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  • cabjf - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    The fact that the iPad will easily sync with your main computer does give it one advantage over the Air. If Apple produced some type of easy to use syncing software so that you could use the Air as a portable version of your main computer's contents, it would be the perfect road companion to an iMac, Mac Pro, or even a 17-inch Macbook Pro. Perhaps that is the way they are moving in bringing an App Store and other iOS features to Mac OS X. Maybe that's part of the intended use for that huge data center they are building (and already considering expanding). Reply
  • wintermute000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    " If Apple produced some type of easy to use syncing software so that you could use the Air as a portable version of your main computer's contents, it would be the perfect road companion to an iMac, Mac Pro, or even a 17-inch Macbook Pro."

    Easily done with a bit of work
    - know where the files are and don't do things like let itunes sort folders
    - rsync or any decent gui backup/sync software

    storage is an issue but for work purposes 64Gb is enough to handle it
    for streaming media use streaming media solutions.
  • psonice - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Apple sell 'mobile me' which pretty much does this. It gives you an 'iDisk' in the cloud, accessible from any of your machines (think it supports windows too?), plus there's an iphone app to access it. It also syncs your bookmarks, preferences, dock icons (don't think it syncs the actual apps though) and keychain (for passwords). There's push email + web hosting (main thing I use it for) and other bits too.

    It's $60/year, and it's possible to get pretty much everything for free elsewhere. But like a log of apple stuff, it works well, it's nicely integrated, and if you have the money it's not worth arsing around with the others.
  • Tmoz - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    You could use Dropbox to do this: (Disclosure: Referral link)

    It syncs your files to Amazon S3 and then to any computers you have the software installed on (Mac/Windows/Linux are supported)
  • dendysutrisna - Friday, August 12, 2011 - link

    Yes I understand, since this article was made when Apple's MacBook Air which has been reinforced Intel Core i5 has not come out. MacBook Air the latest generation, which has been paired with Mac OS X Lion, there is a AirDrop feature, where you can share with computer around you which in one network, even with the computer windows though. Try to look I've made ​​a little review about the newest MacBook Air, you might want to find out more. Reply
  • quiksilvr - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Seriously, their pricing scheme makes absolutely no sense. I have attempted to see what COULD be the decent price point, but a few points have to be made:

    1) The Macbook 13 (the white one) simply needs to die.

    2) They are now hitting 4 different screen sizes, and IMO they should stick to three and make things easier (as should other PC makers)
    1) 12" screen (not 11.6", 12") for the netbook market
    2) 14" screen for the general market
    3) 16" screen for the heavy multimedia and desktop replacement market

    3) Get rid of the "Pro" terminology. Simply have it Macbook 12, 14, 16 and Air versions of these models (Macbook Air 12, etc.)

    4) STOP forcing customers to get the "upgraded" version just so that we can upgrade the CPU. This is annoying and very Dell like and customers don't like it.
  • martyrant - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Apple has needed a price overhaul since the company's inception.

    Glad you are only now realizing.
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, November 02, 2010 - link

    You are just too dumb to understand that similar quality, service, and a modern OS from other companies is as much or more than Apple products. Except they don't have a modern OS. Reply
  • quiksilvr - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Okay, here is my attempt (and I know this will never happen because it makes too much sense)

    Macbook Air 12: $799
    Macbook 12: $599

    Macbook Air 14: $999
    Macbook 14: $799

    Macbook Air 16: $1199
    Macbook 16: $999

    And as shocking as this may seem to Mac users, this is still a major premium over PCs.

    Macbook Air Baseline:
    -Core i3 LV (or ULV) with Core i5/i7 LV/ULV option (add thickness if necessary)
    -Integrated Intel HD chip and dedicated nVidia card with Optimus
    -SSD (I would say start it at 90GB and work your way up)
    -USB 3.0 all the way
    -mini Displayport with choice of adaptor included (DVI, VGA, HDMI, Displayport, etc.)
    -Wireless, Bluetooth, yada yada
    -4 GB RAM
    -No Optical
    -And one thing I just noticed, put an actual microphone PORT and put a stereo microphone next to the webcam
    -Expresscard Slot option

    Macbook Baseline:
    -Core i3 with Core i5/i7 option (add thickness if necessary)
    -Integrated Intel HD chip and dedicated nVidia card with Optimus
    -HDD with SSD option (start HDD with 250GB)
    -USB 3.0
    -mini Displayport with choice of adaptor included (DVI, VGA, HDMI, Displayport, etc.)
    -Wireless, Bluetooth, yada yada
    -4 GB RAM
    -DVD Burner with Blu Ray Player/Blu Ray Burner option
    -Expresscard Slot option

    5) And for the love of god, stop making these screens epic glossy. This is a message to ALL PC makers! Make it half and half or give a realistically priced matte option (FREE)
  • solipsism - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Nothing you wrote makes sense.

    How much is the ULV CPU from Intel?
    How much is the LV CPu from Intel?
    How much is that Nvidia 320M?
    How much does it cost to mill an aluminum case?
    How much are 9.5mm ultra-slim slot-loading BRDs?
    Can you find any for sale?
    Which Core-i3 LV and ULV chips will they use?
    Which USB3.0 controller will they use, how much will cost, where will go in the Airs?
    Where will this ExpressCard slot go?
    Why scrape the 11, 13 and 15” Mac notebooks for 12, 14 and 16” displays?
    Why didn’t you fail to address the size, weight, or quality of anything? You just took a price that you compared to other vendors, bumped it slightly and then added a whole mess of features without considering engineering, costs, or anything else. You might as well add include TARDIS technology to fit all that in there and/or use a TARDIS to go into the future to a time when all that is actually possible, but instead you just sound like a TARD in your self proclaimed “makes too much sense” post.
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    The answer:

    Combined, they will be much less than $800.

    THe BRD is an option to add-on, so generally speaking, the normal trend is ~50% higher than the cost for the manufacturer to purchase and install it.

    And they can use ANY LV, ULV chip. Start at the lowest and give options for US to choose how high we can go.

    The design obviously will be altered somewhat for the ExpressCard slot, but the more I think about it, the more unnecessary it is in this day and age. USB 3.0 will give the speeds. (Also, USB 3.0 controllers aren't ZOMG expensive, they are relatively cheap)

    And its not 11, 13, and 15, its 11.6", 13.3" and 15.4" (and 17"). Seriously, 12", 14" and 16" is the best. You hit all three markets: the ultraportable, the general usage, and desktop replacement.

    And finally: stop being a douche and lets have a debate rather a name calling contest. Seriously, you wasted a run-on sentence on TARDIS and TARD?
  • solipsism - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Again, you've failed to even do the most rudimentary of research or cognitive thinking but somehow came to an $800 retail price point.

    Intel list their price per 1000 units of LV and ULV chips, and other vendors do sell 9.5mm BRDs (though not the more expensive slot-loading drives, as far as I can tell), and those two items alone are about $800. That's only two components and doesn't include any other costs or a profit margin.

    Then you've ignored Apple's choice to focus on slim deaigns. You may not like it (I certainly don't as an 11" MBA with double the battery would be more ideal for my needs) but you need to accept it. Saying "they don't have to make their machines so thin" is a strawman argument so don't even go there.

    Seriously, trying looking at actual HW on the market that Apple would potentially use, then price it. Grabbing a price for adiaplay base solely on resolution is pointless. Grabbing a price of a BRD that doesn't fit the space is pointless. Conclusion, your response will likely be pointless.
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    *takes deep breath*...

    A Blu ray drive OPTION (NOT STANDARD). The customer will pay for it if they so choose and there are slot load blu ray drives out there from Panasonic, Sony and even Dell.

    They don't have to be 9.5 mm they can be 12.7 because the Macbooks (not the Airs, which will not have an optical drive) are ~25 mm thick.

    And the slot load Blu Ray DRIVES run for ~$100:

    The slot load Blu Ray BURNERS run for around $250:

    So to maintain profits, they would charge $150 for the drive and $350-$400 for the burner.

    As for LV and ULV, the most expensive chip I found (ULV cost more than LV) is the Core i7-680UM which runs $317 (if you buy 1000, which I'm sure Apple can afford):

    I think it will be safe to assume (unless you object otherwise) that the ultra low voltage Core i3s and i5s will be noticeably cheaper.

    I don't spout out statistics because the information is quite literally a Google search away. I LITERALLY wrote "slot load blu-ray drive" and got those retailers.
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Sorry, wrong link. The Blu ray BURNERS cost around ~$350 (damn, no wonder retailers don't sell these in laptops)

    So to make it marginally profitable, it would be ~$450-$500 to ADD onto the BASELINE Mac product.
  • solipsism - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    OMG! This guy actually posts a link to a desktop-grade BRD that costs over $350 and suggests it for a Mac notebook that can only take a 9.5mm ultra-slim drive!


    You have ignored my list of sensible questions to you regarding viability and psychics, and have nonsensically claimed that Apple doesn’t use quality components when even AnandTech, one of the most neutral tech sites around clearly show that the LCD, trackpad and many other aspects are better than the competition.

    Look, you don’t have to like a company or their products, but to allow a modicum of common sense into your posts when you claim to be the only sensible one posting is insane. Really, it’s fraking crazy!
  • quiksilvr - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link


    If you clicked the third image, you can clearly see that the HOUSING is what is 43mm and not the drive itself. You can actually see below the connector all that empty space under it.

    And things like the trackpad and LCD (especially on 11 and 13" screens) are not much more expensive (do you really want to go through every single minute component just so I can prove to you that it doesn't even come close to the costs I suggested?)

    I showed the pricing of the ULV and LV chips are (or at least what the absolute maximum will be for the one that the customer will pay extra for), it has already been established that the RAM, the memory, the screen and the GPU are available on other products for less, and I showed you the Blu ray Drive (the oh so fancy slot one that people want) that ISN'T EVEN STANDARD ON THE BASELINE I RECOMMENDED.

    I don't like the company because the company's pricing doesn't make sense. Yes the unibody aluminum is great. I like solid construction. The weight and thinness isn't really a big deal for me, but that doesn't negate the fact that it costs extra and takes effort.

    Should Mac products cost more? Of course. But the extent of their pricing lacks common sense and the only reason they are selling so damn well is because consumers have been brainwashed by their marketing tactics and "trend" setting. It makes me sick to my stomach that such a company has made $51 billion dollars over these products.
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, November 02, 2010 - link

    You are not factoring in their far superior service, which cost money, their higher hardware quality control standards, which costs money, the fact that they write their own OS instead of just slapping whatever mediocrity Microsoft is slinging these days, their own hardware design, higher quality hardware manufacturing, or the fact that you are clueless. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I don't think Apple can make those kinds of prices. There are a lot of things that go into a macbook that just aren't found in other laptops.

