Macbook Air is Real

macworld-keynote-air-14.jpg

Image: Slashgear’s Liveblog

Well, that was a fun Macworld, and the ultra-thing Macbook Air appears to actually exist. Thanks to everyone who chatted with us in #bbg. I hope you enjoyed the updates about my dogs affinity for celery, if Steve Jobs’ sweater was cashmere or simply a giant black tattoo covering his naked flesh, and Lovemoose’s mid-show announcement that his wife just told him he was having a baby. We have decided (for him) that it should be named Steve. Especially if it’s a girl.

First Macbook Air thought: No Firewire is a bummer, if understandable. It means if I move to an Air for my mobile laptop I’m going to have to ditch my Canon HV20 camcorder for something that copies over USB, like a Sanyo Xacti.

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34 Responses to Macbook Air is Real

  1. zuzu says:

    2GB of RAM should be fine for most through the life of the laptop.

    WRONG! 2GB has not been acceptable for at least a year now. 2GB is the minimum for even doing a little multi-tasking (e.g. web, email, IM, iTunes). Nevermind maybe you need to write a document, and some slides, and make some images in Photoshop for your slides, for a presentation you’re giving after traveling by airplane.

    What’s In the Box: Install/restore DVDs. Cute.

    Indeed. How long until Apple sells OSX installs on bootable USB flash drives?

    Speaking of booting via USB, will the sans-Firewire MacBook Air still support Target Disk Mode via USB using the EFI bootcode?

  2. cardinale says:

    Skep – I meant LED…not OLED…although that would be really great. But your are correct, it is more of a press release update than a Keynote announcement.

    As for the GPU on Air, it is shame it is not a nVidia chip. Intel GPU just does not cut it.

  3. zuzu says:

    2GB is enough for the kind of work you would be doing on a 13.3in screen!

    Obviously you do not browse the web using tabs. Fire up a workflow with a few scores of tabs and the memory allocation will easily balloon to about 10GB in size… which will feel tragic with virtual memory paged to a 4200rpm 1.8″ hard drive.

  4. Michael Slavitch says:

    90% of people who buy notebooks have no clue on how to upgrade hardware or even the battery, hence most notebooks are already disposable appliances. For the casual notebook user Ethernet is unecessary. It’s got a large Li+ battery for its size, which means that even after 500+ full cycles it will still offer 4 hours of use at 80% capacity. It was likely a design decision to overengineer the battery size and give it a longer operating life vs. a removable battery.

  5. gobo says:

    As nifty as it is, I worry that it’ll have a hard time finding a market. The base model’s pricey enough.. but good lord, the 1.8GHz model is over $3k. It’s the most expensive notebook computer Apple offers — it’s pricier than the 17″ MacBook Pro, even. And for that price you’re getting only a 64GB hard drive (granted, it’s flash memory).

    Seems like this is new ground for Apple and the price reflects it.

  6. cardinale says:

    Joel said:

    Yeah, the lack of a replaceable battery is a pain in the ass. I don’t feel the price is horribly out of whack for a high-end sub-notebook, but it’s definitely a more disposable laptop that we’ve seen before. 2GB of RAM should be fine for most through the life of the laptop.

    Battery – They are quoting 5 hours wireless productivity…so maybe more with wifi off. Plenty for a cross-country flight. I always have a second battery but rarely do I use it unless I am burning discs.
    Price – Compared to UMPCs, Regular Macbook, or import from Dynamism the price is great. Sure $999 would have been great, but this thing is the thickness of an iPhone (mas y menos.)

    RAM – 2GB is enough for the kind of work you would be doing on a 13.3in screen! However, no one has mentioned that 150 megs is shared for video RAM. I doubt that is 2GB + 144MB for the video RAM.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Having a non-user serviceable battery is NOT a problem at all when you take 2 seconds to think about it. I have had my Powerbook G4 for 5 years and the battery hardly lasts 20 minutes on a full charge. Have I replaced it? Do I want to replace it? The answer is NO — because I’m going to be replacing the whole computer soon enough, and purchasing the battery for my particular model is quite a feat in itself as the stores here no longer have the model in stock; the battery has to be ordered and shipped from overseas; and it even costs more than a new unit’s battery!

    So no — I’m not getting a new battery.

    If you’re not like me though, and you’re more like my dad who would rather upgrade a computer in 7-10 years rather than 3-5, you still wouldn’t have a problem:

    The macbook air’s battery can be replaced by an Authorised Apple Service Centre. How many idiots have I seen going to one just to get their user-serviceable battery replaced? Many. It’s no different than having the battery built-in. Either way, even if you can replace the battery yourself, you would have to buy that battery at an (guess what?) — Apple Store (or any authorised dealer). So you’ll be making that trip to the shop nonetheless.

