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article imageMacBook Air: Just Hot Air?

By Chris V. Thangham     Jan 17, 2008 in Technology
Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced MacBook Air as one of the premium products at MacWorld this year. But despite its overall sex appeal, it has many limitations and it won’t be easy on your wallet according to ZDNet.
Steve Jobs was very proud to introduce MacBook Air at MacWorld 2008 and was gushing with pride about its many advantages such as its size (it's the thinnest laptop in the world), its touch screen features (like iPhone), its an environmentally friendly product and more. But ZDNet points out a number of compromises Apple had to make in manufacturing the MacBook Air, and so it has the following disadvantages:
1.) The hard drive only has an 80GB memory capacity. This is similar to an iPod hard drive, which they say won’t be enough for today’s needs; when we have to use many applications and download large files from the internet, this 80GB will run out quickly. It will also be difficult to use Apple’s iTunes services such as downloading music or watching movies. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet says this 80GB drive is inadequate for a portable computer.
2.) Many people prefer a Solid State Hard Drive (SSD) for their laptops because of its durability, and the fact there are no moving parts. But if you want to add a 64GB SSD drive, it will cost you an additional $999 on top of the original price of $1,799 for the MacBook Air.
3.) The expandable memory is limited to 2GB. This memory will not be sufficient if you try to run many programs at the same time or if you try to use Boot Camp or Parallels in MacBook Air.
4.) The battery is not replaceable. Following its success with iPhones and iPods, Apple is making money by charging a large sum of money to replace batteries. It requires them opening up the device and switching it out. This is silly for the consumer space, because few people actually have trouble doing this on their own but can't when Apple doesn't sell extra batteries. On a laptop, it's just plain inexcusable. So, expect to pay more when you replace the laptop battery. Adrian said he doesn’t "like the idea of the locked-in battery acting as a ticking obsolescence time bomb."
5.) There is only one USB port. When you are using too many gadgets at home or at the office, one USB port won’t be sufficient unless all devices work in a wireless environment. We are not there yet.
6.) MacBook Air doesn’t have built-in Ethernet or a modem. So, to use them you need to add more gadgets to the MacBook Air. This adds weight and bulk to the laptop and also adds to the cost.
7.) There is no HSDPA/3G/GPRS support so you have to physically connect more peripherals to the MacBook Air to use them. However, there is only one USB port to work with.
8.) No built-in microphone.
9.) Processors: Intel specially designed a larger 65nm core with a specially designed package that's 60 per cent smaller (for Apple). This means instead of using the latest 45nm processors that are faster and more energy efficient, and are already that small without any fancy packaging, Apple got a "special" 65nm chip. This is a problem because Apple might have received a special price from Intel to make them, but it's certainly not a special price for consumers.
Adrian said there are other laptops which may not be as thin as MacBook Air but thin enough. For example: the Fujitsu Q2010, which is only 0.5 thicker than the MacBook Air and weighs 1 kg but has plenty of features the MacBook Air lacks.
MacBook Air has its advantages too (as you can see in the video above) but these disadvantages are serious for some users. Will you buy MacBook Air over other laptops on the market?
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