Gasping for more than Air

Features_hero20080115Ok, the wave of hysteria should now be subsiding over the MacBook Air. Everyone who hasn’t already done so, please take your seats so we can move on. Thanks. Let’s now get past the on-stage presentation of the device and look a little closer. I see a few aspects in the official specs that might have some folks gasping for more than Air…

First up: the device is light and thin (although I think it could have been lighter). To keep it that way, Apple made some design choices. One is a non-user-replaceable battery. We’ve been down this path with the iPhone and folks weren’t happy about it then on a device that less than 25% of the investment of the MacBook Air. It remains to be seen how much an out-of-warranty replacement will be and how long you’ll be holding your breath. You know… without Air. ;)Next, a single USB port. Let’s think about that for a second. As a mobile device user you want connectivity. Integrated WiFi will work, but not everywhere, so perhaps you’ve invested in a high speed USB modem like I have. Pop it in and… hey, where did all my USB ports go? Not a huge issue, but something to consider, especially if you used to just popping in peripherals like a card reader…Let’s look at the innards now. You’ve got a choice of a 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo that’s custom built for this device. Clearly, there’s a compromise here in terms of processing power and heat build up. Folks that want a powerful yet portable device might not be too enthused with these two choices. They’ll be fine for most and I suspect the next product cycle will get into the 2 GHz range. Just how warm will this device get is a valid question…More on the inside in terms of RAM. You get as much or as little as you want, provided 2 GB will work for you. There’s no option to add more as the spec page says the 2 GB is on-board and I don’t see an easy to open panel like I do on my Eee PC. Again, it’s a happy medium, but people wanting to run OS X and another operating system in Parallels or VMWare Fusion might want three or more gigs in there.The multi-touch trackpad is nice, but at this rate, I’ll be running out of fingers by 2010 or I’ll have to use two hands on the trackpad. ;) This is a feature I’ll have to try. I love the two finger click and scroll currently in my MacBook Pro, but I’m not sold on the three finger bit just yet.A 64 GB Solid State Disk for $999? That’s a large chunk of change because Apple went with a small drive size. The 1.8-inch SSDs tend to cost more per gig than the 2.5-inch drives.What other aspects are lacking in your opinion as a mobile device user? Is this enough of a “thin and light” solution that would cause you to spend more money for a MacBook Air versus a five pound but more powerful MacBook?

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