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Early Review of 11" Macbook Air

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the must-resist-urges dept.

Portables 348

adeelarshad82 writes "Apple's latest entry into the ultraportable space is no netbook, even though it's the closest the company has come to making one. Its chassis is, amazingly, even thinner than the original MacBook Air, with a screen two sizes smaller. Moreover, the MacBook Air's 11.6-inch widescreen is not the only first for Apple; so is its 1,366-by-768 resolution. Although Apple found a way to squeeze in two USB ports and a speedy solid-state drive (SSD), the MacBook Air (11-inch) is not nearly as feature-packed or as fast as the rest of the MacBook family, primarily because its 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 Ultra-Low Voltage (ULV) processor is running on previous-generation Intel technology. Still, it will give the latest batch of Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) laptops a run for their money."

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An Ad? (0, Troll)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 4 years ago | (#33974876)

I thought I checked that "Ads disabled" option checkbox at the top of /. page

Re:An Ad? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33975004)

I thought I checked that "Ads disabled" option checkbox at the top of /. page

But, I bet you read the article about the new version of the Linux kernel and didn't whine about that, right?

Just turn off the Apple section or stop clicking the links.

Re:An Ad? (0, Offtopic)

Requiem18th (742389) | about 4 years ago | (#33975672)

No I didn't! Is there a new kernel release :D? Where? Where?

Re:An Ad? (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | about 4 years ago | (#33975078)

If you think a link to a review is an ad, that suggests you simply don't like Apple and don't want to see them reviewed favorably in any form. What other reason could you possibly have? Otherwise, you would have just not replied to the story out of disinterest. In other words, though you accuse the site of bias, the only bias is from you.

Re:An Ad? (5, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 4 years ago | (#33975118)

I thought I checked that "Ads disabled" option checkbox at the top of /. page

I hate to break it to you, but we geeks really do have an appetite for blinky things that cost money. I can only imagine the amount of emotional turmoil this site is causing you.

Re:An Ad? (5, Funny)

object404 (1883774) | about 4 years ago | (#33975292)

Steve Jobs:
"Hey, remember when I said that netbooks aren't good at anything and that they're just cheap laptops?

Well... I fixed the cheap part!"

Re:An Ad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975352)

How is linking to PCMag's review an ad? Slashdot posts reviews of things. You're just bashing for easy upvotes from the people who always vote up baseless cynicism.

Re:An Ad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975448)

Uh, the review was written by PC Mag, not Apple.

Guaranteed instant "+5 Insightful" from the cabal of Apple-haters, though. Nice karma-whorin'.

But, but (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33974880)

I thought Steve said they don't make netbooks?

Re:But, but (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33974912)

Some people say "a device used to quickly move you from point A to point B in comfort and safety", while others just say "car". ::shrug::

Re:But, but (4, Funny)

RCGodward (1235102) | about 4 years ago | (#33974962)

How can you guys say this is a netbook? It's WAY too expensive.

Re:But, but (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 4 years ago | (#33975046)

So are regular netbooks, IMO. Apart from portability and maybe battery life, having a netbook at ~$300 versus a 4GB Dual-Core laptop at ~$500 is no contest.

Re:But, but (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | about 4 years ago | (#33975192)

Portability and battery life are the SELLING POINTS of netbooks. The pricing is more than fair.

Re:But, but (4, Insightful)

powerlord (28156) | about 4 years ago | (#33975316)

Well, to be fair, when Netbooks first started coming out it was $200-$400 for a netbook versus $800-$1000 for a laptop.

The advantages the Netbooks offered were portability (size/weight), with a tradeoff for power/ease of use (battery/cpu/gpu/smaller screen and keyboard).

Additionally, the low price compared to a "real" laptop, meant there was less worry involved in them getting damaged, so you could (for instance) give one to a younger child and if they broke it, go buy another.

The specs and price of "Netbooks" have since crept up quite a bit, and the price of laptops has dropped to the point that there is currently less disparity between a small low end laptop and a large high end netbook, but things weren't always like this.

Re:But, but (1)

lilfields (961485) | about 4 years ago | (#33975422)

Don't forget that netbooks usually ship with a 3G or 4G chip built in, an aircard for a laptop is about $100 by itself....

