Refreshing the MacBook Air

As a former MacBook Air owner, it looks like Apple solved the two most vexing problems with the original.

Memory

Two gigabytes wasn’t enough. Not then and certainly not now. If you are lining up to get yourself a new MacBook Air, pay the extra $100 for 4GB Ram. Forego Starbucks for a few months or sell blood. You won’t regret it.

4200 RPM

The original MacBook Air had a 4200 RPM hard drive. This was a remarkably slow hard drive. Sometimes I just wanted to reach in and start spinning it with my finger to speed it up. By making everything SSD, the new machine will feel like a screamer despite its lackluster CPU. My Apple spies are already telling me this is the case.

In addition to solving the above problems, the long life battery, instant on, and increased screen resolution don’t hurt either. It will be interesting to see who buys the 11” versus 13” models and how they get used. Regardless, those who thought an Apple sub-notebook was beyond hope (especially after the release of the iPad) can now rejoice (and go to their nearest Apple store). If I was in the market for a new MacBook, I’d be looking long and hard at those new MacBook Airs.

6 Comments Refreshing the MacBook Air

  1. Nash

    I am also very much interested in the Air – the old Air's seemed like Apple had forgotten about them. The size of the HD made me think twice about getting the computer. But now, with an increased size and two versions of Air's it seems very appealing. Cloud technologies also make HD space a non-issue – as long as you have connection to the Internet.

    The only thing that stopped me from getting it right away, was the backlit keyboard. I really like this on my MacBook and I wish the Air had an option to change the keyboard.

    Reply
  2. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    For those with limited budgets, "looking long" is good advice. I seriously toyed with the idea of getting an iPad for on-the-go writing, assuming the MacBook Air would remain an overpriced toy for corporate executives. Boy was I wrong! For getting work done, a MacBook Air is much, much better. I'm glad I waited.

    Perhaps the best reason for waiting yet again is the sheer number of options that Apple is offering. Buy too low and you may be frustrated, particularly when there's an unknown factor like Lion coming out next year. Buy too high, and you may be mad at yourself for overbuying what for most will be a computer for a few basic purposes. In a few months, the pros and cons of each option will be more obvious.

    The 11" v. 13" choice is particularly difficult. There's not that much difference in weight and once you begin to add to the basic 11" model, there's more bang for the buck in the 13" model. By my reckoning, the latter offers about twice the computer for 30% more. On the other hand, psychologically, it's much easier to justify an 11" model in addition to my 13" MacBook than it is the 13" model.

    Waiting also lets Apple work out the bugs in what is a revolutionary new design. It also means that refurb models will be available and enough delay means that Air shifts with Lion. For those with older MacBooks, Lion's multi-touch features may make an upgrade to a laptop with the proper touchpad a must. Until then, multi-touch isn't that big a deal. Until then, the only real difference between an Air and my three-year-old MacBook is a few pounds. I can live with that.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

    Reply
  3. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    For those with limited budgets, "looking long" is good advice. I seriously toyed with the idea of getting an iPad for on-the-go writing, assuming the MacBook Air would remain an overpriced toy for corporate executives. Boy was I wrong! For getting work done, a MacBook Air is much, much better. I'm glad I waited.

    Perhaps the best reason for waiting yet again is the sheer number of options that Apple is offering. Buy too low and you may be frustrated, particularly when there's an unknown factor like Lion coming out next year. Buy too high, and you may be mad at yourself for overbuying what for most will be a computer for a few basic purposes. In a few months, the pros and cons of each option will be more obvious.

    The 11" v. 13" choice is particularly difficult. There's not that much difference in weight and once you begin to add to the basic 11" model, there's more bang for the buck in the 13" model. By my reckoning, the latter offers about twice the computer for 30% more. On the other hand, psychologically, it's much easier to justify an 11" model in addition to my 13" MacBook than it is the 13" model.

