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View Full Version : The MBAir design philosophy has merit: Carry it when you need it




mashoutposse
Jan 21, 2008, 01:20 PM
I'm talking of course about all of the features/extras that Apple boldly decided to leave out.

After thinking more about the actual day-to-day with the Air, the apparent shift in philosophy makes sense.

Personally, my usage patterns are such that, for the majority of the time, all of my MBP's extra hardware features (over the MBA) are not being utilized. Say, 80% of the time. Away from my desk, I would put it at very close to 100%. Anecdotally, it appears that many (most?) are similar to myself in this regard.

Currently, as an MBP owner I am forced to carry all of this 'useless' equipment with me everywhere. Why should I?

With the exception of Firewire, all of these features can be added to the MBA through the single USB port. So, I can carry the USB-powered Superdrive with me for the relatively few times I need it (or just leave it on my desk), and enjoy the slim form factor and friendly weight of the stock MBA for the other 80-95% of the time. Same could be said for ethernet, USB hubs, and all the other "missing" features. For a portable device, this is really what makes the most sense!

Of course, all of this is compelling only if your usage patterns are similar to that described above. Still, I feel that Apple isn't getting enough credit for pushing things in this direction.

After waffling for the past couple of days, I've decided to buy one (going with the base as a hedge against rapidly falling SSD prices/iPhone-like price break).



KingYaba
Jan 21, 2008, 01:22 PM
Some of us like to be over prepared.

mkrishnan
Jan 21, 2008, 01:23 PM
That's exactly my thinking. I carried my four-and-a-half pound iBook so much more than I would have carried a seven or eight pound notebook, when I wasn't sure if I'd use it. I carry my Eee, which weighs two pounds, far more than I carried my iBook, because it has nearly no cost to me -- it fits in any bag I carry around, briefcase, backpack, messenger bag, and it's there if I need it.

Like you imply, you have to balance what you can do with it at times you might not otherwise have had a computer with you, vs. what you could do with it at times when you'd have a heavier laptop with you anyway, and might be able to do a little more.

mashoutposse
Jan 21, 2008, 01:36 PM
@KingYaba: Good thing they didn't discontinue the MBPs ;)

That's exactly my thinking. I carried my four-and-a-half pound iBook so much more than I would have carried a seven or eight pound notebook, when I wasn't sure if I'd use it. I carry my Eee, which weighs two pounds, far more than I carried my iBook, because it has nearly no cost to me -- it fits in any bag I carry around, briefcase, backpack, messenger bag, and it's there if I need it.

Like you imply, you have to balance what you can do with it at times you might not otherwise have had a computer with you, vs. what you could do with it at times when you'd have a heavier laptop with you anyway, and might be able to do a little more.

I already leave my MBP home too much of the time. If there were some way to strip off the optical drive and a few ports before stepping out...

clayj
Jan 21, 2008, 01:43 PM
Mashout, exactly.

And it's worth noting that Apple's decision to do this comes into the game somewhat late. I still have a Sony notebook from 2001 (the PCG-R505TSK) which does not have a built-in optical drive... if you wanted the optical drive, you could either buy an outboard drive (FireWire or USB), or you could buy a "slimdock" which attached to the bottom of the notebook (making it considerably thicker) and which added an optical drive, floppy drive, and extra ports.

That's the secret: Make it optional. Optional lets you save weight and volume, and it also lets you save money by not forcing you to buy things you don't want or need.

mashoutposse
Jan 21, 2008, 02:08 PM
That's the secret: Make it optional. Optional lets you save weight and volume, and it also lets you save money by not forcing you to buy things you don't want or need.

Yes.

This concept makes perfect sense in today's world of Thumbdrives, super-small USB hubs, WiFi, et cetera. The powered $99 slim Superdrive alone is a strong hint that it's time (Sony used to charge ~$500 for a similar option around the release of your R505).

roland.g
Jan 21, 2008, 02:42 PM
Agreed. You have to realize that most of the MBA bashers are the same sick people who complain all day long about when is Apple going to give me this or that and update this etc., ad nauseum. And they want it at half the price. Their sense of entitlement screams of the teenage and twentysomething wasteland that fills this country (and other parts of the world) today with that spoiled don't want to work for give me this and that for free attitude.

The real problem with switchers is that so many of them are PC users comes over from building/upgrading/or just plain buying their own systems for gaming and they expect Apple to produce Mac Pros and MBPs as well as even MBs for that purpose with the latest state of the art blah blah blah, and then they whine about the pricing and why isn't it here already etc. etc. etc.

/end rant.

SheriffParker
Jan 21, 2008, 02:45 PM
Makes sense to me.

mashoutposse
Jan 21, 2008, 03:30 PM
The concept will be clearer to the detractors when the Macbook Air can be seen and touched in person. People who have seen it in person seem to have a much more positive opinion of it.

JasonBourne9
Jan 21, 2008, 03:43 PM
I'll repost what I wrote a few days ago about the actual use of all these useful ports, expansion options, features, etc... that the MBA doesn't have by someone in the target market (in this case, me).

I am a real traveling executive - not a teenager who plays games and posts on the internet all day. I carry my laptop with me everywhere. I don't have a real office with a desk where I could leave my laptop if I wanted to. My work has provided me with a pretty high end windows tablet. have used the following features on it this many times in the past year:
- USB slot: maybe 100 times
- Second USB slot: 0 times
- Ethernet port: once (stupid client office without wifi and walls too thick to use EVDO card)
- Optical drive: 0 (it doesn't have one)
- Firewire: 0 (it doesn't have one)
- Video out: 50 times (outputing to a LCD projector for presentations)
- EVDO card: every day
- Wifi: everyday
- 60GB drive: No problem for me - maybe 2/3 full. It's a portable work machine, I have work files, emails, and basic office application etc... on it. No need for oodles of space for media and porn.
- Core 2 duo at 1.6GHz and 2GB RAM: plenty of capability for my needs
- Tablet functionality: roughly 5 times. Mostly it's a gimmick for me
- 5 lbs weight and 1.5" thickness for a device with a 1024x768 screen: pisses me off every single day.
- Windows XP: AAARGGG!!!! Please get me a mac!

So based on my use, the only thing that seems 'missing' from the MBA is built-in EVDO. I really wish Apple had offered that as a BTO option. Everything else is perfectly fine for my needs as a real member of the target market.

I do think people seeing/feeling them in person might help turn the tide away from juvenile, self-obsessed bashing. I guess we'll see.