MacBook Air

The MacBook Air was Apple’s quite successful attempt at (re)defining the premium sub-notebook segment with an ultra-thin laptop, trimming it down to the bare minimum of expandability and connectivity (the only connectors on the original model were power, a single USB port, a video out port, and a headphone jack, although the range of ports has expanded slightly since).

Like all Apple products that defy established industry practices, it has as many detractors as mindless fanboys. In the end, it is not for everyone, but many people had utterly unrealistic expectations.

As of June 2012, the Air line-up has effectively replaced the old MacBook range, with the 11” and 13” models sporting SSD storage ranges of 64–256GB (512GB BTO) and (finally, at long last) a BTO option of 8GB RAM – which, together with the Intel Core i5/i7 options, makes them viable development laptops.

None of them are, of course, user-serviceable or upgradeable.

My favorite, of course, is the 11” model:

The only drawback of the 11” model for me is the lack of an SD port, which is included in the 13” model:

11” 13”

And, of course, it is to be expected that these will be upgraded to Retina displays come 2013.

Resources

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Original MacBook Air Developer Note, from where this architecture diagram was taken.

Reviews

Date Link Notes
Feb 11 Product review: MacBook Air is light as, well, air Review is interspersed with annoying ads, but a good read (in prose style if not in actual insights)
Jan 25 MacBook Air review Engadget posts a number of photos of the machine and its connectors
Jan 24 Apple’s MacBook Air Is Beautiful and Thin, But Omits Features Walt Mossberg notes that the large screen takes up just as much room on an airplane as a conventional laptop…
Jan 23 MacBook Air: The sexy kind of skinny but with some flaws Edward Baig mentions lack of mobile broadband connectivity
Jan 23 The Skinny on the MacBook Air Steven Levy ends his review with a comment on the small available storage

Items of Note

Date Link Notes
Jan 24 Adding insult to injury: USB 3G modems won’t fit in the MacBook Air Whereby the forethought of packing an USB extender with your 3G devices is demonstrated (incidentally, last time I checked the equivalent Novatel device in Europe included one such cable in the box, so this piece is redolent of astroturf…)
Jan 21 How the MacBook Air stacks up against other ultra-light notebooks From where the following comparison table was taken:
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