Notes on the MacBook Air

I can see there being a market for the MacBook Air – not a market I fit into, but a market nonetheless.

When catching the first glimpse of the Air, it really is quite stunning. The size alone is enough to make you think aloud: how’d they fit a computer in there?!?

While the computer weighs in at about three pounds which is really light, it appears that it should be as light as a feather. Essentially, looks are deceiving on it – but not necessarily in a bad way. I must admit that I did grab a manila envelope to see if it were true – and it is. You could easily hide it and no one would be the wiser – unless you have the power cord plugged for some reason.

Apple has very cleverly hidden the USB, audio jack and DVI port in a fold down compartment which when closed is almost invisible. It’s been fun watching people try to find it – and once they do, the “wow” look really comes over them. It almost seems as if the rubber “feet” on the bottom for spacing from the work surface work in tandem with the port. If the machine didn’t have the feet, the door would hit the surface the computer is sitting on. I don’t know how this will work if you’re using the machine on your lap and need to have something plugged in – even if it is simply headphones – whether or not this will interfere with keeping the port open.

Like the other laptops with a back lit keyboard, this one is just as impressive. It may be that the keys are black and the letters simply glow when in a dim environment, it’s a simple touch of elegance that is simply Apple.

The way that the laptop is hinged rather than clasped like the MacBooks reminds me of the clamshell iBooks – you remember the ones.

Now back to the market for this computer… the one I do not fit into.  I could see this machine being perfect for someone who travels a lot and is doing a number of presentations on a regular basis. Perhaps a sales rep doing a few pitches a day or someone who is on the road a lot. It seems like a great machine for email, internet and presentations. Maybe Al Gore will pick one up for when he does his global presentation… I’m sure as a board member he has first dibs. I definitely do not see someone purchasing the Air to be or replace their primary machine. Hard drive space and processor speeds simply don’t allow for this to be a good primary machine and though I’d love to have one for myself, I simply don’t have the need. However, my home set up is a 20″ Intel iMac – maybe the Air would be a fantastic notebook. If I didn’t have a work issued MacBook Pro, I might have considered splurging and picking one up but I definitely think Apple has done it again!

It’s simple, elegant, and simply done right. I just hope it is received well and doesn’t fall the way of the Cube. Don’t remember that one? Check it out.

Editor’s Note: Greg Probst is the author of Blue Sleeves Blog and is a regular contributor to Probstisms.