Category Archives: Apple

Is the new iPad really worth it?

If you follow my blog then you’ll know that I’m uncertain supporter of the Apple iPad. Like many technology elements they are an important part of the job that I do but I’m not sure whether they’re really worth the money. So you won’t be surprised to know the when the new iPad came out I decided to wait and see and decide later whether or not I would get one.

There’s no denying that the new iPad is impressive: the retina display on its own makes the new iPad much more impressive than any competitive product. However after a week or so I soon realised that it would be very difficult to justify an upgrade from the old iPad to the new.

And then three weeks ago I broke my hand. It is an interesting experience to break a hand because whilst it is not especially painful and doesn’t require extensive surgery in my case and it doesn’t really appear all that bad it’s actually really a terrible inconvenience. I cannot for instance write. Orl type. Things like opening doors cooking and carrying: things that you take for granted, become very difficult.

I read about the new dictation feature on Apple’s new iPad and decided that this might be a very good reason to purchase one. I’ve seen people you Siri on the iPhone 4S and thought that Apple’s voice system seemed to be very well advanced. And such dictation system could at least in theory make my life a lot more bearable whilst I was only able to type with my left hand.

This blog is my first real attempt at using Apple dictation and I’ve got to say that I’m really in two minds about it. If you’re in a quiet environment, you speak clearly, slowly and you avoid complicated expressions don’t actually works remarkably well. The trouble is that that’s not really how the human mind works. At least not mine anyhow.

And what’s more you have to tap the dictate button to start and then tap the dictate button again to finish. And when you do you have to have a Wi-Fi connection available otherwise it doesn’t work at all. And sometimes it just refuses to understand what you have to say. To add to all this you feel like a bit of a wally sat there clearly enunciating at an iPad.

In the ends to write this blog on the way that I hadn’t also required in reasonable degree of editing. For instance the dictate feature doesn’t really understand grammar and therefore won’t interject things like commas and full stops where you might imagine they would need to be. You might think that I’m being unfair that what apple is done is way beyond the quality of dictation of what others have managed.

And to some degree this is true because what’s really clever about dictate is that it works in any app where the Apple keyboard is required. It’s very useful when creating a note for the shopping or doing a search or any other time when using a keyboard is just a Little inconvenient.

But has it served as a replacement to being able for me to type? Have I been able to create content at a time when otherwise I would not have been able to do anything? Has it made the new iPad really worthwhile purchase? I’m really not so sure although the more I speak two it, the better the quality of dictation becomes.

However, in the end, I believe that the power of Apple’s dictation system really comes into it so when it’s offered an Apple TV or some such format. Because that is a time when using a keyboard or complicated remote system isn’t really very inconvenient and talking into a small remote or small iPod or something similar would really improve the quality of viewing experience.

Have you extensively used Apples iPod would you recommend a purchase? Let me know.

Has Apple reached the end of the line?

So I’m sat on a London bus going to buy a birthday cake, and I put, as I usually do, a set of boundary conditions around penning a blog. In this case, on my iPad, two short bus journeys totalling about 20 minutes.

And I’m pondering why, whilst I love my iPad 2, I very rarely use it. It is an item of beauty, of fashion and style. It is better than the original iPad by a million miles. The battery life is amazing and it integrates with all my other Apple stuff. It is always ready to use, always on the Internet with cellular Internet or Wi-Fi and never goes wrong.

So why then does it rarely get any use? When I go on holiday it is my device of choice – mostly because it is hard to work on it and temptation is kept at bay. At conferences where there is a lot of walking I sometimes use it. But the rest of the time it stays at home. And quietly downloads my email.

And then I think of Apple as a whole, I start to wonder when it last innovated. The iPod, in 2001. The iPhone in 2007. The iPad in 2009 and the unibody MacBook in 2008. Each of those were very interesting innovations. Like all good innovations, the technology wasn’t quite there to make version one a success.

What Apple has done amazingly well over the last 4 years is to execute on its past innovation. I have no doubt that their product line right now is the best, most polished it has ever been. Just like Nokia’s was in 2001. And that, you see, is the problem.