    Now the ONLY thing that a user replaceable battery offers is the ability to swap it out so you can run the book on AC. By doing so you just might prolong the battery’s life. I tried this with my Powerbook but too many times have I carelessly unplugged the power before realising the battery wasn’t there. So I decided to NOT do this.

  8. Tom says:

    The interesting question is what will the battery life be two years from now?

    Disposables are so 20th century.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Recker, it is fanboy rants like yours that give Apple users the reputation for being … well, fanboys – a convenient description that avoids less civilised but probably more accurate labels.

    I’m not going to argue with your rant , I’ll just let you go ahead and buy this very expensive door wedge. Some people have more money than sense, and it is to those that Apple has been targetting its products lately. Hey geeks, foget DVD , you can rent hollywood crap from the iTunes store!

    I get a wry smile on my face thinking of those suckers who, having just spent a load of dosh for an underpowered laptop ( but it looks so cool deosn’t it) , forget the Ethernet – USB adapter somewhere and cannot go online because that wi-fi netowrk is just out of reach… And , no they can’t run down to the shop and rent a DVD for the night either, all they can do is sit there and look at that sexy laptop… Hot air!

    I reckon this laptop is going to flop…too expensive for what it is, a disposable and slow machine. Should have been polycarbonate and half the price.

    By the time its oh-so progressive features are useable by most people it will be obsolete and in need of battery replacement.

    If i had the spare cash, i’d spend in on a AudioModbook instead, without hesitation.

    “Hot Air” is definitely what people should say to Mr Jobs.

  10. The Recker says:

    Still no right click?

    If it does everything it says it does, it is a pioneering piece of engineering.

    Again, Apple for goes against the mainstream and creates something that is completely wireless. As can be expected, the tech curmudgeons, (which is such an oxymoron) sit there and whine like babies because Apple’s cutting the cables from their machines. I can’t wait till Apple (cause it will be Apple) figures out a way to charge a notebook cpu via a wireless connection.

    Apple has always pushed innovation. The first Powerbooks if you recall, didn’t even have CD burners, they were external. Most of the people who are criticizing the Air, if given the choice, would build some ugly, cave man like, heavy as shit brick of a cpu. Just like the Simpsons episode, where Homer’s brother let’s him build the car that every working man would want. He builds that abomination of a car, with tons of cupholders n stuff. Ethernet port….oh you mean extra cupholders.

    This computer is a brave step into a world, every computer maker has flirted with , but as usual, has been too chicken to enter. This notebook is totally wireless. Apple committed to something and did it. You watch as people begin to use it, they will fall in love. 3lbs, of sexy ass aluminum, something like a thick clipboard. Oh my God!

    For anyone that has a notebook, you know: battery life is garbage. My Powerbook, which has been really, my best (worst) friend for the last 5 years, NEVER had a battery life. I really don’t get that, BUT that being said, just like the guy who wrote this review, his battery doesn’t even get the life it’s suppose to (btw did you charge it overnight the first day you brought it out of the box, did you ever let the battery burn away all the way until it was way out of battery life, both good ways to end the life of any kind of battery) SO IF THE AIR’s battery sucks, so what, so does the one in your existing laptop, but you still own it? Why?

    Also, about the optical drives, anyone who does any serious burning, or ripping knows, that internal drives in notebooks, are no match for external Lacie type super drives, which is what I use, I only use my optical drive when I’m away from home, and want to rip a cd. I don’t watch movies on my laptop unless it’s a bootleg DVD that won’t play on my DVD player because it’s old. Big whoop.

    REMOTE DISK:: first of all, I’ll believe it when I see it, like 100 times. BUT if you can rip disks from other computers, that’s friggin, frigggin INSANE! Hypothetically, if the software is available per your scenario, ANY cpu with an optical drive, your friends, the one at the Library or that internet cafe etc., has an optical drive that you can use to rip anything. Boom. Your welcome Stockholm! Wanna watch a movie?

    APPLE JUST MADE IT SO YOU CAN….WIRELESSLY, you don’t need an optical drive. LISTEN TO YOURSELVES. You don’t want to carry a TINY external drive to watch your movies on, BUT YOU’LL CARRY DVD’S? Probably in a case, THATS THE SAME SIZE AS THE EXTERNAL DRIVE…on your trip!! This is what’s really hitting home for me, it made perfect sense to me. When I saw the Air and it’s features. I’m a road warrior. Email, Internet, Design,travel all over the city by day. Profesional DJ by night. The AIR is PERFECT FOR ME!! So I get it. BUT this really is a revolutionary concept. Everyone on here that’s whining about why the Air isn’t up to there standards doesn’t get it. “No internal drive is a deal breaker, how am I gonna watch my DVD’s when I travel?” Wow, YOU ARE A DOPE. Before you leave on your trip, log onto iTunes, grab a few selections, and take them with you, ON YOUR HARD DRIVE – DIGITALLY. Didn’t get to see’em on your trip, too busy, when you get home, play it on your TV.

