Big Fucking Whoop
"What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?", Steve Jobs asked his "Back to the Mac" audience today, and answered his own question with the release of two new versions of the MacBook Air, available today starting at $999. The new duo includes a 13.3-inch, 2.9-pound version, the same display size as the MacBook Air …
Almost every computer manufacturer makes a distinction between netbooks and ultraportable laptops.
Due to licensing restrictions from Intel and Microsoft, "netbooks" almost invariably have Atom CPUs, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drives, 10" low res screens, etc.
The small MacBook air is clearly an ultraportable laptop and I think you will be hard pressed to find anybody calling it a netbook outside of a few uninformed haters.
compared to my Asus EeePC 901:
Single core Atom vs, C2D
Intel GMA 950 vs. Nvidia 320
1GB RAM vs 2 GB RAM
optional 2GB RAM vs. optional 4GB RAM
Slow 4GB and even slower 16GB SSD vs 64GB SSD
1024x600 vs 1336x768
300 Euros vs 1000 Euros
But they have 5h battery life in common.
I'd call that a subnotebook.
Times move on. My girlfriend's HP cost £280 vs £850 for the macbook.
1.3 GHZ C2D vs 1.4GHz C2D
250GB 7200rpm HD vs 64GB of solid state storage (of unknown performance)
Intel 4500 vs Nvidia (both do basic gaming, bluray accelerated playback)
3GB vs 2GB
optional 5GB vs optional 4GB
1366x768 vs 1366x768
£280 vs £850
Both have 5hr battery lives
I've spent £90 on a Sandforce 60GB SSD that will wipe the floor of whatever is in the air, so £370 vs £850.
The worst thing about this announcement is memories of Saint Steve slagging off the Vaio TZ two years ago ... only to release a laptop two years later based on the exact same parts and screen size (but with a lower battery life, well done). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIV6peKMj9M#t=87
that in 6 months that 5 hour battery life on the HP will be about 45 minutes tops, just like the HP laptop and the dell laptop and every other PC based laptop.
the battery in the apple on the other hand and 2 years from now will have 5 hours. Just like the staying power my macbook does (although my macbook has 3 hours, not 5)
thats the difference between cheap battery design and expensive battery design
Tell that to my 18 month old 17 inch macbook, which is showing battery health of 45% and a run time of around 1.5 hours.
Obviously, I know this is only an anecdote, but my last macbook was subject to a battery recall, so I'm a little sceptical of your statement about expensive battery design.
Just wait until the MLC flash has a chip-level error or the like. Sucks that you won't be able to replace the "drive" (or upgrade the capacity for that matter). These look like fairly nice machines for the semi-premium however. If I ever need a laptop-that-feels-like-a-clipboard, might be a consideration. Perhaps.
Hard drives are built to handle some bad sectors and SSD controllers can handle flash cell failures. It will suck if anything breaks in one of these new MacBook AIrs breaks since they are so integrated but that's the price you pay for something with these dimensions and specifications.
The batteries in Apple's latest notebooks are good for 1,000 full cycles unlike the ~300 of their predecessors and those found in most Windows machines. This is because of the sophisticated charging circuitry and the specially developed battery chemistry. After nearly a year of daily use, my cycle count is ~190 cycles. So if it was an old style battery, you would be right. I would need a new one next year but, the way its going, I reckon I'll get four years out of it easily.
In any case, you don't need to buy a new machine if the battery fails, you can get it replaced by Apple or as someone else said do it yourself. I know people who have had their older style battery replaced under AppleCare within 3 years of owning one because it didn't achieve the predicted 300 or so cycles.
I don't think Apple are worse than other manufacturers with regard to obsolescence. If anything they are better. My previous Mac lasted me over five years and several major OS upgrades. The Windows box I had five years ago wouldn't have a prayer of running Windows 7 effectively and was creaking at the seams with XP.
I mean, all those netbooks with OS X, Core 2 Duo processors, nVidia 320M graphics etc... i agree, we're so spoilt for choice it's untrue.
As for built in 3G modem... it's called tethering, Apple want people to have iPhones tethered, tariffs are usually the same as a dedicated 3G card too so makes a lot of sense if you ask me. I junked my Vodafone datacard when i could tether using my iPhone - i always have the phone with me (unlike the datacard) and the tariff is £12 a month cheaper.....
C2D processors in these things are within weeks of being 2 generations out of date, 320M graphics are nothing to write home about, HDDs & batteries can't be removed without costly and lengthy RTMs .... oh, and there's still no fecking ethernet port.
