What's the purpose of the Macbook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Pandaboots, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. Pandaboots macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2007
    Dallas, Texas
    First off I'm not whining about the Macbook Air, because I wasn't wanting or hoping for one, but I am confused on how this fits into Apple's culture of recent product releases. In recent years Apple has consistently given us beautiful products that really revolutionized how we do things at an affordable price.

    Examples of course include their software, iPods, iPhones, :apple:TV, iTunes. I have always felt that when you consider the engineering, the quality and the purpose of use of Apple products, they are bargains.

    However, I'm confused at why Apple had to build a notebook based on their most recent keyboard's thickness with specs that are at least 2 years old. Maybe I'm looking at it wrong, but this is really just a huge iPod at 5x the price and 1/2 the storage. I guess I would have much rather seen Apple turn the iPhone into more of a computer and maybe use all the man hours spent putting a laptop on a diet towards a new fresh product or at least fixing the current issues with Leopard etc.

    I always thought with technology as things got smaller, their features and power got better and the price dropped. The Air seems like we are going in reverse.

    Am I looking at this the wrong way? Is this thing really that cool that downgraded features are overshadowed by it's thickness? I guess I would have been more excited had it been a 12" screen (something different than a 13") and had the same specs as the current macbook (hard drive speed/capacity, processor speed, etc.) at a cheaper price than than the macbook due to loss of a media drive, a slower hard drive and less powerful processor.

    Are we just fools or am I nuts? :p
  2. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    I think Apple made the MacBook Air because they can. It really serves no purpose other then to say "Hey look Intel made us this miniature chip and we made this really small notebook around it".

    Don't get me wrong it's a technical feat to shoe-horn an Optical Keyboard a 1.8GHz Processor and 2GB of RAM and an iSight Camera in to that form factor. However to many compromises were made.

    No mater how much Steve Jobs says users do not want an Optical Drive we do need them. And if your going on a trip your going to want one with you just in case you need it. Which pretty much negates the small form factor of the laptop by taking around the external drive.

    Also the iPod sized Hard Disk is so slow and the SSD drive is so expensive. And neither of them offer enough storage. Only 1 USB port and no Firewire? I mean how are you supposed to sync an iPod and use the external drive at the same time?

    Only Mono sound? What is this 1992? - And its so so so overpriced.

    When you really get down to it they removed things from the notebook. Lets just look at that again. THEY REMOVED THINGS. They took a typical notebook form factor and removed a lot of stuff from the equation to get the form factor they wanted. But instead of the price going down with the removal of these sometimes costly components the price actually went up. Your paying more for less. You can't upgrade the Hard Disk, you cant upgrade the Memory, you cant even replace the battery.

    I don't know why anyone and I mean anyone would purchase this notebook over a MacBook which offers better expandability better travel better battery life better sound faster hard drives more storage twice the ram capability more USB a firewire port ethernet and front row and a built in super drive. I mean seriously the MacBook by looking at the specifications should cost more. It comes with more. But it costs less. And it's not as if the MacBook is a filing cabinet sized computer it's just a bit thicker. Who in there right mind can make room in there life for a MacBook Air but not a MacBook? Do you live in a shoe box? Do you keep your notebook in your underwear when you go to work?

    If anyone I know buys a MacBook Air I would just laugh and think to myself "What a sucker".
  3. fewture macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2006
    yeah i agree.. its retarded. what is the point?

    they should have at least just made it really small, like 12" or smaller.

    Its too stripped down for its price
  4. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    it's a little more than half the weight of MacBook Pro, and it's thin enough to put in any backpack. USB hubs are dirt cheap at the moment. I can't speak for everyone else with a notebook, but I havent used my optical drive in months.

    if I was buying computers now, I'd get a 20" iMac and a MacBook Air.
  5. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    The point is to make headlines all over the world as they triumph yet again in design.

    They might even sell a few here and there too. There are a few peeps out there that will pay anything and who's priority is size. This caters to that (small) market perfectly.

    fewture, it's not stripped down as such. It's an ultra portable, you pay simply because it's stripped down and there for tiny. In that respect they're not alone, just look at the cost of Wintel ultra portables from the likes of Sony.
  6. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    It's ideal as a second machine to complement your other mac. Just a thought.
  7. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Sorry but this little paragraph is one which sums up the Macbook Air complainers. It is not two year old technology. If you could fit those specs in the same size case two years ago I'll eat my hat.

    You could not do it. The technology just was not there otherwise it would already been done. There is a lot to take into consideration when making an extremely small laptop and heat is the primary problem. Two years ago we had the Core Solo / Core Duo and the Pentium 4. None of those were suitable for the size of the MacBook Air it is only with the release of the more power efficient Core 2 Duos that these types of laptops are possible. Obviously I am sure you are aware that the faster it goes the more heat it produces this accounts for the clock speed.

