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Old Jan 28, 2008, 12:14 PM   #1
sanford
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MacBook Air Ports, Opened

Okay, I've been wondering about this for some time. This *can't be right*, but someone linked to a video of a Cnet review of the MB Air, and it sure looks right. The ports are not only covered as is readily observed, but drop down out of a recessed chamber in the case. The cover either shuts when you set the MacBook Air down flat, or "locks" -- not really locks, but requires more than pressure of working on it to cause it to close up. If it shuts, unless it's like hanging off the edge of a desk or your knees or something, how do you use it on a flat surface with a pair of headphones or USB device connected? Logic dictates it locks into position until enough pressure is applied to close it.

So unless there is some amazing magic I am completely missing.

With a pair of headphones or USB device connected, *you have to type on it with it resting on an incline*. I'm either laughing hysterically or sobbing uncontrollably, although which I'm not sure.

I think the MB Air looks great, it's not slow, not at all for what it's intended. Limited connectivity and storage, again for it's sort of satellite nature, that's acceptable. There are always trade-offs. For example, great graphics chips give you great graphics; they also get fairly hot.

But, oh my God, but... You can't expect a user listening to music with headphones or charging their iPhone on the USB port to *use the thing on an incline" if they're using the MB Air on a desk, table or any flat surface.

Here's the link: http://reviews.cnet.com/macbook-air/?tag=bubbl_3

The embedded video uses a countdown "time code". Start at about 00:00:55:00, watch about ten or twelves seconds, you'll see what I mean. Somebody tell me I'm wrong (you know, with evidence).
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 12:16 PM   #2
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It has a mono audio output. This isn't an iPod.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 12:25 PM   #3
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On some pictures it looks like it might be possible to have it open and still lie flat.

An Netdog, that is complete FUD. The built in speaker is mono but the audio jack is definitely stereo.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 12:33 PM   #4
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The ports are level with the desk when open. You are missing the fact that the MBA sits on feet which raise it off the surface a little.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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The ports are level with the desk when open. You are missing the fact that the MBA sits on feet which raise it off the surface a little.
That port bay is at least third of an inch, maybe more. The feet are nowhere near that high. Besides the fact which I called an Apple Store and the guy there had not used one, but had done sales training and he confirms from the videos, with the port bay open, it sits on an incline on a flat surface, like a desk. Damn. It's out for me.

Otherwise, it's a fairly *slight* incline. If you don't sit and write 5 hours a day, you won't care, you may not even notice at all. Nobody wig out. It's just disappointing for me, as I wanted one, but it won't work for me, even considering it only a satellite Mac. Again, do not go all Air-hugging on me. Just because it's unusable for me doesn't mean it's not the perfect portable Mac for you.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 01:28 PM   #6
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You're also missing the fact that the edge of the MBA's case tapers quite a bit, so the height available = thickest point of the case + the rubber feet.

I watched that video and I can't see what you see, not to mention the fact that it's resting on a cloth or blanket of some sort, so you can't tell how it would look on a normal level surface.

Do you really think Apple would release a laptop that you had to balance on a bit of plastic when you connected a mouse or headphones? Do you?
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 01:30 PM   #7
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Again, do not go all Air-hugging on me. Just because it's unusable for me doesn't mean it's not the perfect portable Mac for you.
You are misinterpreting whatever you think you can see. When open, the ports rest on the desk, level with the underneath of the feet.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 02:31 PM   #8
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It's just disappointing for me, as I wanted one, but it won't work for me, even considering it only a satellite Mac.
Fully open, the ports don't change any of the angles. The MBA still rests flat.

Look at the side view on this page: http://www.apple.com/macbookair/features.html
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 02:40 PM   #9
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That port bay is at least third of an inch, maybe more. The feet are nowhere near that high. Besides the fact which I called an Apple Store and the guy there had not used one, but had done sales training and he confirms from the videos, with the port bay open, it sits on an incline on a flat surface, like a desk. Damn. It's out for me.

Otherwise, it's a fairly *slight* incline. If you don't sit and write 5 hours a day, you won't care, you may not even notice at all. Nobody wig out. It's just disappointing for me, as I wanted one, but it won't work for me, even considering it only a satellite Mac. Again, do not go all Air-hugging on me. Just because it's unusable for me doesn't mean it's not the perfect portable Mac for you.
You think Apple uses the crappy "design" of MS products? Unfortunately you are wrong. Next time, you should actually visit apple.com and see the pictures before making false assumptions.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 02:41 PM   #10
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Do you really think Apple would release a laptop that you had to balance on a bit of plastic when you connected a mouse or headphones? Do you?
Agreed. I don't think Apple would have spent whatever millions designing the MBA to have some sort of stupid flaw like that. How many designs did Steve Jobs say they went through before settling on the current design?
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 02:52 PM   #11
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It has a mono audio output. This isn't an iPod.
It has mono SPEAKERS, this doesn't mean in any way that the headphone output is mono. I would bet the out is stereo unless someone posts a link to the spec saying otherwise (not that this was related to the OP's question anyway).
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 04:19 PM   #12
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You're also missing the fact that the edge of the MBA's case tapers quite a bit, so the height available = thickest point of the case + the rubber feet.