    -Giant trackpad
    -Decent LCD
    -Large battery
    -Exceptional build quality

    When you cram superior laptop components into a smaller package, it will undoubtedly be more expensive.
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, November 02, 2010 - link

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Back to Mommy's basement. Reply
  • tim851 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    >>I know this will never happen because it makes too much sense

    Gotta love it when somebody comes along and makes a "more sensible" pricing suggestion to the far and wide most profitable PC hardware manufacturer in the world and the gist of it is: price it more like those competitors that outsell you but earn less money doing it.

    You're a genius! You should make the same suggestion to Ferrari: Guys, you can move a whole lot more cars if you just make them cheaper!

    For ten years people have been saying that Apple needs to get cheaper. All the while they became ever more successfull. They might technically not be the no.1 computer maker, but they have a higher net income than the rest of the top 10 (probably even top 20) COMBINED. So the last thing they need to do is make their stuff cheaper.
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Get it through your thick skull, an Apple is not a Ferrari. It's just another pc. An overpriced pc. As soon as you come to that realization you'll sleep better at night and save your $$. Reply
  • MeesterNid - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link sure seems like your skull is much thicker there buddy as he just gave you solid, logical reasoning and all you did was post incoherent blabbering about how Apple is not a Ferrari. You should try searching Google for the meaning of a "metaphor" there.

    But alas, I fear logic and reason do not fit into your "reality" filtered through, what's probably baseless, anti-Apple bias.

    Good day.
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I know what a metaphor is. Do you really think I thought that an Apple PC is a car with four wheels that you can transport you from point A to point B using an internal combustion engine? Really?

    So, since you need clarifying... *sing along with me*... an Apple Computer is just another PC... an overpriced PC. A pretty PC with no cutting edge technology, but still more expensive nonetheless. No anti-Apple bias on my part because I point out the obvious. And no, Apple is not a BMW either (another metaphor in case you think I am mistaking a PC for an automobile).
  • synaesthetic - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Apple is more like a Lexus.

    A more expensive and shinier rebranded Toyota--err, PC.

  • JVC8bal - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    A Lexus is nothing like a base Toyota. They use separate unibodies, engines, etc. and only share little things like cabling and mirrors - as do all car brands and their platform strategies. Let's not forget the extra engineering that goes into quality or a quiet ride.

    You obviously have not owned a Lexus or are intimately familiar with - and judging from your witt, never will.
  • michael2k - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    A Mac is nothing like a base PC. They use separate cases, batteries, motherboards, etc. and share only little things like connectors and ports - as do all PC brands and their platform strategies. Let's not forget the extra engineering that goes into quality or superior battery life.

    You obviously have not owned a Mac or are intimately familiar with - and judging from your wit, never will.
  • UltimateTruth - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

    "A Lexus is nothing like a base Toyota. They use separate unibodies, engines, etc. and only share little things like cabling and mirrors "

    I'm sure he's not talking about base Toyotas. And yes, models do share MANY common components from little things like hose clamps, electrical connectors up to engines and transmissions in their platforms.

    The DI V8 in the bloated 350 IF-S is the same as used in the home market Toyota Crown. Variants are used in Tundras and Sequoias.

    Toyota and it's subsidiaries makes the components. Lexus is just an upscale brand of Toyota Motor Co..
  • MeesterNid - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Brother, your ability to carry on a coherent, rational debate with adults needs practice. Allow me to illustrate:

    1. While my assertion that you do not understand the meaning of the word metaphor was clearly sarcastic you proceed to define it in your response making it look like you either really didn't know what it meant or felt insecure enough to have to prove your knowledge.

    2. You, once again, spout unsubstantiated nonsense about Apple being "just another PC" while in fact Apple does a good bit of original design in their products unlike other PC OEMs (i.e. you should put forward, or at least attempt to, some reasoning that lead you to your conclusion).

    3. Your statement that Apple is not a BMW is redundant to your previous one of it not being a Ferrari, but beyond that you bring that comparison up for no reason. That just makes your previously illogical ranting sound childish.

    I'm not even going to attempt to debate your statement about your not being biased "because [you] point out the obvious" as I'm afraid reason may be lost on you.
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    So, if I feel that Apple's products are underwhelming and overpriced then I must be biased. I see... :eyeroll:

    Use all the metaphors you want. Misinterpret my post for your selfish reasons that only you know.
    It's still just a PC. I don't care what OS it uses. If you actually want to compare technical specs and features then we have a discussion. But that's not really what you want. You're off on some mission defending the honor of your beloved Apple. <i>It's Sir MeesterNid and his knights of the stupid table here to save your honor Miss! At your service.</i>

    You know it's the same Intel cpu or did Apple do some design work there? It is thin like a cracker. Did you plan to use it as a frisbee? Make sure you buy the insurance.
  • tim851 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    And Ferrari is just another car. If you think there's $200k of engineering in there, your skull is thicker than mine. The main reason for the high price is that Ferrari positions themselves in a certain market segment. Price elasticity is given though, they would move more cars if they were cheaper. They just don't want to. Producing more cars creates new hassles and puts them in a different market position.

    Also, the primary benefit of a Ferrari - that is as a means of transportation - is rather bad, as they often seat only two people, have little luggage space, low MPG, frequent service intervals, high cost of operation.
    The technical superiority - i.e. the performance - doesn't matter on public roads. A Ferrari won't get you anywhere quicker than a Ford.

    People buy them because they are fun, they are pretty and they are representative. Buying a Ferrari is a more emotional act than buying an Apple.
    And I, for one, don't own an Apple. I don't care about those secondary and tertiary values and prefer a cheaper PC. That doesn't mean that Apple's market strategy is wrong - it's just wrong for me. Their overwhelming success shows that it's right in general.
  • JVC8bal - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Good case. Another example is Porsche, who has the widest profit margins of any car company. A 911 doesn't cost anything near what people will pay for them, and adding a $8,000 turbo doesn't equate to the $40,000 premium they can charge for it. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Did you even bother reading the entire comment? I thought it was logical enough.

    A business is in the business of making money, not selling things. If a business can make more money by selling fewer things, they will do it.
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I should have been clear:

    It will never happen because it makes to much sense to US. I'm not talking about the general unwashed masses that have an orgasm over an Apple Logo.

    I'm talking about sensible people that would rather spend half as much for an ASUS Eee PC 1215N, or people that want luxury would get the HP Envy 14 or 17.
  • tno - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Wow. Sorry to kick up a dead thread, and I really hope I don't restart it. I just was really surprised by that comment. If you're kidding, maybe you're one of those griefers that says this stuff for kicks, then I guess that's your bag and you carry it, but seems silly to me. If you're serious, then you really have quite the glut of self esteem.

    My advice. Try it out. Want to keep your nose up? That's fine, don't buy one, just hackintosh a rig you've got. Don't game on it. Work on it. Read all the griefer blogs you want. Write on it. Produce something with it. I'm not an owner, yet, I'm a hackintosher. And having used XP, Win 7, Ubuntu and OS X on my netbook, laptop and desktop, OS X is my favorite platform to get work done, and the only one I would want to use on something with a screen smaller than 17".

    If you give it a try and you still think Apple b10ws and you r001, fine. Us unwashed masses will just keep getting things done and loving every minute of it.
  • robco - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    There's a few technical reasons why some of these things don't exist in the MBA. Apple can't use the iSeries chips in their low-end products because Intel has blocked third-party integrated graphics. The MBA doesn't have space for a discrete GPU. Intel's integrated graphics don't support OpenCL, something Apple intends to make use of going forward. USB 3.0 is a nice idea, but at the moment, requires a separate controller chip, something else there isn't room for. Hopefully either Intel will make decent graphics (I'm not holding my breath) or AMD will come out with a decent mobile CPU with better integrated graphics. I would imagine the microphone got moved because it wouldn't fit into the new, thinner display. Including an adapter isn't something that can be done at the factory - which would they include? Some folks will want VGA, some DVI, others might spring for the Cinema Display and not need it. As for the ExpressCard slot, I do with they remove the optical drive from the MB and MBP and add that, plus an extra USB port or two. I can count on one hand the number of times I've used an optical drive in the past four years.

    No offense, but I imagine Apple's engineers considered all these things and more. I looked at Windows laptops before getting my 15" MBP and good quality laptops are expensive no matter who makes them. I had a hard time finding anyone who could offer a fully featured notebook in a case less than an inch thin, with a high quality display, excellent battery life and rated EPEAT Gold. Apple just doesn't compete at the low end. By the time you take that $699 Windows laptops and start adding options, the price difference shrinks considerably.
  • softdrinkviking - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    that's a very "can't do" kind of attitude.
    i really like apple's designs, but i really don't like the outdated processors they are using.
    i refuse to believe that there is NOTHING that apple could do to bring better tech to it's fans.
    it's very disappointing. :(
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Well Apple wants to support a certain feature set, and they can't do so if they go Intel and their lackluster integrated Graphics. They want nVidia graphics.

    If they tried to add Intel's Westmere based products with Integrated Graphics it would become a 3 chip solution. They have done this for the 15/17 markets where the chasis can hold everything and the larger battery required.

    On the 11/13 where space is premium it's integrated nVidia graphics, once Sandy Bridge rolls around, we may see that Intel graphics is on the CPU itself.
  • tno - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    This is exactly it. While Dell/Asus/Gateway churn out laptops designed to be able to fit whatever will be required of them from the next CPU/GPU/chipset, Apple chooses a set of function requirements and build their design out of that. The 11/13 size laptops are all about portability, so big batteries and thin designs at the expense of the newest, fastest processor. It's pertinent that when Dell decided to build an MBA competitor (the Adamo) they went with a rather similar specification, and ended up with worse battery life.

    So, could Apple sell a laptop for $600? Yep. It'd have a plastic chassis, carry whatever the cheapest processor they can squeeze out of Intel, the same crappy Clickpad everyone's slapping on their laptops, have a craptastic LCD, mediocre battery life and run Windows 7. Thanks, but no thanks. I'll go get a Mac.
  • OrionAntares - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Something about the MacBook Air and the processors. If they moved away from the Core 2 I'm pretty sure given the size constraints they'd need to stick with the Pentium and/or i3 ULVs. Making the Air thicker would be contrary to the whole point of the Air line. If you want a stronger processor (and more thickness) you'd go up to the regular Macbook line that is already thicker. Reply
  • JVC8bal - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I concur, this guy is a tard that doesn't know anything about systems engineering or manufacturing or "productizing". Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    When someone resorts to name-calling they lose respect from me. Putting down people with a medical or educational diagnosis in the process causes me to think even less of them.