Because if Apple thinks that the new Apple TV, iPad 2 or iPhone 4S are innovations, they are dead in the water in 5 years time. The closest thing Apple have to innovation in the last 2 years is Siri, but their entire smartphone design is in such silos that Siri cannot integrate to the level it would need to, to innovate.

I don’t think that Apple is necessarily dead in the water yet, because there is time to be innovative once more – and remember that one amazing product every 5 years, with excellent execution in the middle, is still enough. The death of the innovator himself, Steve Jobs, makes that much harder for them.

Regardless of this, Apple will continue to grow because of their fantastic execution, for years to come. But unless we see a change, I predict that we will look back in 2020 as 2011 being the beginning of the end.

Why TechCrunch is boring, SAP is not, and the world has gone mad

It’s cold by the way. Winter finally arrived, I realised as I pondered SAP’s acquisition of SuccessFactors on the run into work. I can still feel the cold imbued from the run into the metal palmrest of my laptop as I write this.

The highlight of the weekend was Alexis Tsotsis’ faux-gonzoistic impression on TechCrunch. I say faux, because it has the attitude of gonzo journalism but not the style. From what I get of her article, if it’s not Apple or a startup, she’s not interested – and therefore the SAP acquisition of SuccessFactors is not worth reading about:

…you can never be too sure with these incredibly dull companies. I am too bored to Google it. In fact, I am literally bored to tears writing this, like I am seriously crying here in my local coffee shop and everyone is looking at me weird…

Really, this says a lot more about what’s wrong about TechCrunch, and actually the world as a whole. And so last night, I was discussing this point with a bunch of Enterprise Irregulars on Twitter. I’m going to disagree with Dennis Howlett (who used to be an Irregular), which is always a good way to start the morning.

@dahowlett:[email protected] giving idiots ANY play is plain dumb

Sameer Patel chimes in with a reminder that the Facebook acquisition of Gowalla – a FourSquare-style location based service, got much more airtime.

@sameerpatel: @applebyj @dahowlett not shocking. Most of yesterday tech meme led w/ reruns of Gowalla FB acquisition for an undisclosed sum vs a $3B buy.

And Frank Scavo got the feel of the enterprise community spot on:

@fscavo: I stopped reading TechCrunch years ago. @alexias’s recent post reminds me why. cc: @dahowlett @applebyj

But actually I think that Timo Elliott nailed it. Yes Timo, this is the real world.

@timoelliott: Strangely, this techcrunch post about the “boring” SAP acquisition made me very proud: techcrunch.com/2011/12/03/zzz… #dudethisistherealworld

And let’s just be reminded about how real this world is:

Facebook SAP
Revenue $4bn (estimated) $12.46bn
Profit $1bn (estimated) $1.18bn
% of world’s transactions Ermm? 65%
Users 800m 500m
Market Capitalization $82bn $72bn

If you compare Facebook even by their own metrics, they are still insignificant compared to the behemoth that is SAP. Billions of people interact with SAP on a day to day basis – every transaction with giants like Barclays Bank. 90% of the world’s beer is produced by SAP. And since SAP’s Chief Marketing Officer Jonathan Becher took the time to point it out, I’ll quote him:

@jbecher: @applebyj Amused by bit.ly/tFOK7J Don’t forget 65% of world’s televisions, 86% of athletic footwear, or 70% of world’s chocolate

Who says that SAP isn’t cool, with such accolades! And yet Facebook has the greater market capitalization. Why is this? High growth and cool factor. But Facebook has not proven that it has a sustainable market model.

Why does this mean there is something wrong with TechCrunch?

Well it strikes me that TechCrunch gets Consumer IT and is all over the topics that generate a lot of traffic, like Apple, Facebook and Google, and there’s nothing wrong with this. I do however think there’s two major areas where TC has a problem:

First, Founder and former co-editor Michael Arrington sold out to AOL then whined about their involvement. What amazes me here is first, his naivety, and second his desire for self-importance.

Second, it’s fine if you don’t understand Enterprise IT. But don’t whine about it being boring – because if you read Alexia’s article you will see that there are (currently) 99 comments, all of which criticise her and her journalism. Don’t write a crap piece of journalism and then follow it up with “I was just being honest” on Twitter – and then delete the Twitter post.

