16 July 2010

Apple Shrinking the MacBook Air?

We've all heard what Tim Cook said  that may have agitated many netbook fans:
“We don’t know how to build a sub-$500 computer that is not a piece of junk.”
 Although, to be fair, the statement above did not deliberately say that netbooks are junk. It may well be the reference to pricing that provoked such conclusion: we all know that netbooks, for the most part, cost less than $500.

And we also know that Apple's response to the netbook category is the iPad. They weren't gonna make netbooks. Period. But as the Liliputing article puts it, the iPad is not a netbook. Period.

I will not deny the sheer joy that I felt surge inside me the first (and last) time I played with an iPad - a most fortunate officemate of mine was deployed to the US for a project and he was able to buy one with 3G.
However, for my computing habits, I must say that my dear little Mini MacBook 311 still holds that special place in my heart. I do a lot of typing and a physical keyboard is very important to me, perhaps as essential as  air itself. (Although I do find myself pining for the iPad Plants vs Zombies experience once in a while).

In the past, Steve Jobs may have touted the viability of their current MacBook Air line as their better option to puny little netbooks arguing against the latter's "less than full-size screen and keyboard". True, the likes of 10-inchers like the MSI Wind and Asus EeePC and of course HP Mini 1000's are undoubtedly thicker in profile, but still prove to be more backpack and wallet-friendly than the thin Air which costs almost four times as much (and I don't think one would just happily shove it in just any backpack at that price point).

As for the HP Mini 311, although it is a bit more cumbersome than the HP Mini 1000 and MSI Wind U100 to tote around, I still don't find myself minding the weight of it inside my bag or worrying about ruining the machine as much as I think I would if it were a MacBook Air I was carrying. "What if my backpack bumps into a steel bar inside the MRT train and the aluminum chassis ends up with nubs?" I do live the rugged life of commuters and perhaps I should get a car first before I buy an Air just to protect it from such encounters as the hustle and bustle of train stations and bus rides.

But according to Digitimes, the Cupertino company may well be in the way of developing a newer iteration of its MacBook Air with an 11.6" screen.
"...the 11.6-inch MacBook Air will feature an even slimmer and lighter design than the previous-generation models..."
I'd say that puts it in direct competition, for my attention at least, with the Mini MacBook 311 at least in terms of portability. 11.6" just cuts it better for me than 13.1".

I have no doubt of this 11.6" MacBook Air leaving netbooks behind in a (huge) pile of dust in terms of performance owing to its Core i3 CPU. That is when it does materialize from vapor-ware. But when that time comes, I'm sure the new MBA, like the current 13.1" MBA will also share the premium price.

I'd say it can then be likened to your usual anorexic Eurasian model gracing a Jean-Paul Gaultier défílé: costs a fortune so you would definitely treat them with care (or, this entirely no longer related to MacBook Airs, they pass out because all they've eaten for one whole week is a plate of lettuce greens).


Anonymous said...

I hope it will be in aluminium, with an IPS display 1280*800 display !

Unfortunately, I expect an Intel graphics chipset :-(

Iperzampem0 said...

I think it could be a great notebook, apart from the future price...
And I completely agree with you :)

Elceb said...

I've tried just for fun to design a 11.6" Macbook Air: http://bit.ly/aUsPKq
I think it wouldn't be easy to keep the actual MBA ergonomy, especially for the touchpad.