Apple's new 11.6-in. MacBook Air: Don't call it a netbook
Some might find this mini-laptop too small, but travelers will love it
Computerworld - When you first take the 11.6-in. MacBook Air out of its box, the word "netbook" will almost certainly pop into your head. After all, the diminutive size and weight of Apple's newest ultraslim laptop -- not to mention its modest 1.4-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor -- are very netbook-like.
But the petite Air is much closer to a fully modern laptop than the small-but-crippled netbooks you see on the Windows side of the aisle -- as it should be, given that netbooks are significantly cheaper. Though it arrives with a few trade-offs compared to other notebooks in Apple's line-up, the Air delivers a true Mac laptop experience.
And it comes with one very noteworthy technological advance: onboard flash storage that's mounted directly to the logic board. More about that in a minute.
I've had a chance now to try out this particular MacBook Air for several days, and while its small screen took some getting used to -- my 17-in. MacBook Pro is a relative behemoth -- I've generally found it to be a delight to use. It's stylish and well built, has a full-size keyboard, is powerful enough for the tasks I've thrown at it and comes in at an attractive price.
In other words, for Apple fans looking to get their hands on the latest and lightest Mac available, the MacBook Air should prove to be quite popular. That's especially true for road warriors concerned about size and weight, and those who might be tempted by the iPad but need more traditional laptop features.
Apple's Air line is now almost three years old. The first one was unveiled in January 2008. (I owned one of those first-generation models and, later, an Air with a solid-state drive, so I'm familiar with the line.)
Apple now offers four models differentiated mainly by screen size, processing power and storage space. Two come with the 11.6-in. screen, and two have the larger 13.3-in. screen, the same size as before, though with a higher resolution. Prices range from $999 to $1,599, but you can spend a bit more if you upgrade the processor, add more RAM or increase storage.
The model in hand, sent over by Apple for review purposes after the new lineup was unveiled last week, offers 128GB of storage and costs $1,199. (The entry-level version has half that amount of storage, 64GB, which many people will find constraining in this era of digital video and photos.)
If you want more than 128GB, you'll need to get the $1,599 model, since it's the only one that offers 256GB of space. So right off the bat, you'll have to decide how much room you need for all your data and apps. Choose wisely, as the storage can't be upgraded later on.
- The other Apple economy: $2B in devices on eBay
- Apple sends users scrambling for OS X Yosemite
- Long replacement cycle drags down iPad sales
- Apple unwraps OS X Yosemite public beta Thursday
- Apple grows Mac sales by 18% on the back of the MacBook Air
- Want an Apple watch? Just 3D print one
- What to listen for during Apple's earnings call today
- Mac sales will again outstrip industry average
- Apple, IBM spell out enterprise support for iPhone, iPad
- Timeline: How Apple's iOS gained enterprise cred
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- The Truth About Virtual Computing for CAD If you're a user of graphics-intensive software such as 3D modeling, simulation and analysis, and visualization, you might be skeptical about moving to...
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Simplifying Product Design In A Complex World Product design engineering has moved far beyond the confines of ever-more powerful workstations. Companies can't afford to restrict projects to using only local...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Why Are Customers Really Deploying an NGFW? It seems every IT Security expert is talking about the NGFW, but what are people really doing? This webcast covers 5 real-world customer... All Laptops White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!