06/12/11 Correction – Alexia’s “I was just being honest” was in the comments area, not a Tweet. She didn’t delete it. My bad.

And what’s wrong with the world?

Well for my money SAP is possibly the most interesting technology firm in the world right now. I make my money out of the SAP industry so perhaps I would say that, but it’s also born out by facts.

They have the leading enterprise mobility platform, integrated back into an incredibly complex suite of software that covers 65% of the world’s business transactions. They are leading the world with in-memory technology.

And to add to that they have just made a major cloud acquisition, which might be the third dimension to prevent the risk of their becoming irrelevant in 5-10 years time.

What’s wrong with the world is that they are so focussed on Apple, Google and Facebook – with their over inflated IPOs and everything that comes with that. The world was not built on technology bubbles – it was built on hard work and honest money.

For a small number of lucky individuals there is a bubble with an IPO and a retirement salary. For everyone else, the world is a very tough place to live. My advice: stop being bored by the stuff which makes the world turn.

Amazon Kindle Fire: finally the tablet market got interesting

The fanfare around the Amazon Kindle Fire has been fascinating. Firstly, that the market seemed to be comparing it to the Apple iPad. Well, really that people seem to compare everything to the Apple iPad – and inevitably the iPad comes out on top. But let’s be clear: even with Apple’s mighty buying power, the cost to customers is still $499-$829, which makes it a premium device.

Despite what people say, the iPad is a device that the relatively well-off purchase as a toy. You see it on sofas, in cafes and in meetings and Apple have sold a shedload of them – and some estimates are as high as 46m units in 2011. The iPad outsells the entire Mac range put together.

But this makes it a niche product. And along came a bunch of other devices. HP’s TouchPad. RIM’s Playbook. All also premium devices, from organisations without Apple’s buying power and design capability. Oddly, when you compete with a fine product but without the financial backing, you are unlikely to succeed – and the market agrees.

Google have fared a little better than RIM and HP but over the whole Android range of devices from Samsung, Motorola, LG, Acer, etc. – only 11m are expected to sell in 2011. Because they all directly compete with Apple and – well – Apple do it better.

Along comes Amazon, who have had success with their Kindle e-Reader. It’s pretty unclear how many they have sold this year (CEO Jeff Bezos prefers to focus on e-books sold), but it was 8m last year. Sights of a Kindle are pretty common especially on public transport, where it is a fantastic and convenient means to read.

So Amazon know how to sell devices, and it’s by creating commodity devices that are cheap and sold at very low margin – so Amazon can upsell its massive content backcatalog.

And along comes the Amazon Kindle Fire. It’s no iPad Killer – be serious. But it’s $199! It’s small, it’s cute and it’s cheap enough so that the market is no longer niche. $199 is cheap enough so that the market is opened up to a huge amount of people who could never justify spending $400-800 on a toy.

Probably the Kindle Fire is sold at very low margin or a loss, but Amazon have a business model that already works for the Kindle and you can bet that the model will work just fine for the Fire.

The Kindle Fire will sell as fast as Amazon can make them. I can’t tell you how many that will be but I heard they can produce about 5m this year. Next year – you can bet the Kindle will outsell the iPad in terms of volume, although not necessarily in terms of revenue or profit.

And having that number of devices out there suddenly opens up the tablet market to being a much more interesting place – one where there isn’t just a single dominant player. And whilst they don’t compete for retail sales, they will compete for sales of content like e-Books, Movies and Music. With Amazon’s purchase of Audible’s audio book back catalog, they are clearly positioning themselves as a very interesting cloud content provider.

Which should finally make things interesting.

Why Apple has redefined the laptop with the new MacBook Air

So I’m a few weeks into owning the new MacBook Air. I had this feeling from the start – but now I’m certain of it. The new Air defines a changing point for Apple and for the laptop business as a whole. Here’s why:

Technology Innovation

There’s nothing new in the Air – I mean that. There’s no technology innovation here – all the components are commodity and all were available before. What Apple has done is to put them together at the right time in the right place. And crucially, Intel has made its new i5 and i7 processors available in low-power forms, which allow performance which is sufficient for most people, whilst giving excellent battery life.