    As for all the other specs it seems well speced for the target market. People who rant about the MacBook Air seem to fail to realise that it is in fact rather impressive technology with good specs for its class.
  8. valdore macrumors 65816


    Jan 9, 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri. USA
    I never saw what's so non-portable about the regular MacBook. The MB Air has lower system specs than my 14 month old MacBook, and costs $500 more. Therefore I don't see much of a purpose.
  9. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    ultraportable with a 13inch screen? are you serious?

    i mean it cant be that much smaller than a mb in terms of all dimensions other than thickness. however the mb isnt like thick either

    i would think if this had a 10 inch screen there would be more of a market

    i cant see how anyone would pay quite a bit more for this over a mb and lose soooo much in terms of features just to sacrifice llike 3 pounds

    maybe im crazy
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    as opposed to a mb? how other than terms of weight i dont see the reason as it costs alot more.

    mods sorry but i forgot to use the multiquote tool :eek:
  11. aswitcher macrumors 603


    Oct 8, 2003
    Canberra OZ
    Its just not priced well for that I think....at least not for me.
  12. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    Niche but lucrative market

    There is a certain segment(those who commute a lot, esp. on public transport for instance) that are willing to pay a pretty large premium for these types of notebooks.

    One place where I think it will be a huge hit is Japan, a market that Steve Jobs specifically mentioned in the last investors conference thing. The subnotebook market in Japan is HUGE and Apple can now finally compete with the likes of Sony and whatnot.

    I think this will be a huge boost for Apple abroad, maybe not so much in the US though.
  13. iW00t macrumors 68040


    Nov 7, 2006
    Defenders of Apple Guild

    The Macbook Air are not running on your usual Core 2 Duo chips. They are running on Intel's latest ULV processors.
  14. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Yes I'm serious. It's 3lb, you don't measure it in terms of it's thickness, you measure it in terms of it's thinness. Getting everything in to something that small costs money, fact of life and the technology market. Maybe to you 13" doesn't constitute an ultra portable, that's fine, but to a number of frequent flyers having something that weighs next to nothing and slips in to a bag taking up hardly any room is worth a premium.

    Maybe it doesn't float your boat, it doesn't especially float mine. It's still a very nice, very well engineered product, the kind that if you look at competitors products will always be less well spec'd than larger but cheaper models.

    Nothing about this is unique in terms of pricing or spec, as I keep on saying, look at Sony.
  15. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    The Intel CPU in the MacBook Air was developed over the past year; it's state of the art and an enormous accomplishment.
    The motherboard in this computer is not much larger than a typical soundcard!
    There is also the machined aluminum case; if it's anything like the new iMac, this tiny notebook as as solid as a rock.

    Will the next generation consumer Mac be nothing more than a keyboard with a Quad-core Mac, 4GB of RAM and SSD built-in, as well as an iPod Touch (or optional iPhone) that also functions as a wireless multitouch mouse?
    In many respects, the framework for this speculation already exists.

    Personally, I think the MacBook Air is essentially a flagship product from which future products will be developed.
    The philosophy behind the development of the MBA is the key to it's relevance in the current mac lineup, not it's technical performance, per se.
    There's more to computing than gigahertz and gigabytes; the device should fit into the lifestyle of the consumer, not the other way around.
  16. myeggsareboiled macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2008
    You are all totally missing the point!!!!!!

    If you stick some wheels to the Macbook Air, You can get some Big Air on it. Or use it as a snowboard.
  17. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    i can see your point but to be honest, i would have prefered Apple's ultraportable to be more along the lines of the 12" pb which had respectable features, as opposed to a slimmed down mb in terms of features and thickness

    but i agree, it does look nicely put together
  18. Catch macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2004
    London, UK
    What's the purpose? I am buying one to use on the road. I already have a 1 year old MacBook Pro and have ordered the new MacPro. This new machine will replace my MacBook Pro which I will pass on to staff...

    I will be using this machine while I travel. I will be using Office. I do allot of financial forecasting and 13" super-light is perfect. It is still hard to do meaningful spreadsheet work on 13" but its doable. In my office I use 2 30" screens for the heavy work. I will use email and iChat on the road to keep in contact with the office and our multiple sites. I will use the internet to keep up with financial news and for personal pleasure. I will be writing business reports in Word. Presentations will be a joy to prepare on 13".

    I will not be needing a usb hub as I never connect anything to my laptop. Nor will I need a DVD drive. I will not need 8 cores as I have that on my MacPro. I will not need great graphics as this is a business tool for me and not a gaming platform.

