10. 20. 2010
The new MacBook Air: iPad with a keyboard?
Just as Hoyun was writing about the keyboard for the iPad- the new MacBook Air was being announced. There's a 13" model, as is traditional for the MacBook Air, but now there's a smaller sibling, with an 11" screen, which would seem to compete directly with the iPad as they are similarly sized, and many people have complained that they can't do real work on their iPads because they don't like the on-screen keyboards.
The iPad and the MacBook Air, I believe, are very different beasts, and for the first time, I think I may be able to skip buying a new Mac product. The 11" MacBook Air weighs about a pound more than the iPad, at about 2.3 lbs. When you're lugging devices, that extra pound can feel significant. It's a very very nice netbook/notebook with a very thin, beautiful form, but without an optical drive, and smaller capacity SSD drive (64 or 128 GB), and just 2GB of RAM, it's a lot less computer than a MacBook Pro. With a full keyboard, Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and multi-touch Trackpad, the MacBook Air is plenty powerful enough for most everything but video editing and gaming. It's a great choice if you prefer portability over power. And like most Apple products, it's sleek and stylish, an immediate head-turner.
The iPad is a great media player/internet device that can do some work if you're in a pinch. I love it because I use it to watch movies, read the news, and play with Apps. The super-simple interface makes it easy and fun and to use, even if you're a technophobe. It does just enough, and has great battery life, but it's not a computer replacement for me.
My recommendation? The MacBook Air is for you if you want it as a primary laptop computer- and don't mind the smaller screen and less power. It's the world's most impressive netbook, really. If you have a computer already, and want something lightweight for movies, music, games, and apps, go iPad. Even I can't justify having both.