So, Apple have released a new MacBook: the “MacBook Air”:
MacBook Air is ultrathin, ultraportable and ultra …
..pointless? featureless? useless? overpriced? Yes, I totally agree.
It is being piped by Apple fangirls and boys everywhere as the perfect tool for wireless communication and work on the go.. which is great, but I can do that on my current laptop and that cost me around £699 less. Plus, I have this magical, mysterious piece of technology known as: a CD/DVD drive. Yes, the MacBook Air is so advanced that it doesn’t even have the most basic of our (my) computing needs.
I’m not renowned for my support of Apple or Mac OS, so feel free to dismiss this as biased vitriol.. but when I see a new piece of hardware being advertised as “innovative” and yet only has a single USB port; no optical devices; no Ethernet port; non-replaceable components and a sealed battery that can only be replaced by Apple for a fee? Well, let’s just say “innovative” isn’t the first word that comes to my mind, but I used up my swear word quota for the week in my last post.
We’re told that for a meagre $1299 more (on Apple’s own site) we can get the same laptop, but with a slightly better processor and a 64GB solid state drive. (For those less savvy, a solid state drive is one with no moving parts. Think of those little USB drive dongles and you’re spot on.) Now, large solid state drives are expensive still, but 64GB is not a large drive. I could buy 8 lots of 8GB USB drives for £20 a piece (that’s £160 or approx. $315) and create my own solid state USB RAID array (if I were into that sort of thing) for $984 less than the cost of the upgrade.
We’re told that should we want/need the functionality of a CD/DVD drive we can quite easily buy an external one. Er, had I just spent over 1 thousand pounds/dollar on a piece of hardware, I would not expect to have to pay more for a peripheral device when the majority of low-end laptops have decent quality optical drives as standard? As I said on Snark: that’s like buying a toaster, but being charged extra for the heating element, the button to pop the bread down and the other one to pop the toast up again!
We’re told that if you don’t like it, you’re obviously missing something: “It’s aimed at a different market!” Which market is that.. more money than sense? MUG tattooed on their forehead? Said same entry tells us that the iPod and iPhone have sealed batteries and both products succeeded, but failed to mentioned the whopping £930 difference between the laptop and the phone (and quite frankly, my 5+ year old Nokia has a replaceable battery so there’s no bloody excuse.)
We’re told “ooh, it has special software that allows you to install software from another user’s drive!” Hate to break the bubble, but Windows has been doing that since.. 98SE? It’s called “Map Network Drive”. Clever, eh?
I am yet to find a convincing argument as to how this is a good product, and why a person should buy this over the hundreds of other ultraportable laptops and PDAs that do the same job and have more features and are a fraction of the price.