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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:14 PM   #1
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The Other (Bigger) Market for the MacBook Air



As a follow up to the 3g Deal Breaker article, I thought I'd write some additional thoughts about the MacBook Air, and some reconsideration of my initial reaction.

Traditionally, the "sub-notebook" class of machine has tended to be marketed at the power-user, so that's how many of the media approached the MacBook Air... but that may have been the wrong way to look at it. In speaking to Xavier of Notebooks.com, he mentioned (and later wrote about) how that the MacBook Air instantly appealed to his wife, who is normally less than thrilled at the prospect of Xavier getting new hardware:
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I didn’t bother to consider my wife’s point of view on the MacBook Air until I got her Facebook status update (“…secretly hopes Xavier gets the MacBook Air."). But then I started thinking about how this new Mac will appeal to women. It’s slim enough to throw in a purse, is stylish and has very few cords, which creates clutter.
There's certainly a class of users who simply don't care about 3G, don't care about hooking up more than one USB peripheral to their MacBook. So, I'll concede that the many bloggers may not be the intended audience for the MacBook Air, and it could very well see wide consumer appeal.

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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:22 PM   #2
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*sheepish*



I hate being the stereotype... but I know I'm really tempted by the MBA. And it's not just the "lighter and more comfy in a purse" argument. I genuinely have been lusting after a MB style KB but backlit, love the magnetic latch, and yes, overall, would use a portable that much more if it were actually portable (as in, weighed less).

Argh. I should stop reading MR. Just gonna get me to lust after the darned thing more.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:27 PM   #3
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If the MBA really was aimed for a demographic of people who don't need all that stuff, why make it so expensive?
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:32 PM   #4
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It is a sexy computer. Only one usb port though? Surely they could have fit just one more.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:33 PM   #5
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It's actually not "that" expensive in the base configuration… (if you're a girl that doesn't care about the specs that is)!
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King-Louie View Post
If the MBA really was aimed for a demographic of people who don't need all that stuff, why make it so expensive?
brilliant. notebooks.com ummm...
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:39 PM   #7
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The next step in making everything wireless

Well I guess I am a chic now... Of course I care about tech, blah blah. But I think that apple is just setting the tone in their apple attitude. "You don't need 4 usb 2 firewire, DVD superextreme burner! you don't need wires"

I think this is paving the way to more of a wireless world of products. Importing pics, backing up, etc..

i would so rock the mba and be proud of it.

I just need 3k
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:43 PM   #8
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I agree, but I think that the price is too expensive for what it is.
The specs are lower than a Macbook and there is no way anyone could use that as his/her only machine.
However, I like the computer a lot and I really would've bought one had it been cheaper.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King-Louie View Post
If the MBA really was aimed for a demographic of people who don't need all that stuff, why make it so expensive?
Engineering/ design. Just because there are fewer ports or fewer gigs of storage, doesn't mean the machine is lesser. Nor does it mean it was cheaper to design or manufacture. There is always a premium for some aspect-- in this case, lightweight, slimness, portability.

Example: Lotus Elise, it's quite bare. Quite stripped down. The motor is decent. It's not as pricey as say, a Ferrari, but it's considered pricey and a great performer despite being "only a 4-banger." Why is that? It's super light. And the power to weight ratio is superb! The handling is fantastic! Why pay a premium for a short, tiny, car that has no real luxurious features? For a different sort of ride. For a different kind of performance.

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Originally Posted by IEatApples View Post
(if you're a girl that don't care about the specs that is)!
Right, because women are incapable of knowing or caring about specs, right?
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:52 PM   #10
running
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WOW!!!

Two of my friends, independently, told me, that their wives told them they would love to buy Air. This is gonna be a hit.


And btw, we are really living in a sad age, if man see his wife's needs only through facebook...
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnyd05 View Post
I agree, but I think that the price is too expensive for what it is.
The specs are lower than a Macbook and there is no way anyone could use that as his/her only machine.
However, I like the computer a lot and I really would've bought one had it been cheaper.
The overwhelming majority of computer users (especially notebook users) don't do any CPU intensive tasks. The MBA specs are more than ample and will be for years to come.

