Does it have integrated 3G?
If not, it's just another Apple-shaped doorstop.
For years this particular Mac user preferred to carry around an X-Series ThinkPad, despite having a house full of Apple laptops. That's because Apple could offer nothing with comparable size and weight. It was worth putting up with Windows or Ubuntu to gain the convenience of a smaller lighter machine. Apple MacBook Air 11in …
Why do some insist on built-in 3G?
Hey, I know, I'll pay extra to commit the computer I have for the next 2-4 years to a particular cellular technology that will probably be obsolete halfway through its lifecycle!
It's not even a very efficient use of tech. It would be smarter to get a MiFi or other pocket router; for the same money, you can get *any* device you own on 3G or 4G, not just one. The pack also helps you save battery life on the notebook.
I totally agree with the OP. You have a strange definitionof efficient.
Firstly in the real world 3G has been around for years and in the Uk at least will still be around for another 5-10.
Secondly a mifi is another piece of kit and charger to carry. Additionally the lid of a laptop gives much better space for bigger cellular aerial. Both are more efficient than your suggestion.
Thirdly with 3G active you are not likely using wifi so it can be powered down so battery life is not an issue.
Lack of 3G is the only reason I haven't bought an 11" Air myself. It's ridiculous that something that is meant to be ultraportable lacks this as at least an option. It's the whole reason I spent Air money on a vaio TT.
I've never once found a machine where the integrated 3G was anything like 'good' - as such all of our remote staff begged to have the plug in USB dongles back. So why not do the same?
Or pair it with your smartphone and use that 3G connection. Or find some WiFi Access Point, they're rather prevalent.
That would be true if Apple used ordinary LiPoly batteries and charging technolgies for its built-in batteries, but it doesn't.
From Apple's page on batteries: "Your new Apple notebook features advanced battery chemistry that greatly extends the battery’s lifespan. The built-in battery of your MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air is designed to deliver up to 1,000 full charge and discharge cycles before it reaches 80 percent of its original capacity. In addition, Adaptive Charging reduces the wear and tear on the battery giving it a lifespan of up to 5 years."
everything EXCEPT batteries that have worn out through use rather than a manufacturing defect.
I just looked this up on the Apple site. As someone else has pointed out, this is a 'while you wait' repair with an appointment and costs the same as the 'user replaceable' batteries on the older macbooks.
ie - stop griping - the upsides of an integrated battery outweigh the downsides.
I *suspect* he's talking about the battery and it's actually rather bogus.
Apple laptop battery management is very good now - I sold a 3 year old macbook (black plastic) which spent most of it's time connected to the mains. It's battery was showing sub 50 charge cycles and something like 95% of original capacity.
The battery life of the Air is huge so, even if you use it all day away from your desk you're probably only charging it over night so 18 months is only 500 charges (and the battery is meant to be good for > twice that).
In reality it's possibly a 3 year service cost and Apple only charge about the same for it as a genuine battery for most other laptops (my experience with aftermarket Li-Ion batteries for laptops, iPods, drills and phones has been very poor - I'd only buy genuine in future).
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"Resources are things we invent, folks, the outcome of our ingenuity"
Thank Christ for that. I'll sleep more easily tonight knowing we can rustle up more oil and gas by using our ingenuity. I've been labouring under the misaprehension that these and other substances only existed in finite quantities on this planet. How wrong can a man be?
I am not an Apple owner, nor am I a member of the Jobsian Cult. But, this actually looks like an Apple product I would use, especially when you look at the price of the thing compared to when the first one was released.
Devilish face as I referred to the "Jobsian Cult" with the full intention of garnering the wrath of the Apple Fanbois :)
battery not replaceable -> product designed to last 2 years. At that point the capacity of the battery has dropped enough that the user complains and looks for an alternative
My 3-year old dell is enjoying its second battery, and will get a new one next year. Since it is still fast enough, there's no need to replace it when battery life is OK.
...comes crippled out of the box by Intel and Microsoft, has a barely usable CPU if you want to do more than three things at once - on any operating system, not just Win XP/7 - and has a fairly low res, almost certainly low quality screen. Brazos Netbooks look like changing that, mind, and forcing Intel to pull their finger out over Atom. I've played with a couple now, they're pretty tasty for the price.
