Thursday, June 26, 2008

Apple Macbook Air

by SatishSaydotCom

I am pretty darn sure that Apple’s marketing guys are the best in the whole world. It takes that much more effort to disguise the flaws in a product and have the unsuspecting masses believe it to be an enhancement. Bravo, bellisima and all that exclamatory nonsense, Apple.

Given a pile of dung, they would successfully add shadows, use a cool blue font, call it iDung and guffaw all the way to the bank. That is what I think of Apple’s latest tomfoolery, the MacBook Air. It’s not that bad as the above lines make it to be, but there’s very less going for it, in any case.

Looks and build

There is little to be said when it comes to Apple’s design and the MacBook Air is eye-candy enough. The design is as clean as clean can be. From the front, all you see are the track pad, keyboard and display. No shiny stickers exemplifying the innards of the machine. I personally think that’s a good move. I mean it’s a bit like “12 foot long intestine, Duo” or “7 inch you-know-what, GTX” stickers slapped on to your forehead. Even the ports are tucked away smartly behind small sliders and you wouldn’t really notice them, unless you know or are told (there aren’t too many of them).

The whole package is so slim that you find it difficult to believe that there is a processor and a hard drive, spinning away inside. It really is a bit unbelievable at first and it’ll take time to getting used to the mass, or the lack of it, rather. It’s not unlike Mrs. Beckham’s size zero frame, but it’s a lot more beautiful. LOT more, actually (enough actually, I know my readers would choose a Mac Book Air over a silly, anorexic mother-of-2, any day).

The competitors for the Mac Book Air, weight wise, should be the Sony Vaio TZ series, the Fujitsu Lifebook Q series or the Lenovo X300. (All of them have smaller screens, but all of them are endowed with an optical drive)

Input and Output

The keys on the MBA keyboard are well spaced out and shouldn’t induce fatigue even after using it for long hours, (provided the battery has enough juice). It has a backlight which adjusts its brightness in accordance to a sensor. But above all this is the brilliant track pad which has multi-touch. Which means all your pinching and rotating actions will work on photos and web pages in Safari.
There, everything nice about the MacBook Air is over. Now for some fun.


“Just not enough” is exactly how I’d sum it up in a line. It does support 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1, though. The blazing fast speeds provided by the 802.11n wireless protocol are supposed to be the excuse given by Apple for not having an optical drive. Yeah, right, keep your marketing gimmickry to yourself, Apple. And I don’t particularly like the idea of optical-drive socializing unless it’s a really hot chick, so there.

“Hey Cutie Pie,
Your optical drive, May I?”

(This might earn you a kick in the nuts. Said hot chick might be expecting a better pickup line)

On the wired side, we have only 2 USB ports, no FireWire, one audio out and that’s all. I just don’t get how Apple relies solely on the existence of a fast wireless system to compensate for an optical drive. What if the person around you also has a MacBook Air? It’ll be fun watching your faces when you want to re-install your OS or new software.

Apple does offer a SuperDrive, which essentially is an external optical drive which plugs into your USB port. This means, you’ll have to disconnect your mouse or whatever is connected to your solitary USB port. Have fun with your single USB port, douche bag. There is also a Time Capsule which promises to wirelessly backup your data.

But this entire drama means the MacBook Air always needs something or the other to complete itself. This is not really unlike a crippled person who will always need their crutches or wheelchair to move around.


This is where the MacBook Air takes a big beating. Everything has been compromised to find that Zen-like slim form factor. That silly 80GB 4200RPM hard disk lifted from the iPod is hardly any good. It doesn’t show its weaknesses when it is new, but fill it up and it’ll gradually start showing its true colours.

I believe, this laptop has been manufactured for frequent travelers who would want to access their data at a more hurried pace and they sure wouldn’t be happy with its performance. Apple does offer a solid state drive, but that will push up costs even further. There are a load of other laptop manufacturers who’ll offer you a SSD and optical drive at the price of a base MacBook Air with a standard hard drive. But then, this is Apple we are talking about and they will somehow make you feel very smug about it.


Battery performance, too, is not up to mark and is way lower than what Apple claims and sure enough it runs only 3 hrs under normal usage. You might just get a little bit more if you scrimp on your usage, but you haven’t got an Air to scrimp when you’ve spent a bomb.

The Good
• Slim form factor
• Well spaced out keyboard
• Large multi-touch track pad

The Bad
• No optical drive
• Slow hard drive
• Poor battery


Even an eternal optimist would agree. There is just no way the Apple Macbook Air can be your primary laptop and when you are shelling out this much money, you’d expect a lot more. Call me a class-less, panache-less and a frustrated teen, but money doesn’t grow on trees either.
However, this might be a great thing to show off at a conference or presentation. Now, there.