    Put a reasonable argument out there, back it up with some numbers, then let it go if the other party doesn't get it; it's all you can do. If you resort to name-calling that is about you, not him (or her) and your state of mind. If you feel tempted to bash someone by calling them " [expletives deleted]" then take a moment - go punch a pillow and scream at it or whatever you need to - and get clear before you post.

    If your intent is to just make people mad and isn't to actually have a discussion - well, there's nothing I can say about that except, have a nice life, and enjoy your stiff neck, back aches, and ulcers.

  • huai - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

    MBA currently has space on its board for 2 chips:
    C2D CPU
    Nvidia Chipset w/ integrated GPU and USB2.0 controllers

    You propose a 5 chip solution:
    Core i CPU
    Intel Chipset (which doesn't support USB3.0)
    3rd party USB 3.0 controller
    Dedicated GPU

    Where's the space going to come for this? Are you willing to cut battery life by a third to make room?
  • freefallgrue - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    No FireWire? Get real. Reply
  • michael2k - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    No, the MacBook 13 needs to become cheaper. If the "elite" MBA11 is $999, the MB13 should be $899.

    Four screen sizes is a non issue, any more than it is for Dell, Lenovo, or HP.

    1) 11.6" is great as an entry point as it allows for a full sized keyboard
    2) 13.3" is great as a portable as it allows for speakers and a full sized keyboard
    3) 15" allows for greater performance without loss in portability
    4) 17" maximizes performance for a tradeoff in portability

    The pro terminology is perfect as it indicates more performance. The problem is that the 13" MBP shouldn't be a Pro since it lacks a Core i3; if we get rid of any, it should be the 13" MBP.

    If you want a logical and maximal pricing structure:
    MB 11: $899
    MBA 11: $999
    MB 13: $999 (no optical but only 4 pounds)
    MBA 13: $1299
    MBP 13: $1299 (no optical but core i3)
    MBP 15: $1599
    MBP 17: $1799
  • martyrant - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Macs make fancy looking products, but as you notice you compare apples to apples because at a lower price range these products would be getting smashed against $1000 price-point laptop PCs.

    I just don't get the appeal for paying for less, but I do know there's a lot of less-than-brilliant people out there that can't tell when they are being owned by advertising and no matter what anyone does there's always going to be those less-than-brilliant (yes, that's sarcasm) roaming the planet, so by all means dump your money into a cult like company.

    I just find it funny that Anandtech got all Apple over the past 3-4 years, I don't remember seeing that many Mac reviews prior to that. You getting a kick back now?
  • hmurchison - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Yes but the problem is we Mac users don't want to run Windows or Linux for the sake of hardware that looks better on paper. As Anand said in his review...the tight integration of the OS and the hardware means that Apple extracts more performance out their computers than what is typical of the industry.

    It's not about Advertising it's about design and aesthetics that extend from the hardware to the software. To some it's appealing much as a BMW is more appealing than say a Ford to car lovers.

    With 50 million Mac users and 3-4x times that amount of iPod/iphone/iPad users Apple left Cult status a LONG time ago. $300 a share isn't a cult ..that's good biz.
  • martyrant - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Have you heard Steve Jobs talk? That's cult like.

    And everything you just said proves my point, you got owned by advertising (design and aesthetics? lol, c'mon).

    You are on a IT site, with most of us probably knowing how to dremel, cut, and completely customize our cases, hardware, and software (yeah, we can program too!)

    Macs are for people who can't customize their own computers (both design, aesthetically, and software) themselves and like to pay out the bum to feel part of the cult.
  • AMDJunkie - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    "You are on a IT site, with most of us probably knowing how to dremel, cut, and completely customize our cases, hardware, and software (yeah, we can program too!)"

    Very good. Make a laptop from the ground up with the exact same dimensions, fit, finish, as the MacBook Air; while also surpassing it in benchmark prowess, appearance of speed, and battery life. And since you can program too, might as well make your own OS while you're at it. I suppose you could appropriate another and make your own modifications to it, as long as it works as well as what Apple has.

    Go on...

    Riiiiight. Just because they're designed to appeal to aesthetes does not mean there is not quite a bit of engineering that goes into these. When you go through the iFixIt, or take it apart for yourself and reassemble it, you'll have a greater appreciation for Apple's "toys."

    Also, keep on trollin'.
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Tell me what the value is on a $1000 plastic Macbook with an outdated processor, ram capacity and everything else.

    Sorry, OSX isn't worth the extra $500 premium.
  • martyrant - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Point is, if I wanted to, it could be done. Why would I have to write my own OS when it's possible to modify and customize one of the better ones out there? (If you noticed, I haven't bashed OS X at all, simply their price point on their hardware).

    Mac users are just used to paying more for less, which is the point in all my trolling points.

    Sounds like a bunch of idiots to me.
  • hmurchison - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Other than build your own computer (which is overrated IMO) there's little you can do with your PC that I can't do with my Mac.

    Yup ...I have style which means that I do get "owned" by the finer things in life. I don't have a tacky 3rd rate Alienware like box sitting on my desk. I could easily program by installing the free Xcode IDE that comes on my disk and create apps if I so choose. With Unix underpinnings I can do terminal commands and geek out if I want to.

    I'm not a lowest bidder guy nor to I spend an inordinate amount of time tinkering. My time is precious and time is the one thing money ..or cheap PC cannot deliver.
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    See... Everyone is different, everyone has different tastes.

    To me Apples products don't look all that attractive to myself, from a hardware or an aesthetics perspective.

    I like my big flashy case full of UV Cathodes and LEDs which highlight my impressive looking water cooling loops running from my crossfire setup and Core i7 which can be admired through the side window.
    Nothing Apple has ever made has actually "Impressed" me from any angle, not the Aesthetics, the hardware, none of it, hence they aren't for me and a reason why I have never owned an Apple product.
    My neighbor even modded his Laptop so that it was all made from a clear plastic, and that to has a bunch of nice looking LED's inside of it which lights up really well and does look impressive.
    These... I dunno, the look just doesn't do it for me.

    As for the touchpad... I use a keyboard to scroll down a webpage, I guess it's a habit from the days of Ball-Mice giving me hell, so I used a keyboard as much as possible.
  • martyrant - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Please, just because Apple tells you you have style doesn't mean you do.

    Again, you got owned by advertising, and you probably look like a giant douche or a turd sandwich when you walk around, all the while thinking in your head you are the sh*t!
  • synaesthetic - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    play games? *cough*

    no, bootcamping Windows does not count.
  • captainBOB - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Its called Steam for the Mac

    Its also called TF2, HL2, HL2: Ep 1 and 2, Portal, Left for Dead 2, HL2: Deathmatch, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 (when it arrives) WoW, City of Heroes: Going Rouge, Day of Defeat, CS: Source, EVE Online, Civilization IV.... they don't look like indie games.... should I keep going?

    Sure its not quite the library that Windows based PCs have, but the argument that Macs can't play games was dead in the water when Valve brought Steam to the Mac.

    Oh and no, It can't play Crysis.
  • MikosNZ - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Most of those games are old and you will note they are only AAA titles. Yes you are right a handful of the most popular games come to OSX. But the vast majority do not.

    Apple and Apple OSX are a nice platform but they most certainly are not a serious gaming platform. Fine for the hobbyist gamer not anyone who spends a significant time gaming.
  • captainBOB - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Yep, I mention the big AAA games because they aren't so quickly dismissed as say, "Torchlight" or the other nice indie games on Steam available for both platforms.

    Definitely a Mac a gaming machine does not make. Just wanted to clear up a misconception that Macs cannot play games. Better to jump into the Hundred Years flame war prepared.
  • solgae1784 - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Display is still one of Apple notebook/laptop strengths.....11 inch Air has the same res (1366x768) as most manufacturers use in 15 inch display and some of the 13 inch displays. 13 inch Air has the same res as the Macbook Pro 15 inch model (1400x900), which also puts most other manufacturer's 15 inch display notebooks/laptops to shame with its paltry 1366x768 res. When will those other manufacturers learn that 768p (or heaven forbid, 800p) on a 15 inch screen is just not large enough?

    I have also yet to saw a single touchpad that can at least match Apple notebook/laptop's implementation. Scrolling is just plain frustrating (especially horizontal scrolling) on those touchpads.
  • Accord99 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    "When will those other manufacturers learn that 768p (or heaven forbid, 800p) on a 15 inch screen is just not large enough?"

    It's a good thing other manufacturers offer products that use higher resolutions like 1920x1080 or 1920x1200, something not available on a Mac except at 17".
  • solgae1784 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I checked just now on Dell/HP/ASUS/Lenovo 15" notebook and apart from Alienware notebooks, none of them offered anything but a 768p res. Dell used to offer a 900p res on their XPS 15" line, but that option is gone as of now. I don't recall any notebook/laptops apart from Alienware that offered a 1080p or 1200p res on a 15" screen notebook. Reply
  • solgae1784 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Retracting my last part of my comment.....Dell XPS 15" line does have a 1080p option. Reply
  • Accord99 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Lenovo offers a 1920x1080 option on the T510/W510, Dell also offers it on their Studio 15, Latitude E6510 and Precision M4500 models. Asus has a number of models like the N and G which have this option, as does Sony, including the expensive 13.3" Z. Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Business laptops like from HP, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, Sony and Fujitsu has high-res screens, 13.1" 1600x900 displays, 14" 1600x900 displays, 15" 1600x900 displays and 1920x1080, and so on. (With Dell think E5510 or E6510). Those start at ~999 dollar though. But everything isn't consumer shit. Reply
  • ssd_trimmer - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    I understand that Mac OS X does not yet support TRIM, but does the underlying SSD support it? I hope to run Fedora on a Macbook Air 13. Reply
  • MacTheSpoon - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    As a writer, I paid a premium for my Vaio X so I could have a very light machine with all-day battery life and a bright, matte screen to use outside on sunny days. The tradeoffs have been a cramped keyboard (especially annoying for its horribly small "shift" key); a puny track pad (without two-finger scrolling, which I really miss); and a sluggish processor.

    I had some hope that the 11" MBA might be a viable alternative, but its lack of a matte screen, its low battery life (compared to a good netbook and certainly compared to my 12+ hour Vaio X), and even its surprisingly high weight for its battery life are keeping me from switching over, even taking into account its fantastic keyboard/track pad that I am drooling over with envy.

