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.