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Technology and the occasional justified rant

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Thinnovation

Okay, here’s a big helping of double-standards. We’ve discussed the BBC news site’s slightly Microsoft-centric skew on the world of technology, but I don’t mind Apple getting a bit of airtime. I was told that “the BBC don’t do product announcements”, so obviously their coverage of the latest Apple-fest in the court of King Steve is purely about interesting technology… it just so happens that Apple happened to have announced some new products during MacWorld. Imagine that.

MacBook AirNow, I have to admit that I haven’t, as yet, harboured any great desire to own a Mac. Wild Bill will probably hunt me down during the next week and subject me to several hours of reasoning. Or he might just stay in the bar, we’ll see. But I can’t help but admire Apple’s latest offering, the MacBook Air. It’s 0.76 inches thick at it’s thickest point. How do they do that? It weighs three pounds. Crikey. What they don’t tell you is that you need an aluminium case weighing ten pounds to carry it round in to make sure your wafer-thin Mac doesn’t snap in half (that’s not true, but you get the point). What is true is that to get to those vital statistics it doesn’t have a CD drive, but Apple have invented ‘Remote Disc’ (accessing CD drives over Wifi) to compensate.

Two further things occurred to me while watching the guided tour. Firstly, the lid is as flat as an After Eight mint… so how the hell did they fit a webcam in there? Amazing. Second, when John (that’s his name) demonstrates Remote Disc, look at the Windows-based computer he puts the CD in. Could they have picked a lumpier ugly-looking beast? Just look how that contrasts with the MacBook Air’s beauty. That’s Apple for you… nice products, great marketing.

…works for Microsoft as a Global Account Technology Strategist. In a former life he worked for the Lotus brand within IBM for many years. Married with one daughter and two dogs, lives in Camberley (Surrey, England), plays the guitar to a mediocre standard, and runs 10 kms and half marathons at an average speed. That’s it really.

Apple

Darren Adams • 15 January 2008


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Comments

  1. Steve 15 January 2008 - 11:15 pm Reply

    As a follow up, I watched a brief interview with the Black Turtle Necked one and he said that the case of the Air is actually machined Aluminium ( or Aluminum as they like to call it here ) so it may be slighly more robust than it looks.
    So a great product, but it didn’t help the share price today. It went down like a German WW2 Meschershmitt.

  2. Roberto Boccadoro 16 January 2008 - 6:05 pm Reply

    Daz, at the risk of having Wild Bill chase me with a chainsaw I have to agree with some of the doubts expressed by our colleague Gene Leo in his blog (sorry folks, can’t link directly because is an IBM internal blog).

    “Pros:

    * Wow factor
    * Thin, light, great looking
    * Core 2 Duo
    * 2GB RAM
    * “Only” $1799 USD

    Cons:

    * 80GB 1.8″ HDD @ 4200rpm.. Most thinkpads nowadays are either 5400 or 7200rpm.. If only it were 5400… Please note this is the exact same drive in the iPod Classics
    * 64GB SDD option is… Oh my.. a $999 USD option
    * No built in Ethernet – wifi only!
    * No PCMCIA or Express card slot (for cellular cards)

    Because of it’s size, I understand these following limits:

    * External DVD drive (extra $99)
    * One USB port
    * Adapter to display externally (e.g. no VGA port)

    When I saw the price of $1799, I was ready to pre-order it with the SSD (thinking it would maybe be $300 more.. But $999?!?!? I was heart broken.. I guess I should have done some research to set my expectations (128GB SSD goes for $4000 or so) Yes, I know, 64GB is not alot of space.. My take is, neither is 80GB. Either way, I would need an external usb drive anyway. By limiting myself HDD wise, I could really determine what to keep on the internal versus files that could be on the external..
    At this point, I cannot see this as a feasible work laptop replacement. I think the one deal breaker was that the only network option is wifi.. no built in ethernet, no pciexpress slot for cellular cards.. ”

    My take is that fine piece of metal will be great for the “average” user, but from what I see it falls short for a power user like me.
    RoB

  3. Steve 17 January 2008 - 12:41 am Reply

    I think the main market for this will be the “on a plane half my life” brigade where the size and weight will be a major plus.

    I also think that this product is forward looking and able to take advantage of developments in wireless networking in the future, especially if the US gives the go ahead for wireless networks on planes.

    I agree that the $999 SSD option is a bit of a shocker, but how soon will it come down in price now that one of the “Majors” is offering it as an option. Pretty quick is my guess.
    The development of this kind of technology is driven purely by demand.

    Intel shrank the Core 2 Duo by about 40% to meet the Apple spec for this machine. My guess is that the Flash Drive guys can do the same. I remember when a 1GB Memory Card for my camera was $150. I can now buy a 4GB card for $49.

    What happens when IBM, Sony, Dell or HP suddenly decide that SSD is the way to go. They certainly wont want Apple to get too far ahead in this field.

    Watch this space but my guess is that the price will halve within 6 months and a bigger 124GB version will be available within a year.

  4. Lucy D. 16 April 2008 - 12:17 pm Reply

    here’s a nice rewiew on the Apple’s Macbook Air pros and cons: http://www.maconair.com/the_pros_and_cons

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