Earlier in this year I wrote two blogs: Is the MacBook Air fit for purpose? and MacBook Air – the debacle continues with a two-tier support system. It’s fair to say that since my first Apple repair, the machine was a disaster, and in any case the older MacBook Air simply couldn’t cope with simple things like Video Conferencing and screen sharing.
So I went into the Apple Store in Kingston upon Thames last week and said “enough is enough, give me a new machine”. Slightly to my surprise, they agreed and I now have a brand new 13″ MacBook Air.
Obviously I’ve not had this machine long enough yet for this to be definitive – we will see in the coming weeks and months – but I thought my first thoughts around the new Air, and Mac OS X Lion – which it comes with – might be useful.
First the machine. For my money this totally changes the laptop industry. Apple sold 1m Airs in Q1 2011 compared to some 8m iPad 2s – which is incredible in itself, and more than most PC vendors sold in that same period.
But the new Air brings the laptop back to life. The screen is more dense, there is more memory, faster processing and the build quality feels fantastic. But that’s the minor technology components. The advent of the Thunderbolt connector means that you can attach the new Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Display. This brings with it a host of functions: power, USB, FireWire, Camera, Speakers and turns your Air into a desktop.
And in use the Air is fast enough for just about anyone. It sucked up my 12Gb email inbox in no time and I have put my much bigger and faster Dell laptop in the cupboard. It might not be suited to those people needing really fast processing for audio and video work but those guys will continue to buy the MacBook Pro. For the rest of us, this machine is fantastic.
Already this week I’ve been working on a video conference, sharing screens, working with large documents and the Air barely starts its fan up. Add to this a 7 hour battery life and it’s barely necessary to take a charger out the home. It’s enough for a long flight. And the Air will go into deep sleep so it will last 30 days on a charge.
Mac OS X Lion
I wasn’t convinced when I first saw OS X Lion that it was really particularly innovative but it’s not really the point. The point is that Lion makes the new MacBook Air even better. You might say that it was designed for it.
Setting up Lion took all of about 2 minutes from power-on and everything was intuitive. The new gestures and scrolling means that you work faster and more easily. Full screen apps are fantastic when you need to use all the space you can in a small product like the Air.
It’s fair to say that for existing Mac OS X Snow Leopard customers, it doesn’t really move the market on that far but the integration with the new machine is spot on.
I really do suspect that Apple have moved the laptop market forward with the Air today – it does everything that most people need in a small light package, which really has no down side. There really is no need to have a separate desktop or larger laptop. Nice work.