Couldn't the MacBook Air be better than the iPad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by entatlrg, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    If you increased the battery life on the Air and gave it 3G I think it could be better than an iPad?

    The Air's full keyboard, bigger screen, it's light and easy to carry does more with less effort and more convenience, right? I think so.

    The iPad seems to be created for a market that doesn't yet exist and maybe doesn't need to exist? Now software developers and publishers are working to make their content iPad compatible which (I think) with the intention of getting us to pay for services, such as New York Times etc, things which we're getting free now browsing on a computer.

    Do we need this new product and market that Apple seems to have created, the world's business climate needs it ... but does the consumer.

    The iPad will not be as productive as device to use as compared to a MacBook Air, not yet anyway. Very very convenient yes ... but looks what's it's doing already, a whole new market of software, accessories, ipad bags, keyboards is here now...

    What are we going to carry our iPad with our laptops on the way to work because it's convenient to take from your briefcase and read the newspaper, and then once we arrive at the office we have to reach in our bag for our laptop to get 'real work' done ... now you're carrying less instead of more.

    I don't know, the big picture is us all having some kind of powerful ipad device in the future with no laptops in use I guess ... the iPad by then will likely do it all .... plug it into peripherals and it'll be a work horse.

    The demise of the laptop as we know it? Or, is the iPad a product we didn't need in the first place, .... I wonder?
  2. macrumors 65816

    Mar 19, 2008
    This is an interesting point.

    I still think those trying to put up pay walls are going to have a rough go as there will always be someone willing to do an alternative business model for news and keep the website open and free.

    Will you pay or simply look elsewhere?

    I'm just going to go elsewhere.
  3. thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I found myself with 'iPad fever' like many others counting the hours until I can get my hands on one ...

    The more I thought about it the more I wonder do I/we need to carry another electronic device?

    And, for who will this iPad be a true laptop replacement. Ok, I can hear the roar now "it's NOT meant to be a laptop replacement" then if we agree with that point we're back to my first point, do we really need to carry another device.

    Now we have:
    MacBook Air's and MBP's ...

    add the iPad ... buy the keyboard and stand, chargers etc ...

    and you've got overkill.

    What would you get rid of first? Not likely the iPhone as you need a phone and a pocketable device for web, email etc. The laptop you need to do any sort of moderate heavy work. iPad doesn't fit into this equation?

    In the iPad's infancy once the wow/cool factor wears off Apple better come back with a LOT more powerful iPads that we can use to replace our notebooks.

    Will be interesting...

    This iPad frenzy isn't doing our MacBook Air's any good right now ...
  4. macrumors 68000

    Jun 2, 2006
    the instant on, long battery life and app store for games which i favor the ipad more than the macbook air.

    im gonna sell my rev B macbook air and buy 2 ipads for my me and my wife. currently, all i do is browsing with my air. i might as well exchange it for the iPad which i can browse website while laying on my bed..
  5. macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2008
    Calgary, Alberta
    The MBA appeal isn't entirely their for me anymore now that the iPad is nearing, based on MY current uses of the device. I have clicktoflash because the MBA does not handle flash well, and that's regardless if I'm using my wife's Rev a or my rev c MBA, as well I'm not fond of ADS! I mainly use it for email, VNC to my MBP, browsing, some light reading, chat (msn), youtube, excel (very little) which iPad can do well with exception to excel where i'll need to use numbers.

    The large appeal on the MBA was the size and weight, if I needed strong productivity apps I have my MBP in my main room. I have 3 chargers for my MBA around the house (living room, bedroom, computer room). Now with the iPad I can have chargers in each of these rooms with a smaller more portable device to meet all my current needs of my Air. I'll admit it's not a "NEED" product but neither was the MBA.

    The only issue I have with the iPad is the lack of a front facing camera for skype video conferencing... although something I would only use in travelling for myself and the wife it is a large inconvenience and hopefully will be rectified in a refresh.

    Gooo apple!
  6. macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2009
    the macbook air is one of the nicest around.

    I just hate the cost factor...
  7. TSX
    macrumors 68030


    Oct 1, 2008
    That's why ive been looking at a MBA, at first i thought about an iPad but it doesn't support flash which some school stuff requires flash websites. So i hopefully can get a used MBA for a couple hundred more than an iPad.
  8. macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Of course it can be better than the iPad... for some things. For other things, I think the iPad will be nicer. ;)

  9. macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I think you missed one :)

    Not counting my 15" MBP that I use exclusively for work, I have:

    27" i7 iMac
    13" MBA (personal laptop)
    64 GB 3G iPad (pending delivery end of April)
    32 GB 3GS iPhone

    First off... I think the combination of the 27" i7 iMac and the MBA is perfect. I love the MBA... but I would probably not recommend it for someone who wants to use it as their one and only computer. I know some people live with just a MBA... but I would feel "underpowered". I use the i7 for all of my heavier duty computing (ex: editing websites, Aperture, transcoding videos)... and my MBA compliments the i7 for "casual computing" around the house, as well as being the perfect travel companion.

