manilla envelope thing was a stroke of genius. And now, if I were going to introduce some kind of monster 22" laptop, I'd have an enormous manilla envelope made...

    And as some others have said - those getting viscerally angry at this product probably need to do some self-reassessment vis. their contempt for those who *love* apple products.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    You guys are idiots, this computer isn't for the average reg reader just like colored iMacs weren't

    Hey all, remember when Apple came out with multi colored iMac computers?

    Us tech heads said that was lame, the computers were underpowered, and making them different colors was just lame and they should've included more tech.

    Guess what? They sold like crazy and turned Apple's fortunes around.

    So while I agree this laptop is the opposite of what I want or need (I need ports, a 3D card, 1920x1200 resolution and I don't care how big or heavy my laptop is) I'm not going to make the same mistake I made when I thought the introduction of a cherry and lime colored computers were lame. I'm going to wait and see if non-power users gobble these up like they did candy colored iMacs and MacBooks.

    It's hard not to feel the missing ethernet and a couple extra USB ports isn't a mistake, but I've also never bought an iMac and they seem to sell well.

  35. Michael Jolly
    Jobs Halo

    I like it....

    ...But there are always buts i will stick with my Blackbook for the time its a bit two expensive at this time maybe in a few years,

  36. Morely Dotes

    It's only fair

    Apple sells air. Intel has been selling sand for decades.

    Mine's the International Orange anorak, thanks.

  37. Ryan Stewart

    foremost a wireless machine but....

    no WWAN option. Those have existed in Dell, Sony and Lenovo ultraportables for some time. I love my cellular broadband.

    Also @paul:

    There is one big side effect of running an external battery pack. Intels CPUs allow the processor to be throttled down when on battery to save juice. If you plug something into the power port it thinks its on the mains and runs at full bore. That would mean it would kill your extra pack more quickly.

  38. Christopher Cowan
    Thumb Up

    Ideal for people travelling

    I have a Sony Z600 which I got in 2002 which has no internal floppy or CD drive, the fuss people made about no internal floppy drive then! It has a battery that lasted 1.5 hours unless you bought the long life version that was a ton weight. Had a 12" screen, which dimmed when running on battery power and was hard to see in sunlight and a non quite full size keyboard, which the letters rubbed off after 14 months. For someone who was in airports and hotels twice a month it was so much better than some Dell luggable. You soon start to feel those extra couple of pounds being hauled around airport lounges so anything that lightens the load is welcome.

    I sometimes brought the external CD drive and usually put it in the hold luggage, most times left it in the office. Used the ethernet about twice a year.

    The MacBook Air would be ideal for me, a full sized keyboard, 13" screen which is really bright, 5 hour battery life and a light latop. I don't care the DVD drive is external, or that there is a dongle for ethernet, I'll just use Wi-F in the hotel for the Internet. I like the multi-touch trackpad. You can dual boot Windows and OS X which is nice option too. It is horses for courses, this is a niche product for a small market segment.

  39. J


    "It's not so bad, but there are also going to be shipping costs etc. added on for getting from the US to here..."

    Maybe you mean "from China to here" ?

  40. Adrian Esdaile

    @ Someone at Apple can't do the maths !!

    "The 1.6GHz, 80GB Air costs £1199 in the UK and $1799 in the US. The 1.8GHz, 64GB SSD model costs £2028/$3098."

    "They're just treating UK customers with complete contempt!"

    No, they are only treating UK customers with MILD contempt.

    Apple save COMPLETE contempt for those of us unlucky enough to chose to live in that forsaken hole of vapid nothingness called 'Australia'.

    Seeing as the $AU is worth about US$0.89 and climbing as economies implode, I can shell out a whopping $2500 / $4338 (WTF!? "We could buy our own ship for that!") for the Mac Air.

    That translates to an exchange rate of 71c! They're only out by about 20c! Sure, factor in our GST which equates to around 9c, they're still gouging us by about 11c in the dollar.

    They should be cheaper here - we're closer to China which is where they are made!

  41. Cody
    Thumb Down

    Bang and Olafson

    Or Luis Vuitton maybe. Nothing to do with computing, nothing to do with innovation. All about taking off the shelf components, compressing them into so small a case they overheat, reducing the power, reducing the features, raising the price.

    And proclaiming how cool you are.

    Its not the product one hates, its the company.

  42. Dana W
    Thumb Down

    No. Just no.

    I like Apple, I love my Macbook Pro, I own an iPhone, my iPod is with me constantly, but I wouldn't trade my year old Pro for this.

    If it was GIVEN to me I'd sell it and buy something else. Maybe something useful. I really feel Apple dropped the ball with this one.

    So, I can pay 75% of the price of a MacBook Pro for a slower computer with fewer features? NO optical drive? Intel Graphics? A battery I need a screwdriver to swap out? I don't care how thin it makes it, I want an optical drive! My last Laptop with no optical drive was a Dell Latitude XPI+, I have no urge to go back to 1996.

    Maybe if it had had a super small footprint like the EEEPC it would make sense, MAYBE. But no Apple, I liked you product for convenience. And eliminating 1/3 of the computer to make it skinny is not "convenient" I'm not buying.

    Apple, I wanted a SMALL laptop, not just a skinny one.

  43. Alex Tingle
    Thumb Down

    Aluminium case? No thanks!

    I'm got a 12" PowerMac, and I must say I'm very happy with it, except for the flimsy aluminium shell.

    Even the smallest drop deforms the case. It's virtually impossible to open up (to change the hard drive, say) without crinkling. Oh, and it scratches easily.

    Next time I buy a laptop, aluminium will be a deal breaker. Carbon fibre or titanium-only for me.

  44. Ascylto

    Exchange rate

    Apple must always maintain a differential in pricing ... otherwise people like me will have less excuse for saying (smugly) things like "Well, you get what you pay for", "I prefer driving a Bentley", "What's a Virus?", "Oh, look, your phone's got buttons ... I remember them from when I was a kid."

    AND ... many Windows trolls would need to go elsewhere to post their hate and drivel.

    AND ... El Reg might get tickets to Apple jollies. (Nah, just kidding!)

  45. CrackedButter
    Thumb Up

    As usual

    People talk about the cost difference between different countries, some clever people have pointed out the tax difference but...

    Another reason for the difference and somebody else nearly said it (RE: how expensive it is here in the UK to do business) is the warranty periods differ from the US to the UK, they last longer here so for the extra £100 or so isn't THAT worth it as well?

  46. Iain Gilbert

    @Alex Tingle

    I used to have a 12" Alu PB and didn't have any of the problems you've stated with deforming case.

    Perhaps I was just lucky.

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