    Furthermore, thought it's more an observation than a major purchasing reason for me, comparing the two premium netbooks I have to give the edge to the Vaio X in terms of razzle dazzle factor, too, which is sad. I really thought Apple could one-up Sony in this respect. I'm not talking visual design as much as overall "cool" factor. How cool is it that I can swap out my extended battery and have a laptop that weighs as much as an iPad but plays Flash and lets me run desktop class programs? And even its ridiculously large maximum screen angle thrills me after years of suffering from my 15" 2007 MBP; I can open up the Vaio X screen so wide that it's practically flat. It's so comfortable to sit in bed and type with it propped against my knees and its screen wide open.

    Anyway, I sure would have liked the 11" MBA to equal the Sony in its battery life and weight, and to throw in a matte screen for good measure, because I knew Apple would get the keyboard and track pad right--which they did. A similarly large screen opening angle would have been great, too. Then I would have switched very, very happily. As it is, I just can't justify it. I can't give up this battery life and outdoor suitability, even if typing is somewhat irritating.
  • solipsism - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    The Vaio X runs an Atom CPU with an Intel GM500 IGP. When running the same Light Browsing test as Anand how much time can you actually get from your Vaio X? It’s really a $1300 netbook. It’s a great machine except for CPU/GPU/RAM, but you pay a lot for it. As for weight, it’s the same weight for the Vaio X once you pay extra for the 12 hours battery (that I hear gets you about 8-9 from Light Browsing).

    I disagree with calling any small ultra-portable a netbook based on the display size. These came about because of the cheap, low-power and slow Atom CPUs, and built up from that was the rest of the cheap HW, with a small display and cramped keyboard. The 11” MBA is not any of those things. That CPU alone cost more than most netbooks.
  • Wilcomhs - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Can we have some numbers for battery life under Win 7 please? 5 hours sounds acceptable but knowing the battery life hit going from OSX to Windows would help with making a decision here. Reply
  • CharonPDX - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Find me one other Core 2 Duo SU9400 equipped notebook that weighs under three pounds for anywhere near this price.

    Find me one other Core 2 Duo SU9400 equipped notebook with anything other than Intel graphics that weighs under three pounds - for ANY price.

    The 11" MacBook Air is not a netbook. Repeat that again. The 11" MacBook Air is NOT A NETBOOK. It competes in the "ultra thin/light performance notebook" segment, and it dominates it. It is lighter than almost every other notebook in its class, has the best graphics in its class, hands down (I have found a few four-pound models that have a GeForce 105M,) and it costs significantly less than anything else in its class.

    The 13" model has a *LOT* more competition, because at 13", you can actually get moderate graphics and/or a decent price. But in the 11" space, the Air is all by itself.
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    its a netbook becaus other then web, writing, and instant messaging theres not much more you can do with it. not to mention it impimants its HDD in a similar maner as netbooks, and has no optical drive just like net books, has a weaker video card just like a netbook... this thing is a netbook, becaus theres nothing much else it can do. it fills the lower performance segmant of the notebook market, and its ultra portable which was what the netbook did. Reply
  • Demoure - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    However, optical drives are not as important as they used to be, the video card is more powerful than that of many large notebooks sporting intel graphics, many netbooks use real hard drives, and a laptop of this power can do more than just web, writing, and messaging. It will manage to play movies, to photo editing, and low end gaming just fine, and I can't think of anything else you would want to do with a mobile device? Reply
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    but on the flip side many of those larger notebooks make up for graphic loss with a stronger processer, which these will not be able to compete with, not to mention that although it is using a NV320, it is not the discreet model it is the intergrated model which saps your ram just like a netbook not to mention that you can play movies on a netbook. the point of a hard drive is rather mute since you yourself acknowledge that solid state drives exist on netbooks.

    to assume that netbooks will stay as slow as there oridional releas is kinda off, since technolagy moves at a fast rate. comparing this system to new systems that are released by other companies there is no where that it fits other than as a netbook since your going for the bottom of the barrel for Nvidia cards, and going for a CPU that can be smacked by a I3 mobile theres nothing coming out slower for PC then this unless you look at netbooks.

    with this in mind it still just looks like a netbook performance revision.
  • appliance5000 - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    So somewhere in this verbiage you're saying it a really really fast and powerful netbook. Ok - if it makes you happy -OK. Reply
  • Demoure - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Why must it be under 3 pounds? I can't think of a good reason for requiring a laptop under 3 pounds, other than that you are intentionally being picky so as to show it in a better light. At four and a half pounds you have the m11x, a far superior laptop. It is not thin or light, but it is not thick and heavy. Being a scrawny person myself, I cannot think of a person where the 1.5 extra pounds would be a deal breaker.

    And I do agree with you, it is not a netbook, unlike what the other replier said. It is powerful enough to do what netbooks cannot. As I describe netbooks, they fall short if you try to do anything other than text-based stuff. Ion blurs the lines a little, I've owned an ion laptop before. It was able to play movies flawlessly, but beyond that it was still limited in a netbook way. However, my m11x, and as the performance of the air is not too far off, are quite competent at a variety of things. Just about the only thing I would use my desktop for, but not my m11x, would be the heavy work of encoding, transcoding, that sort of stuff. For everything else, it really does feel like a full fledged laptop, if not a decent desktop. The processor being the limiting factor of the laptop, it is fast enough for everything reasonable.
  • tno - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    This might sound slight to you but is reasonably significant to me. I'm a paramedic with a transport service based out of a tertiary care center (large hospital). This is very much a transient job, you are either in an ambulance going from one place to the next or in a helicopter doing the same. I like to keep some essentials with me at all times: food, water, phone charger, phone, reading material, lightweight computing option. Now phone goes in a pocket. Water has its own bottle. The rest has to go in my bag.

    After making do with a bulky laptop bag I decided I needed something slimmer and more useful. So I now have a 20L day pack from North Face. It has a laptop compartment/hydration bladder sleeve, and two water resistant compartments, as well as a few smaller pockets and a rain cover for real wet work. And it ways about 1/4 pound. It's amazing, especially compared to my old two pound bag that was bulky while not actually carrying much more stuff.

    Food (two Power bars, a PBJ, an apple and some dried fruit/nuts) is about 1 1/2 lbs. Reading material is about 1/2 lbs. Phone charger's a few ounces. So that's about 2 1/2 lbs, including the bag. A 4 1/2 lbs laptop would bring me up to seven pounds. My Lenovo S10 with a 9 cell battery weighs about 3 lbs and having put both used that and my old Dell 15" lappy (about 4.5 lbs) I was much happier with the S10. One handed transitions from one place to another without having to close the laptop is one maneuver that definitely favors the S10 and one I do a lot.

    As much as I'm bumping up all these Mac posts I'm going to start to sound like quite the fan boy. That said I still don't own one. And am having trouble making up my mind on which one to buy. The 13MBA and 13MBP vary by just enough to make the MBP's performance equally as tempting as the MBA's lightness. What a travesty of options.
  • omega12 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Did you just compare the power consumption of an unplugged laptop vs a plugged in laptop? The photo on the left says 0W DC Input and on the right we have 22.97W DC Input. What's up with that? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Cropped the wrong screenshot, the actual processor power consumption doesn't change when plugged in vs. not in OS X but I ran the test both ways just to be sure.

    Fixed :)

    Take care,
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Did you guys test the battery life for the air while running windows? Did I miss it on the charts?

    I need to replace my old laptop w/ something small so I can carry it all day at school. I don't need lots of power, but most of the software I need to use in lab don't run on OSX (AFAIK).

    Anyone know anything else for about $1K that is as thin and light and runs for 4+ hours??
  • JMS3072 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Try the ThinkPad X201. Reply
  • kavanoz - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    You can also check Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-3721. Just make sure to swap out the HDD with a SDD. I put a 40 GB Intel X25-V when I bought it and it just flies. Nowadays a 64 GB Sandforce based SSD makes more sense. You can find them for as low as $120. Reply
  • Demoure - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Compare it to a netbook and you will be delighted at how speedy and thin it is. Compare it to the ipad and well.. okay so the ipad is a bit silly no matter the comparison. Compare it to asus's UL series, and there you have a decent comparison. Thats one where it could really go either way, based on personal preference and which camp you side with. But when the new air launched, I wondered why a reasonable person would want it over an m11x. It is thinner, certainly.. but, is that really important? No laptop these days is really the thickness of a brick, to judge size, you would think people would be more concerned about length and width. Screen size. How thin the air is.. seems like it would never factor in to any situation. Places where an air can fit, a culv-type laptop would as well. If not for it being thin, I really can't think of a reason to get it over the m11x. Neither are really BAD buys, but the air just seems less impressive in comparison. With the money saved by getting the old r1 (you know, the one with more battery life, cheaper, just as useful, only lacking in its lack of optimus) you could get yourself a fancy ssd, to complete the package. Perhaps I am just baised after finding the m11x to be the perfect little laptop, but despite it being a hideous looking thing, I see no reason to get the air unless you just have to have an apple computer. However if the m11x did not exist, I would not blame anyone for getting an air. It is well rounded. Reply
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I love me m11x R2 :D looking at this thing... im happy that its still speedier, and i dont care who you are something as thin as the macbook would freak me the !@#$ out if i droped it... more so then the one i have right now. (mono frame = expensive fix) Reply
  • The0ne - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    "I really like the form factor of the 11-inch MacBook Air. It's great to carry around. It's like an iPad for people who have to get real work done. I just wish it was faster. If Intel made a 32nm Core 2 Duo, clocked high enough the 11 would be perfect. I guess that’s what Atom is eventually supposed to be, but right now the performance is just too low."

    Essentially this means the 11" MacBook is NOT suitable unless you want to wait and wait. You won't get any "real work done" by any means as it is. So why even bother to praise it and at the same time downgrade it.

    A netbook is both usable AND CHEAP. These are not and thus should not be called or even be consider netbooks. That's just crazy talk there. Might as well call all the rest of the ultra light notebooks netbooks.
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    It has an SSD, so no, you don't need to wait and wait. I agree with Anand's review - it is like a netbook in terms of portability, but its much faster, and has a much better screen. It's certainly more usable than the average netbook. Reply
  • KarateBob - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Good review so far, until you listed the system temperatures in Fahrenheit. I understand Apple lists the temps in (F), but the industry-standard units for temperature reading is Celcius. It's what most enthusiasts can understand. (ie. We 60C is getting hot for a pre-i7 CPU, but I couldn't tell you what 60C is in F)

    Can you please add Celcius numbers to the review, perhaps next to the Fahrenheit numbers, it will make the article much more comprehensible. Thanks
  • Sufo - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I was just about to make this point - good thing i read through the comments before hand heh.

    I was very very disappointed by the use of F here at all, let alone it being the only scale used. Technical hardware reviews, for me, fall into the realm of science (albeit loosely) and C is the de facto standard in the scientific world (well, at least while it isn't K). Many component monitoring applications do not even have the option to display temps in F, and if they do, it is rarely (if ever) the default selection.