I watched that video and I can't see what you see, not to mention the fact that it's resting on a cloth or blanket of some sort, so you can't tell how it would look on a normal level surface.

Do you really think Apple would release a laptop that you had to balance on a bit of plastic when you connected a mouse or headphones? Do you?
Uh, yeah. I've seen some interesting flaws make it into Macs. Aluminum PowerBooks, the lids never lined up when closed.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 04:34 PM   #13
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It has mono SPEAKERS, this doesn't mean in any way that the headphone output is mono. I would bet the out is stereo unless someone posts a link to the spec saying otherwise (not that this was related to the OP's question anyway).
Yep thats been discussed already in other posts and in regards to the specs. The headphone port is stereo and some are saying that it also has the usual optical out via tosslink adapter.

Only the laptop speaker is mono, but realistically who can discern decent stereo on any of the other mac laptops ? Just another avenue for the haters of the MBA to vent their frustration.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 04:50 PM   #14
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You think Apple uses the crappy "design" of MS products? Unfortunately you are wrong. Next time, you should actually visit apple.com and see the pictures before making false assumptions.
You guys crack me up. Apple customers with an Apple-buying, Mac-using history dating back to, conspicuously, about the release window of the third- generation iPod.

Even in the last decade, Apple products are rife with design flaws. I still like their design, but nobody's perfect. The multi-button Mighty Mouse, in attempt to make it look like it only really has one button, it's more flawed than many unabashed multi-button mice. But I like the look, so bought a wireless model. Same with the new wireless keyboard. An external wireless keyboard most often purchased by notebook users so they get wireless convenience and a numeric keypad, but there's *no numeric keypad* on the new. It however looks nice, the keyboard itself is what I prefer and am accustomed to on my MacBook, and I wanted wireless, so I bought one. Would still like the numeric keypad, as would most people who buy a wired or wireless external keyboard for a notebook, though it's not critical for me.

The iMac G4 in the 15" LCD display model was stunning. At 17" it was a bit weird. At 20" it was a freaking design disaster.

That big MB Air profile shot is an artist's rendition, very unlikely, or a shot the photographer staged to make everything line up, as in, he partially closed the port door. Ever work in marketing, PR or advertising, especially as a creative director, or even in a role with the duties of creative director for campaigns? I did, for 12 years. Advertising photography's representation of products is, ah, hmm, well, *adjusted* to provide the most aesthetically pleasing shots. Ad photogs who shoot product shots straight find new careers, but quick. If you look at Apple's own video and one of the stills, right above that big profile shot, you can see when fully opened the port bay door hangs below the bottom of the MB Air.

Hey, you guys do as you please, but I'll go with the Apple Store rep I spoke with who's seen the less foofed training videos and agreed, yeah, it sits at an angle with the port bay open. We both agreed, having not actually put hands on it, perhaps it *just really looks* that way and the the gap is somehow a visual illusion, or works out one way or another. But, he said, you know, it sure absolutely *looks* like it rests on an incline on a flat surface with the port bay open.

As for MS design, the limited hardware they make, the ergonomics and overall design are fine. Before Apple made multi-button mice, lots of Mac users bought MS multi-button USB mice as they were considered the best of the rest. As for the Xbox 360, nothing wrong with external design there; indeed it's well put together. The problem with that thing is inside: heat generation and dissipation, or lack thereof, and stupidly, maybe cheaply, using a DVD drive without a stabilizer. Their VC-1 video codec is mighty fine. They make some good games. Most of their other software, OS and otherwise, is fairly poor, though.

I have a question: When you guys get your MacBook Airs in hand, how are you going to get any work done hugging them all the time?
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 05:07 PM   #15
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Fixed that for you...
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Originally Posted by sanford View Post
I see deadly flaws...
If you don't like something, don't get it.

I guess I'll hug my 17" iPod (Santa Rosa MBP)... =p

Last edited by Consultant; Jan 28, 2008 at 05:16 PM.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 05:56 PM   #16
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We both agreed, having not actually put hands on it, perhaps it *just really looks* that way and the the gap is somehow a visual illusion, or works out one way or another.
It just looks that way. Watch this video and you can see a close up view of them opening it up. Clearly, it doesn't hang below the bottom of the MBA. There is no doubt you'll be able to plug everything in with it sitting flat on a desk. They did change the magsafe plug so it would fit when the laptop is on a flat surface.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2249752,00.asp

Judging by your posts, it seems like you may be looking for a problem where there isn't one.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 05:59 PM   #17
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The open port bay does not interfere with the machine lying flat on a desk...I've played with it.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 06:13 PM   #18
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Same with the new wireless keyboard. An external wireless keyboard most often purchased by notebook users so they get wireless convenience and a numeric keypad, but there's *no numeric keypad* on the new. It however looks nice, the keyboard itself is what I prefer and am accustomed to on my MacBook, and I wanted wireless, so I bought one. Would still like the numeric keypad, as would most people who buy a wired or wireless external keyboard for a notebook, though it's not critical for me.