    Having said that... I do think that my MBA and my iPhone will both see somewhat less usage as a result of getting an iPad. I think that some (but not all) of my "casual computing" will move to the iPad. I also think that I will pick up the iPad over the iPhone for web surfing whenever I have both available. Hence... both the MBA and iPhone will likely be used less.

    So... in the end I will have 4 tiers of computing from my large desktop down to my iPhone. They will all use the same basic architecture, share all important data via Mobile Me and Dropbox... all of my passwords will automatically sync via 1password, and my bookmarks will stay in sync via xmarks. It will not matter which machine I pick up... I will have my data everywhere... so I can use whichever tool is most convenient for my particular job at hand.

  10. macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2010
    macbook air sucks, it just looks nice, cant even do casual computing, its more like a faster netbook
  11. macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    You are certainly welcome to your opinion... but I have owned a lot of laptops in my life... and nothing comes even close to a MBA as far as being the perfect laptop for my use.

    I have also owned netbooks... and for every use that I have encountered... I just cannot agree with your statement.

  12. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    A MBA could be better than an iPad if they reduce the weight by 50%, lost the keyboard, and add an capacitive touch screen.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Yes, MBA is better. That's why it's $1000 more.

    OSX doesn't hurt. And a real keyboard.

    I'm not sure the point of your post. Generally, more expensive things are "better" than cheaper things.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2008
    Northeast USA
    yes that is IF the MBA had those things it would make it a better notebook.
    for me the air is not a replacement for the ipad.

    the ipad is/has:

    1. smaller
    2. lighter
    3. longer battery life
    4. built in 3G
    5. touchscreen

    there are many situations where i dont need a full fledged computer, no matter how small it is.

    i would also take into consideration the form factor. it would be pretty inconvenient to pull out a laptop, open it and use the keyboard/trackpad just for a short while. a laptop would also require a table or lap to use comfortably. the ipad on the other hand can be used immediately using the touch interface both on a table or in your hands.
  15. macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    As I read this thread I was wondering if someone would mention the price difference.

    An iPad is 1/3 the price of a MBA which makes it impossible to consider it as a direct competitor to the iPad.

    Think of it this way: what if a MBA cost $499? Apple would sell them by the ton and I doubt there ever would have been an iPad. Or, what if the iPad cost $1499? Apple would hardly be able to sell any and the product would surely be canceled.
  16. macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2010
    I have a shared iMac at home and was looking for an MBA to use as a personal and portable machine. I can get a work-issued netbook for traveling, but it's so crippled by IT policies that I prefer to take my own machine.

    In the past few weeks my thinking has changed and now I'm thinking of getting an iPad for personal/portable computing (I can defer tasks that require a full computer for those times that I'm sitting at the iMac).

    Consideration here is primarily cost. The iPad is no substitute for an MBA, that's for sure. But I can buy 3 of them for the cost of one MBA.

    Now I'm thinking that I get an iPad and postpone a personal laptop purchase until Apple implements USB3... likely a year or two from now.
  17. macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2008
    The latest issue of Wired had an interesting article on this: their take is that tablets are simply the next evolution of the laptop. As tablets get more processor speed and better battery life, and applications move to 'the cloud', there will be less reason for a laptop.

    I wouldn't even consider an iPad, personally. I need the power to run full fledged apps (Photoshop, Flash, InDesign, Illustrator). But for the casual user who needs a text editor, a web connection, and the convenience of having iTunes and eBooks, I can see the iPad fitting the bill nicely.

    I might get one in 7-10 years when Apple works out the bugs and perfects the feature set.
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    I think those of you who are thinking "this may be my own little computer for doing stuff on the road" will be surprised how often you switch applications. Working from one to another is how stuff gets done, at least for me. Even when I'm in a library or something and I'm forced to just have one monitor, I feel crippled.

    Running the iphone OS, and the screen size, will keep this as a big ipod touch. Don't get me wrong, I'm considering getting one, but for gaming and maybe movie watching. Not for email or working on documents.
  19. macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    Personally, I'd be scared to let an iPad replace my MBP for travel. Right now, I have a MBP connected to a display that stays on my desk 99% of the time, (about to become 100% of the time once my Dell Mini 10V arrives today). The 1% of the time it leaves the desk is when I go on vacation. I could just bring my iPod touch on vacation, and it should cover most of my web-browsing needs, but I'm afraid I'll come up against some limitation of the iPT and have major problems. For example, if I'm in NY and find I need to print a boarding pass, I can just plug a hotel printer into my laptop and easily print. Or if the car rental website relies heavily on Flash, I'm set with a laptop. If something like that should happen and all I have is an iPad, I'm forced to hunt for a Kinko's or something to get a computer, wasting time on my vacation. That's why, unless I'm just out of the house for the day, I always want a full computer with me.