    So +1 to the request for at least displaying both numbers in future, and perhaps you could consider dropping F completely as i'd argue it has no context within the world of computing hardware.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Temperatures in C as well as F are both present now :)

    Take care,
  • SraCet - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    To the reviewers and many commenters, it is tedious to listen to you divide the world into people who do "real work" and people who just fool around with IM and check Facebook.

    I do software development and scientific computing and for my purposes, the 11.6" MacBook Air is more than powerful enough.

    Reading your review, it sounds like the only things you consider "real work" are editing 12 megapixel photos, doing 3D renders, and (ironically) playing 3D video games.

    5 years ago, a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo would have almost been the fastest CPU money could buy. Are you saying that people only started doing "real work" with their computers sometime in the last 5 years?

    Sorry, let me go back to writing code and running simulations, and stop interrupting your "real work"--i.e., resizing your pretty pictures because you took them at 20 times the resolution you actually needed for web publishing.
  • Sufo - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    "5 years ago, a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo would have almost been the fastest CPU money could buy. Are you saying that people only started doing "real work" with their computers sometime in the last 5 years?"

    Well, only if you interpret his comments as suggesting that these tasks are _impossible_ to perform on the 11" MBA. Of course, that would be a gross misinterpretation - as i'm sure you can see. A more relevant extrapolation might be that 5 years ago, performing said tasks was a sluggish and intolerable chore - and on that we probably see eye to eye.

    As for the "real work" slur - i can understand your frustration, however you must realise that a large part (probably the largest part) of the non-casual MBA-buying demographic will be people who consider the "real work" of the article as well... "real work" - and you can't get angry at the reviewers for trying to include usage statistics tailored to the people most likely to be buying the device. If anything it is to their credit. Similarly, it is unrealistic to expect them to cover every single usage scenario.
  • SraCet - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I suspect a very small percentage of professionals do anything that would stress out a Core 2 Duo. Most people do word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, e-mail. Editing and compiling code (developers). Accessing other computers remotely (IT types). Web browsing for business, like arranging travel. etc. etc.

    According to the reviewers, and apparently you, all of this stuff can be lumped in with "casual" (your word) use and is not "real work" because it can be done without taxing a dual core 1.4GHz processor.
  • Sufo - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    Ah, you've somewhat misinterpreted me here - the term "non-casual" was merely meant to identify people who use their machine for work purposes. Perhaps i should have used "professional". My overall point (as misguided as it may be) was really only alluding to the generalisation that most people who buy macs are artsy, journalist types - for whom editing pictures and obscenely flash-heavy websites etc is their normal, "real" workload. And yes, i realise this thread is dead :) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Not at all. But workloads, even within a given field, have grown much more intense over the past 5 years. While my example was simply photo editing, compile times for large projects should also be much longer on the 11 compared to any of the Core i-series platforms today. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying you'll begin to impact productivity as a result.

    Obviously what you do for a living is real work - it'd just take longer on the 11-inch MBA vs. one of the MBPs.

    Take care,
  • lemonadesoda - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    I've added a different usage picture for comparison. My "real work" workflow is something like this:

    1/ Read emails
    2/ Read attachments, e.g. word, excel, PDF documents
    3/ Take phone calls on VoIP/skype
    4/ Log in to corporate webserver, check activity
    5/ Send emails
    6/ Write offers, workplans, status reports, invoices, in word. Convert to PDF
    7/ Review training material/videos incl. created by us on SD card
    8/ Fool around on the web during breaks
    9/ Check anandtech
    10/ Check emails
    11/ Prepare articles and presentations, use a beamer (VGA D-SUB)
    12/ Online banking

    My "real play" workflow is something like this
    1/ Read emails
    2/ Fool around on the internet
    3/ Play a few flash games with my kids
    4/ Download pictures from camera on SD card
    5/ Check, select, fix, upload to fileserver/website
    6/ Download a video from my camcorder
    7/ Upload to youtube
    8/ Read anandtech

    No, I do not expect to use my "netbook" for DirectX gaming. Not sure why everyone wants to do this. Havent they got a full-size desktop for this. A "netbook" has a different life-purpose and shouldnt be expected to replace a desktop.

    On an Atom netbook, my workflows struggle with the video material and skype video. Skype audio is OK.

    On the Apple 11" the workflows would be fine except we are missing the SD card slot. PITA for me. Not sure how we would connect to a beamer. I guess some kind of "converter dongle" would be needed to get from displayport to D-SUB VGA which is what 99% of beamers (and their room installations) require.
  • titeroper - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Anand and gang and fellow forumites - I know I may be shot down for asking this, but perhaps for xmas, can you write a quick article on how you think Apple will deal with Sandy Bridge upgrades early next year for MBP's?

    How does Nvidia fit in? Is there space for both a dedicated 400m series GPU + Intel HD and Sandy Bridge? Is it as easy as updating the current 2010 config with these parts?

    I hope someone can help answer here, as I am looking forward to this update come Q!/Q2 2011.
  • Pantsu - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I'll soon update my old white macbook of early 2008, but this isn't quite up to snuff. While the form factor is superb, everything else is not. Weak CPU, only 2GB memory, limited although fast storage, and of course the price. It's probably better to wait for Sandy Bridge or Zacate in early 2011. Those should really bring something new, and I hope Apple will update the MacBook Pro at that time, otherwise I'll have to go Windows again, which I don't care to do in a laptop environment. Reply
  • new-paradigm - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Just looking at the specs of the 11.6" MBA, and the fact that it's 11.6" ... can apple honestly claim not to be in the netbook game anymore?

    Seriously, any laptop under 12" in screen size is a netbook, and bizzarely apple's reasoning behind omitting the dvd drive and other sundry pieces of usual hardware/connectivity (i.e. expected use and target audience) is almost exactly the same as those used when explaining their omission on netbboks.
  • SraCet - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    The term "netbook" was coined to describe the small cheap laptops that were coming out a couple years ago with 7" screens, miniature keyboards, and barely enough storage space to run Linux. NETbook because they were only powerful enough to do basic web surfing--get it?

    Now everybody is calling every small laptop a "netbook," I guess because the word sounds cool, and everybody has their own made-up criteria for what is and isn't a netbook.

    If you want to arbitrarily declare that anything with a < 12" screen is a netbook then fine. But surely you realize this isn't what Steve Jobs was referring to when he expressed his displeasure with "netbooks."
  • lemonadesoda - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    The word "netbook" is a living and evolving term. I don't think it was coined to have a fixed meaning of "cheap and 7 inch" and nothing else! Many years ago a laptop was something that was 11-13". Now we have laptops with 15" and 17" screens. Nobody is shouting "you cant call it a laptop, it doesnt sit on your lap anymore". The term laptop has evolved. Just as has the term desktop. Does desktop have to mean a very expensive Intel 386 with ISA, PCI, floppy and VDU? No, of course not.

    I think it is better to let the term netbook be defined as a "underspecced compared to a workstation" and "portable enough to put in your briefcase" and "powerful enough to run "net" applications" then I think we can allow the Apple 11" to be called a netbook. It is helping to redefine the term netbook perhaps, just like a mercedes or bmw has redefined our expectations of what a car is, or can be.
  • webdev50 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Unfortunately, reviews like these don't consider how these machines will hold up after you start using them on a daily basis. Apple's equipment is developing a notorious reputation for having quality control issues. Search TS2377 on Google. Apple is using commodity hardware just like other manufacturers do, so Apple's equipment is prone to failure like everyone else's, regardless of price.

    My 2008 MacBook Pro 17" was repaired twice for the same Nvidia issue within a couple of months this year, so I switched to a Windows 7 machine instead because I need a reliable computer. I still have my MacBook Pro, but I'm running a stress test on it 12 hours a day trying to break it so I can get it replaced from Apple. When I get the replacement, I'm not even going to open the box; just sell it on craigslist.

    Sure, OS X is pretty, but what good is it if the hardware is unreliable? And I can't legally use OS X on anything but Apple hardware. (Besides, after using Mac OS X software for 7 years, I've actually found it to be quite limiting and not as robust and mature as Windows software.) I'm not going to buy more than one Mac just so I can have a spare to use while Apple spends weeks repairing my computer.

    Dealing with the "Geniuses" at the Apple Store can be very unpleasant too. When I called Apple Tech Support to verify what I was told at the Apple Store, they suggested I go to another Apple Store.

    What am I supposed to use when my Mac breaks down and is getting repaired? It's cheaper to buy two Windows machines if one of them needs to be repaired than to buy one Mac.

    My perspective now is not to buy anything from Apple that can't be immediately swapped if it's faulty. An iPhone or iPod can be quickly swapped out. Macs need to go through Apple's three-ring circus to get repaired. And who knows what the gorillas in the back room are going to do with it (and the spinning hard drive)? After I got my machine back from them, I needed to clean the lens on the DVD drive so I could burn a backup DVD. I don't want to know what they stuck in my DVD drive.
  • iwodo - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Isn't that a known issues that happen on ANY nvidia Gfx Laptop? Reply
  • AMDJunkie - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    iwodo is right. HP, Dell, anyone who used the mobile (and desktop) Nvidia 8600 chip was affected. Research "bumpgate."

    I think Apple's pretty damn generous to have a program in place to replace your logic board, even out of warranty, seeing as just last month Nvidia finally settled and made a page for owners of PCs with the afflicted chips to get refunds or repairs. If you had an HP, I had heard (hearsay, now), that if you were out of warranty, tough, and this was the only (and only recently available) recourse.

    I know for a fact that Apple's not as generous to give you a whole new model though, as long as it's for the graphics issue. Your best bet is to go here:
  • Exelius - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I don't know any company that will do this -- HP and Dell require you to mail your machine in as well (unless you pay the extra $500 for the "Gold" replacement plans; an option only available on their most expensive "business" machines.) Often you have to remove the HD before you send it off or else yours might get "lost" (along with all the data on it.)

    Not that it's a great situation to be in; but this is an issue with many more companies than Apple. You'd still be out a machine.

    I own an MBP because it was the only machine available with both discrete graphics and better than 3 hours of battery life. The screen is also dynamite. Were there other machines that were cheaper? Sure. But Apple is the only company that makes a machine comparable to the MBP at any price.
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    M11x has a descreet, and intergrated, and better then 4+ battery life, in home repair (they send out technicions)

    ill give ya the screen though. mac books do have nice displays.
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    FYI if you have a Fry's electronics near you, when you get a notebook from them they will give you a loaner laptop till they finish fixing your system. If your paranoid about hardware failing in your system its something to consider.

