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SXSW: Whither the MacBook Airs?

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Wandering around the South by Southwest Conference in Austin this weekend and yesterday, I was struck by how few people were sporting MacBook Airs. iPhones, on the other hand, were everywhere. I watched four impromptu demos of new sites on the iPhones of four different entrepreneurs. The interface was awesome, but the EDGE network certainly gave the entrepreneurs plenty of time to talk while their sites finished loading. When quizzed about computers, however, some said they didn’t bring one to the event while others confessed that although they thought the Air was sexy, they weren’t sure it was for them. And yeah, Twitter is still big.

8 Responses to “SXSW: Whither the MacBook Airs?”

  1. TechnoLawyer

    Jeremiah nailed it. The Air is not for geeks. The geeks think it’s underpowered and overpriced. It’s for executives and fashionistas (i.e., all the people who made the iPod mini a best-seller while the geeks complained that it was underpowered and overpriced).

  2. I think SXSW isn’t the greatest barometer, because the Air isn’t aimed at that crowd.

    I’ve seen more Airs in the hands of C-level executives than I could shake a stick at the past two weeks – most of them had iPhones and got the Air, mainly because it’s light and the “in” thing. Many forced their IT department to support them and their new macs. THAT is who the Macbook Air is for, and I think it’s a smart strategy as a part of a re-entrance into the business market. I know of a few who have actually started a migration from Windows to Mac due to their iPhone and Air experience, at great expense, because of how “slick” the interface and performance is.

    SXSW is full of geeks and tech industry people – most executives and higher ups, especially those in the rest of the known world who aren’t in the tech epicenters, don’t Twitter each other to organize parties (as described on “This Week In Tech” this week by Robert Scoble), and they care about different things when choosing a laptop.

    We are past the days when buying a computer is all about function – it’s about form. It’s a bit of a Prada computer, to be sure. But to it’s target market, the speed dip is indistinguishable, and I’ve even heard execs comment on how snappy it is.

    And this is said by someone who would never, ever buy an Air.. it’s not made for me.

  3. I think the air is banking more on geek-trendiness than anything. I mean, other than being really really thin, it doesn’t innovate all that much. It’s just a computer. Only missing many ports and whatnot. So in a sense, it’s actually less functional than other computers.

    But it’s really really thin :-)

  4. I felt the same way, it was odd to see no Air notebooks. I have been here for the whole interactive conference, and I have not seen even ONE Air. This is a tech conference, so I thought I’d see at least a few. But yes, iPhones everywhere. I guarantee if Apple had released a 10 or 12 inch version (10 preferable), we’d see a LOT more of those. Why get a notebook that is thinner, yes, but less powerful and more expensive than the MacBook? Simply does not make sense. It’s very niche.

  5. Tru… but supposedly the Air is sold out according to Apple’s website (at least over the weekend it said to call to find out the availablity). I bought on while on biz in St Louis and love it – I’m primarily a Windows guy but I got the SSD version and don’t want to load Vista on there, but the form factor is great for a travel notebook.

  6. Um, iPhones have been out for almost a year. Mac Air’s have been available for a little less than a month. It’s a little early to be making comparisons. Plus, there are multiple competitors to the Air. there is really nothing comparable ti the iPhone.