    For me this is a fully featured laptop that ALSO happens to be very light. I am not a fan of 10" screens as I find them hard to work on for a long time.

    What were my wishes for an ultra-portable? Light Weight, productive screen size, good battery life, OSX.

    This new product exceeds my expectations on ALL my main needs.

    My business will be buying half a dozen or so as soon as they hit the UK stores.

    I totally understand they are not for everyone, but they are certainly exactly what allot of people have been waiting for.


  19. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Did Apple say that? No they did not.

    It's running on the same Core 2 Duo that is in the current MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac.


    If it was running on one of their ULV CPUs it would specifically say so.

    In fact, during the keynote, Steve Jobs clearly made a point of this and said they did NOT sacrifice on performance for size.
  20. a456 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2005
    Like many others I have no use for this type of machine and cannot believe that people would pay over £2000 for a 64 GB SSD version (no mention of how much this extends the battery life - but heh buy another battery or ten anyway with the extra money - or buy 4 iPod Touchs). How much of a market will there be for something that costs more than the top end MBP or iMac and the price of a MacPro with ACD that has a small hard drive, poor graphics and a slow processor. I predict this model will be quickly and shamefacedly withdrawn unless there is a very very serious price cut. In fact I could see the MBA getting axed altogether within a year - all the borrowing drives, etc. is still too fiddly for the type of people that just want a fashion accessory. If I'm wrong then Apple are about to get seriously rich. Now lets get back to proper computers and software.
  21. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    You might not have any use for this system, but many people do.

    Sub-notebooks are popular in the business area.

    Sony has been wildly successful with their systems in this category and this is what Apple is going after.

    As someone else said, these things are popular in Japan too, among the "business types". I know a couple of people over there who have the Sony equivalents and they swear by them, despite the Sony's awful specs (Celeron-M, etc.).

    While you or I might not have a need for this system, there are plenty of people out there who can realistically use it. It's anything but a "Fashion accessory". There is a real need for these types of systems in various walks of life.
  22. a456 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2005
    Time will tell. I hope for Apple's sake you are right.
  23. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Well, Sony and others have been making systems like this for years.

    Besides, this is using anodized aluminum for the casing. If its anything like the iPod mini and 2G iPod nanos were, then this thing is going to be built like a tank. With a SSD, there are only a few more places the ToughBooks could go that this couldn't.

    The battery isn't too much of an issue either, according to TUAW http://www.tuaw.com/2008/01/16/new-macbook-air-battery-129-installation-free-at-apple/

    As long as somebody doesn't get one with a bum battery or doesn't run it dead all the time, this would be a great notebook for people who need something tough, something light for travel, or students who need something small that will fit in a backpack. If treated right, it'd last through 4 years of college.
  24. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    I take offence to you cutting my post in to a Rant when it was completely factual and unbiased.

    Can you explain to me how a computer with such low specifications can cost so much? - Even in the Apple world where we pay a premium for high quality products the MacBook Air is a monstrously overpriced machine.

    You are giving away so much money for such little product it is as if they are selling you a box of matches at the price of a life-time warranty insured Zippo lighter. Clearly the Matches are smaller, they are lighter, they are also impractical for extended use and anyone in there right mind would choose a Zippo over a box of matches.

    I own iPods, a top of the line maxed out MacBook Pro 17" an older generation 15" PowerBook G4 and I paid through the nose for all of these products, because they were worth the price. For the premiums I paid, I received back an insanely great product. But the MacBook Air is not worth its price infact I would personally value the MacBook Air at no more then £700. It is the children's toy version of a MacBook in a MacBook Pro enclosure.

    And hey if you don't use your Optical drive that's fine. But I gotta wonder how do you reinstall the operating system? How can you boot from a networked shared CD drive to install Leopard? - I guess you need to fork over the extra $99 right? Which just ups the tally even more.

    Has the whole world gone insane? It's a glorified EeePC it has an iPod hard disk, the very same hard disks that apple recommended users not to use as Operating System boot drives because it could severely diminish the life of the drive. Now I just have to wonder, whats the failure rate on these drives?... I know people will say "but the iPod is a closed in device and the heat is contained and builds up aggressively with no outlet" And yet I see the MacBook Air and I think its a giant iPod. The cooling is dedicated to that miniature motherboard.

    Anyway I won't be buying one because I'm not a sucker but if you want to buy a MacBook Air thats your choice.
  25. kaiwai macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2007
    No, it wouldn't 'say so' there are no compromises in speed; the only compromise is that they would have had to do some major changes to get heat and speed under control - hence, would take longer to ramp up the speeds.

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