Tag Archives: Mac

The MacBook Air

MacBook AirApple’s latest release follows the standard formula that has been so effective for the last few years. We touched on the MacBook Air in a post about MacWorld 2008 last week, but all we had was a link to the ad and the guided tour. Having read more about the new notebook, we can offer more information for those interested.

The Air does seem to be the thinnest notebook. The well planned unveiling of the Air, removing it from a standard office envelope, illustrated that point quite well. At its thinnest, the Air is a slender 0.16″ (4mm). That measurement balloons to 0.76″ (~19mm) at it’s thickest point near the hinges, measurements that even make Kate Moss look like she belongs on The Biggest Loser. For comparison, Dell and Sony have notebooks that measure 0.8″ (~20mm) and 1.0″(~25.5mm), respectively. The Air is also quite lightweight, tipping the scales at an amazing 3lbs (1.36kg).

So, the Air is light and skinny, which is great, but what can it do? The Air is available with Intel Core 2 Duo chips (1.6-GHz or 1.8-GHz for $300 more) that were specially built at Apple’s request. The chips are in the Merom family of Intel chips. Along with the unique chip, there are other aspects of the Air that are unique; not only can you not upgrade the memory, but the battery cannot be replaced by the user. These are side effects of the slim design. The 2GB of RAM should be sufficient for the lifespan of the notebook, probably around 2 years or so, but many users will shy away from the Air when they find out they can’t take advantage of a second, back-up battery for extended portable/remote use.

Built for wireless, the Air has taken away some standard ports, like Ethernet (who needs to plug in to a LAN, right?), and according to Jobs, optical drives are a thing of the past. No DVD/CD-ROMS on the Air. With the Remote Disc feature, the Air can connect to another MacBook and use the optical drive on that system for software installs or load tunes.

It’s tough to say who this device is for. It cannot hook in to a standard office network, which at this point, are still typically wired. Remote users can’t go a full 8 hour day using the Air, and even if they could, they would be unable to burn their results to a DVD to back-up, share, or ship what they’ve been working on. A trendy student might be interested, hoping to minimize the bulk in their backpack, but it’s a bit pricey for the average learner living off a dorm room budget.

This type of innovation is the start and will help promote smaller, thinner devices and help bring the cost of these devices down, but personally, I wouldn’t be an early adopter. The sacrifices made for the sake this waifish devices are the same reasons I wouldn’t be interested. For more information on the MacBook Air, see the Computerworld FAQ: Everything you need to know about the MacBook Air.

Mac OS X Leopard (10.5)

Mac Leopard (OS X 10.5) logoIn recent years, Apple could almost be described by two things: turtlenecks and iPods. This year, the iPhone was added to the mix, and we saw another addition to their family of felines, Mac OS X 10.5, better known as Leopard. The family of Apple felines has now reached six, starting with Cheetah, moving to Puma, Jaguar, Panther, and Tiger before this latest release. The OS X operating system started the resurgence of Apple, and while it has been over 2 years since a release has been made, many of the over 300 changes will surely go unnoticed by the average user. Touting one of the most impressive interfaces, the latest release has a refined look, revamped apps and new options. While the release doesn’t seem to have the fanfare of Microsoft’s Vista, which recently hit the 88 million unit mark, it should have an impact on Apple through hardware upgrades as well as OS upgrades. For an in-depth look at the new OS, see this article on Computerworld.

Check out these other articles for more information:

FAQ: Getting ready for the leap to Leopard

Five reasons not to make the jump to Leopard – yet

Image Gallery: First look at Leopard