My sister has one of these. They're total and utter crap.
But a C2D may be nearly 2 generations out, but it's still significantly faster and far better at multi tasking than any Atom processor currently out there... I even forgot to mention the SSD hard drive, another hugely prevalent feature in every Netbook i've owned.
As for HDD and battery, you've clearly not used one - my Macbook lasts well over 6 hours still... it's nearly 12 months old and still lasts as well as did when brand new, no other machine i've owned as done that well.
Ethernet... wow, clutching a little now? I don't plug an ethernet cable in with the Macbook either, unless you're constantly moving massive files around a network - which would need to be Gigabit anyway - then Wireless-N 5GHz is way more than ample. Most people browse the web, download music, play films etc... for which a Wireless connection is way more than adequate. If you're in an environment when full speed of file movement across a LAN is necessary, maybe buy a different machine?
Being a fanbois that I am though, i'm clearly blinkered in my views. Though i won't be buying an Air. There is no space for it in my requirements... they're already filled by the iMac, Mac Mini, Macbook Pro, iPhone 4 (x2) and iPad that myself and girlfriend own between us. (I forgot to mention the Dell Mini 9 as that isn't used anymore since getting the iPad, not even when Hackintoshed and upgraded with a 32Gb SSD was it redeemed)
At http://www.apple.com/uk/macbookair/compare.html. £849 for the bottom-end model (I use the phrase comparatively - hardly bottom-end by other standards) with 64GB flash drive + 11.6 inch screen, going up to £1349 for the 13in screen with 256GB flash drive. Hardly netbook prices. Looks pretty nice, but a totally different market.
In all fairness, the screen size and lack of optical drive might make it similar to a netbook - but the CPU clearly doesn't. Any portable machine with a Core 2 Duo processor can't be a true netbook by any stretch of imagination.
On the other hand:
1. What's with the battery size and life - specially on the 11" machine? Samsung have had on the market for a while now netbooks stretching to a (theoretical) 13.5 hours battery life. Couldn't Apple muster something a bit further North? Maybe closer to 10 hours?
2. What's with these Core 2 Duo processors in a brand new design? And not only at Apple. I am under the impression that the new ultra low power processors from Intel are i3 ULV and i5 ULV (all ending in 'UM'). Why am I not seeing any laptops with these in? They were launched in May. Any particular reason for this delay?
See here for press release details: http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/24/intel-officially-outs-core-i3-i5-and-i7-ulv-processors-for-thos/
You can't use the Nvidia graphics with the intel i3 because of licensing restrictions.
And the intel graphics are slower than the 9400M in the old MacBook Air, let alone the 320M. I'm also pretty sure (but not 100%) that intel's graphics don't support Open CL. Which is a problem for Apple.
So Apple has two choices:
 10% drop in CPU for 2-3x graphics performance
 2-3x drop in graphics performance for a 10% CPU boost
Technically they had a third choice which was to change the form factor of the Air to fit a discrete GPU. On balance it is probably still the right choice.
"What's with the battery size and life - specially on the 11" machine?"
Jobs referred to new. more realistic measurements of battery life so that you can expect to enjoy the figures they quote. Forget the precise terminology he used to describe them now.
The 11" enclosure has less room in for battery cells than the 13" that's why there is a difference.
I bet you would easily get a day's real world use out of both of them.
compared to similar offerings from Dell, Sony, Acer etc. this thing is not especially expensive. Note that this is not an Atom-"powered" Netbook at all. It's a subnotebook and these never were really cheap.
Still, I think the 13.3" version is a luxury compared to a 13" MBP. It's a bit lighter, a bit thinner and more expensive.
The 11.6 Version is only about as expensive as a white plastic MB (the cheapest portable Mac) and I'm pretty sure that people will like it. Decent power, full-size keyboard, decent screen, *very* light, small and thin. I've been lugging around my MB quite a bit lately and cutting the weight in half surely would be tempting.
With a core 2 duo and Nvidia graphics of some description this is an ultra portable rather than a netbook.
Something like the Lenovo Ideapad U160 is a closer comparison, £549 for an i3 (faster) and Intel GMA graphics (much slower) or the Thinkpad X201 (12" screen so slightly bigger) i7 (much faster) Intel HD graphics (much slower) £1729.08.
That was the most underwhelming Apple special event for ages. Nearly half the time was spent demonstrating what seem like modest enhancements to iLife applications. I use all the ones they demonstrated and I was bored stiff.
That said it is a good thing that Apple seem to have remembered that Mac's are still important to their company.
