It’s no secret I’m not enamored with the new MacBook Air. In fact, I chose to purchase a MacBook instead. While I think it’s a beautiful design, I also think it’s less a sub-notebook than it claims to be given its footprint.
Paul Thurrott of Windows SuperSite was just fine with it the day it was announced, but is now blasting it to high heaven. Why the reversal? I’m assuming it takes a while for him to get his marching orders from Redmond.
Anyway, in his initial comments about the Air he gave it a grade ‘B’. Not bad at all.
Today, however, he can’t stand the thing, and his critique starts with the most ridiculous line of all:
While it’s easy to get caught up in Steve Jobs’ patented “reality distortion” field as I did yesterday, at least with regards to the MacBook Air, sometimes it’s wise to sit back and really mull over what it is that he’s offering.
If someone who’s been around tech as long as you, Paul, and who bashes Apple as much as you do, still gets caught in the alleged “reality distortion field”, then you have no business posting on Apple at all. I’m serious.
And what do you mean “sometime it’s wise… to mull over”? When is it not wise to mull things over? All you’ve copped to here is that you posted without thinking, an admission perhaps a little embarrassing for you.
Take heart, though. A fellow Apple-basher, Joe Wilcox, had to admit yesterday that he needed to avoid Macworld to not get caught up in the RDF.
Anyway, having made an excuse for posting his own opinion yesterday, we now get the talking points memo from the Apple-bashers. Pay attention, because this will be the battle cry for all of them on the MacBook Air going forward:
It’s too expensive. No surprise there: Apple technology is generally quite expensive at launch. The SSD version of the MacBook Air, however, is particularly expensive: It starts at over $3000
I think the $1,799 is just in the acceptable range. I would like to have seen a hundred less, but it’s not egregious compared to other sub-notebooks. As for the SSD, give me a break! Apple charges $999 for it. Find it substantially less from any other vendor offering the option, Paul.
It doesn’t utilize next-generation Intel chip technology. Though Jobs brought his new lap dog, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, out on stage yet again this year, talking up how the two companies worked together to pull off yet another technological miracle, the chip in the MacBook Air is just a smaller version of last year’s less efficient 65nm chips, and not this year’s 45nm design.
Paul, it’s a fine line between bashing Apple and just being ridiculous. So now Intel’s CEO is an Apple lap dog? Intel’s CEO? Why is it anybody who does business with Apple is a lap dog, Paul? Intel’s CEO. Heh. You crack me up.
As for the “next-generation” technology, the MacBooks and MacBook Pros don’t use that technology either. Neither do the iMacs or the Mac mini. In fact, until one week ago neither did the Mac Pros! Are you seriously recommending to your Windows readers they should avoid all PCs not using the new 45nm technology? No, just Apple’s. Pathetic.
The battery isn’t removable… As Steven Parker notes over at Neowin, what’s going to happen to MacBook Air users when they run out of power less than half-way across the Atlantic?
Do you and Steven know the battery times of a typical sub-notebook? I hope you both bring two to four batteries with you.
There’s no Ethernet… While you can purchase a USB-based Ethernet adapter for $29
Well, then I guess there is Ethernet, isn’t there? And for just $29 for those that need it, like big-talking tech bloggers who want 45nm technology and 10-hour battery life, but then insist the machine be tethered to a cable. Sheesh.
Yet another power adapter.
WTF? This is an issue? Not once did I ever buy a laptop and expect to use the power adapter from a previous laptop. I expect to use the one that comes with it. The MBA is small, so is the adapter. This is the most non non-issue I’ve ever seen.
It’s thin to no good end. While there are already a number of ultra-portable machines in the MacBook Air’s weight class (3 pounds), most of them exceed Apple’s device in ways that are meaningful. They have Ethernet ports, for example. More than one USB port. A docking station for a hardware “slice” that adds more battery and an optical drive.
This is where Apple’s philosophy differs from the other sub-notebooks. Jobs made that clear in his keynote, but you ignored all of it. The other machines may have more ports and connectors, but in order to make room for those things you get a smaller screen (11 inches, maybe less), a mini-keyboard and weak processors.
Apple’s compromises were to jettison the extra connectors and ports, and instead go with a big screen, full-size keyboard, relatively fast processors for this class of machine, and good battery life to begin with (so an extra battery isn’t a requirement).
You can debate this approach, but Jobs was up-front about it. Besides, since all the ports and connectors in the world won’t make a sub-notebook an acceptable desktop substitute (especially as slow as they typically are), it’s not unreasonable to think that trading them for a bigger screen and keyboard might make sense.
Overall, what this says to me is that the MacBook Air is a must-miss
Whatever. The market will decide. What your article says to me is that you simply ignored Apple’s approach, chose not to even debate it, and then slammed the machine by tossing out unoriginal features gathered from who knows how many machines.
I don’t rave about the MBA, and have my gripes with it, but at least I can debate the design philosophy. Paul and some others cannot see it that way, and apparently assume that every sub-notebook must be made in the same way. As usual, Apple tries to look ahead, while other PC manufacturers try not to look at all.
Personally, I’m OK with Jobs’ compromises except for the screen, which makes for too large a footprint in an alleged sub-notebook. Still, I think it leans less to the “bad” side than other sub-notebooks, which I consider more like a “My First Sony” toy PC. And I have no issue defending the MBA against Paul because his “arguments” are silly.
I’ve brought up my beefs here, and commenters have added to the discussion. They’ve presented both pro and con to my opinions in a pretty reasoned manner. And none of us ever needed to argue against the MBA simply because it doesn’t follow the lead of every two-bit PC hardware manufacturer, or because it has a new power adapter, or because there’s no Ethernet even though there is, etc. That should tell you something, Paul, but I’m sure it won’t.