Re:But, but (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 years ago | (#33975638)

Uhhh...why not have both? I've been selling my customers looking for a thin and light the new AMD Neo x2 based netbooks and they are nothing but happy. It has the smaller screen and better battery life while coming with 2Gb of RAM (easily upgradeable to 4Gb) and a nice Radeon 3200 GPU (sure beats the Intel GPU you usually get) and can be gotten at Newegg and the like for around $450. Sure it isn't gonna be as fast as the $500 one, but it also isn't gonna weigh a ton or cause you to need to carry around an extra bag. These things are just 3 lbs and play video nice and smooth on Windows 7 HP. My customers are quite happy with them and after setting up so many I've decided to get my oldest one for class, as it'll be just the perfect size for him to carry around in his book bag at the college while still giving him enough ooomph he can relax with a video or probably play his LOTRO with it.

As for TFA? Must be nice to be rich. The rest of us have kids and GFs (oh, this is /. those aren't supposed to exist, sorry honey. She just rolled her eyes and said "nerds") and bills and frankly I could buy both kids a Neo based netbook and have cash left over for the price of a single MBA, and that of course is without figuring in the Applecare, which is extra for the extended warranty, yes? I really gotta give old Steve credit, he took a company that had been turned into total shit by the Pepsi guy and in just a couple of years turned it into a company that prints money. Give credit where it is due, the man knows how to get his customers to shell out the $$$$.

Re:But, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975674)

Just because Nokia makes a handset ridiculously overpriced and calls it "Vertu" doesn't change the fact that it's a cell phone either.

Re:But, but (1)

bonch (38532) | about 4 years ago | (#33975188)

Netbooks don't cost $999. Nice try.

I dunno man (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33974882)

I like having a thin laptop, but I think this one might be a bit too thin. There comes a point where sturdiness plays a role. Even if it's as solid as a rock, I would constantly be worried about it being cracked due to it's crazy-thin profile.

I like the fact that it comes with a USB stick instead of the standard "recovery disc"...good call on that one, Apple.

Re:I dunno man (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33975086)

I don't really see the attraction of thin laptops. Small, yes, but I don't think the thickness of a laptop has been the limiting factor in portability for me since my 386 laptop. A few centimetres is fine. I'd be really excited by something like the MacBook Air where the top and bottom halves both folded in half again so you got something the same thickness as a normal laptop but half the top area when it was completely folded, but the Air seems to have the same portability limitation as my current laptop: I could only take it somewhere where I'm taking a reasonable sized bag. Fold it in half, and I could fit it into a large coat pocket.

Re:I dunno man (2, Insightful)

symes (835608) | about 4 years ago | (#33975302)

I was thinking the same - and what seems to be missing is that you still need to carry around a great big charger, possibly a spare battery, headphones, books, papers, umbrella, and other gubbins truly roaming office workers need all in one big bag. So a couple of mills here and there might look good, but is it that important? I've just got one of the new sony vaio z ultra portables (ssd, i7, hdmi, etc., etc.), with a docking station widescreen monitor and chunky external keyboard it works very well as a desktop substitute... but the vaio feels positively clunky compared to this new mac. Would I swap the vaio for the mac? Only if I could get the same feature set - and that is not going to happen on something this thin, at least not yet.

I'd be curious to know peoples thoughts on what happens next in the thinness race...

Re:I dunno man (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 4 years ago | (#33975332)

folding the display is probably not going to happen so what you really want is a rolled up screen. _Then_ you can have the keyboard and planar board folding up and making it all much more portable. We're not there yet so it's a large thin bag for now.

LoB

Re:I dunno man (1)

word munger (550251) | about 4 years ago | (#33975576)

I agree, thinness is probably overrated, but lightness isn't. Since we don't have flexible high-res screens, however, the "fold-in-half" laptop isn't going to show up any time soon.

I have an original MacBook Air, and absolutely love having a full-size notebook in such a lightweight package. I really value the full-sized screen and keyboard, and I bought a very small bag that's easy to carry along with me. Now when I'm out and about, I'm carrying a laptop *and* case that is smaller and lighter than most laptops out there. I even have room for a magazine or a book and a notepad.