    On another note the way that the macbooks are built makes it so that when you drop them you can do serious damage to the internals. Ive seen several MBPs that needed an external disk drive becaus the aluminum mill next to the dvd tray was made to thing and warped to the point where it would scratch any disk going in, or would not be able to load a disk at all.
  • Roland00Address - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    You only get a loaner if you bough Fry's Protection Plan that they offer not if you get it repaired under a manufacturer warranty (which Fry's will gladly service since they are an authorized repair center for many brands.)

    I second the aluminum mill being able to be warped it happened with my 08 macbook pro. That said many samsung dvd external drives are so cheap (and work with OS-X). I am seriously considering buying another ssd and a mounting mechanism in my macbook pro and then booting from the ssd.
  • ajuez - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    According to Anand:
    "The SSD isn’t in an industry standard form factor, although the connector appears to be either micro or mini SATA. Presumably 3rd party SSD manufacturers (ahem, SandForce partners I’m looking at you) could produce drop in replacements for the MacBook Air SSD."

    And... bingo!
    "The Air USB 3 Adapter gives you not only a brand-spanking-new 256GB module with a Sandforce SF-1200 controller, but a speedy USB 3.0 flash drive too -- which smartly doubles as the mechanism by which you move your old files over, as you can just transfer everything through the USB port. Once you're done swapping modules, the company says you'll see a 30 percent speed boost over the original drive, with reported transfer rates of 250MB/s on both sequential reads and writes. "
  • lemonadesoda - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the link. Interesting.

    And matte screens are also available:

    All that is missing is an SD card slot
  • Exodite - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    It's a couple of very interesting machines, to say the least, but seem to suffer from much the same issues as previous generations.

    That said i'd be a pretty much perfect machine for me if it had;

    The traditional backlit keyboard.
    AMD's upcoming thin-and-light Fusion chips or an Intel Sandy Bridge ULV.
    USB 3.0 and HDMI ports.
    Matte screen options.

    Maybe the next version, eh?
  • SlyNine - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    "In practice I found the 2008 13-inch MBA launched applications quicker (short bursts of full clock speed), but after prolonged use or completing CPU intensive tasks it was tough to tell apart from the new 11-inch. What's even more troublesome is that Apple's aggressive clock throttling went relatively undetected until now. This is something I'm going to have to devise tests for and pay more attention to in future reviews. Sneaky, Steve, sneaky."

    And this isn't the first time, Your Dell XPS 16's throttled like crazzy, and still do.
  • ipredroid - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Anand, can 13in MBA run 30FPS on StarCraft 2? I realize this isn't a support forum... sorry for the lazy question. Thanks for the review. I saw the 11in MBA FPS) no 13in MBA :( FPS Reply
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    it is possible to do SC2. the memory bump would do you well if your considering running starcraft on the Air (RAM is shared with gpu and cpu) since you loose 256 megs of your 2 gigs to the video card and SC2 has a min spec of 2 gigs with a recommended of 4.

    it has performed respecabaly on the old air on low settings, so you should be able to bump up a couple of settings possibly getting up to medium with this new revision.

    but if your looking for 30FPS through i would go for low. with lots of units on the map in some games your system might lock up at the wrong time.
  • VanHoward - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Instead of "jives with" should be "jibes with" ... Reply
  • Exelius - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I'm a huge Apple fan - but I'm just not drinking the kool-aid on this one.

    I have a 15" MBP and it's really not that bad to carry around. It also gets like 5-8 hours of battery life (3-4 with VMWare running) and it runs Windows 7 under VMware very well with 8 GB of RAM. I've never considered portability an issue and while it's an expensive machine, I don't think you'd own an MBA. I doubt the MBA would have nearly that type of battery life under VMWare.

    The iPad seems like a better form factor for the "couch computer" (i.e. looking up shit on IMDB or googling something to settle an argument while watching football.)

    IMO the MBA seems like a poor man's MBP. i.e. for students looking for a cheaper computer; the "super-thin" part seems almost like a gimmick to convince people it's a premium product. Really, the only drawback of the 15" MBP (even the lowest-specced one) is the price.
  • joe_dude - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    The thing's hardly faster than my Ion netbook. There will be lots of thin designs coming out like what Intel showed at Computex. Core 2's two generations behind.

    For now, I think the Acer TimeLineX 3820TG is still the best ultraportable laptop (certainly the fastest anyway).
  • zsero - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    As for an alternative for sub 5 lbs powerful laptops and as for the M11x being fast: I am typing this line on a Acer TimelineX 3820TG with 450M and switchable HD5650, which is on a totally different level than either the MBA or the Dell (while being half the price).
    - 3.9 lbs
    - it can do 9000-10000 points in 3dmark06 easily with a little bit of raised clocks (one click in AMD GPU tool). In games it's even faster, as the ATI cards are much better in real games than in benchmarks.
    - if you are lucky, you can overclock CPU to 3.3 Ghz (or swap to a 580M and OC-it to 3.8 Ghz, with sub-75C temperatures!)
    - and easily do 6-8 hours while web surfing
    - has dual fan / dual heatpipe cooling

    Other than that, it has the most horrible keyboard I have ever seen, with a cheap AUO screen, noisy mic and poor warranty service and a gazillion of running applications, including two real-time virus scanners on the factory install. But a review would be really interesting to see! I seriously think the 3820TG with HD5650 is without alternative in the powerful but portable notebooks, if possible, please make a review about it! (in North America, I think it's only available with 370M processor, while in Asia they sell it with anything up to 640M).
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Intresting system, but i wouldent use it. the keyboard looks to have flex under light loads, making me think that although it looks great on the outside the inside might of had to make some structual sacrifices for the bigger specs, not to mention that the lack of a backlit keyboard would make it more inconveniant compared to what i have now.

    But it does like they are trying to improve there build quality, its just not to the point that i would like.

    As nice as the specs are, i just cant bring myself to trust there build quality just yet, however it does look like there at least trying to improve so who knows perhaps there will be an acer on my list of potentials the next time im do for a notebook upgrade.

    as for comparison to the air... i think there oppisets in some respects. the air's performance although weak at best can still fit in nearly any bag making it conveniant to find a place to stow it for those who have bags full of books and junk, where as the acer trys to push for a more heavy multimedia experiance with a good compact form facter and a extended battery.
  • lemonadesoda - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    1/ SD card reader
    2/ mic on front for skype/VoIP

    The 11" netbook would be a absolute winner (and an order of magnitude upgrade for people using Atom netbooks) . But why did they miss the SD card reader? This is so obvious, and a determining feature what makes one brand/model of netbook a winner over another brand/model. Such a simple and cheap port. Even the iPad has an SD card reader!

    And what on earth are they doing putting the mic on the side like that? While it *might* be OK when sitting indoors at a tidy desk without other ambient noise, it certainly is not clever in most "real world" situations.

    I would love to replace my ever-so-slightly too noisy and underpowered (but magnificent screen and full of ports) SONY W11 netbook. But no, not until Apple fix the mic location and provide an SD slot.

    (I use SD slot for camera - saving local or uploading to fileserver/website, for camcorder - and immediate playback of material recorded, for old-fashioned mailing of data/documents, for a TASCAM HQ digital audio recorder, and for file transfer with colleagues and for file backup when out of the office, I need highest possible robust mic for indoor and outdoor skype/VoIP where my office telephone is forwarded to my laptop through SIP )

    These two points may seem like tiny features, but I think for many people they are showstoppers.
  • johnspierce - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure why everyone thinks an SD card slot is a "must have". For one thing, there are still quite a few cameras that *don't* use SD cards (like virtually any high-end DSLR) and putting a technology in your laptop that might not even be viable in 3-5 years is not exactly a good idea. Buy a 9-in-1 card reader. They are like $20. They are about the size of a deck of cards and can handle almost any type of flash.

    I would MUCH rather have a 3.0 USB than a SD card slot -- infinitely more useful.
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    SD slots are useful for permanent storage. I have an 80GB SSD in my Dell Inspiron 9400 laptop, but needed a little more storage. So I just keep a 32 GB card in the SD slot, and it gave me enough room for everything I need. I use it mainly for documents, presentations, and backups of important work from teh SSD. It only sticks out about 2 mm, so I can keep it on all the time. I've even run VMware images from it, and it wasn't too bad.

    I agree that a USB 3.0 slot is useful as well, but wouldn't want to lose the SD slot - its like having a second, easily removable, hard drive.

  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I see it as a replacemenct for the optical drive, since its also used in cameras, video recorders, and ebook readers (i have an SLR that uses these and a ebook) it makes them alot more conveniant since most notebooks come with the slot already. it puts the macbook at a disadvantage becaus now people have to carry around a card reader that would not be neaded on other notebooks.

    It would be such an inconveniance if i had to drag around a reader with me, and since alot of apple users do photo and video editing it looks like a bad oversight not being able to transfer images and videos without extra required hardware.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    So I am posting late here. I read this last night, but was too tired to respond.

    So now a lot has already been said. But here is one thing that keeps boggling me.

    WHY do people keep calling this a Netbook when it clearly *IS NOT*. The 11.6" MBA is an ultraportable. In line with other ultraportables out there. Its not a cheap piece of plastic with a laughable screen, keyboard, graphics, or atom processor. The benchmarks clearly show this machine to run circles around an atom.

    And if you compare it to similar machines of weight, size, and speed its not far off the mark from a price concern either.

    Is it a perfect machine, no... But it looks like it will fill the gap that has been missing from the Apple product line since the demise of the 12" PowerBook.
  • iwodo - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Well i write a 100 word pieces but in the end i deleted it.

    Netbook is not an defined term anyway, so i wont bother arguging. Every one has different view on that is an notebook ultraportable and what is an netbook.
  • mcnabney - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    "For me, I’d have to own the 11-inch, plus a 15-inch MacBook Pro plus my desktop."

    Ah yes, the $5000 total computing solution.
  • iwodo - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I am amazed that on one brought the question up. How could a MUCH faster MBP with faster CPU, and a FASTER SSD. ( Two important factor ) boot up slower then MBA?

    It even start application quicker then MBP when the SSD inside MBA is like 50 - 70% slower then Sandforce and Intel SSD.

    When i read a pieces on techcrunch mentioning that MBA feels just as fast if not faster then MBP when browsing and doing most light weight working, i thought it was an biased review. When Macworld released a test result showing MBA is just as fast as MBP in day to day usage. I thought the the test was not thoughtful enough.

    Now Anand has REAL numbers, and number of other reviewing showing the same results. It could not be false. A MUCH SLOWER SSD and a MUCH SLOWER CPU Wins!!!! How could this be possible?

    Firmware Optimization? What exactly did they optimized? Why didn't this optimization show up in any of the IOMeter test or other Speed test? The Sandforce and Intel SSD Wins in EVERY SINGLE BENCHMARK test done.