Not to nitpick but I don't think that's a design flaw. I think it's just a calculated exclusion of the numeric keypad.

Also, it's really not fair to say "most people" when referring to the reason for buying an external keyboard. I know 4 people (self included) that have laptops and external keyboards and they all bought them use the laptop with an external display (while the laptop is closed). I also read online in a forum that everyone was doing the same. So, using your method, I could then make the statement that everyone buys external keyboards so they can use it with an external monitor... I could do that, but I'd be wrong. If I had stats to back it up, maybe, but if I'm just making a statement it's useless to say things like "most" or "a lot" just to try to back-up your point.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 06:25 PM   #19
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Let's just close this thread.

Obviously, some of the participants will not accept any evidence that shows their assessment incorrect. They believe what they believe, and will only have their view changed when they see the product in person.

(Note that I am not mentioning which side I believe, because I am seeing the behavior from both sides; and for all I know, I am wrong in my assessment.)
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 06:30 PM   #20
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Let's just close this thread.

Obviously, some of the participants will not accept any evidence that shows their assessment incorrect. They believe what they believe, and will only have their view changed when they see the product in person.

(Note that I am not mentioning which side I believe, because I am seeing the behavior from both sides; and for all I know, I am wrong in my assessment.)
yeah, I think that would be a good idea...
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 06:36 PM   #21
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It just looks that way. Watch this video and you can see a close up view of them opening it up. Clearly, it doesn't hang below the bottom of the MBA. There is no doubt you'll be able to plug everything in with it sitting flat on a desk. They did change the magsafe plug so it would fit when the laptop is on a flat surface.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2249752,00.asp

Judging by your posts, it seems like you may be looking for a problem where there isn't one.
You've misjudged. I'm prefer there be no problem. Any caustic tone I acquired along the way is because in my second post, early on, I stated:

"Otherwise, it's a fairly *slight* incline. If you don't sit and write 5 hours a day, you won't care, you may not even notice at all. Nobody wig out. It's just disappointing for me, as I wanted one, but it won't work for me, even considering it only a satellite Mac. Again, do not go all Air-hugging on me. Just because it's unusable for me doesn't mean it's not the perfect portable Mac for you."

And then I get things from The Consultant In Illiteracy, altering a quotation of mine to read, "I see deadly flaws...", which I did not write -- by the way, altering a written quotation so that it looks like I really did write his version is grossly unethical. Then the usual "If you don't like something, don't buy it". Yet I clearly stated, I do like it, I do want one, I had planned surely on buying one this week at an Apple Store, but I do not want to spend $1,800 or $18 on something that ultimately doesn't suit me. I was disappointed that if there is an incline resting on a desk it might be a problem for me, although I stated straight out I could be missing something, and, finally, I made it crystal clear that just because something might not be right for me doesn't mean it's pitch perfect for someone else.

So your judgment is poor in this case: I'm not "looking for a problem that isn't there" but was rather hoping what I perceived as a problem wasn't indeed one. But as usual rather than just some helpful posts countering my concerns, I'm met with a long string of thinly veiled invective from a bunch of morons who bought online a $2,000 computer, a new model of a new design, *site unseen* -- because they're panicked something might be slightly flawed -- I did use that word and even emphasized it, *slightly*.

Yeah, all that's fairly irritating. Damn if all these lemmings -- ha, how many of you "Mac faithful" even recall that reference from firsthand experience -- would stop typing here, and go put their passion into buying Apple stock, the company's share price would probably climb right back up there.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 06:39 PM   #22
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Let's just close this thread.

Obviously, some of the participants will not accept any evidence that shows their assessment incorrect. They believe what they believe, and will only have their view changed when they see the product in person.

(Note that I am not mentioning which side I believe, because I am seeing the behavior from both sides; and for all I know, I am wrong in my assessment.)
Thus quoth me "[The Apple Store rep and I] both agreed, having not actually put hands on it, perhaps it *just really looks* that way and the the [sic] gap is somehow a visual illusion, or works out one way or another."

Since I'm the only individual writing in this thread who has written I might see a problem, you must be talking about me as the sole representative of one side. But I've clearly admitted my assessment could be inaccurate. So, ah, who are you talking about then, this other phantom on my side?
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 06:43 PM   #23
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You've misjudged. I'm prefer there be no problem. Any caustic tone I acquired along the way...
I apologize. I actually was trying to be helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanford View Post
But as usual rather than just some helpful posts countering my concerns, I'm met with a long string of thinly veiled invective...
There was a poster above who had hands-on experience that said it isn't a problem.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 06:45 PM   #24
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the existence of this thread will lead to an inevitable "told you so" thread in the future by some party.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 06:48 PM   #25
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There was a poster above who had hands-on experience that said it isn't a problem.
But seriously, wouldn't someone that visited that gigantic table full of MBAs at MacWorld say something about it. Maybe one of the hands-on reviews that have appeared. Maybe in an article somewhere discussing how other magsafe cables don't work unless at the edge of a table?
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