MB Air Buying Advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sanford, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. sanford macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2003
    Dallas, USA
    My MacBook is 19 months old, so while not exactly due for an upgrade, it's over that sort of 18-month line before which buying a new Mac starts to becoming collecting rather than upgrading.

    The MacBook with an external monitor, mouse and keyboard will become the family Mac, replacing a an older, non-Intel Mac.

    I can only sync my iPhone with one Mac, save copying purchased music between Macs on which I maintain my iTunes account, right? For example, if the 80GB MB Air is overall not going to have enough storage for all my music and video that I wish to have access to for my iPhone, then I'll have to sync my iPhone with the relocated older MacBook (with upgraded hard drive), using my .mac account to sync iCal, contacts, bookmarks, etc., on the MacBook Air to the older MacBook, then sync my iPhone with the older MacBook. Correct?

    How does the speed of the Air at 1.6 GHz Core *2* Duo, 4200 RPM PATA hard drive drive, 2GB RAM compare with a a standard MacBook, 2.0 GHz Core Duo, 5400 RPM SATA hard drive, 2GB RAM? Slower, faster or about the same?

    For my uses, the 802.11n WiFi on the Air vs. the 802.11g on the standard MacBook doesn't matter, as streaming music and video, even HD video, from the standard MacBook works fine over 802.11g, and our WiFi router is in mixed mode, not pure 802.11g. All else, the bottleneck, per usual, is our 10Mbps broadband Internet connection.

    Time Machine for Air won't matter either as the sort of work I'll do on the Air will back-up hourly to my .mac account in a couple minutes, and take up very little space. I know there are other advantages to Time Machine as I use it on my standard MacBook now, but for the limited-scope use of the Air I intend, it just won't matter. In the rare case of a full restore, it will take as long to do that from Time Machine as it would to reinstall Leopard, iLife, a very few small third-party apps, and restore my .mac document back-ups. I use TM for the hands-off back-up solution, not for the back-in-time features.

    Also, again for my uses, the difference between the integrated graphics chipsets in the Air and my older standard MacBook won't matter. Nothing I do is slow now, so upgrading the to the newer integrated graphics will have no significance for me.

    The optical drive is not an issue. I'll have one handy in the standard MacBook. There is one thing for which I need FireWire, but that's available on the standard MacBook I already have, I don't use it much, and I can use back to my mac or just local network access to get at the resulting files if I need them. Anything else better suited to more ports, larger display, etc., can easily be accomplished on the standard MacBook attached to the external.

    So here's the quandary: the point of buying the Air would be reductionism, or simplification. Ultra-portability will be nice, but I already have super-portability in the MacBook. If the Air will be slower than the current standard MacBook, the purchase makes no sense. The keyboard is important, although the Air keyboard seems much the same as both my standard MacBook keyboard and my external Apple wireless keyboard.

    Bottom line, the problem is, for me, though I find the Air appealing, I do not like nor have need of maintaining two Macs. My desk at home is my office. I drag my MacBook around the house, sure, but should I leave the house, my iPhone is all I need. I don't take a computer on holidays. It seems like I'd be paying $600 over the cost of a new iMac, which would better suit my family over a portable with an external display, keyboard and mouse attached -- while losing a built-in optical drive, which is a convenience. Losing an hour off max battery-life rating. Losing the option, should my battery fail, of walking into the Apple Store and having them swap it out with a service part (I have AppleCare) rather than wait for them to schedule a replacement appointment for stores with bench service, or even wait for them to send it off. Lose the option to further upgrade internal hard drive storage should I need it or merely find it convenient to have more internal storage. All for an Air that will be essentially the same speed at best, require at least some effort in syncing with the existing standard MacBook, and be two points lighter, which just doesn't matter if portability is within a single structure, not across the country, same footprint, and less than one-third inch thinner over most of the Air's body, which just doesn't matter period. The backlit keyboard is nice. I had one on a PowerBook G4. It was an interesting feature, but I never used it.

    Ultimately, I think I want the MacBook Air because it is "cool" and "looks neat". That's why I foolishly, impulsively bought an iPhone, although I was fortunate the iPhone indeed did turn out to simplify my work and personal life, and is the only PDA-like convergence device I have ever been able to tolerate for more than a month. I don't see a repeat experience with the Air. I'm sure I'll enjoy owning it, but sooner rather than later it will be just something else with which to keep up. I'm sure anyone whose office is separate from their home, or someone who travels fairly often for work no matter where they keep their office, the Air is likely a good fit. But for me it's like buying a somewhat more portable notebook to extend an already quite portable notebook. It seems upgrading the family computer to a current iMac -- not that they are really hurting with what they have, not for their regular uses of a Mac -- would cost less, yield more and also not complicate my situation further, which is totally contrary to the whole point I'd buy an Air.

    I'd frankly love to read someone convince me otherwise, but I just don't see it, not for me.
  2. ahaxton macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2008
    I think if you're an on the move person, the MB Air will be great for you. If your fashion conscious too, it's good for that as well lol. My plan is to have an imac at the house sometime in the near future and have the MacBook air solely to myself and portable whenever however long I am gone.
    I run a business and the iPhone does help me out a lot with that, but when it comes to communicating page long emails and pdf attachments, etc to clients everyday, it'll be awesome to have a ultraportable laptop tethered to my iPhone or wirelessly connected to the internet to deal with clients from wherever.