The old Air had good battery life (5h) but poor performance, and had a habit of overheating. Apple have added SSD storage (low power, great performance), a screen big enough for most uses, backlit keyboard etc. etc.

Price Point

The next point is price. To get good performance on the old Air, you had to pile on the extras, and when you did this, it went near the $2500/£2000 mark. With the new model, the base configuration is sufficient for most people – and that is just $1299/£1099. It’s true that you can get a netbook for less than half that, but I think they’re rubbish.

More to the point – let’s compare with its serious competitors. An equivalent Dell E4310 is £1650 – compared to the base Apple i5 Air. The equivalent Sony Vaio SA is £1379. The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 is £1699. Apple wipes the competition clean.

Build Quality

The old Air felt a bit fragile, it has to be said. Mine went into repair for the hinge after a while. The new one feels just as well built as the MacBook Pro and feels like it should last its 3 year service life with me. And if it can do that, it will last most people just fine – I travel a lot and use my laptop more than most.

I’ve not used equivalents from Sony or HP but I have used the Dell E4310 and it feels flimsy by comparison. The battery hangs out the back and feels like you could snap it off with 2 fingers and a thumb. I’ve seen the new Lenovo X1 and that is well built – but very expensive.

Battery Life

And here’s the killer blow – battery life. On my old Air I got 4 hours when it was new, and more like 2.5-3h after 2 years. What’s more, it took hours and hours to charge, which meant it was always hard to keep topped up. I’ve just been using this laptop for a good few hours, and i have 65% battery left. In real terms this means I don’t need to carry a charger with me for an average day.

Compare this to the Dell E4310, where you have to have a battery with a bit that hangs out the back of the laptop to get a decent battery life of 4 hours. Or worse the Sony Vaio SA, which claims 7 hours, but owners complain they are lucky to get 2-3h.

And then there’s charging the new Air – an hour gets you 80% charge, which means you are never without. Plus the battery saving features of Lion mean instant-on and deep sleep, so you can leave it in sleep for up to 30 days. nice.

Gestures

The new Lion gestures on the touchpad are worth a short paragraph because it makes using the Air like using an iPad. You can browse and use the computer generally, faster than any device before it. It’s all slightly counter-intuitive to start with (scrolling is back to front for example) but once you get going, you won’t stop.

Criticisms

There will always be critics, and no doubt there are those who say that the lack of expandability – no upgradeable RAM, hard disk or battery, are a problem. For me I’d rather have the better build quality and lower weight that comes from having a sealed unit. I’d also like the option of GPS and 3G wireless integration – Apple seem to expect you to tether it to an iPhone, which I find inconvenient.

Other than that there’s the matter of my iPad2. It’s been lying unused at the bottom of my bag for 2 weeks, which I find troubling. More on that some other time.

Conclusion

Apple have taken technology elements together and blown the market wide open. The MacBook Air will be the killer selling laptop this year. It’s all the computer that someone like me that travels a lot and needs a powerful computer can want, and my Dell laptop is confined to the back of the cupboard.

There is the wider question of the future of the laptop market, as tablets and laptops converge and authoring and consuming content becomes blurred – but I don’t think that will hamper sales.

Does Apple have a serious competitor in Microsoft and Nokia?

I’ve been a loyal iPhone customer since its launch in 2007, with just one brief foray into Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 platform when it first came out. They redefined the cellphone industry and their focus on profits rather than handset sales has paid off.

RIM is all but dead and for my money at least, there is not – yet – an Android device that competes in quality and battery life for what Apple are offering. Whether you like Android or not is a separate point, and it does have a lot of things going for it and a loyal following, particularly amongst the technical community. Plus, of course the iPhone is expensive.

The thing is though, the cellphone market has a habit of reinventing itself every few years. Nokia, RIM and now Apple have at different times dominated the industry – for 5-10 years at a time. Apple has reached a dominant position and this means that everyone is gunning for their slot.

