Airless But Not Touchless

13781748-7111-4E6D-9901-AC5A4B19C287.jpgA number of friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers have been spontaneously singing the praises of the new MacBook Air to me in the last couple of days.
Jason Calacanis, Internet millionaire, bought three – one with the SSD drive and two with hard drives and he loves them. A complete stranger (a biotech researcher) came up to me at lunch yesterday to rave about his SSD Air. He’s particularly fond of the keyboard. The consensus seems to be, best notebook ever. Oddly none of the MacBreak Weekly regulars bought Airs. And even though I needed a new notebook, I didn’t either.

I’m giving TWiT Senior Producer, Dane Golden, my original black Macbook so he can update the feeds at home. To replace it I opted for a white MacBook with a 250GB hard drive and 4GB third-party RAM. Total cost: US$1642.

D3FD85CE-6180-4F70-8EBA-6C8E38BE8B0C.jpgThe MacBook is two pounds heavier, several times thicker, and doesn’t have the beautiful LED backlit screen, but the new Santa Rosa chipset is much faster, it has twice the RAM and three times the storage, and boasts a Superdrive. Oh yeah, and it cost $100 less and I can use my spare battery to get 50% longer battery life. True, it lacks the wow factor, but I added a beautiful Gelaskins painting by Nanami Cowdroy to the lid and now it’s pretty stylish and a heck of a lot more powerful.

I know my friends love their Airs. And I probably would too if I’d spent that kind of money for one, but I guess I’m a more value conscious consumer than I thought, even though I immediately blew the savings and then some on a 32GB iPod Touch. I guess one way or another Steve is going to get my money. -sigh-

17 Replies to “Airless But Not Touchless”

  1. i agree i’ve been looking at both macs and pc’s for several months and have decided to buy a black macbook because of the saving and the more features.

  2. I know exactly what you mean.
    I just bought a Macbook (White, 2.0GHz, standard RAM) – I had toyed with the idea of the Air, but ultimately decided that the reduction in performance (& lack of an optical drive – I’m in the UK, iTunes movie rentals aren’t available yet) wasn’t a worthwhile tradeoff to have the sex-factor of the air.
    My Macbook is a portable machine – I spend about 4 hours commuting by train every day so I catch up on email & start to plough into my to-do list on the way to the office. The Macbook is hardly a fat machine – Ok it’s not the thinnest notebook in the world, but it’s not heavy, it’s not awkard to shove in my bag and take with me.
    The air is an innovation, it’s beautiful, but it’s just not good enough value.

  3. It seems to be a cool little machine–I love the wow factor–and it made me seriously consider getting my first mac. But I couldn’t sacrifice that much performance.

  4. Hi Leo,
    Was wondering if you could enable the full post view for RSS readers, currently we only get a summary and have to go to the site to see it all.
    You will find the setting in WP-Admin > Options > Reading > Syndication Feeds > Full Text (rather than Summary)
    Or if you would like to have both Summary and Full Text feed try this plugin: http://www.scratch99.com/wordpress-plugin-dualfeeds/
    Thanks 🙂

  5. For some people, power isn’t important and neither is battery life…
    But they do have the money to spend on a notebook, so I think with the air, apple are trying to provide for them. Macbooks are becoming very common these days and you just know that some people want to differentiate themselves from the crowd.
    If anything the air provides a stylish expensive notebook for them and makes the macbook look a lot more valuable… double benefits!

  6. A real 1st world problem. Nevertheless the real issue is how much one would pay for the portability/sexiness value of the air and if this covers the superior costs and functionality of the macbook.

  7. Leo – I betcha you’ll buy the Air after announcing on Tech Guy or MacBreak that you neeeed it for a review and how much you dislike someone sending you review units etc. 🙂 Haha!

  8. The MBA is primarily a second computer. I bought one to complement my MacPro (lots of power). How much is thin and light worth? Well, I’d say $1699 (use that educational discount whenever you can). Its “limitations” for me are advantages that add to its value. Now I bet your daughter would love one…

  9. Leo,
    Do you have a major discount thru Apple? I just priced a white macbook, 2.0ghz with those same specs you name and it came out to $2,249.00.

  10. Nope – that was the price at the online Apple Store. I got a stock 2.2Ghz Macbook, white. The only upgrade I made was to a 250GB hard drive. I bought the additional RAM from OWC at macsales.com – using their house brand it was $100.
    Just checked and it’s still $1542. Did you make the mistake of adding Apple RAM?

  11. Leo, Do you have an iPod Touch yet? I grabbed one hoping to join the crowd but after a few weeks I hate the thing. As an internet/video device it’s very good. But as a music player it’s Apple’s worst iPod ever.
    Unlike the iPhone, there aren’t even volume buttons and it isn’t compatible with any iPhone remote. So that means if you want to do ANYTHING like FF, Skip Track, Change Volume or even Pause then you need to look at the screen.
    I ended up getting a Nano for my music but I’m still undecided on whether or not I’ll return the touch. I do like it for everything except music, but I just feel it’s a bit crappy of Apple to brainwash the world into thinking buttons are somehow a “bad” thing. Convenience = Good.

  12. Leo – I agree. I’m an early adopter of so much tech (particularly Apple) but the Air doesn’t appeal.What people want is a reduction in dimension and not weight – that’s why the EeePC is such a hit, despite being fundamentally ugly.
    If Apple combined the EeePC form factor with their design elegance (and I’m sure given their R&D budget they could slim it and boost its total power), they’d be on to a *massive* winner.

  13. No I haven’t purchased yet. I missed the 3rd party mention in your post. Man, what a deal compared to what Apple is offering on 4gigs!

  14. Leo,
    You found the demographic for the “Air”: Internet Millionaires. Like you, It’d be a MacBook (and a Touch) for me. Cheers.

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