That said, I actually don't see anything in these new models that will convince me to ditch my nearly-3-year-old MBA.

Re:I dunno man (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | about 4 years ago | (#33975142)

I like the fact that it comes with a USB stick instead of the standard "recovery disc"...good call on that one, Apple.

Don't go giving Apple credit for developing this novel installation method; us hackintosh users have been using this method for almost two years to install OS X onto our (non-Apple) netbooks!

Re:I dunno man (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33975204)

Never said they created it, I just said they deserve some credit for including one.

Re:I dunno man (5, Funny)

RapmasterT (787426) | about 4 years ago | (#33975218)

Yes, good call. Including a recovery disk with a laptop that doesn't have a disk drive would certainly have been questionable.

Re:I dunno man (4, Informative)

Rynor (1277690) | about 4 years ago | (#33975288)

Toshiba does this, I got one with my NB-100 netbook without a cd/dvd drive.

Re:I dunno man (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33975590)

Yes, good call. Including a recovery disk with a laptop that doesn't have a disk drive would certainly have been questionable.

You laugh, but sometime in the late 90s, I took delivery of a new Sun workstation.

It had no OS installed, didn't come with a CD-ROM, and had a CD to install Solaris shipped with it. So, it wasn't actually possible to install the OS.

It took us six-months for the company to buy us a CD-ROM for it so we could install the OS. It got named "anchor" since it spent several months essentially being useful as just that.

What you describe isn't unprecedented.

Re:I dunno man (1)

colinRTM (1333069) | about 4 years ago | (#33975592)

Yes, good call. Including a recovery disk with a laptop that doesn't have a disk drive would certainly have been questionable.

I got one with my EEEPC 1005HA which does not have a CD/DVD drive.

Re:I dunno man (1)

b0bby (201198) | about 4 years ago | (#33975806)

My EEE came with a disc. My Revo nettop, which has no optical drive, only came with a utility which allows you to create your recovery discs. I had to install a virtual DVD drive to "burn" them; if I ever need them, then I'll have to buy or borrow an external drive.

Re:I dunno man (1)

Scyth3 (988321) | about 4 years ago | (#33975254)

It might be because the laptop itself doesn't have an optical drive... ;)

Re:I dunno man (1)

eebra82 (907996) | about 4 years ago | (#33975340)

On the other hand, I would love to break into the Apple storage facility and put recovery DVDs with every Macbook Air. Heck, I'd even throw in a coupon for an external DVD player.

Re:I dunno man (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | about 4 years ago | (#33975400)

I like the fact that it comes with a USB stick instead of the standard "recovery disc"...good call on that one, Apple.

This could well be a step towards using hardware dongles as the primary method of distributing MacOS on all platforms, even those with optical drives. Every Mac comes with a "restore" dongle, major upgrades like 10.7 are sold as an "install" dongle. For now it's a standard read-only flash drive, but the option is there to lock it down further to Apple hardware if it seems like it's worth it, just to stick it to the hackintosh crowd. (They'll still find a way, of course -- lots of folks don't even bother with the install disks, just clone an existing hard drive installation and go from there.)

Software will be distributed the app store of course, entertainment through the itunes store, and voila: Jobs will have freed his fans from the optical drives just as he freed them from floppies back in the 20th century. The biggest difference is that today Macs are very popular in video production, and these folks are already getting pretty annoyed that they can't buy a Mac Pro with a bluray burner.

Re:I dunno man (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 4 years ago | (#33975466)

Actually when you receive yours by courier, the envelop (the term is 'carrying case') is specially marked DO NOT DISPOSE because the air bubbles are a feature, though external, to the Air, and which should eliminate the need for shopping for a clumsy looking backpack for such an elegant product.

Re:I dunno man (1)

twitchingbug (701187) | about 4 years ago | (#33975494)

Dude. You're being irrational. Even self-admittedly irrational. The MBA will be sturdy enough. Get over it.

Re:I dunno man (1)

fermion (181285) | about 4 years ago | (#33975714)

The top of the MBA is extremely susceptible to dents. Expect damage. I don't know how that effects warrenty. The side and top bottom half of the MBA, and I am sure this is the same, are thick and rigid and provide much of the structure.. They do not tend to show damage after a dent. The hinges, on the other hand, are unreliable. Let us hope the fixed these.