    Waiting also lets Apple work out the bugs in what is a revolutionary new design. It also means that refurb models will be available and enough delay means that Air shifts with Lion. For those with older MacBooks, Lion's multi-touch features may make an upgrade to a laptop with the proper touchpad a must. Until then, multi-touch isn't that big a deal. Until then, the only real difference between an Air and my three-year-old MacBook is a few pounds. I can live with that.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

    Reply
  4. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    For those with limited budgets, "looking long" is good advice. I seriously toyed with the idea of getting an iPad for on-the-go writing, assuming the MacBook Air would remain an overpriced toy for corporate executives. Boy was I wrong! For getting work done, a MacBook Air is much, much better. I'm glad I waited.

    Perhaps the best reason for waiting yet again is the sheer number of options that Apple is offering. Buy too low and you may be frustrated, particularly when there's an unknown factor like Lion coming out next year. Buy too high, and you may be mad at yourself for overbuying what for most will be a computer for a few basic purposes. In a few months, the pros and cons of each option will be more obvious.

    The 11" v. 13" choice is particularly difficult. There's not that much difference in weight and once you begin to add to the basic 11" model, there's more bang for the buck in the 13" model. By my reckoning, the latter offers about twice the computer for 30% more. On the other hand, psychologically, it's much easier to justify an 11" model in addition to my 13" MacBook than it is the 13" model.

    Waiting also lets Apple work out the bugs in what is a revolutionary new design. It also means that refurb models will be available and enough delay means that Air shifts with Lion. For those with older MacBooks, Lion's multi-touch features may make an upgrade to a laptop with the proper touchpad a must. Until then, multi-touch isn't that big a deal. Until then, the only real difference between an Air and my three-year-old MacBook is a few pounds. I can live with that.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

    Reply
  5. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    For those with limited budgets, "looking long" is good advice. I seriously toyed with the idea of getting an iPad for on-the-go writing, assuming the MacBook Air would remain an overpriced toy for corporate executives. Boy was I wrong! For getting work done, a MacBook Air is much, much better. I'm glad I waited.

    Perhaps the best reason for waiting yet again is the sheer number of options that Apple is offering. Buy too low and you may be frustrated, particularly when there's an unknown factor like Lion coming out next year. Buy too high, and you may be mad at yourself for overbuying what for most will be a computer for a few basic purposes. In a few months, the pros and cons of each option will be more obvious.

    The 11" v. 13" choice is particularly difficult. There's not that much difference in weight and once you begin to add to the basic 11" model, there's more bang for the buck in the 13" model. By my reckoning, the latter offers about twice the computer for 30% more. On the other hand, psychologically, it's much easier to justify an 11" model in addition to my 13" MacBook than it is the 13" model.

    Waiting also lets Apple work out the bugs in what is a revolutionary new design. It also means that refurb models will be available and enough delay means that Air shifts with Lion. For those with older MacBooks, Lion's multi-touch features may make an upgrade to a laptop with the proper touchpad a must. Until then, multi-touch isn't that big a deal. Until then, the only real difference between an Air and my three-year-old MacBook is a few pounds. I can live with that.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

    Reply
  6. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    For those with limited budgets, "looking long" is good advice. I seriously toyed with the idea of getting an iPad for on-the-go writing, assuming the MacBook Air would remain an overpriced toy for corporate executives. Boy was I wrong! For getting work done, a MacBook Air is much, much better. I'm glad I waited.

    Perhaps the best reason for waiting yet again is the sheer number of options that Apple is offering. Buy too low and you may be frustrated, particularly when there's an unknown factor like Lion coming out next year. Buy too high, and you may be mad at yourself for overbuying what for most will be a computer for a few basic purposes. In a few months, the pros and cons of each option will be more obvious.

    The 11" v. 13" choice is particularly difficult. There's not that much difference in weight and once you begin to add to the basic 11" model, there's more bang for the buck in the 13" model. By my reckoning, the latter offers about twice the computer for 30% more. On the other hand, psychologically, it's much easier to justify an 11" model in addition to my 13" MacBook than it is the 13" model.

    Waiting also lets Apple work out the bugs in what is a revolutionary new design. It also means that refurb models will be available and enough delay means that Air shifts with Lion. For those with older MacBooks, Lion's multi-touch features may make an upgrade to a laptop with the proper touchpad a must. Until then, multi-touch isn't that big a deal. Until then, the only real difference between an Air and my three-year-old MacBook is a few pounds. I can live with that.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

    Reply

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