The Media Guru

Jan 16, 2008


The Macbook air is an ultra-thin Macbook at 0.16 inches (4 mm) at its thinnest & 0.76 inches (19 mm) at its thickest, making it the thinnest laptop in the world. So thin… that it can fit in a manila envelope.

It has a 13.3 inch widescreen display, a backlit keyboard & a multi-touch trackpad. The multi-touch trackpad allows the user to reciprocate the same hand motions as with the iPhone - pinch, scroll, drag, etc. There’s also an iSight webcam at the top of the screen.

The Macbook Air comes with an 1.8-inch 80GB hard disk (as in the iPods) or a 64GB SSD.

The Intel Core 2 Duo processor has been shrunk down by 60% to provide a speed of 1.6GHz & 1.8GHz!!!

To make the Macbook Air really thin, you have to shrink down the electronics… & Apple engineers have just managed it!

It has a single USB 2.0, Micro-DVI & headphone jack. There’s also the 802.11n WiFi (248 Mbit/s!!!) & the latest Bluetooth 2.1!

Unfortunately, there’s no optical drive & the battery lasts only for 5 hours. But you can get an optional $99 USB external DVD burner.

The Specs:
Height: 0.16-0.76 inch (0.4-1.94 cm)
Width: 12.8 inches (32.5 cm)
Depth: 8.94 inches (22.7 cm)
Weight: 3.0 pounds (1.36 kg)

- Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB on-chip shared L2 cache
- 800MHz FSB
- 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM onboard

- 80GB 4200-rpm Parallel ATA hard disk drive
- Optional 64GB solid-state drive
- Optional external USB MacBook Air SuperDrive

- 13.3-inch (diagonal) glossy widescreen TFT LED backlit display with support for millions of colours
- Supported resolutions: 1280 by 800 (native), 1152 by 720, 1024 by 768…

- DVI output using micro-DVI to DVI adapter (included)
- VGA output using micro-DVI to VGA adapter (included)
- Composite output using micro-DVI to video adapter (optional)
- S-video output using micro-DVI to video adapter (optional)
- Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
- Extended desktop and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 1920 by 1200 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colours
- Built-in iSight camera

- Built-in full-size keyboard with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys, 4 arrow keys (inverted “T” arrangement), and embedded numeric keypad
- Backlit keyboard with ambient light sensor for automatic adjustment of keyboard illumination and screen brightness
- Solid-state trackpad with multi-touch gesture support for precise cursor control; supports two-finger scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities

- Built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking (based on IEEE 802.11n draft specification); IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible
- Built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate)

- Analog audio output/headphone out (minijack)
- Built-in mono speaker
- Built-in omnidirectional microphone

- Integrated 37-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
- 45W MagSafe power adapter with cable management system
- MagSafe power adapter port

In the box:
- MacBook Air
- Micro-DVI to DVI adapter
- Micro-DVI to VGA adapter
- Cleaning/polishing cloth
- MagSafe power adapter
- Install/restore DVDs
- Printed documentation

The Price:

The Macbook Air is a great piece of technological marvel, with the small processor, built-in WiFi & that razor-thin body…
BUT it’s not enough. It has faults… too many, in fact!
- It has only a single USB port… now it’s up to you to decide which is more important to connect… your modem or your optical drive or the USB pen drive?
- It has no Ethernet port… meaning you can’t network it with your PC Mac.
- The Micro-DVI adapter to this, Micro-DVI adapter to that… is not a solution. We need proper working ports!!!
- To make it thinner, Apple decided to chuck out the optical drive… & instead provided a software that will allow you to use other Macs & PCs burners. But you need to carry around the Remote Disk dvd to install the software on other computers.
- & what happens when those computers don’t have any proper WiFi connection??
- Another problem with going thin is that the battery takes up 3/4 of the space but provides only 5 hours of battery life!!!
- The battery cannot be removed. If it’s dead, you need to bring it back to Apple to replace it.
- & it’s not the thinnest in the world!!! The Mitsubishi Pedion (12-inch screen, Pentium MMX 233 MHz) was 0.72 inch (18 mm) thick! Read here.
- No stereo sound output or input.
- The 2GB memory is fixed. You can’t add more.
- The 64GB SSD is not optional… you’ll need to pay $1000 more to replace the 80 GB with it.
- For the 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo, you need to pay $300 more.
- The price: $1799 (Rs. 54,000) & $3098 (Rs. 92,000). You can get much better hardware at much lower prices. Even the Macbook Pro is not that expensive!

The Verdict:
The only people I know, that are crazy enough (or fool enough) to buy that… are Americans. Apple were caught in between UMPC & laptop… they didn’t know what to make… so they decided to bring out a laptop with the features of a UMPC - the Macbook Air.
On a positive side, let’s assume the Macbook Air is a hardware prototype for next year’s Macbook Touch. They’ve achieved the thinness, how about the Touch?

See you next year, Steve Jobs!

Full coverage of Macworld 2008 from Engadget & Gizmodo.

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