The new MacBook Airs look like very nice notebook computers indeed. I think the light weight, long battery life and instant on will make them attractive to many people. Can't see the point in the 11" model personally.
I need deeper pockets to get one mind you. The configuration that approximately matches my current MacBook would cost an eye watering £1600! I know that 250GB of flash isn't cheap but phew that's a lot of wonga to spend on a notebook computer.
Jobsy reckons all notebooks will be built this way in the future. Hopefully the price will have come down by the time my existing one needs replacing.
... is like your car manufacturer keeping the locking wheel nuts. SSD prices are real high but in a couple of years, they'll be mainstream. I'd buy an SSD for a laptop right now, but I'd do it on the basis of upgrading in a few years when you can get 256GB for £100 rather than the current price of £400.
Nice to see the PeeCee DellBoi's spitting hate and envy so early this morning. Shouldn't you be running virus checkers or something useful?
My only regret is I have a 1 year old Macbook Pro which is running like a dream, has had zero problems and still looks brand new.
I guess I could trade up - this is something the DellBoi's may not understand - but Apple kit has a residual value unlike 90% of one year old Windoze boxes that are fit for the recycling bin after 6 months use.
I like these new Airs, but I watched the event online last night and I must say I was pretty disappointed with the proposed new OS 10.7 features. Mission Control? A fullscreen feature? An app-store?!?! How about fixing the Finder first before adding all this nonsense. Finder is so pathetically useless it's not even funny: if you are a Windows user here are a few things you take for granted that Explorer can do but Finder can't:
1) Email a file from within Finder - nope, doesn't work. Right click a file and there is no way you can email it or share it.
2) Cut a file a paste it elsewhere. Yep, you heard right, you cannot cut a file in Finder. You have to copy it, paste it, and then go back and delete it. Or drag it between two open windows, but then you need to mess about and arrange the Finder in such a way as to make this possible. Or indeed it means you must have the source and destination windows open at the same time.
3) Right click a file and select "Rename". Nope this does not work either. To rename a file you have to select a file and hit the enter key. Seriously. Enter doesn't open the file, Cmd+O opens a file.
4) Select a file and press the "Delete" key... nothing happens. To delete a file you have to press Cmd+Backspace. Yes, there Delete key does not delete files. Actually, you could say that this is just something you have to get used to, but to me it is just Apple trying to be different.
Finder is lacking so many features I could go on for hours.
These things that Finder can't do are, for the main part, just done differently:
1 Email from finder? Use the Services menu or just drag and drop the file into the Mail icon in the dock.
2 If you want to cut and paste a file between 2 directories on Windows, won't you need to have opened both windows at some point? So what's wrong with just dragging the file's icon between the two? Or drag the Finder icon onto the drive/folder icon and wait - a window will then spring open, where you can drop the file.
3. Rename - click the file, wait a second and click again. The file name is then highlighted for renaming (but, unlike XP, without the file extension being highlighted, so just type the new name). And what's wrong with hitting 'enter' to rename? You're going to need the keyboard anyway. It appears that using the Finder, the rename procedure is: 1. Click file. 2. Press enter. 3. Type new name (without extension).4 Press enter again. Seems quick to me.
4. Delete key doesn't delete file but cmd-delete does? Big deal - less risk of accidental delete. Just customise the toolbar to add a delete button.
It's not windows. It's not right-click centric. OSX focuses on drag and drop.
1) Drag it to the mail icon.
2) Drag it to where ever it's going.
3) Click once to select the icon and once more on the name.
4) Drag it to trash.
This is like someone who's learnt to drive using an automatic bitching about "that pointless clutch thing".
AC, you can mail a file from the Finder by just dragging it onto the Mail icon in the dock. Using Cmd-Backspace for deleting has some logic to it, since portable Macs have no Delete key and using just Backspace for this is a bit too easy. And what's wrong with Cmd-O for opening a file? It's the same keycombo you use within an app to open a file, so it's just consistent. Hitting enter for renaming instead of selecting a menu entry can't be that troublesome since the next thing you will do (typing a new name) will involve the keyboard anyway.
There are some things the Finder does differently, but I can't really see a problem here. At least there's some logic to it.
I totally agree that the Lion presentation was disappointig. It just dealt with cosmetic stuff. I don't think these will be the only changes, though.
The app store, as an option, is a good thing. A direct connection between developers and endusers/customers can't be a bad thing. Apple takes a healthy cut, but on the other hand trying to reach the same audience and setting up your own licensing model and selling software online is not exactly free either. Most indy developers use third-party services and companies to market and sell their software and getting 70% out of what the customer pays is very hard then.
