Apple mates an iPad with a MacBook Air


Quite awhile ago Steve Jobs said that Apple wouldn’t offer a netbook, but today he announced 2 new MacBook Air laptops that sure do resemble one (especially the 11 inch version). Available today in 11 and 13 inch models with prices starting at $999, these updated MBAs are both thinner and lighter than their predecessor. A physical hard drive is no longer an option, it’s flash storage all the way. After my experience last week trying to make the iPad do the work of a laptop and failing, the 11 inch MBA looks really good to me right now. While watching the stream Back to Mac event this afternoon, I was close to whipping out the old Visa card to do the deed. Then I remembered that I have no trips planned for the rest of the year and that I already have a MacBook Pro. Besides that, I’m not finished trying to make the iPad bend to my will to become a laptop replacement for traveling. After being chastised a little in my article for mainly complaining about application glitches, I’m going to see if I can redeem myself and solve my problems. But what about the rest of you? How many of you have or are thinking of buying one of the new MacBook Airs? If so, which size?

Posted in: iOS, Laptops and Gear, News
{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Jerry October 20, 2010, 7:37 pm

    11″ MBA for me. I love my iPad for content and forum posting, but it’s not a notebook replacement.

  • Andrew Baker October 20, 2010, 7:41 pm

    $999 in my opinion clearly puts it in the NON-net-book category.

  • Dave October 20, 2010, 7:51 pm

    Poor Julie has had to listen to me go on about the new MBAir for about a week now and definitely all day today. I am looking forward to seeing them in person this weekend. I went by our Apple Store on the way home this afternoon in hopes they had one on display. The Apple folks told me they should have them available and on display Saturday AM.

    I have been waiting for a refresh of the MBAir for a while now. I want to pass my 2 yr old unibody MB down to the Gadgeteer kid and pick up one of these as my main laptop. I am leaning towards the smaller of the two with the 128gb HD and upgrading to 4gb RAM. My only concern is that the 11.6″ MBAir will not have enough screen real estate.

    While the iPad is a great, game changing device, (like Julie) it has fallen short in my eyes in its ability to get everything I need done while on the road. I agree with Steve, the new MBAirs are an ideal offspring of the MacBook Pro and iPad. There is little doubt I will be buying one of these… is just a matter of time :).

  • Mark Rosengarten October 20, 2010, 8:00 pm

    I REALLY like this refresh of the MBA. I have no reason to ditch my MBP13, it’s a little more than a year old, and for what I use it for, it still has at least another 8 years in it. I use a Fujitsu P1630 as my main portable machine…2.2 lbs, 9″ screen, tablet with resistive touchscreen. So…a gadget freak and his money will not be parted this time.

  • Mike October 20, 2010, 9:31 pm

    Steve’s complaint about netbooks was that they “don’t do anything well”, and was specifically referring to the processing power (or lack thereof) in them. He wasn’t complaining about the screen size (although perhaps the typical netbook 1024×600 resolution) or weight. He did complain about cramped keyboards, which the MacBook Air doesn’t suffer from.

    Almost every netbook on the market uses an Intel Atom CPU. The new MacBook Airs do not. They use a Core 2 Duo CPU. That, combined with the points above, make them non-Netbooks in my book. Take a look at similarly-equipped machines like the Dell Latitude 13 or the HP Probook 5310m -> neither HP nor Dell refers to those as Netbooks, so why should Apple?

  • Ken S October 20, 2010, 9:50 pm

    This machine might be of interest to me if it really was a combo of an iPad and a notebook. I’m thinking flip the screen around and you have an iPad and then flip it up and around allowing you to run Win 7 or Mac OS.

    As it is…I think it’s just too expensive for the limited battery life which will require the owner to have to constantly carry a charger with them. My $275 Asus Netbook will go seven hours plus playing videos.

  • Jackie Cheng October 20, 2010, 10:30 pm

    why oh why can’t they squeeze a SD card slot in the 11″ MBA…I would even forgo an usb port for the SD card slot. *cries*

  • Fred October 21, 2010, 3:58 am

    The announced battery life is with wifi on. Without wifi, the new MBA will last

  • Fred October 21, 2010, 3:58 am

    … as long as some other netbook.

  • Andrew Baker October 21, 2010, 10:57 am

    I run power optimized Linux on my Eee 901. I can get close to 12 hours with everything in low power mode. However in “REAL LIFE WORLD” I typically get 6-7hours. Which in my opinion is great.

  • Dave October 21, 2010, 12:35 pm

    I have a rev A MBA so I, too, have been waiting for a MBA refresh. I was really, really disappointed when I saw that the new offerings don’t have a backlit keyboard. As I get older, my eyes are not the same so anything to help these old eyes is a plus. When on the go, I found myself in places where lighting was not so great and the backlit keyboard really helped.

    I’m sure that Apple’s decision to eliminate the backlit keyboard was to increase battery life. And that’s fine. I just wished that Apple made the backlit keyboard an option when custom configuring your system.

    Am I going to order an MBA? If I do, it would be the 11″ model but I already have a Sony Vaio Z, Sony Vaio X, and a Panasonic Toughbook (2 of have backlit keyboards, BTW). So what’s one more…

  • John Kes October 21, 2010, 2:13 pm

    So these MBA’s run Flash?

    • Julie October 21, 2010, 2:54 pm

      @John Kes Yeah but I just read somewhere that you have to install it.

  • Andrew Baker October 21, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Flash isn’t normally installed on Most PC’s either. This is just some journalist taking something and running with it. it’s a non-issue.

  • Ken S October 21, 2010, 4:02 pm

    Rather than a backlit keyboard they could have gone with the long-standing Thinkpad solution which works really well. They have a small LCD at the top of the screen that shines down on the keyboard. You toggle it by hitting a key combination which is the key on the bottom left and top right (easy to find in the dark). Since you only use it when needed it doesn’t adversely affect battery life.

  • Michael October 22, 2010, 8:02 am

    You used to be able to get small lights on a flexible stem you plugged into a USB port. That was in the days before backlit keyboards. Maybe they will come back on the market.


  • guym October 22, 2010, 9:04 am

    Very interested in this – as an iPad user I love the little thing, but will admit to constantly feeling that it cannot do as much as I’d like, but the interface is such a delight. I am hoping and praying apple do a touchscreen laptop…..!
    This new macbook air small size looks very little larger than the iPad and will be given a thorough check over, I have already checked eBay prices for the ipad in anticipation. But will await iPad software update and sight of the mbair small before deciding.

  • 1000Acres October 22, 2010, 9:42 am

    I NEED one of these. My attempts at traveling with the iPad and trying to force it to be something it isn’t have been disappointing, just like Julie. The HP 2140 netbook I have is excrutiatingly slow and trying to edit pictures using Adobe Photoshop on that small screen just doesn’t work. Also, the power cord on the netbook weighs almost as much as the netbook and is just as big. So much for ‘compact.’ It might be an Apple Store weekend.

  • KPDriscoll October 22, 2010, 10:00 am

    Apple’s business model is ego-centric. Wait a year and watch the variety of Android/Chrome devices to hit the market. Apple’s great in their niche, but one company can’t develop a hot market like several competing ones can.

  • Jerry October 23, 2010, 9:55 am

    The MBA 11″ is pretty handy, mine booted up pretty quickly. The screen is nice, but the vertical is a tad cramped. The design of the case (angled) and the full size keyboard combine for more comfortable typing than whe using my MBP. Flash runs fine and I never heard the fan start nor did it get anything resembling hot (an issue with the original MBA).

    It’s niche product that won’t suit everyone.

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