And enter Microsoft with a completely rewritten Windows Phone 7 platform. As I’ve written before, Microsoft have created an Phone which works like we think. It’s truly social and integrated with Facebook, Twitter and you move effortlessly from pane to pane – unlike the silos within which Apple’s iOS operates. What’s more its integration for email far surpasses what Apple, RIM and Google are doing.

There are essentially two problems with Windows Phone 7. The first is that it’s immature. Microsoft haven’t been agile in releasing new features and the over-the-air updates have been fraught with problems – which is all very reminiscent of early iPhone releases.

The second problem has been more endemic, which is the lack of a decent handset with decent battery life. Sorry HTC and Samsung, but your handsets suck. They’re too big and clunky and they don’t feel like a device that I’d like to hold. And at the price of some of the high-end handsets, you may as well have an iPhone.

Enter Nokia. Purveyor of quality handsets with great build quality and a reputation for excellent battery life. What then if Microsoft and Nokia co-innovate. What if Windows Phone 7 – with bugs fixed and better power consumption was available on a phone as nice as the new Nokia N8? I’ve held a N8 in my hand and it is a quality device – one I’d be happy to own. Shame the platform it is built on is obsolete at launch.

This combined with a decent number of apps (and the developers will come) and Microsoft’s reputation for integration and security may well woo the Enterprise IT community, if not the consumer alike. And from a technical perspective all is well.

The problem unfortunately is that Microsoft and Nokia have become political and social internal disasters – with many levels of management that throttle innovation and agility.

To Microsoft & Nokia: Create a skunk labs for this. Cut the crap out of your organisations and focus only on delivery. Prevent the management levels from stifling innovation or you won’t deliver. If you don’t deliver, remember what will happen. Nokia will become a dinosaur producing cheap mass-produced handsets. And Microsoft, your Windows Phone 7 platform will become another expensive product failure.

To Apple: Be worried. The iOS platform isn’t social and it’s already technologically behind what Microsoft is doing. Despite the fact that you have the advantage of creating beautiful products and a mature platform that works, you will lose this advantage when someone else innovates. And you’re not innovating fast enough with iOS. Use some of the $75bn and rewrite it from the ground up if you need to – it’s OK if it takes 5 years in the making. iOS will last that long, but it is on a meteoric rise, which will inevitably have a fall.

 

The new MacBook Air – a revolution – and my Apple woes over

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.

MacBook Air

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.

Conclusion

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.

Apple iPad 2 – what’s it actually good for and why are Time Magazine such idiots?

I was a pretty early adopter of Apple’s iPad in April of 2010 and I picked up an AT&T one in the USA when it first came out. That one was stolen from me in September but I remember clearly how useful I thought it was. Looking back on it, I’m not actually sure that I remember why.

And so I bought an iPad 2 last month in time for SAP’s SAPPHIRE conference, thinking that it would be the perfect tool to carry around the huge conference floor and I could avoid carrying a laptop.

It’s true in the context of a conference that the iPad is a pretty good tool. It’s lightweight and great to look at schedules, book meetings and record some material. Friend and SAP Mentor Martin Gillet snapped me at the conference:

John Appleby

But a month on and I’ve found that the iPad is just something that adds weight to my bag. Most of the time my iPhone is enough to keep me with information, and if I need to write something then the iPad is just too cumbersome. Instead, I pull out my MacBook Air and pen detailed documents, project plans or blogs on that.

iPad as a news machine

I went on a tourist trip with some friends this weekend to another city and picked up a copy of Time Magazine at the train station. It struck me how much of a waste it was in this day and age to be buying paper when we have such a great format as the iPad to read it on.

So when I got home I went to look into what publications were available on the iPad and what their digital subscription price models were.

Both the Economist and the Wall Street Journal have great plans. For the Economist it’s $30 a quarter for full digital rights to the magazine and it reads so well on the iPad. The WSJ is $3.99 a week for full digital rights and it reads as well as a newspaper with the added benefits of being able to move around content much more quickly.

In both cases the real benefit is that you don’t have to mess around picking up magazines, carrying them around etc. This is a much easier way to consume content, especially for someone like me that travels a lot – and I don’t begrudge the price.

