When Steve Jobs stepped up to the podium at Macworld earlier this week, I’m sure notebook PC makers were -- how can this politely be expressed? -- demonstrating signs of trepidation. Today, they’re going to be a lot calmer. Calmer and happy too.
Apple has done an amazing job on the PC industry ever since Jobs’ return. For once, the term "messianic" might be appropriate, or as close as it ever becomes in terms of technology. Where Apple had not executed in the Jobs 2.0 era was in mobile computing where its products often looked heavy and unwieldy. Little wonder that most of us expected a subnotebook that would offer a truly portable alternative for rail commuters and others who need something that really does sit comfortably on the lap rather than perch like a suitcase on beer pump. We were expecting something wonderful, disruptive and market making
The MacBook ain’t it.
With a 13.3in screen, this is a device that sits halfway between what I would have thought would be the two main target audiences. Hard-core graphics workers will lament the lack of an even larger display and feel that processor and RAM options are limited. Generalists will wonder why they need such an unusual mixture of lightweight product and full-size format.
Adding to the list of caveats, there will be big concerns about external optical drives, lack of fixed Ethernet, and the sole USB port. OK, so you can buy add-in extras but this is a specification that has “compromise” written through it like Blackpool rock. It is also a product that screams like a catwalk vamp about Apple's old failure -- a preference for style over substance.
Both sets of users will be thinking long and hard about the price. The US sticker is harsh enough but the UK tariff is just abusive. Whatever happened to the special relationship, you guys?
Apple has been on a golden run for a long time and the MacBook Air would appear to have redeeming features interms of its trackpad and screen. But this is product would appear to be more iScrewedup than iPhone.
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