    I really hope Anand find this out.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    I was wondering this too. Any insights? Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Yeah can we get an answer on this?? Reply
  • iwodo - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    No one is putting out the questions? It seems people are more interested in what is bargain priced, what is better value of hardware, and what is an netbook more then the technical aspect of an SSD. Reply
  • blufire - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Keep in mind that the chipset is different. MBA is using the NVIDIA GeForce 320M while the 15" MBP is using the associated Intel chipset. Reply
  • iwodo - Saturday, October 30, 2010 - link

    Then it would have effected the outcome of benchmarks. The point is, it didn't. And a MBA SSD still perform the best Reply
  • pieterjan - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Why is there an SD card reader? There are a lot of camera's that won't work with SD cards. Replace it with 2 extra USB ports! For those who actually need a card reader: how much does a 9000-in-1 USB reader cost? $15? Or better yet: make it an Apple accessorie at $ 50... Reply
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    <blockquote>For me, I’d have to own the 11-inch, plus a 15-inch MacBook Pro plus my desktop. That’s three machines, plus a smartphone and I’d be set. I’d carry the 11-inch on most business trips, the 15-inch for big shows that I’d have to cover and any heavier work I’d do at home on the desktop. I don’t mind the setup, it’s just a costly setup to have.</blockquote>

    How do you keep all your data in sync across those machines?
  • nvidia2008 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Great article, just one niggle, Instant On does not refer to Boot, nor Wake From Sleep.

    From the Apple website:

    "And when you put MacBook Air to sleep for more than an hour, it enters what’s called standby mode. So you can come back to MacBook Air a day, a week - even up to an entire month later - and it wakes in an instant."

    Instant On refers to a Standby Mode (basically hibernate) that is not Boot nor Wake From Sleep.
  • AMDJunkie - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    This is a good point; Macs with hard drives have "deep sleep" standby, which is the typical, "Hey, your battery is about to die so we're taking the system state from RAM to the hard drive" hibernation. This is an SSD, though, so I presume it writes it to the SSD after an hour, instead of after your battery dips under 5%, to help you save battery. Reply
  • nvidia2008 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Yeah, I think Deep Sleep is the most closely related thing to Instant On, not Boot or Wake From Sleep. Cheers Reply
  • hechacker1 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    OS-X, when put to sleep by closing the lid, will write out the necessary parts of memory to the hard drive.

    Then if your battery dies, the hibernate state resumes when you plug it back in.

    If you have a ton of applications open and are using a lot of ram before closing the lid, it does take noticeably longer to actually begin sleep and turn off the HD, as indicated by the light on the macbook.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Yeah, Instant On is really just fast-wake-from-hibernate. Reply
  • Tuntavern - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Now there ARE two. Reply
  • ginny - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    You had said that your macbook air was using about 1.4 gb of memory when diting a handful of imgs in Photoshop. Do you think then that it isnt the best machine to get if I anticipate in using Adobe CS frequently? Do you think i should opt for a MBP instead? Or will upgrading the CPU and Memory suffice?

  • zhill - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Good review. I was waiting for you guys to review the new airs, good data. FYI, your images comparing the 13" MBA's size appear to be labeled incorrectly. I think the image ( is comparing the MBA 13" to the MBP 15" rather than the MBP 13".

    I'm also surprised that the screens had such a limited color gamut, I expected something in the 70% range rather than 40% but I suppose they trade that for energy efficiency(?).

    I would be very curious to see your benchmarks include a new air with the 2.13GHz C2D and 4GB RAM to compare that to the the 1.86Ghz. I seem to recall that the last generation 2.13Ghz Air had even more thermal throttling issues than the lower spec chip so I wonder if it has been addressed in that configuration as well.

    Any ideas on how they achieved such a fast wake time compared with the MBP 15" w/SSD? Typically, a sleep/wake operation is not very dependent upon the disk as the memory is kept powered so the system state should easily be restored without much disk access. Interesting stuff.
  • dsee15 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Great Review, thank you!

    How much faster do you think the 13 MBA with 2.1Ghz proc, 4GB Mem, 256GB SSD would be over the stock model you tested? Do you think the faster proc will generate too much heat and initiate the governor?

    How would this 'tricked out' system run VMware/windows/office?

    Lastly, it appears the tricked out version could out perform both the 13 MB aluminum with hard drive and 13 MBP with hard dive, except for the most cpu intensive apps, agree...??? Could it replace a 15 MBP with hard drive?
  • doubledown21 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Will there be any updates to the benchmarks if/when the 2.13GHz MBA is tested? Reply
  • dsee15 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Great thanks. Until then as a technical site, does anyone have a sense what the faster proc and additional 2GB mem do to performance? For example, it should run 20% faster for cpu intense apps, etc. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Well if you're spending money on any of these crapple concraptions then you are either not being productive or simply getting paid too much. Like those retired public employees who get paid 6 figure pensions for doing nothing. I dont know when that crap will stop, but I imagine it will be at around the same time apple flirts with bankruptcy. Reply
  • michael2k - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    They have more cash than Microsoft. So after Microsoft flirts with bankruptcy? Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    They do have a lot of cash. But I can easily see them burning up half of it buying back their own stock once it starts tanking. And the other half could be burned up by just one or two flops. And that can easily happen once most apple lovers realize we are in fact in a depression and there is just no place for a company like apple in a depression. Reply
  • ShepherdH - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    they just gave you more RAM and a larger hard drive at them. Same with most other Apple products. Reply
  • iwodo - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    When Apple gets SandyBridge, i suspect 32nm, SandyBridge 1.8Ghz could do so within the same 1.4Ghz C2D Power envelop. But will be much more powerful. The only trouble is Apple wants CPU to be CPU, not a CPU with GPU built in. Reply
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    im not sure about that. they might just be looking for a sweet spot with CPU and GPU performance. in which case AMD's APU chips should be an intresting prospect since it gives you modern architecture on both sides in one chip.

    where intel took two dies and just slaped them together,AMD made it so the CPU and GPU can actualy talk to each other, also if AMD is to be beleaved this core would be retasked in the presance of another AMD card so the video chip on the CPU dosent become dead weight like the intel solution which just shuts down entirely in the presence of another card. (at least thats what i read)

    personaly i think apple should get back into building there own hardware just like the g4 days. but that would require building there own OS, and seeing as mac hasent built an OS from the ground up for a long time (last time being os9? check out something called OpenStep) it might not be in there best intrest with win 7 getting so much traction and the failings of there previous Operating Systems it might not be good for the company to build something there not good at creating.
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    actually i dont think thats the case. there looking for a balanced system, and to this day intel has not released anything that can run a modern title (that i know of) if intel had a half way descent architecture on there vid cards i could see apple using it.

    however as things stand intel does not have a descent processer, and thats the reason why they have to use an nvidia video card. being that these notebooks use intergrated memory i can see that apple is looking for a specific perfomance point for there systems.

    with that in mind i dont see why they wouldent consider AMD's soon to releas offerings. these chips has better gpu/cpu intergration then intel's options and sports the latest DX11 video architecture AMD has. I dont think theres anything in intel's arsinal that would be able to but heads with these chips from a graphic stand point, the only rogue facter in this is the new CPU architecture, since it has to yet be released.

    Speaking of which... when can we expect to see reviews of the amd APU offerings from Anand? i would love to see how well it ticks, and a review to better define what makes it so differant from the intel chips that are comming out... perhaps an architetual comparison sometime in the future???
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    wow... i didnt know my first post went through for this response.. sorry about that. my connection hickuped. Love the sight keep up the good work :D Reply
  • blufire - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    You stated that the software restore drive is not write-protected, but Apple states that it is read-only. Who's right?
    Thanks for the review!
  • p05esto - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Seriously, Apple represents everything evil and stupid in this world. It represents self-indulgent morons who think Steve Jobs is a god and know little about computers. When Apple products are priced right, non-restrictive, don't use horrible software like iTunes and support open standards THEN start reviewing them. But until then I have little use for seeing articles on their products - no interest whatsoever! Reply
  • deslock - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    You have no interest whatsoever for articles like is, yet you were interested enough to post?

    If you're a Linux user and have no interest in either Windows or Apple news for the reasons you mentioned, then my hat's off to you. If not, then you're view is skewed.

    There's not much question that Steve Jobs is a giant douche-bag. But for the most part Apple is simply annoying and smarmy, treats computers more like appliances, and doesn't sell any low-end hardware. More recently they've taken an authoritarian approach over software distribution, which is worth criticizing, but let's be honest: most Apple haters made up their minds long before the app store.

    Putting it another way, Maybe that Apple has pissed me off only a couple times (like when they didn't approve Google Voice) is because Microsoft set the bar so low when it comes to unethical tactics and abuses. After Microsoft issued directives about creating DR-DOS incompatibilities, threatened partners over Netscape, plotted to steal Java and break APCI for OSes other than Windows, funded SCO lawsuits, and implemented numerous EEE and FUD campaigns, I don't have high expectations for tech companies' business practices.

    My point with this isn't to bash Microsoft, but to illustrate why I scratch my head when people call Apple evil, insult their users, and spread misleading facts about them while giving Microsoft a pass (though as I mentioned before, perhaps p05esto is a Linux user).
  • deslock - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    No edit function? Not sure how "you're view" (instead of "your view") made it in there. Reply
  • doubledown21 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Or he's a microsoft user anyway.

    You can still be a user of a product that you find worth criticizing. I use all of the above...err, below:


    And can find things to complain about with ALL of them, from usability to corporate practices. Doesn't mean I don't still have a use for their products.
  • deslock - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    True enough, but almost all companies can be described with "Seriously, X represents everything evil and stupid in this world."

    So when someone bashes Apple with that, I wonder if they're aware of all the nonsense that Microsoft has pulled.
  • ultrageek1111 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Apple has always been a leader in forward engineering and the new MBA is no exception. Jobs' commendable transparency with Apple's vision for its customers is apparent with the prediction of this being the "future of the MacBook". This subtly eerie feeling of a Nostradamus'esque prediction likely not only means that the physical design and hardware specs will be around for a while but, on a deeper level, be the company's marketsh-air social experiment to determine what concepts will be used across the future MacBook lineup.

    For starters, we have the first 16:9 notebook by Apple. Depending on its success we may finally see the MBP have this aspect ratio in the future. Also, Apple's decision to streamline hardware in a more proprietary fashion than ever before in order to achieve maximum design efficiency may carry over into the MB and MBP line if sales prove that consumers are willing to accept this trade off.