As far as the other complaints, the MBA is not built for speed. It is slow. At times it just sits there and thinks. There is no such thing as a free lunch. It is fast enough for many common tasks. I run LaTex and Keynote all day long.

The battery life is bad. What is worse is the charge time. I doubt this has been fixed. Hours and hours to charge.

I find it funny that people still want an ethernet port. What is next, a floppy disk drive? I feel like I an in the stone age if I have to 'plug in' Carry an airport express on trips for those primitive places that do not offer wireless. I guess older people just need to have things done they way they always have been done.

ipad with a keyboard (1)

David Off (101038) | about 4 years ago | (#33974898)

Cool, an Ipad with a real keyboard.

Re:ipad with a keyboard (1)

Jugalator (259273) | about 4 years ago | (#33975108)

iOS != OS X...

Re:ipad with a keyboard (2, Insightful)

timepilot (116247) | about 4 years ago | (#33975284)

Yet.

Re:ipad with a keyboard (2, Insightful)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 4 years ago | (#33975300)

Not for long, the way things are going.

Re:ipad with a keyboard (1)

kherr (602366) | about 4 years ago | (#33975394)

Actually, it's a rebirth of the Newton eMate 300 [wikipedia.org] .

Not a netbook? What? (4, Interesting)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 4 years ago | (#33974904)

And why exactly is the new 11" Air *not* a netbook? Sounds like we are mincing words here...

Its a damn netbook, and not even a full year after Steve claimed at the iPad keynote that netbooks have no use...

Re:Not a netbook? What? (2, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 years ago | (#33974990)

small, lightweight, and inexpensive. two out of three doesn't cut it.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975058)

So if Newegg decides to charge $1000 for an Eee, it's no longer a netbook. Got it.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 years ago | (#33975310)

Obviously. If you take "inexpensive" as part of the definition, which I clearly do. of course other people might a say >10" screen isn't a netbook as well.

There is after all no authority declaring what the word means.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (2, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | about 4 years ago | (#33975088)

Take any netbook on the market and charge $1000 for it. Is it now not a netbook?

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

bonch (38532) | about 4 years ago | (#33975506)

That's correct. A netbook is supposed to be an inexpensive little internet laptop. $1000 is no longer fitting the spirit of the definition.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

rotide (1015173) | about 4 years ago | (#33975644)

How convenient.. for Apple.

not according to Meatloaf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975094)

I want you
I need you
But-there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you
Now don't be sad
'Cause two out of three ain't bad

Re:not according to Meatloaf (5, Funny)

magusxxx (751600) | about 4 years ago | (#33975276)

I want you I need you But-there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you Now don't be sad 'Cause two out of three ain't bad

Am I going to buy one? Let me sleep on it, baby, baby Let me sleep on it... Let me sleep on it, I'll give ya my answer in the morning. Apple Clerk: "I gotta know right now!"

Re:Not a netbook? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975000)

And why exactly is the new 11" Air *not* a netbook?

Price

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

chaboud (231590) | about 4 years ago | (#33975014)

I think that netbooks have been, essentially, atom-powered versions of this (at a lower price-point).

Think of this more like a Vaio TZ without the optical drive... And Sony killed the T-line of tinybooks a year ago...

Acting like non-drive SSD is something special also forgets that Sony has been doing this in the Z-series for about a year. Honestly, I'd consider the new 13" Air... If it had 1394.

Don't take away my 1394 until you come back with USB 3.0 (and throw in WiDi while you're at it).

Re:Not a netbook? What? (2)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 4 years ago | (#33975134)

And why exactly is the new 11" Air *not* a netbook? Sounds like we are mincing words here...

The reason I think an £849 Apple 11" Air is not a netbook is the same reason I think a £1,089 Sony 11" X-Series is not a netbook.