The Macbook Air comes with a chunky Core i5 and is actually pretty damned close to being a mobile desktop replacement* in terms of the grunt it has for everyday use, on either Mac OS or Windows 7. The compromise (other than ports) is minimal, and that's why you pay more for it. The compromise with a proper netbook is massive, that's why you pay less for it.
Bear in mind it was only a few years ago that machines of the MBA class (ultra-ultra-portable with usable grunt) were going for closer to £1500 from the likes of Sony and Toshiba, and Apple itself - for what it does, the price isn't half bad.
In the end, that's why paying £350 for a traditional, barely-better-than-my-mobile-phone Atom netbook gets baulked at, and paying £900 for an ultra-ultra portable near desktop replacement is lauded.
Ah, crap, just seen the post it note on my screen - don't feed the trolls. Bah.
*for day to day stuff - obviously if you're doing full on video editing or software compilation, you're probably going to go another route.
I've had mine for a while and I'm quite happy with it. It's been beaten to death and still works fine. Yes, it would be nice if it had more performance, but it seems more solid that my old Dell work laptops at about 2-3x the weight and it is SO much more handy to own that a Dell XPS, which is approximately the size of a battleship anchor and not quite as useful.
All I can say is that my next laptop, paid for with my own cash, will be an Air.
Nice review, and I must say I'm very happy with mine, but for a few frustrating QC issues which resulted in me having to get 2 replacements- newest one is perfect though.
No integrated 3G, but not so much of an issue if you have a phone to tether with.
However, they're all using dual-core processors, not quads as stated on the first page.
I bought the i7/256mb/4gb 11" when it came out - replacing my previous 11" 1.6 core duo.
it really is an amazing little powerhouse. My MBP17 has been resigned to the study now, and the air has become my main work computer (I travel with it everyday).
I've never seen the beef with non-replaceable batteries. If you are tech-savie you can easily buy a replacement and DIY. If you are not, you just take it into an apple store and they do it while you wait + properly dispose of the battery (which is probably more than most of use do normally).
Combined with the fact that the latest apple battery tech seems to not really degrade very much compared to lipo, I don't think I'd ever expect to have to replace the battery - my 2 year old MBP still has 100% charge for example.
Surprised you didn't mention CPU usage with HD playback - this is incredibly low thanks to the tight integration with the intel 3000 HD - playing 1080p* mp4 or mkv full screen barely registers on stat CPU gauges at all (old nvidia model was around 30%).
*cue muppet moaning about playing 1080p on non-1080p screen... sigh.
Why is this even being touted as a feature/ plus point..?
Firstly, there are next to no devices that currently use thunderbolt.
Secondly, it may be (theoretically) faster than USB3, but that's irrelevant as hard drives/ SSDs cannot keep up with the speed of either in the first place. So for moving files/ data thunderbolt is no better than USB3.
But, USB3 has the advantage of being backwards compatible with USB2, and thus, thousands of devices. So why are people believing all the FUD Apple are spouting about thunderbolt, when it offers no advantage to the user over USB3?
Because it will let you have any port you want. I'm sick of apple removing ports as they see fit. Thunderbolt implements PCIe, so you can stick any other port on the end of the cable - USB, FW, eSata.
"Secondly, it may be (theoretically) faster than USB3, but that's irrelevant as hard drives/ SSDs cannot keep up with the speed of either in the first place"
Drive arrays can keep up. Check it out - it's called RAID.
"Why is this even being touted as a feature/ plus point..?
Firstly, there are next to no devices that currently use thunderbolt.
Secondly, it may be (theoretically) faster than USB3, but that's irrelevant as hard drives/ SSDs cannot keep up with the speed of either in the first place. So for moving files/ data thunderbolt is no better than USB3."
USB3 will be a great consumer technology, but it's not by any means the same thing. Thunderbolt is backwards compatible with the DisplayPort, and throws in another 10Gbit channel to boot. That's pretty important if you're in an industry where you need extremely high throughput. And Thunderbolt devices certainly do exist - the Promise Pegasus that Apple's started to promote with all its Macs.
Secondly, USB3 can be CPU intensive and high-latency compared to Thunderbolt (and Firewire before it), making it unsuitable for higher end applications like low-latency SANs and hi-res, uncompressed video transmission. SSDs have already exceeded the available bandwidth of the 3Gb SATA2 bus, which is why we now have 6Gb SATA3. If you need high volume read/write performance, then a second SSD would exceed the bandwidth of the of USB3's 4.8Gb bus... and eat at least one of your CPU cores in the process. On a mobile device, that can mean a significant reduction in battery life.