    ALSO:: ie. WARNER BROS-BLU HARVEST DVD includes a FREE digital copy of the movie, READY TO BE TRANSFERED OVER TO YOUR LAPTOP,iPOD, iPhone……are you getting it now….is it becoming clear….the way you computed, those are the good old days grandpa!

    The Air’s feature set is contingent on everything Apple rolled out today. Remote Disk still blows my mind. And ethernet dongle. Would someone bash that guy in the head, please. Wi-Fi. That means, you don’t need an ethernet cable. Oh, I’m sorry, I guess, you would prefer to carry around a rolled up ethernet cable in your bag. Really, your crazy.

    The Solid State memory. WOW. Why would Apple compete with the Asus. If that’s what you want, you buy that. It runs Linux, well I’m told. I don’t want that. I want my Powerbook, at half the weight, more power, a better keyboard, ( just one option key on my Powerbook drives me insane) thin and ULTRA portable, which the Air IS! My Powerbook is a bitch to carry when I’m hopping around the city, in and out of my car. 3lbs, sounds just right. It’s so small, it will be a breeze to transport.

    I’m hoping it doesn’t heat up too much. That’s always a drag with my Powerbook.

    Really, everyone that’s on here complaining about these things, is proving something here. Apple is really ahead of the curve. DAMN I wish I’d kept my Apple stock. S O B!!!

    I’m sorry about my rant. But the dopes asked for it.

  11. RyanH says:

    Honestly, if the laptop is still doing everything you ask of it two or three years down the road, paying for a new battery plus the $40 to get it installed would make this a fantastic purchase no matter how you look at it.

  12. lovemoose says:

    I thought I might come back and finish off the story.. It was a girl, Olivia Ruth was born on Friday Night.

    I really couldn’t call her Steve in the end. Sorry Joel!

  13. Anonymous says:

    No built-in ethernet sucketh. :(

  14. Anonymous says:

    MacBook Air has shed something you no longer need: the optical drive. That’s because MacBook Air is built for the wireless world. So instead of watching DVDs, you can rent movies wirelessly from the iTunes Store.

    OH, BOY!

  15. haineux says:

    GOBO the $3000 pricetag includes a 64 GB Solid State Drive, which is a $999 upgrade on its own.

    I can’t understand why people want an SSD personally. I mean, I know it’s fast, and it might be lower power, and it’s definitely got the NEEEEEET!!!!! factor, but $999 is a lot of money.

    The processor upgrade from 1.6 to 1.8 is $300.

    And, just to be thorough: the Ethernet dongle is $29, the modem dongle is $49, and the external SuperDrive DVD is $99.

  16. sharkcellar says:

    A great laptop…for Paris Hilton.

  17. Anonymous says:

    http://mbp12.com

    !!!

    (Not spam!)

  18. ianm says:

    Other comments have said it above, but the price is way off for this product. I was really hoping that they would introduce this <$1000 – being nearly double seems to me entirely incorrect for where they should be positioning this item.

    I was very happy to see Joel’s essay on the (long overdue) future of the sub-compact status in North America. He is bang on on all his points, particularly the input needs (i.e. keyboards) – but price and available ought to be top priorities as well. Certainly the trend with the XO, Asus EEE and others are banking on wide adoption over per unit profit, and its a shame that Apple go this router also. Their cache for a premium brand may be the weak point for this new, desirable, product.

  19. ianm says:

    Other comments have said it above, but the price is way off for this product. I was really hoping that they would introduce this sub-$1000 – being nearly double seems to me entirely incorrect for where they should be positioning this item.

    I was very happy to see Joel’s essay on the (long overdue) future of the sub-compact status in North America. He is bang on on all his points, particularly the input needs (i.e. keyboards) – but price and available ought to be top priorities as well. Certainly the trend with the XO, Asus EEE and others are banking on wide adoption over per unit profit, and its a shame that Apple go this router also. Their cache for a premium brand may be the weak point for this new, desirable, product.

  20. lovemoose says:

    I still can’t decide whether I’m more excited about the macbook air, or my forthcoming fatherhood.

    It’ll take a while to talk Mrs Moose around on the whole “Steve” thing…

  21. bill says:

    Congrats, Lovemoose! It was a cute moment =]

    second air bummer: integrated battery.

    I used to always carry 2 batteries… stopped when I bought a macbook, and have been mostly ok. But batteries due degrade, and I tend to replace most after 2 yrs. I will be curious to see how apple handles this.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Also – no mention of RAM upgrades… Locked into 2gb?