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Originally Posted by devilot View Post
Engineering/ design. Just because there are fewer ports or fewer gigs of storage, doesn't mean the machine is lesser. Nor does it mean it was cheaper to design or manufacture. There is always a premium for some aspect-- in this case, lightweight, slimness, portability.

Example: Lotus Elise, it's quite bare. Quite stripped down. The motor is decent. It's not as pricey as say, a Ferrari, but it's considered pricey and a great performer despite being "only a 4-banger." Why is that? It's super light. And the power to weight ratio is superb! The handling is fantastic! Why pay a premium for a short, tiny, car that has no real luxurious features? For a different sort of ride. For a different kind of performance.

Right, because women are incapable of knowing or caring about specs, right?
WOW, a Lotus Elise reference in a Mac forum... I think I'm in love with you, want to get married???
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilot View Post
Right, because women are incapable of knowing or caring about specs, right?
No no, you get me wrong! I'm not criticising women! I'm just saying that there's a large group of women (and there's of course also some men) that don't really care that much about specs, but they do care about the portability & "look" of the machine, and "they" won't necessarily see the MacBook air as "that" expensive.

… sorry devilot, didn't mean to offend! Peace!
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:12 PM   #13
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It is a sexy computer. Only one usb port though? Surely they could have fit just one more.
Maybe but it really is meant to be a 2nd machine, a true notebook in the sense of being just what you need to travel with and travel light. The desktop at home is your main machine or if you really need 15" or 17" size and power, then you do what people have done all along, carry the larger and slightly heavier machines. I think this machine really fits a perfect niche. Small, light, does what you need, surfing, writing, photos, etc, w/o the cumbersome aspects that a heaver machine brings.

As far as the port, get a pocket usb hub, those things are tiny, really my wife has one the size of a compact and it is 5 yrs old. I'm sure there are some pretty sleek ones out there. Better yet get one of those usb keypads that have two ports on them. Then you get a keypad and a couple ports. How much do you really need to hook up to this, especially at one time..
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Knob View Post
The overwhelming majority of computer users (especially notebook users) don't do any CPU intensive tasks. The MBA specs are more than ample and will be for years to come.
Yup. You know, that silly internet browsing stuff, really takes its toll.

Quote:
WOW, a Lotus Elise reference in a Mac forum... I think I'm in love with you, want to get married???
That depends... what sort of setup would I get? And after six months?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IEatApples View Post
... that don't really care that much about specs, but they do care about the portability & "look" of the machine, and "they" won't necessarily see the MacBook air as "that" expensive.
Ah, I misinterpreted your post. To be fair, weight is a spec-- just not as related to hardcore performance of the machine itself, no? But weight is a factor and for some, that matters more than whether or not a 3D rendered computer game will play w/ enough FPS.

Let's be honest here, nobody thinks this machine is cheap. But it's not meant to be-- and for the compact little package it is-- it just can't be all that cheap right now. Yes, in a little while, the flash storage will be cheaper. It wasn't that long ago that a 1GB USB thumb drive was considered outrageous and overpriced, and now? Manufacturers are giving them out for free after MIR!
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:21 PM   #15
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I generally agree. People just don't understand the product yet. I think it is spec'd out very well and will appeal because of its reasonable power and simplicity. There isn't a lot to fuss about with this machine. It is simple, powerful enough, light, stylish, and compact. If you want "more" then you need a more full featured machine...look elsewhere.

This thing will fly off the shelves once there are more in the wild.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:23 PM   #16
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True, weight IS a spec… one that Steve apparently is focusing a lot on!

I'm still waiting for an update to the iMac myself… just want a better graphics card… (I game)

And I'm not sure the air is a "girlie" machine, but I think it's gonna be bought by a lot more women then men!

I wish the MacBook would get a BTO option for a decent graphics card… maybe if they use the "air" processors they'll be able to fit one?
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:27 PM   #17
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I also think the article is onto something. My wife was hooked when she played with it and practiced carrying it yesterday at the Macworld Expo. The look and feel of the casing sealed the deal. She normally doesn't get passionate about computers but now we're both wishing our trees' bloom this spring will include 4 crisp $1000 bills (or 40 $100s)...