Ok, so it's future proofing, but this is on a device that Apple clearly doesn't intend people to use for more than about 2 years, ie look at the battery...
Also, it may be good for RAID, but no Apple laptops have RAID.
Finally, it may be good for enterprise/ servers, but it seems obvious Apple has turned away from enterprise and servers.
Apple only appeals to the home market now, and for that market it's useless for the next 3 or more years.
And you can get the battery from the usual sources.
So in summation: you can (if even vaguely technically capable) replace your MacBook Air battery.
I've had mine for a few days now, and it's bloody marvellous! It's nothing like a netbook apart from it's similar size, it's a proper laptop in a smaller form factor. It's lightning fast, much faster than my 15" unibody macbook pro and the screen is lovely, much better than any laptop i've used before.
Yes the battery will die eventually, but it is replaceable by apple for £99, or you could do it yourself if you are out of warranty and by the time that happens these batteries will be churning out of china anyway at a much cheaper price.
I'd recommend one to anyone, even if they did insist on installing (shudder) windows on it.
There is some new thunderbolt gear on the market. An expresscard34 adapter: http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresscard34thunderbolt.html .
This lets you add yet another adapter (the card) for whatever needs you might have. Might let some of us get rid of our 17" MBP, which is the only remaining laptop with the slot.
A hub, recently announced, but not yet for sale, which doesn't count - http://www.dailytech.com/IDF+2011+Belkin+Shows+Off+Thunderbolt+Express+Dock+/article22715.htm
There are also some 'pro' level RAID arrays out there you'll easily find on the Apple site.
Don't get all this stuff about batteries, if they fail you get them replaced. Yes there was a bad spell with the Santa Rosa based Macbook Pro, I had one, and are on my third battery. Each and everyone was a free replacement from the Apple Store, walk in with a 'failing' battery and walk out with a new one. With Dell and Sony previously they classed it as a consumable item.
Don't forget that Thunderbolt is great for an external display screen as well and it charges the Air through it as well. Really nice to get a multi-screen solution with USB hubs etc when you 'dock' with a single cable :)
I've been told on various occasions by Apple that batteries are, in fact, consumable items, when querying failing MBP batteries after ~2 years. Which is fine on a machine where you can buy and replace the battery yourself, not so much on a machine where you can't...
(Yes, I know "can't" is relative - but if you've paid for and want to be able to rely on your AppleCare agreement you can't go fucking about with replacing the battery yourself, so back to the question of "what happens if you manage to get through the best part of 1000 charge cycles in less than 3 years and your battery goes to shit?")
Bugger, I should have seen this one coming, I got my dear old Ma an i5 13" MBP Sandybridge when it came out, now Apple just made a worthy replacement for the same price and half the weight. Mum wouldn't have noticed the performance hit and would have loved the weight loss....
How long do you reckon Dell will take to copy this baby?
Paris, cos the original airhead always leads the pack.
I insist on it, because it's a better solution in my experience.
I've been on call for the last six years. During that time I've used various Thinkpads with and without integrated 3G, Macbook air without, two variants of USB dongle, a mifi type device and an Android smartphone with wifi tethering.
Of these, the Thinkpads with integrated 3G worked far better than any dongle or tethering solution, for two reasons:
1. In a laptop form factor you can arrange the aerials around the screen to get much better reception than in a dongle or phone.
2. 3G sucks battery life, so it makes sense to have the 3G in the thing with the largest battery.
I like Apple devices - I have an iPad 1, a last-gen MBA and several iPhones. With integrated 3G the MBA would be near-perfect. Certainly the mobile usability of the MBA beats the Thinkpad in terms of form factor and standby/resume speed/reliability. It's also faster to perform many tasks than my Windows 7 machine with the same CPU, but the refusal to offer integrated 3G, even as an option, is bewildering, to me.
Right Steve..."Steve Jobs hates netbooks. That much is clear. The Apple CEO has long decried the space as "cheap," a comment he went to town with during yesterday's iPad launch event. "Netbooks aren't better than anything," he said to rousing laughter. "They're just cheap laptops.""
Or in the case of this thing...an EXPENSIVE laptop.