(hint: You can pick up a Windows 7 netbook for about £250)

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

bonch (38532) | about 4 years ago | (#33975140)

This is being positioned by Apple as a normal laptop with a unique, ultra-mobile design that will form the basis of their future laptops. I think Steve Jobs was commenting more on the tiny machines that underwent compromises in capability and user experience to become affordable. Many netbooks are a bit of a chore to do the simple tasks they're designed for. Apple believes that the iPad is a better deal for that price range and demographic.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

yelvington (8169) | about 4 years ago | (#33975146)

Intel's netbook definition [engadget.com] would exclude the 11.6 Air on the basis of size and sufficient CPU power for multitasking and HD video. [intel.com] The flash storage is certainly netbookish, but 64 gigs used to be a big hard drive.

I've had an 11.6-inch Acer for about a year now, running Ubuntu. I love it. Small enough to take, big enough to use. But I don't know what to call it except "perfect size." Nice for Apple that they are finally catching up. Too bad it costs two and a half times what I paid.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | about 4 years ago | (#33975152)

Its a damn netbook, and not even a full year after Steve claimed at the iPad keynote that netbooks have no use...

It's twice as fast than an Atom-based netbook on the CPU alone, not counting the SSD, with (at least) 2 GB RAM...

Netbooks are sluggish things often running XP because they can't even run Windows 7 well.

It has one thing in common though: Screen size.

But netbooks got their names because they can basically only surf the web, unlike this one.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (4, Informative)

RapmasterT (787426) | about 4 years ago | (#33975438)

But netbooks got their names because they can basically only surf the web, unlike this one.

I've been using a netbook as my primary work computing device since last March. People tend to snub netbooks because they're "underpowered", without considering what they're underpowered to actually do.

You're not going to play high end games on it, but I use autocad, do DVD transcoding, email, excel...everything I need to do for my job works just fine. This macbook has better specs in some areas, but my netbook blows the doors off of it in practicality, and the macbook isn't going to get my work done any more efficiently than the netbook that cost 1/3 as much.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1, Troll)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#33975162)

It's not a netbook because such comparisons would not reflect favorably on the unit's price.

Now cue a zillion Apple supporters explaining just exactly WHY this unit is clearly what everyone should want, and that if you don't want this device you're obviously stuck in the past and just not doing things right. And of course, this is probably ACTUALLY cheaper than netbooks because it has some useless obscure feature that you have to pay twice as much for on a netbook (the fact that for the features that matter, it's 3x as expensive, is not relevant).

Think Different. Just like the rest of us.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

solarium_rider (677164) | about 4 years ago | (#33975164)

Well..... according to wikipedia:

At their inception in late 2007 — as smaller notebooks optimized for low weight and low cost.

Clearly, the Macbook Air is not optimized for cost.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

jandrese (485) | about 4 years ago | (#33975178)

Well, it's using a C2D instead of an Atom, so that's one strike against it. It also has something resembling a real graphics chip instead of the normal integrated Intel crap, so that's two strikes. It's also $1000 or more, which is three strikes. Seems closer to a subcompact notebook than a netbook, even if that distinction is splitting hairs a bit. I could probably go either way, but since Netbook generally implies a <$500 price point I would be reluctant to lump this in with other netbooks.

Nah, its not a netbook (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 4 years ago | (#33975210)

I have an Acer One. It has a screen that is only 600 pixels tall which makes most browser use a pain in the ass. It comes with 1g memory and supports a maximum of two gig. It is tiny but its not thin. It is powered by an Atom processor, weak internal Intel Graphics, and has a 4200rpm drive (120 or 160, I forget - its fairly large). Comparing this to the MBA 11.6. The new MBA has better processor power, incredibly better graphics ability, and its damn small. It also appears more sturdy than netbooks which all I have seen are just black plastic jobs with an odd battery hump. Now my Acer's screen is pretty , its LED lit, but the 600 resolution in vertical really hampers its usage. I found Chrome to be ideal compared to other browsers which hog a fourth of the screen for the top bars and title.

That out of the way, the Air is very high priced in the standard 11.6 configuration. My Acer One with Windows 7 Starter was only $200 dollars at Target. Granted it was a sale but damn, throw on a monitor/kb/mouse for another $100 and you have a wonderful little machine to read mail/surf/etc at home for anyone. Something that takes up hardly any space. Still I would like to buy the Air. It comes with OS X, I can bootcamp to 7 or possibly use Parallels with it (not sure - will need to see some performance tests). The boost to 4g memory and flash drive should really kick up performance.