1. are you talking about the desktop or a finder window? on the desktop you just drag the file onto the mail icon in the dock and its then attached to a new email
2. you can drag from a finder window into the sidebar icons, pressing the spacebar when hovering over a folder will open it for you, then you can drop the file. does windows do that?
3. you click onto the filename, wait a second and click again, then rename
4. apple is trying to be better. hitting delete to remove a file from the desktop is not quite the right usability. you can right click and send to trash, this fits in with the desktop icon environment of moving unwanted items to the trash, then emptying the trash later.
the finder has lots of hidden usability features, you just need to discover them, it's a pretty good way of working and is different to windows, and slightly better too.
1) E-mail a file from within finder? Just select the file and then from the Finder menu select Services> New E-mail With Attachment.
2) Cut a file a paste it elsewhere? erm...not that big of a deal.
3) Right click a file and select "Rename"? Just click on the file and then click on its name (Don't do this too quickly or that counts as a double click).
4) Select a file and press the "Delete" key... nothing happens! This is just something you have to get used to. And it's there for a reason.
"Finder is lacking so many features I could go on for hours." - I don't doubt it!
"2) Cut a file a paste it elsewhere. Yep, you heard right, you cannot cut a file in Finder. You have to copy it, paste it, and then go back and delete it. Or drag it between two open windows, but then you need to mess about and arrange the Finder in such a way as to make this possible. Or indeed it means you must have the source and destination windows open at the same time."
Amusingly there is a cut option, always permanently greyed out. There is a hack to enable this but that is where the hilarious stuff starts. When you 'cut' on OSX the file is dumped to the waste-bin where you can move it to your desired location. That one gave us quite a giggle for quite a while.
You've not been using macs very long have you?
1. easily done - even with a right click and using automater
2. No messing about needed at all. Cutting and pasting implies that you have to open windows anyway. And what happens if you get that 'never exptected crash' before you've managed to paste?
3. Who told you to hit the enter key? You just click on the file name - like we've been doing for the last 20 years or so.
4. deleting a file with a single keystroke is a good thing? You have a lot of faith in idiots my friend.
(why not use the right click anyway.)
"2. No messing about needed at all. Cutting and pasting implies that you have to open windows anyway. And what happens if you get that 'never exptected crash' before you've managed to paste?"
Usually when I cut&paste it's because I HAVEN'T got both windows open. I Cut the file, navigate to where I want it moved, then Paste it.
As for the crash nonsense, you do realise that Windows doesn't actually move the file or anything until you Paste it? When you click Cut, all you're doing is tagging it as "waiting to be moved". If the power goes out, or Explorer crashes, no big deal, the file will still be there. Sure, if the crash/power-out occurs during the move there will might be problems, but again, the original file isn't touched until it's first been copied to the new destination.
Oddly enough, I rarely have both windows open when I'm moving files.
File on desktop. I want to move it 7 folders deep on an external drive.
One click and some dragging will do it. (I only have to go back to the desktop to delete the original because my destination is on an external. If the source drive and the destination drive are the same then there is no need to return.)
Select and move 7 folders deep - 1 click
Delete original - 2 keystrokes( or 1 right-click)
Cut and paste:
select file - 1 click
Cut - 2 keystrokes (or 1 right-click)
navigate to external drive and open it - 1 click
navigate to first level folder and open it - 1 click
navigate to second level folder and open it - 1 click
navigate to third level folder and open it - 1 click
navigate to fourth level folder and open it - 1 click
navigate to fifth level folder and open it - 1 click
navigate to sixth level folder and open it - 1 click
navigate to seventh level folder and open it - 1 click
Paste - 2 keystrokes (or 1 right-click)
So 4 keystrokes and 9 clicks ( or 11 clicks) - that's much easier than doing it on a Mac.
OK so my Crash comment was irrelevant - similar to all four of your comments.
because it is clearly not a netbook, as stated above the processor and good screen etc means this device falls smartly into the 11.6" sub notebook category.
Now thats clear... a grand for a 11.6" sub-notebook! When the competition max's out at £499
Citation provided: http://www.reghardware.com/2010/10/20/group_test_11in_notebooks/page2.html
What are apple thinking! oh yeah a fool and his money... shiney shiney bling bling..
Don't all of the machines in that group test have hard drives instead of flash memory? That would explain a lot of the price difference. Even taking that into account the airs would still have a premium price tag.
Just because some people are prepared to pay a premium price for a premium product doesn't make them fools.