£99 for a new battery fitted
considering a typical replacement battery costs around this it's not bad at all with the only downside you can't do it yourself or at least you're not supposed to but it's easy enough to take apart if you look on www.ifixit.com
i would get one today but for the lack of 3g
yes i read the coments on why would i want potentialy soon obselete tech built in, and why not just get a myfi.
but i want convenience, a myfi requires charging, which means me carrying 2 chargers with me, also a dongle means something sticking out the side which can get broken.
thats why i am in the process of getting a thinkpad x220t with built in 3g
I'm in no way an Apple fan - quite the opposite, I dislike and distrust the company enormously, and I generally consider the hype associated with their products to be just that. However, that doesn't mean I reject all their products out of hand. I've always been fond of the Air, and the latest one takes it exactly where I would want it. Sure, I think the choice of ports is ridiculous, and the sealed battery and HDD are very negative points for me, but they're very much outweighed by the positives - this is a very good machine indeed, and If it wasn't for the price, I would certainly get one. The competition just isn't there right now - the Ultrabook may well compete in a few months, but right now, there's nothing this small with this amount of power - and yes, looks.
I got mine on Black Friday last year so it's just about 10 months old. I've had 134 cycles and the battery is still showing 100% charge. If it can handle 1000 cycles then I think I'm in for a good 5-6 years worth of battery life out of this baby before it packs in. Considering that I'm unlikely to be able to resist buying an updated model in the next year or two, I'm not losing sleep over the battery life or the possibility of having to pay Apple to replace it.
Slightly jealous of the i5/7 CPUs in the new model but, to be honest, mine is plenty fast enough for web, email and the occasional bit of software development on the road. I envisage that this will prove to have been a great purchase for the original cost versus the number of years use I, or someone else, will get out of it. It'll be a fantastic 2nd hand purchase too.
Having said all this, I'm looking forward to seeing some decent Windows Ultrabooks over the next year too and may well pick up one of those if they look like besting the MBA. See that, I have no operating system preference! I will choose the best tool for the job, if you'll pardon the expression. No os partisanship here, no, Siree Bob!
If you want a great laptop, get one of these now or wait until the better Ultrabooks come out. Or don't, if you're a miserable cheapskate.
"Remember how people thought Apple was ridiculous going with USB on the first iMac? And no floppy drive?"
USB was a forward-thinking move that was fine in retrospect.
Leaving the floppy out, OTOH, smacked of Apple wanting to *appear* forward-thinking by ditching a "legacy" technology without any satisfactory alternative being available at the time. Yeah, everyone knew that the floppy was on borrowed time and would be replaced eventually, but that was still in the near-future. The fact that virtually everyone who owned an iMac bought an external floppy drive proves that the omission was a mistake.
In 1998, USB pen drives- if they existed at all- were at least five years from being affordable alternatives to floppies. Even CD writers were at least a year or two from commodity affordability, which would explain why Apple only built-in a CD *reader*.
The only way to share files was over the net via the iMac's modem, which IIRC *was* what Apple expected people to do. Might not seem so bad nowadays, but bear in mind this was back in the 56K dial-up days (i.e. slow connection that wasn't always on line- on both ends) and not everyone was on the net back then anyway- certainly far from all computers.
Useful way to send small files worldwide? Sure. Realistic alternative to the floppy? No.
Regardless of the other pros and cons only including 2GB of RAM is unforgiveable in the modern world. Every other high end machine has at least 4 if not 6 or 8. No Ethernet is a big omission too, especially when Mac are so big in the AV world, I wouldn't fancy moving multiple gigabytes of audio and video files around over WiFi on a regular basis.
So speaks someone whose never used os x. It's much more efficient on memory usage than windows - more on a par with linux.
It runs very nicely on my netbook with and atom and 2gb.
Have you ever looked at your memory usage the average user doesnt need all 4gb even on windows.
You only need 4gig plus if you are doing big photo editing or similar and afaik 4gb is an option.
Duh its not rocket science.
So you spec 4GB on order which you can do. Anyone who has plans to run a dual boot - which is not an average consumer thing - will already do it.
The same has been happening on windows machines for years. You spec what memory you need over a base config or get the next model up.
Would you prefer the current windows situation where 4Gb is being wasted on dozens of windows laptops running 32bit windows that can only use 2.96 Gb?
Totally agree with you regarding Sony VAIO Z. I've bought my MBA 1.5 years ago because it was considerably cheaper than Z but similar in other aspects,.. but there's still some tech like switching between discrete (nVidia) and on-board video in real-time which simply isn't in Apple products (yet).
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