Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Macbook - Wireless all the way?


Gadget's Airstream Chronicles posted today about the new Macbook Air, and how it is designed to do most everything through wireless (you can see the guided tour here).


*NOTE* Personally, I am not a Mac man. I love their design, and I like what I hear about the stability, but I do not like the price that you pay for these things. I am a cheap bastard. If they were giving them away though, I would take one in an instant to play with it, compare it with my windows laptop (Currently a Dell Latitude D830), and invariably fall in love with Macs I am sure.


I am, however, a somewhat techie type of person, and I have to wonder if some of the features on this new thin machine are going to be spreading through the rest of the laptop market. There are a couple of things in particular that worry me.

- The fact that they have removed the CD drive, and recommend setting up 'Remote Disc' to install any cd or dvd based software title from another machine in your wireless network, or using a USB-based external cd drive. If I am spending the $1800 dollar retail price that they list, I should not NEED another computer to install software. And if I just laid down that dough for a laptop that is 3/4" thick, why would I want to carry around a drive that is thicker than my laptop? Maybe this is the beginning of the the end for CD-ROM drives, and they will be going the way of the floppy, but I know a lot of people still rely on purchasing software in a box for any number or reasons. And as Rich states, installing big programs (think Adobe CS3) over WIFI sounds like a pain in the rear.


- There is only ONE USB PORT on the whole stinking machine. I can relate to wanting to get rid of the cluster-fuck of ports on a computer, but in this day-and-age only having 1 USB port seems like suicide, especially if that one port is being used for your new external CD drive! Personally, I hate touchpads and pencil-nub cursors. I need a mouse, so there is 1 USB port taken up. I am one of those quirky people that keeps handy things on my 8GB flash drive too, so there is another USB port that I need on occasion. God forbid I should still be using a hard-wired printer, as that will need USB. And what about all those digital pictures that I take? Yep, USB. I think this would be the biggest inconvenience on the new macbook if I were using one.


- .74 inches thick is REALLY thin, that is the idea, but it makes me wonder how durable the thing is. They do offer the cool option of having a 64GB solid-state storage device so that you don't have to worry about moving parts keeping your files safe, though this almost doubles the price of the laptop (to $3098). I know even with my comparatively thick Dell, I worry about putting any pressure on the lid that might cause the LCD to bend too much, and with the new Mac, I think I would be worried about the same for the base.


- No network port? Wait are you serious? So if you don't have a wireless network handy then you are screwed for Internet? Staying at a hotel with wall-jack Internet, but no wireless? Guess you will have to go wardriving till you find a hot-spot. This just completely blows my mind. I understand that wireless is becoming the thing of the future, and with wireless-N built in it is very capable in that department. As of right now though, there is not wireless everywhere you go and I don't know that I would be willing to go wireless-only with the wireless-service available in my area. This is definitely not the I (as a technician) would want to take to a client's house to get something done, but then again I don't think that is it's intended purpose.

In the end I think that this is a very pretty-looking laptop that I would be afraid to take out into the real world. But man would I be the coolest guy at work with it sitting on my desk (USB hub connected of course). For now though, I will stick with my Windows machine that needs to be re-imaged every 6 months or so, and doesn't have all the flash and style of the new Mac-book. Who cares what other people think anyway, right?


Mike said...

I agree with you. I do love everything about a Mac except the price. A friend of mine has one and I accidentally made a comment about how much they cost in front of his wife. He's in trouble now because she didn't know how much it cost.


This particular Mac that you mention, however, sounds like it is more trouble than it is worth.

TomboCheck said...

:) you guys still friends?

I could post a lot of things that I do and don't like about Macs, but that is for a whole other post. For now it is easy to say that I won't buy one until they lower their price, and give me the hardware features that I want. If I get desperate to get away from windows, I can always go Linux (ubuntu is surprisingly easy to use, and I might switch my whole home network to it in the near future).

Granny J said...

My only basic complaint about the Mac is that for some reason, Excel makes you go through a dozen hoops before you can load a standard .csv database file. Since I deal in db's when I pull myself together to do some business, that's a definite problem!

Gadget said...

Ah, the Mac prices... :)

Well, if you're a "multi-media" person the Mac is actually reasonable. How can that be? Simple, what they include.

With my Macbook Pro I received IMovie HD, IPhoto, iDVD, Garage Band, a real firewall, an Apache web server and more. I once did a price breakdown on a Macbook & a Dell (equivalent processor speeds, etc). When you added the equal software for the Mac on to the Dell you actually passed the Mac price.

Happily, everything I needed came with my Mac. But yes, if you're looking for a stripped down price, they're not it. Just add up the software after on the Windows get close.

Oh, and I used to be a Windows Admin. I turned to Mac first and foremost because it's UNIX. :)

Oh, and I wouldn't buy the new "Air". I'd be afraid to break it!

TomboCheck said...

Granny - Definitely sounds like a pain in the rear!

Gadget - I can see your point with software pricing being a big deal. I haven't priced software for a windows system in a while as I get that from perhaps less than ideal venues.

And for the 'multi-media' oriented person I can definitely see the value in having all of those titles coming on the computer out of the box. But to me, the only title in there that is truly innovative is GarageBand.

Of course, as stated in the post, I'm sure I would love having a mac if one were to fall into my hands. For my needs though the price is wrong.

dagny said...

Yes, one pays more for a Mac upfront. I have wasted so much time pulling malware off my husband's windows pc that I come out ahead by eliminating this problem by going to OS X. He now has a 24 inch iMac that he really likes - and so do I.
Also, my employer is a window shop so I get my dose of MS there.
I have a mac book pro that was a somewhat extravagant purchase, but hey, I drive a 10 year old car.
The least expensive way to go is Linux.

The Macbook Air is intended to be a second computer for someone.

TomboCheck said...

Dagny -
I can definitely understand the hate of malware, but I can say that I have few to no problems with it on my personal computers. The wife on the other hand.... that is another story. If I had my choice I would just buy a hardware web-filter for the house, but unfortunately that is way more spendy than I am willing to go. :)

I am currently playing with Ubuntu (Linux) on on of my other home computers, and I think I might switch to it exclusively at home soon, and just keep windows on my work laptop.