Apple debuts the ultra-thin MacBook Air
After many months filled with rumors of an ultra-thin notebook from Apple, Steve Jobs finally made the announcement we’ve all been expecting to hear. This new super-thin creature has been dubbed the MacBook Air, for several reasons no doubt. I would venture to guess that the “Air” was eluding to the fact that not only does it weigh very little (around 3lbs) but it also relies heavily on your wireless connection.
I have to say that I’m impressed and underwhelmed by this new 13-inch MacBook. The fact that they made these things between 0.16 and 0.76 inches thick (depending where you measure) is just incredible. Unfortunately, beyond its size, looks and multi-touch trackpad, that’s all that impresses me. You have to sacrifice a lot to get something this thin, most notably is the optical drive. Don’t worry, Apple has developed a way to actually use another computer’s optical drive over your wireless connection.
You’re also going to lose ports, as you only get a single USB port, a Micro-DVI connector and a headphone jack. Sure, you’re going to get 5 hours of battery life, but don’t even think about swapping that dead battery out for a new one, as they aren’t user-replaceable. You’re also going to only get 1.6GHz of processing power out of the Core 2 Duo chip, which really isn’t too bad for a machine this size. The 80GB drive and 2GB of RAM should be adequate for most of your needs.
Like most things Apple offers, there is a high-end model of the MacBook Air. You can bump the processor up to a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo and switch out that boring old 4200-rpm hard drive with a shiny new 64GB SSD drive. That sounds more like a machine that I would want to get my hands on.
So does ultra-thin mean ultra-cheap? Of course not, it’s more like ultra-expensive. The base model will run you $1,799 while the high-end unit will set you back a whopping $3,098. That’s right, you’re going to pay $1,300 for a modest CPU increase and a SSD drive, not worth it. There’s one reason why I haven’t bought myself a new Mac (and consequently do all my work on a PC now) and that’s the high price. I guess I’ll just keep waiting for a new Mac desktop that doesn’t cost nearly $3,000 (or includes a monitor that I don’t need, or is underpowered like the mini).