I’m not going to talk about the lack of an optical drive, ports, or the battery that is accessible only to the elite few who know how to use a screwdriver. We’re all aware of what the MacBook Air has and does not have. Instead, I’ll compare this to Apple’s last sub-notebook, the 12″ PowerBook.
Compared to the 12″ PowerBook, the MacBook Air is dramatically thinner and about 50% lighter, but the footprint is a significantly larger. I suppose the 13″ display size is nice, but I would gladly take a smaller display for a decreased footprint. However, I’m not going to discount the quality of the LED backlit display. As you can see in the above photo the screen on the PowerBook is terrible compared to the MacBook Air. Both screens were at full brightness in the above photo. The glossy screen is among the best LCDs I’ve seen, and it has convinced me that glossy screens are the way to go.
Okay, so it is a thin computer. So what. Well, it is kind of nice actually. The 12″ PowerBook seems rather brick-like compared to the MacBook Air. The 12″ PowerBook was never really a light weight, and this flaw is quite obvious when compared to the MacBook Air. Also, the lower position of the MacBook Air keyboard relative to the table top makes typing more comfortable. The keyboard on the MacBook Air and the 12″ PowerBook are both very nice, but the MacBook Air beats the PowerBook in this category.
Finally, who saw the Macworld Expo keynote? Well, the MacBook air supposedly fits inside an inter-office envelope. I happen to have a standard 10″ x 13″ interoffice envelope and here is the result:
That would be a big fail. The envelope would make for a great carrying case, but it looks like you will have to order a special Apple Inc. interoffice folder if you want to be like Steve.
Were you expecting a conclusion? Oh. Well, the MacBook Air is nice. It isn’t a good primary computer, but it would make for an excellent second or third system. In contrast, the 12″ PowerBook was and still is a great primary computer, as long as you also use an external display. Most importantly, the MacBook Air looks pretty, it is easy to carry around, but it does not fit in an interoffice envelope. In retrospect, I suppose I really should have compared it to the iPod touch, which fits in much smaller envelopes.