MacBook Air – fair criticism?

Earlier this week Apple introduced a new line in their laptop lineup – the MacBook Air. On the web there’s been a number of people criticizing the MacBook Air, and frankly I really don’t get why they need to have every Apple product be a perfect match for them – they aren’t and they’re not supposed to be.

“Top 10 Flaws of the Macbook Air”

Let me add a few comments to some of the points on one of the lists criticizing the Macbook Air:

  1. Battery not user Replaceable
    No it isn’t, but how often do you need that? I’ve never had to replace a battery dispite using laptops for 10+ years. Sure you should be able to, but you can’t – so be it.
  2. No Optical Drive
    Several laptops from other vendors doesn’t have a built in optical drives. It’s not a flaw it’s a feature. Use the external if/when you need it.
  3. Mono Speakers
    Who uses the build-in speakers? I always either using headphones or external speakers. When I do use the build-in speakers it doesn’t matters it’s mono.
  4. Fixed RAM and Slow Processor
    Sure replaceable/upgradeable RAM would be nice, but for most common uses 2 Gb RAM should be sufficient for the expected lifetime of the machine.
    The Core2 Duo 1.6Ghz is probably fast enough for most average uses. It’s not for Photoshop, heavy Video editing, but it’ll run Mail.app, Safari, iWork and iLife just fine.
  5. Single Link DVI Output
    If you need to have several screens attached to the laptop (or need to power a 30” display) the Macbook Air probably isn’t for you. You’re probably a Pro user, who should look at the Macbook Pro (as the name suggest).

Why the Macbook Air might be just perfect

I’ve been recommending ShuttlePCs for friends and family for the past year, and usually that they buy a reasonable configuration, and use the machine for as long as it suits their needs – then replace it. When it seems slow, lacks hard disk space or what ever – don’t bother with upgrades, spend the money on a new machine.

I’m sure geeks find it amazing to replace memory, hard disk and other upgradable parts, but most computer users these days don’t. They think of their computer just like their car – if you aren’t a mechanic, don’t mess under the hood – you’ll probably do more damage than good.

The MacBook Air isn’t for everyone, but it’s a wonderful machine for many common computer users, and probably not for geeks (that’s why they have the MacBook Pro, remember).

I personally doesn’t give a damn, that the Air doesn’t have an optical drive – I might use the optical drive in my PowerMac twice a year, and using an external drive (or a hosted drive on an other computer) will work just fine for me, thank you.

I might have a problem with the hard disk options, but with a huge digital data collection (photos, music, video and others) I’m already looking into network drives – and with 2+ GB USB pendrives, I can easily place the data on a pendrive and bring them with me.

I really like the weight and the general form factors, and while it may not be the perfect primary computer for all, I’m sure many will be quite satisfied with it – even as their primary computer.

  • I would have to disagree with you – this computer can never be anyones primary computer. Not because it doesn’t have an optical drive though, but because it doesn’t have an optical drive or ethernet! Combine that with just one USB-port, and I’m sure people will be carrying around hubs in their Manila envelopes, which sort of defeats the purpose.
    For a secondary computer it might work, but I would still choose the MacBook – the specs on that certainly warrants its “thickness”.

  • I would have to disagree with you – this computer can never be anyones primary computer. Not because it doesn’t have an optical drive though, but because it doesn’t have an optical drive or ethernet! Combine that with just one USB-port, and I’m sure people will be carrying around hubs in their Manila envelopes, which sort of defeats the purpose.
    For a secondary computer it might work, but I would still choose the MacBook – the specs on that certainly warrants its “thickness”.

  • I would have to disagree with you – this computer can never be anyones primary computer. Not because it doesn’t have an optical drive though, but because it doesn’t have an optical drive or ethernet! Combine that with just one USB-port, and I’m sure people will be carrying around hubs in their Manila envelopes, which sort of defeats the purpose.
    For a secondary computer it might work, but I would still choose the MacBook – the specs on that certainly warrants its “thickness”.