I use both a MacBook Pro and an equivalent Dell notebook bought about the same time. I was given the Dell by my employer and I spent my own money on the MacBook. They had a similar price differential. By your logic, you would conclude that both computers are the same and only a fool would waste his money on the MacBook particularly when he already had a free equivalent Windows PC.
Well in practice, the Dell is a piece of s*** that I only use when I am forced to. It's big, cumbersome, loud, has a poor display, a shockingly bad keyboard, a pathetic trackpad and runs like a slug. The Dell often locks up to the point where a power off is the only solution. That has never happened with the MacBook which is a joy to use. I gladly pay the premium for the superior engineering and quality in the Apple product that only becomes apparent when you use one on a daily basis.
I do think the MacBook Airs are expensive but in comparison to a MacBook Pro not a sub-notebook Windows PC.
"I gladly pay the premium for the superior engineering and quality in the Apple product that only becomes apparent when you use one on a daily basis."
Yes a premium indeed.
Premium - Adjective
1. Higher in price or value.
Whilst it is true that many windows machines suffer from bloat (usually due to too many apps & crapware!) and are also a big target for Virus's (due to market share) it is not true that ALL windows machines suffer. If you know what you are doing its perfectly simple to keep a windows PC in good shape. Part of the stigma is they sell windows to people who don't know what they are doing! this is not so much of a problem with Apple as there is a smaller pool of available software and hence they cant be polluted so readily (espceailly if you ban flash)...
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I'm really looking forward to a Reg article doing a benchmark comparison between the MBA and the cheap 11.6" netbook flock.
Personally I think the 11.6" MBA will be a hit. It costs as much as the 13" plastic Macbook, weights half as much, is thinner, prettier and not much slower. It also has the full-size keyboard as any MacBook. When my MBP is about to go to a new home (in half a year or so) I will have a good look at this thing.
It's not £1000 vs £500, you're comparing a thousand dollars to five hundred pounds.
UK pricing for the 11.6" starts at £849
In any case while it's tempting to do so I don't think giving it a beating over the price really stands up to objective scrutiny. Look at the Dell Adamo or Sony Vaio X which are similar in design philosophy and the MBA is good value by comparison.
I know it looks expensive against the laptops in the recent el-reg 11.6" group test but that's not comparing like with like - once you take into account that the MBA has a good tech spec (dual-core CPU, high rez screen, dedicated graphics, SSD), the battery life and the case design you see where the extra money goes.
It's not going to be for everyone for sure, but given it's a lightweight ultraportable with enough power to cope with a wide range of tasks I don't think it's that overpriced. Oh, and before the predictable cries of fanboi yes I do own an iPhone, and an iPad. I also own a 10" dell netbook running linux and a high end gaming laptop running Windows 7. Each fills a niche in my life very nicely thank you very much, and I couldn't care less who makes them, I like them for what they do.
"where does this new air fit in?"
The iPad is a portable option but not suitable for authoring anything significant. For example, there is no way you would edit a big report, develop a website or do some image editing on one. You could do that on an air. The iPad is currently good for web browsing, email, media consumption, games and large screen versions of iPhone style apps. I prefer using my iPad for all these activities. Until you want to use a site that runs flash that is.
other 1/2 has a truly awful Tosh running something called 'vista' been wanting to get her a mac for ages, don't see the ipad as a runner for her...but one of these looks right peachy. basically her needs are pretty minimal, she likes a keyboard, she has a P&S so SD card slot is handy, mostly she is on FB, email and IM. She will appreciate the instant on (Tosh takes for ages and ages and ages...),she will appreciate the built in cam, she will appreciate the lack of virus, she will appreciate it's snappiness...plus I won't have to learn Windows!!
"Oh no!! Apple wants to sell some more stuff. Quick, let me tell the world how much I hate them"
I feel the same way about cars. Bloody Mercedes/Porsche/Ferrari making expensive motors when I can get a cheaper, more economical Ford/Mazda/Honda.
If you don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!
I would love to buy a mac book. My biggest issue with mac-books are that they have very limited option -- specially smaller notebook.
13inch notebook don't come with matte option, and of course Mac-Air doesn't let you upgrade. Also, every 3 years or so I upgrade hard-drive, and with Macbook Air it's not that easy, instead of a standard PATA connector Apple uses a 40-pin ZIF (Zero Insertion Force). Standard Stata would've been betters..
I would wait a year or so for apple to offer matte option in 13inch lappy, otherwise I would probably buy 15inch Macbook in near future.