    It's amazing how on a tired morning 2 less pounds and significantly thinner will motivate me to take along a laptop. I need that motivation lol.
  3. echozoom macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2005
    I will probably end up doing something similar to the OP actually. I currently have a PM G5 that is 3.5 years old and while I think there is a lot of life left in that machine, it runs so hot that it makes my small dorm room unbarable sometimes.

    So I think I will take my current MacBook and run it in closed-lid mode with my external monitor and such and then use the Air for my daily portable work.

    However, I take my notebook to class every day so the reduction in weight is awesome! If you don't take your MacBook anywhere with you now, you might not get much use out of the Air. Of course, this is a decision that is very dependent on your own individual usage, so I'm not sure if any of this is really helpful to you.

    Regarding the battery rating, I think the time difference comes from the fact that the MB/MBP rankings assume that Bluetooth and Airport and such are turned off, while the MBA assumes that Airport and such are on. So until we are able to test the MBA we won't really know what the max battery life actually is. Most of my notebook usage is just word processing so I tend to leave Airport off so this is an important distinction for me.

    Hopefully you find some of that helpful!
  4. xlopez macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2006
    In an iPhone, you have at most 11-12 GB of space for anything.So we're talking about probably less than 10GB in music. You could just create an iPhone playlist in two computers that share the exact same music so you could sync it through any of them because 10GB is not a lot. Also, you can correct me on this, but if you sync something through .mac, then you can have access to that from any Mac, thus defeating the purpose of going back to the older mac, if you have the music in your Macbook Air.

    I think this summarizes everything my friend. Sometimes in life we, as gadget lovers that we are, just want the newest, slimmest thing there is. May I suggest that there are other things that you can purchase? Maybe a blu-ray player, one of those set-up boxes that you connect to your tv and do all kinds of cool stuff, movies, more gadgets other than a computer, clothes, shoes, indie applications, a gift for your family, your loved one etc.? I mean, there are many things you can do with the money you'd use just to "simplificate". Wouldn't that be ironic? Searching for that simplification has brought you to a quandary. Someone else can only suggest so much, before you need to decide for yourself.

    I think the Macbook Air has brought some great things for the market, but I find myself in the place you're in. I could use it, but the price is steep for the ironic simplification we're talking about. I suggest that you weigh your options, to see what you really need, and just buy something that you're sure you're going to like. I hope you do well.
  5. sanford thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2003
    Dallas, USA
    It's a bit under 8GBs in the current iPhone, available for media. Which is plenty on a rotating basis. It's just I want regular access to everything stored on my computer, creating new playlists with new music just bought, old favorites not enjoyed in a while, etc. A little bit of video, sometimes. A selection of photos of our three kids.

    Based on the pared down usage of my current MacBook -- the heavy usage is really flat-out 26 years of music, not hardly all of it, either, and the propensity to regularly buy quite a bite more -- I'd have about 3 or 4 months before 80GB maximum storage started to get uncomfortably tight. Bear in mind this is with the music library selectively chosen, some CDs never ripped, some CD albums ripped but I have considered overall not very good backed up to DVD and not actually on the hard drive. The 8GB of carry-with storage in the iPhone doesn't bother me. But reducing an already reduced music, and to a lesser degree, video collection, I can't bear. And I really can't remove any of the photos, as the kids, especially the two younger boys are still toddler age, so we go back through the photos on my MacBook quite a bit.

    I have a PS3 with Blu-ray for movies, which I love. Also an Apple TV. I appreciate nicely designed technology, but I find I only make use of it if it is nicely designed and suits my needs; otherwise it becomes a nuisance and a regret. And, yes, you're point is well taken: 1,$800 worth of movies, music, nice things for the kids, for my wife, a treat of some kind for myself, an up-market holiday, any number of things of things with everything or nothing to do with "high tech", is likely much better spent if it's to be spent at all, in other ways if an attempt to simplify only results in frustration, further complication, and my current solution for personal computing fits my needs as much as I can imagine.

    Again, you're right: they're always something "cooler", sleeker, more intriguing, but there's the point, like spending a fortune on a sports car merely on the merit that it will cruise at about 200 kph, yet the fastest you may legally travel on any road you drive is 110 kph. Sure, you may once every year or two lease an hour of track time and really drive that machine, but the money spent doesn't serve you one bit in your daily life. Spending $1,800 for "cool", the "cool" will quickly wear if I wind up feeling the Air is an invalid aunt for whom I must take extra care, an aunt who made my life difficult and more complicated even when she was young and vibrant.

    Personal use of new technology is ultimately, as both respondents declared, a very personal decision. Some people still happily write their best novels or screenplays on Bondi Blue iMacs -- they don't think they're missing a thing, and they really aren't for their purposes.
  6. hoyaspook macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2008
    XP and Handbrake

    How well will the MBA run VMWare Fusion for Windows XP, for running Quicken for Windows, and the occasional conversion of DVD video into iPhone video through Handbrake?

    Other than that, my usage is fairly simple.

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