Agree with "roland.g" that it's really meant to be a second computer to the desktop at home. This is already true in my case: I have an iMac where I do real work and an iBook that allows me to do lighter stuff that I need to do away from the iMac - email, Web surfing, Quicken, Turbotax, some Word/Excel/Powerpoint where the MBA specs are quite sufficient... The "virtual local drive" solution in lieu of buying an external CD/DVD drive is brilliant!

Just my $0.02
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilot View Post
Yup. You know, that silly internet browsing stuff, really takes its toll.

That depends... what sort of setup would I get? And after six months?
How about I give you a MBA with SSD instead of your wedding ring, and you give me the Lotus instead of my ring?
After six months we divide up the wedding gifts and split up... but I have dibs on the Xserve if someone gives us one.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:30 PM   #19
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i wonder how it will run photo shop?
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:34 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by IEatApples View Post
It's actually not "that" expensive in the base configuration… (if you're a girl that don't care about the specs that is)!
What about a man that don't care about grammar? What would he think?
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:37 PM   #21
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I dunno... the target spectrum for the MBA was definitely not women - don't think that women cared about the Sony TZ series before the MBA nor do I think that women would care that much about things like battery life, as SJ espoused so much during the keynote (thinking stereotypically, you would leave home, go to Starbucks, plug it in, go to the office, plug it in, etc, and not usually use it for the battery as you would on a plane or something) - it would be more about the weight, good looks, and not having to give up performance (I may be wrong, but I'm not female so excuse me and don't kill me please XD)

Given that though... it's possible SJ has an insta-hit on his hands once this gets shipped out. It's not like they have that many of them to make anyways, cause they're not even BTO - all the possible hardware configs are:

1) 1.6 GHz HDD
2) 1.8 GHz HDD
1) 1.6 GHZ SSD
2) 1.8 GHz SSD

,not including keyboard languages, so Apple can potentially just roll them off the lines and churn them out faster to meet demand. Oh well, sucks for SJ that MWSF is in January because if this is really going to be a hit with a lot of women I know that a ton of guys would have gotten their SO's this as a gift.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:58 PM   #22
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Granted women make up 51% of the population, but I don't think it's financially viable to make laptops that appeal to them. I don't have any figures, but just in being out and about, I very rarely see women using computers. I see men at Starbucks every day on laptops, but I don't know that I've ever seen a woman. Hopefully SOMEBODY likes the MBA or it'll go the way of the Cube: precious but expensive.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 07:03 PM   #23
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not for me....yet

but haven't seen one in the flesh, so you never know...

however, considering it's being heavily sold on it's supposed beauty in addition to practicality, am surprised there is not a black (or more discrete colour) option. they recognise the value in the MacBook range. they even charge a premium, presumably as they know it's desirable enough.

it's the slimmest laptop in the world. why not colour it in it's most slimming of choice? hang on, what am i thinking.....rev2 obviously......
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 07:11 PM   #24
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Granted women make up 51% of the population, but I don't think it's financially viable to make laptops that appeal to them. I don't have any figures, but just in being out and about, I very rarely see women using computers. I see men at Starbucks every day on laptops, but I don't know that I've ever seen a woman. Hopefully SOMEBODY likes the MBA or it'll go the way of the Cube: precious but expensive.
I guess my anecdotal evidence cancels your anecdotal evidence 'cause I see women, at places like Starbucks, using laptops all the time.

I'm not a chic, but down the road I might end up w/an MBA (or MBA Rev.B) 'cause it's pretty close to the ideal laptop for my needs. I have a desktop for heavy lifting and I'm looking for light computer usage on the road. I've actually been debating if an iPhone would meet my simple mobile needs instead of getting a laptop, but the MBA seems to meet those two in the middle.


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Old Jan 17, 2008, 07:12 PM   #25
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I'll be getting one!

I was initially disappointed that the footprint wasn't a bit smaller - more like the Sony sub-note book footprint, however I am looking for a light computer I can take with me anyware that will complement my Mac Pro (photoshop, etc)....... MBA appears to fit the bill,... it looks pricey if you don't put value on size and weight (or lack of).
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