Not a netbook, its an ultra portable notebook. It has a real screen and a real keyboard and that is what separates the two

Re:Not a netbook? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975220)

No, its just that you are stupid.

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1, Insightful)

t2t10 (1909766) | about 4 years ago | (#33975280)

And why exactly is the new 11" Air *not* a netbook? Sounds like we are mincing words here...

Because Jobs would then have to admit that he was wrong, and he couldn't possibly do that. So, instead of an "overpriced netbook" he calls it a "revolutionary laptop".

b/c of the processor.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975304)

1) because it has a real laptop processor in it...netbooks are usually characterized by their anemic Atom processor.
2) because it is too thin and high quality to be a netbook
3) because it has a full sized keyboard and a large touch pad

Re:Not a netbook? What? (2, Informative)

Locutus (9039) | about 4 years ago | (#33975500)

because Microsoft and Intel have _defined_ what their manufacturers can call a Netbook and the press follow that. It used to be it could only have 1 CPU, less than 10.1" screen, and not more than 1GB of RAM. I think Microsoft and Intel allow 2 cores now but I think the screen size and RAM are still limited at their previous sizes.

If any of you are old enough to recall when the laptop displays hit 12" it was the beginning of really usable portable computers because the keyboard could be full size. IBM had even gone out and created a laptop before then which had a cool keyboard( butterfly? ) which slide out in both directions when you opened the top so that it provided a full keyboard.

The reason Microsoft and Intel define what a netbook is is because they want to keep charging top dollar for full laptop software and hardware(CPUs). If they don't define where the line is, someone is going to create a cheap laptop and blow away years of price defining contracts and licensing deals.

If you don't believe me, just find a site which lists available netbooks. they all have very similar specs for CPU, screen size and shipped memory.

LoB

Re:Not a netbook? What? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 4 years ago | (#33975540)

The border between netbooks and subnotebooks has become kinda fluid. But at least this one doesn't come with a toy CPU.

Meh (2, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 4 years ago | (#33974906)

I'm typing this on a Mac Mini (running FreeBSD), but still the MB Air seems like a lot of money to me for a netbook running OS X. Especially when you see how nice Ubuntu is (for n00b types, anyway) on a netbook that costs half as much or less...

Re:Meh (3, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 4 years ago | (#33975076)

I'm typing this on a Mac Mini (running FreeBSD), but still the MB Air seems like a lot of money to me for a netbook running OS X. Especially when you see how nice Ubuntu is (for n00b types, anyway) on a netbook that costs half as much or less...

Of course it's a lot of money, we're talking about the top 5% of the laptop market. They really couldn't give a crap about us; the 0.1% of the market who build their own machines and recompile the kernel.

Re:Meh (1)

Ryvar (122400) | about 4 years ago | (#33975728)

Speaking as someone who builds his own machines and rolls his own BSD kernels... the Macbook Air is pretty awesome for certain uses. Specifically: it is, by far, the best subway commute laptop I've ever had. Perfect balance of screen/keyboard size, extremely low weight, and it runs Minecraft wonderfully smoothly (especially if you install a 3rd party SSD in lieu of Apple's traditionally slow ones). Even after two years of extremely heavy usage, it has more than enough battery life for max screen brightness Minecraft or just coding in Eclipse for the 45 minute commute and return trip.

That having been said, the latest upgrade is a disappointment due to the identical processor. I would easily pay the full price for a new one, right now, if they'd tolerate .15" greater thickness and .2 pounds greater weight to give the thing a *real* heatsink and fan. The cooling issues mean you get about 15-30 seconds of 720P Youtube videos before the stuttering kicks in - obviously that's not going to be an issue on the limited connectivity of a subway commute, but it's unacceptable at home.

It's not perfect, and it's not for everyone, but within certain niches it really shines. It's also probably the closest you can get to an iPad that you can code on without rolling your own iOS IDE.

--Ryv

This is NOT a netbook (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 years ago | (#33975420)

It competes with the Viao-Z and other CULV high-margin lightweight laptops.

Netbooks, from my direct experience, have major issues with hardware quality (trackpad false clicks, keyboard crammed, screen too small, you name it). An Atom chipset does not compare to C2D+320M in capability.

