Macbook Air – Just Right Or Too Thin? (Tech Thursday)

The new ultra-portable laptop was recently introduced at Macworld. Kudos for Apple having the boldness to do something really different. As usual, if I could buy whatever Jobs pitches at a keynote within an hour of the speech, I would. On the other hand, after the effects of the speech wear off, I begin to look at things with a more critical eye.

Disclaimer: I am an avid fan of Jobs and the iPod. On the other hand, I’m not a Mac user.

But I have been using and evaluating computers for over 20 years. I love innovation.

What’s really cool about the machine? Full size screen, full size keyboard, in a box small enough to fit into a manila envelope.
Wow! Also, if the battery life is as good as they say, that will be
great to. Including the iPhone’s extensive use of gestures is very cool
as well.

What’s missing? Three significant items are not part of this machine: an optical drive, an Ethernet port, and an easy to change battery.
It will ship with some cool technology to allow users to “share”
someone else’s CD or DVD drive. I don’t think that’s too big a deal. I
rarely use an optical drive now except when installing software and I’d
be willing to hook up or “share” an optical drive on those occasions. I
would like to see them release a model with an Ethernet port. Some
companies and some hotels require an Ethernet port to get on their
networks. I know that in most cases you could use a portable router but
that seems like a lot of trouble. Of the three, my biggest problem
would be the inability to swap out the battery on the fly for a fresh
one. I’ve heard that it’s only $129 to have Apple replace the battery
but still, would it have hurt the design that much to have a more
conventional battery arrangement? Also, whatever the battery life
really is, I would like the option to double that by carrying another
battery.

How do I think it will do in the market? I think Apple will sell a bunch of these because I believe it is the best product in its niche
and it has the Apple cool factor. However, I think that the biggest
effect will be that this product will spur other vendors to produce
competitive products that share some of the same features.

What I would love to see. A machine about the size and weight
of a Macbook Air that is a Tablet PC with an Ethernet port and a
replaceable battery. Now that’s something I would buy!

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