    Also, I spent $300 for my Dell Mini. For $200 less than an iPad, I have a screen that's the same size, a real keyboard, 160GB hard drive, multitouch trackpad, flash, multitasking, USB, 7-hour battery, etc-- basically everything the iPad lacks, with the tiniest of sacrifices in battery life. How people can look at this and still want an iPad is beyond me.

    I would have bought a refurb MBA, but those are still close to $1000 and I decided I wanted a smaller footprint, so I'll be hackintoshing my netbook. I think the OP is right, though. I think some Apple executive said "we're not selling as many MacBook Airs as we'd like to. Let's release a product that's worse than a MacBook Air, with many obvious flaws, so people will look at it and think 'what a piece of crap, I'll just save a little longer and buy myself a MacBook Air,'" only their plan backfired.

    I agree, it's certainly not the device for productivity. Imagine if you had to use it to copy a handwritten PDF to a Pages document-- ugh!

    I believe games that are made specifically for the iPad are about its only advantage over an iPhone or a laptop/netbook. Movies can be watched on both an iPhone or a laptop, with smaller to nonexistent black bars, something the iPad can't do thanks to its 4:3 screen. So basically, the iPad is a $500 casual gaming device that's limited to a few games and won't fit in your pocket. It simply doesn't justify the cost. If I want casual games, I can pull out my iPT, while it doesn't offer quite as many games, it's more useful because a) I already own one and b) it's always with me because it fits in my pocket.
  20. macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Darkplace Hospital
    I don't understand why people bring this up. Mac laptops have instant on from sleep. If you powered down an iPad/iPod just as you shut off a computer then yes... both devices would have a boot up. Just as if you put a Mac laptop to sleep it would also wake from sleep instantly. I don't even shut my laptops down anymore.
    Instant on isn't a feature. It's what computers do when waking from sleep.

    Steam is also coming to Mac so there's your downloadable game store.

    On topic, it's already better. The MBA is a real, red blooded computer. The iPad is an end-user device with limited or non-existent content creation possibilities, input methods, connectivity, ports, upgrade possibilities.
  21. macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2009
    I pre-ordered the iPad even though the MBA is my primary computer.

    I don't find owning the two redundant or believe that the Air can be a better iPad and vice versa. These are very different products for me and the extent to which they overlap is very superficial.

    Perhaps unlike others, the iPad for me will see no travel time--it will be strictly a domestic device. It will be what I use around the apartment to check email, browse the web, watch a movie in bed, chat while I lie on the couch to watch TV and read a book on occasion (even then, I still prefer paperback).

    On the other hand, my MBA + iPhone is my true mobile setup. The iPhone 3g allows me to be connected all times to the internet and the MBA maintains my level of productivity.

    I think there is a reason that the ipad was marketed not as a carry-along/everywhere-you-go device but one whose true environment is the personal home. Despite how light the MBA is, it is still uncomfortable to use away from the desk--all laptops are.

    I think Apple recognizes how intimate computers have become in our personal lives, going with us to the bedroom for a movie, the living room to share some photos with friends and family, the deck to check the news or email over a cup of coffee, etc. that the standard notebook configuration which has been around for 15+ years no longer fits the new role that computers are playing in our daily personal lives.

    A new type of interface and user input is needed for this change and the iPad is a wonderful first attempt.
  22. macrumors 6502


    Nov 25, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    I don't think the average reader of MacRumors is representative of the market as a whole.

    For many people, a home computer spends much of its time being used for web, email, games, audio and videos. For most people, the iPad will do these tasks well, it will be super-portable and have great battery life.

    What an iPad won't do well or do at all includes advanced tasks such as media editing, writing/editing documents and presentations, programming, etc. For these tasks, people will still use a laptop.

    Put another way: if I weren't a software engineer, I'd be very happy with an iPad when I travel to visit family. But when I need to write code, communicate with others for work, or edit a spreadsheet, an iPad won't be enough. But I fully recognize that most computer users have simpler needs than I do.

    In the long term, I believe some of the ideas of the MBA will get incorporated into the mainstream MacBook/MacBook Pro lines, and the MBA will be discontinued. In other words, the 13" MBP might get a bit lighter, and get an external optical drive, while retaining a higher level of upgrades and a longer battery. And many people who need an ultraportable can get an iPad.

    Lack of flash on the iPad will be a real nuisance but not a show-stopper. Games can be purchased from iTunes, while many streaming media sites (YouTube, Hulu) will have apps for the iPad.

    My $0.02.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2007
    I'm in
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Meh, the MBA is a computer, the iPad isn't. I don't really think they can be effectively compared for that factor alone.
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    I have a MBA and I still have a need for an iPad. Even if Apple gave away the MBA for free, I would still also buy an iPad.

    The iPad does several things better than any laptop on the market:

    1. Browse the web
    2. Read books and magazines
    3. Watch videos
    4. Browse and share photos
    5. Games

    Note that none of these things require extensive use of a keyboard. Besides doing everything better, it is also more portable/convenient to carry around and use. Multi-touch is also quicker for most tasks than a mouse/trackpad.

    The ONLY advantage a laptop has at this point is for typing long documents or code.

Share This Page