New 2010 MacBook Air "netbook" gets lousy reviews

2010 MacBook Air (Apple)
By Richi Jennings. October 21, 2010.

Apple fanbois may not like to hear this, but the new 2010 MacBook Air hasn't been an unqualified hit. It wasn't greeted with the slavish devotion usually heaped on the new shiny from Infinite Loop. Apple launched its updated skinny laptop yesterday, but there are a surprising number of bad reviews out there. Many can't resist comparing the 11.6 inch model to a netbook -- you know, the underpowered, toy computers that Apple said it would would never make. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers clearly aren't all fanbois.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Coachella 2010...


Gregg Keizer chooses his favorite moment from the press conference:

The star of the show was clearly the "one more thing" that CEO Steve Jobs is famous for rolling out at the end of company events. ... [Apple] revamped its lightest laptop, the MacBook Air, slimming it down, ditching the hard drive ... and introducing a smaller model that sports an 11.6-in. screen.


The screen size of the smaller MacBook Air ... gave some pundits room to wonder if Apple, Jobs especially, had reversed their anti-netbook stance. ... Both models of the MacBook Air are available immediately on Apple's online store and at its retail outlets.

"Mother" Maggie Shiels brings tasty data:

Like the iPad, the Air will have no hard drive and rely on flash memory. ... The new MacBook Air is 0.11 inches thick at its thinnest point. ... Users [can] surf the web for seven hours. In standby mode, the battery can last 30 days.


Apple said the Macintosh accounted for a third of the company's revenue or $22bn. ... They sold 13.7 million Macs last year, which is three times the sales they had in 2005.

But Lawrence Latif lacks the fanboi gene:

Alas, in the world of Jobs, less is always more. ... The 11.6-inch version can be configured with an almost useless 64GB of storage for a total price of $999. ... Given Apple's penchant for overcharging, the pricing ... goes to highlight the poor value for money the Ipad offers. ... It has become a designer of fancy toys rather than ... impressive technological products.


[It's] little more than a rehash of three year old technology with a new graphics chip. ... It's hard to be too impressed with the 2010 edition. Processors of roughly the same vintage, no changes in RAM, standard storage capacity still at 64GB and poor battery life. ... Redesigning the case and putting technology from three years ago will only impress those who are already indoctrinated into the church of Apple.

At least Karl Hodge admits to being facetious:

The MacBook Air line ... includes a new device size that looks suspiciously like a netbook. You know, those things that Steve Jobs said were rubbish and underpowered and that Apple would never make.


Of course, savings have been made with zero-redundant components ... or, aggressive corner cutting ... depending on your viewpoint. ... There's no optical drive, for example.

Sam Grobart subtends the same angle:

The thing about the 11-inch MacBook Air ... is that it’s basically a netbook. A really nice, powerful netbook — but a netbook all the same. ... Yes, Apple’s version is beautiful ... and will put other netbooks to shame, but at roughly three times the price, it had better. It’s hard to see how something this ... this pricey makes a really logical choice.

And Jason D. O'Grady agrees, saying "it isn’t powerful enough for pros":

One thing that I feared ... was that it would be ship with a Core 2 Duo processor – a processor (circa Q3 2008) that is bigger, slower and hotter than the ... modern Intel i3 processor that just about every other PC OEM ships in its notebooks. ... My nightmare came true.


The cynical side of me thinks that it’s planned obsolescence at its finest. ... Maybe Apple had a bunch of old C2D chips sitting in a warehouse somewhere that they needed to use up? ... Apple did the same exact thing with the iPad, releasing the WiFi version first, then the 3G version shortly after.

Meanwhile, Ross Miller notes a notable omission:

Amusingly enough, you know what's missing from the new MacBook Air models? Adobe Flash Player. While preloaded on Apple's past hardware ... here it just says missing plugin.


You can still install Flash yourself -- we did, and are happy to report the Air plays 720p video great.

And Finally...

Sam O'Hare's latest tilt-shift opus: Coachella 2010

[bonus link: interview with the filmmaker]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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