What of Time Magazine?

Time Magazine only allows in-app purchases of $5 an edition. Sorry but that’s just plain insulting. They have none of the print, production and distribution costs of the magazine and they want the same price? Are they kidding me?

What’s even more retarded is that for US subscribers they offer $30 a year for 56 editions, for the print edition. And if you buy the print edition, you get inclusive access to the digital version. So, I subscribed a friend in the USA to Time Magazine, and I’ll have the digital rights.

But seriously, Time: if you don’t want to go out of business in this time of the decline of traditional print media, stop insulting your customers and sort out your price structure.

MacBook Air – the debacle continues with a two-tier support system

A month ago I wrote about the woes I’ve been having with my MacBook Air.

I’m now on 12 visits to the Apple Genius (should it be Dumbass) Bar and 5 separate repairs. On the latest repair they “fixed” the wireless but now the machine crashes at will, corrupted my Outlook email during one of those crashes. Because my email takes 3 days to download, the machine can’t stay alive for long enough to get it back.

So this time when I contacted Apple I made my request clear – I want a replacement machine. 5 repairs is 4 repairs too many and it’s time for them to see me right.

I was put through to a senior support person called “John” who told me he would be the last person I’d need to speak to. And then told me they were going to try to repair it again. I called back a day later and now I’m dealing with “Thomas” who tells me much the same.

They claim that because the machine was out of warranty when they did the first repair (which I paid for), they can’t replace it. Apparently if I had AppleCare then that would be fine. Only I do have AppleCare, but (mea culpa) I forgot to register it.

And now, unless I can prove when and where I bought it, they won’t register it to the machine. Of course I don’t have the receipt from 2 years ago when I bought the AppleCare – and of course, Apple don’t track when they sell stock… it wouldn’t be in their interests to do so, right?

Which really comes to my simple conclusion. Apple have a two-tier support system which is somewhat like health insurance in the US. Pay for AppleCare and they will see you right. If you don’t and you have problems, look forward to substandard support and hours on the phone.

What Apple don’t seem to see is the bigger picture: it will cost them nothing to accept the AppleCare and then they can replace the machine. But why they can’t just get on and do this, I really don’t know.

Is the MacBook Air fit for purpose?

Those of you who follow my Twitter feed will know that I have been moaning about my MacBook Air for some time. Well I’m now on my 8th or 9th visit to an Apple Store Genius Bar and it’s time I wrote a little about my woes.

I bought my MacBook Air back in February 2008 – a second generation device with SSD which was serious money at the time. The first generations puportedly had problems overheating so I waited until the second generation. And I was very happy with it up until September 2009, when the display fell off.

For those of you that have hinge problems on a MacBook Air, Apple Support Article TS2948 details how Apple will replace the hinge out of warranty, free of charge. Of course Kingston Apple Store rubbished this, and tried to get me to pay £400. Only on my second visit, when I took the article to them and showed them and got the manager out, would they help.

And there my problems started. The MacBook started overheating when doing simple tasks like taking a Microsoft Communicator phone call, or watching Hulu/iPlayer TV shows.

I’ve since been back to the Apple store 8 or 9 times and had 3 or 4 separate repairs. New displays, new wireless cards, even a complete wipe of my system, and nothing has solved the problem.

From what I can see – and the evidence on the web supports this – if the Air gets too hot then it shuts down half the CPU and slows to 1/2 the speed – giving you 1/4 of the CPU power. My machine then hangs and crashes. Apple now seem to be claiming that I am putting unreasonable demands on the air, when I share a screen with MS Communicator. Seriously?

I’ve now repeatedly asked for a replacement machine because for my £2000 purchase, I don’t think Apple have produced something which is fit for purpose. And Apple keep wanting to try to repair it. I’ll let you know how it progresses.

Bootnote

I am still considering buying the new MacBook Air, but the current (4th Gen) device is no faster than the system I have – they put old innards in a new shell. Apple are reportedly in production of a new 5th Gen MacBook Air based on new Intel technology which will probably be very nice indeed, and all suggestions are that they resolved the problems in the 1st/2nd/3rd Generation devices.