    Still want one…

  23. David Bruce Murray says:

    Apple only went halfway on this. Their point was to make it as small as possible, so they should have ditched the keyboard and touch pad in addition to the optical drive.

    The AIR looks cool to a point, but it is not revolutionary. A screen with internal motherboard, wireless functionality, a processor, RAM, etc. and nothing but ports on the outside with a weight of approximately 1 pound…that would have been revolutionary.

    I mean…if customers are happy to plug in a CD or DVD drive into an $1800 computer that lacks such a convenience in favor of a weight advantage, those same customers should be just as happy to plug in a keyboard and a mouse (or peripheral touch pad).

    A large version of the iPhone interface could be incorporated into the screen itself, so you could use it with no keyboard attached at all.

  24. lectroid says:

    I will be the first to admit that Apple’s industrial design team is top notch, and this is, as is usual, sexy and pretty and makes me want to touch it, but…

    $1800 for what is essentially an email/web appliance? I think they missed the mark on this one.

    IMHO, the point of an ultra-portable is not performance (past a certain mark of ‘usable’), but PRICE/performance/size. I would happily shell out $500 for a light, thin, but slow(er) 12″ notebook that let me reasonably read my email, surf and play videoclips on the road. I might spend $1000 if it was just that cool. But, $1800 is as much money as I could spend on a machine not TOO much larger with MUCH better performance, optical drive, etc. If I’m gonna shell out that kind of scratch, it needs to be MORE than a web appliance.

    I’m not sure if this is.

    And yes, the integrated battery/RAM is cause for concern.

  25. knifie_sp00nie says:

    Lectroid:

    I think you want the iPod touch with the new software upgrade.

  26. MisterMix says:

    $20 for a software upgrade for the iPod touch? That’s crazy.

  27. dculberson says:

    I’m amazed that the dopes asked for a rambling incoherent rant filled with strong convictions based upon conjecture and hearsay. It’s odd that they would want such a thing. Must be what makes them dopes.

  28. Joel Johnson says:

    Yeah, the lack of a replaceable battery is a pain in the ass. I don’t feel the price is horribly out of whack for a high-end sub-notebook, but it’s definitely a more disposable laptop that we’ve seen before. 2GB of RAM should be fine for most through the life of the laptop.

  29. RyanH says:

    @ #4

    I’m not sure how you can call this a web appliance. The only thing it isn’t is a high end games/graphics machine. I have trouble imagining what business/professional software would not run happily on it. So, music/movie playback. Internet connectivity (and all that implies) lots of power for word processing/powerpoint/spreadsheets. My father does professional aptitude testing and travels quite a bit. I can’t think of any of his software this would not run just fine.

    Now, I’d never get this. I do a degree of graphics work and am quite happy on my MacBook Pro. That said, the only segments of the market that I can imagine not being happy with the hardware capability are positions that inherently use all capacity available. Video production, high end graphics, large scale application development, large physics/engineering simulations. Now, as I figure, that makes up a really small portion of the people who work on the move.

  30. cardinale says:

    Sultine Here –

    #bbg was fun…we should do it again sometime.

    As for the Macbook Air, ’tis not for me, however I will be recommending the purchase of one ASAP for a friend. I was really hoping for a quad macbook pro 17 with OLED display. I move from desk to desk and nothing more.

    On a cool new shit scale though…the air rocks.

  31. zuzu says:

    Also – no mention of RAM upgrades… Locked into 2gb?

    Seriously, what sadist at Apple was first responsible for the years of a 2GB memory ceiling, and now this!

    Attention Apple logicboard designers: The OSX department writes software that consumes memory in copious quantities. In laptops, 4GB should be the minimum and a ceiling could be closer to 16GB. That is all.

  32. The Recker says:

    Some of the most entertaining debates are based around rants, you dope. But kudos for incorporating the word hearsay into a counter point. You rock. Are you over 40?

  33. Skep says:

    I was really hoping for a quad macbook pro 17 with OLED display. I move from desk to desk and nothing more.

    Ditto on that. I need to upgrade. I really was hoping for some incremental improvements on the MBP, like an LED backlit LCD, faster processor, muti touch trackpad, reduced price and increased battery life. I guess they put the whole laptop engineering team on the Macbook Air. On the other hand, Apple has sprung updates on us a few weeks after Macworld–probably unlikely this year, though.

    A cute itsy bitsy laptop with no firewire may be good for Joel but I need a desktop replacement with a huge screen, a fast GPU and Firewire and SATA–and with current laptops every hour you use the florescent backlight is another hour closer to death for your laptop screen. LEDs aren’t just brighter and lower power consumption they are longer lived.

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