Even when running the nice Ubuntu Unity, the hardware quality really does the OS no favors. I don't see the use of having to plug in a mouse to avoid the false-click-fest. Let's just assume that Win7 (No) Starter is not a option.

You pay for what you get, apprently.

Re:Meh (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 4 years ago | (#33975484)

And exactly when was the last time Apple built hardware for the cost-conscious consumer?

Like all Apple hardware, it's aimed at people who appreciate the design and damn the price.

Why is Slashdot listening to marketers? (4, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 4 years ago | (#33974920)

Just because someone says it isn't a netbook doesn't make it true.

Re:Why is Slashdot listening to marketers? (1)

bonch (38532) | about 4 years ago | (#33975168)

A $999 netbook? Part of the definition of netbooks is that they're inexpensive.

Re:Why is Slashdot listening to marketers? (1)

rotide (1015173) | about 4 years ago | (#33975436)

Apple says they don't see the point in netbooks. How can we release a netbook without being hypocrites? Ahh, we see netbooks, by definition aren't cheap. Throw a $1000 tag on there.. Done! not a netbook! It walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

Re:Why is Slashdot listening to marketers? (2, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | about 4 years ago | (#33975572)

Did you ignore what I wrote? The MacBook Air is $999 and uses a Core 2 Duo instead of an Atom. The point Apple didn't see in netbooks is that they were cheaply made and underpowered for the tasks they're trying to accomplish with an affordable price. To them, the iPad is a better deal and a better experience. You're free to disagree, but the MacBook Air is still not a netbook.

Re:Why is Slashdot listening to marketers? (1)

rotide (1015173) | about 4 years ago | (#33975716)

No, I didn't ignore what you wrote.

A $999 netbook? Part of the definition of netbooks is that they're inexpensive.

So if Apple wants to release a netbook without it being a netbook, all they have to do is jack the price up. It's a netbook with a stupid high price tag. Putting a C2D in a netbook a couple years ago would have made it too expensive, today, those chips are cheap and can fit the bill the atom did before.

It walks like a duck. It quacks like a duck. Apple says it's not a duck. It's not a duck?

Re:Why is Slashdot listening to marketers? (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 4 years ago | (#33975554)

ah yes, the good old days when the netbooks cost less than $300. Those were the good old days alright and they seem to be long gone.

LoB

Re:Why is Slashdot listening to marketers? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975746)

Dear Morons,

A netbook is a watered down hardware version with reduced specs of a full laptop, it also does not run a full operating system, where as an aside, it costs less. Cost does not denote a netbook. Nor is the Air a netbook as it runs a full fledged version of OSX and has comparable if not better specs then a full sized laptop. Get over trying to incorporate price into the argument because you can't afford this. Move on.

Lack of Ethernet port (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33974946)

My biggest gripe with these latest MacBook Air configs is the lack of ethernet port...and for this reason am not as enthused about it. Love the form factor and weight.

Why it has Core 2's (4, Informative)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | about 4 years ago | (#33974948)

In case you're interested, Ars has a good piece [arstechnica.com] on why Apple chose the Core 2 instead of an i-series chip. Basically it boils down to

a) Graphics performance. The integrated graphics on the i-series can't touch Nvidia's 320M, and Nvidia hasn't come out an equivalent for Arrandale yet.

b) Arrandale needs a separate memory controller, and there's no room for it on the MBA's tiny motherboard.

Good points, though I still want to see head-to-head performance numbers to see if the choice was a good one.

Re:Why it has Core 2's (1)

twitchingbug (701187) | about 4 years ago | (#33975648)

Also there's the Nvidia - Intel lawsuit over producing i-series chipsets. I dunno what the outcome was if there was one tho.

Netbook Pro (2, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | about 4 years ago | (#33974992)

No ethernet? No laptop.

Re:Netbook Pro (2, Insightful)

plalonde2 (527372) | about 4 years ago | (#33975306)

Because you keep your laptop tethered?

Wifi actually works.

So... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 4 years ago | (#33975030)

So, it's pretty much just like a Lenovo Thinkpad X series laptop from 2 or so years ago - screen size

Biggest quantifiable differences appear to be:

* price (after two years of market change, you'd think the same thing would be cheaper)
* no repairable/replaceable parts (battery, etc.) as is easily done on a Thinkpad
* Ergonomics of the device itself
* White instead of black
* negligible external interface ports
* thin enough it can tentatively be used to cut veggies in the kitchen or sever one's penis in an accident (intentional? design flaw? you decide.)

Summary of all posts (0, Troll)

pitdingo (649676) | about 4 years ago | (#33975054)

"It is way overpriced like all Apple products"

"Closed system sux"

"Apple is going to stamp DRM on your ass"

"It sux because i can not edit feature length movies in HD on it"

"It sux beacuse i can not play the latest games in 1920x1080 at max settings"

"It sux beause i can not download the source for OSX"

"This was not on my Windows Phone 7 talking points power point for astroturfers so I am not sure how to respond."

did i mess any?

Re:Summary of all posts (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33975158)

How about "why did they focus on making it one tenth of an inch thinner instead of upping the hardware inside?"

Re:Summary of all posts (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#33975456)

Because now you can shave with it.

Re:Summary of all posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975660)

How about "why did they focus on making it one tenth of an inch thinner instead of upping the hardware inside?"

Becase its the right thing to do.

Re:Summary of all posts (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 years ago | (#33975730)

Actually, Ars answered that. [arstechnica.com]

What it boils down to is that Intel is trying to take over the entire integrated graphics market and we're suffering the consequences.

Re:Summary of all posts (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33975810)

That doesn't answer my question about why Apple tried to make it thinner vs. better internals, ESPECIALLY considering the cheapest one still costs $999. Why not keep it the same thickness as the previous models? That way, there would be more aluminum, which would allow for better heat dispersion, which would allow for a better processor.

Re:Summary of all posts (1)

revscat (35618) | about 4 years ago | (#33975208)

did I miss any?

Only one: "LOL IT'S A NETBOOK".

Re:Summary of all posts (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 4 years ago | (#33975272)

Yes - "It's beauty justifies the $1000 price tag"

"Who needs ethernet/cd rom/othermissingfeature"

"I can cut cake with it though"

Etc.

Even though I hate Apple.... (2, Insightful)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | about 4 years ago | (#33975128)

I heard rumours of this system and held off on a new laptop purchase until after the announcement in the hopes they'd release something at a reasonable price tag and with hardware I'd like.

And they didn't.

$999 for the 11" cheap version of a system with a CPU that is already outdated? No thanks.

Instead, I bought an ASUS U30Jc: Core I3, 4G of RAM, 13.3" screen, aluminum, replaceable battery, relatively light, albeit not as thin as the macbook, and all for $200 less. Throw in an SSD and we're still at $100 less.

I mean, 1.4GHz? The used laptop I sold for $200 last week had a 1.6GHz dual core.

Is that what constitutes a review?? (4, Insightful)

topham (32406) | about 4 years ago | (#33975198)

Is that what constitutes a review today?

It reads like an ad for Toshiba. The battery life wasn't compared, they performed a test, declared it awful while acknowledging the test was completely unfair and they didn't do the same on the other devices compared. Statements like that in an article are intended to put a bad taste in someones mouth, while its dismissal is intended to imply they are being fair by not using it in the comparison.

Complete lack of professionalism.

Re:Is that what constitutes a review?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975324)

It also had a lovely auto-play audio ad, which ironically says "It helps me focus out data I'm not interested in." I didn't know PcMag was such a shitty publication.

Re:Is that what constitutes a review?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975762)

In other words, you're one of the many astroturfing Apple-haters (likely employed by Google) running rampant on every Apple article on Slashdot, working hard to turn people away from your competitor's products or any favorable coverage of them. Instant +5 Insightful!

Why isn't it black? (0, Flamebait)

retech (1228598) | about 4 years ago | (#33975354)

At least the screen bezel, why is that not black in keeping with the rest of Apple's current design scheme? For $1k, I'd expect perfection across the board, not halfassedness.

Before you tag this as flaimbait, it's just critique. I've had a Mac in some manner since 1988. But fanbois won't read this far down anyway.

No SSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33975358)

To be technically correct, there are no SSD in the new MacBook Air. Flash in located directly on the PCB.

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