    Lastly, we may truly begin to see the death of optical media. Many consumers who have been holding their breath for Blu-Ray drives in the MacBook will begin to see that it wasn't a rebel's self asphyxiation that stopped the tanks in Tiananmen Square but a self sacrificing physical obstacle. Unless society physically stops supporting streaming content (which it won't) it shouldn't complain about Apple's cost-saving decision to exclude Blu-Ray drives and its high licensing cost HDMI counterpart. Shortly after HD-DVD's defeat, Jobs was asked if Mac's would get Blu-Ray drives and he replied simply by stating that Apple is waiting to see how the Blu-Ray market will play out. At that time, who could have known the future impact media streaming was about to have except perhaps the Nostradamus of computers himself...Steve Jobs (1984 anyone?). Die hard Apple fans also know that the company, besides making green, is all about being green and their decision to evolve into a file streaming with flash storage system supports Apple's design disposition.

    As the price per gigabyte on SSD storage drops and ULV processors get more efficient this design will stay relevant until cloud computing matures and becomes the next future standard. I personally hope that the MBP continues to always be more user serviceable and upgradable than the MBA but that might not be saying much as iFixit has already rated the new MBA's repairability a 4 out of 10.

    Apple has nearly perfected a design that finally delivers a more affordable alternative to the MBP and original MBA. However, it wouldn't be an Apple product if there wasn't room for improvement...

    1.) More SSD storage space at same cost (will come)
    2.) Faster processor at same cost (will come)
    3.) Better battery life (will come)
    4.) USB 3.0 (should come)

    5.) Integrated mobile broadband support (Apple says they used advanced technology from the iPad in this MBA refresh but this, unfortunately, was one important portability feature left out)
    6.) Strengthen the hinge (as AnandTech points outs it's the only durability weakness)
    7.) Bring back the backlit keyboard (Brian Tong better throw a "bad apple" at Apple for that one)

    In a PC world of stagnant designs this marvel deserves recognition and celebration! The iPhone and iPad may have been Apple's most revolutionary and contrasting products compared to traditional computers but this MBA is arguably the first evolutionary product that will bridge many Mac "Universe" concepts, both software and hardware, together. Only the future will tell.
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Maybe you've had different experiences, but my MBP13 is a champ. I also own a Thinkpad and I would say they are both right there next to one another on the build quality front. Reply
  • quiksilvr - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    See, this is the problem. Do you really think things like the trackpad, the LCD and battery are SUPERIOR to others? Not at all. They are made by other manufacturers that most all PC makers have.

    The only unique and possible price increase is in the aluminum housing. Even then, they claimed that because its unibody it saves them on aluminum costs and is more economical.

    Its the veil they have over the consumer. They make them think that this is as good as it gets and you have to pay literally hundreds of dollars more for no reason.

    The sooner consumers realize that $1000 for a 13" laptop is a frigging rip-off the better.
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    That trackpad will never see another laptop, it's an Apple-only feature. Every other trackpad is tiny and has enormous buttons.

    And the battery is absolutely superior to other manufacturers. When I get my MBP13'09, there was no other laptop in its price range that had a full voltage processor and 7 hours of battery life.

    I agree that there are other laptops that have satisfactory screens, but they are few. I am struggling to think of a laptop manufacturer whose entire lineup feature good LCDs. They might have one overpriced standout, but that's it. Apple puts a decent screen in every one of its laptops.
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, November 02, 2010 - link

    Kids, kids, you need to look beyond whatever cheap plastic POS your daddy bought you at Best Buy for $500. look at a equivalent business level PC laptop like the HP W series. Compare prices. usually Apple wins and you don't have to put up with Windows or crappy service.

    You really need to get out more.
  • deslock - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Thanks Anand & Vivek for the detailed and interesting review. I hope you post a followup with more info on how Apple was able to get this level of performance out of the hardware (vs other similar SSD-equipped machines). Also I'd like to see a long term test of performance (because of the lack of TRIM), or perhaps additional testing showing just how effective the new MBAs are with GC. Reply
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Thanks for a great, detailed review that doesn't gloss over any point. I've read as many reviews as I can find and many gloss over or just take things as a given - not much more useful than the Apple web site. Your review was detailed in all the right areas. I know where I will be disappointed and where I will be happy. No surprises thanks to your review.

    I think for a business user (web + mail + Word processing + presentations + lightweight spreadsheet) the Air's may be pretty good - finally great battery life (with wifi active) so I can go out to a customer and work off battery all day without carrying an extra battery or carrying the AC adapter.

    Pity about the price - once you tick the options the price becomes ridiculous when you compare to mainstream laptops. I will have to stick to a base model + 4GB ram, and wait to upgrade the SSD later (someone is sure to come up with an upgrade).

    And graphics - for ultraportables its good, but the higher end pro's etc really need a lot more grunt - we should be able to play games at High at native resolution.
  • pmeinl - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    Just stumbled across an SSD 256GB upgrade kit for the 11.6":

    It includes an USB adapter for using the orginal SSD as portable storage.
  • mutatio - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    Anyone else hear this thing screaming for Fusion in it? If AMD can finally get their power specs in line to be competitive with intel the 11" would be one smoking little monster if Apple bites at it. :-) Reply
  • 63jax - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    don't hurry to change your mac's, just wait for AMD to release their Fuzion chips and then we will have the perfect Mac's. i know i will... Reply
  • Norrah - Saturday, October 30, 2010 - link

    I would really like to see how an older Macbook Air (rev c) with an aftermarket SSD would hold up against the new.. performance wise!

    I need the last kick, if i am to go for the new.
  • jorjitop - Saturday, October 30, 2010 - link

    I think that there is another factor you missed which makes a difference to the relative performances. That is, the 11 inch has a 800 Mhz front bus, while the 13 inch has a 1066 Mhz front bus. In my experience, this makes a noticeable difference to performance. Reply
  • Brooklynzoned - Saturday, October 30, 2010 - link

    Both models are 2010, Both machines are running Window's 7. Both Machines Score a 5.3 out of 7

    Apple Macbook Pro with a 2.4 8G Ram with a Seagate XT Hybrid....Scored 5.3
    Apple Macbook Air with a 2.13 4G Ram with the 256 SSD Flash......Scored 5.3
    Dell Adamo Onyx With a 1.4 4G Ram with a 128SSD .....................Scored 3.2

    Funny thing is the Macbook Pro has a video card with 256 dedicated memory
    the macbook air has shared video memory.... and scored higher in the 3D
  • Brooklynzoned - Saturday, October 30, 2010 - link

    Battery Life Amazing,
    Speed,, Oh Yeah this baby moves.... N quick.. Faster then my Macbook Pro
    its crazy how fast it starts up... not from sleep but from a full shutdown and startup. Fast...

    The Macbook Air is The future of what a Notebook Should be.
  • ioannis - Sunday, October 31, 2010 - link


    on page "The 13", the captions at the top seem to suggest that you are comparing the 13" MBA with 15" MBP, while the text suggests otherwise (13" MBA vs 13" MBP, which makes more sense).

  • Z25MN6 - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

    Great review. But I have yet to see a review of the new MBA's that *thoroughly* describes the SDHC port. Specifically, can it, in practice, be routinely used as an auxiliary hard drive? Does the SDHC card fit all the way into the body of the computer (like in a Dell Mini 9), or does a portion of it remain sticking out when inserted (like a Dell Mini 10v), leaving it vulnerable? Spare SDHC cards are trivial to carry, and terrific for expanding a small hard drive. For example, movies or music kept on an SDHC card leave a lot of room for programs on a 64gb internal boot drive. Especially with Snow Leopard cutting down on the amount of hard drive space the OS needs relative to programs, there is a lot of creative use (e.g., Photoshop scratch drive) to which a "permanent" SDHC card can put. Reply
  • jintoku - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

    I couldn't find a way to contact the authors but am wondering if I can reach them this way. There seem to be multiple displays for the new Macbook Air's. In particular for the 13" one there are at least two, with the above two numbers being revealed by going to System Preferences, Display - Color -> opening the default profile, scrolling down to the bottom and looking at the model info. Reply
  • DarkUltra - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

    I wish there were more focus on where and under what circumstances the electrical devices I buy where manufactured. And what impact on the environment is has. And if it uses coltan from african miners that work under very very poor conditions, and support bad militias. There should be a chain of documentation with each product that any online reviewer goes through to see if there are any bad or uncertain/questionable conditions.

    Please Anand, try to look into it in some of your reviews and write a few words about it. Change the world slowly to a better place :)
  • jintoku - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

  • jedimed - Tuesday, November 02, 2010 - link

    In response to a question about, the SD card DOES stick out. It seems to work fairly well, though I haven't speed tested it as yet. Reply
  • billy_kane - Tuesday, November 02, 2010 - link

    iPad was pecfect & MBA11 need a bobcat core apu Reply
  • BreakingStrata - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    "If all you do is write, browse the web, write emails and talk on IM - the 11 gets the job done. Ask more of it for long periods of time and I think you’ll be disappointed."

    Wow. You've just described a $1000 netbook. Granted its nicer looking but also 3x as much. What a joke.
  • jintoku - Thursday, November 04, 2010 - link

    Please provide this information if you have it. I have a question about the review. Thanks. Reply
  • ChunkAhoy - Friday, November 05, 2010 - link

    I find that its lacking gaming benchmarks on Mac OS X.
    i.e. Left 4 Dead, StarCraft 2, Half-Life.
    I'd love to see the difference between the 11.6 and the 13.3 in games.

    Beside this little detail, this review is great. Thank you :)
  • jintoku - Friday, November 05, 2010 - link

    I'm wondering which display model their Airs had, as multiple ones with apparently discrepant quality are used in each the 11 and 13 inch models... Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, November 06, 2010 - link

    I'm wondering if the larger SSD options would be faster due to more chips/parallelism? And if you could throw the SSD results from the Adamo into the test results? Reply
  • philipdygeus - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I am looking for a new laptop and the choice is between the forthcoming 13" MBP and the new 13" MBA.

    The "heaviest" work I do is Photoshop CS5. I also "multitask" in the sense that I have Word, Chrome and Bridge open simultaneously, though I would only use one at the time.

    What battery life can I expect from the 13" MBA when using CS5?

    Thanks for any real-world insight!
    info [at]
  • bailwill - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Hi when you reviewed the 2008 Air you helpfully stated that trying to watch 2 dvd's back to back failed after about 3 3/4 hours. Sadly I could not find this test for the 2010 air - and as I fly a lot it would be useful to know how long the battery will last in DVD watching mode.
  • redslap - Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - link

    I have to say that I have never been as satisfied with a computer purchase as when I bought my Acer Timeline with SSD back in August 2009. Granted, I bought it on a trip to the states so I really got a sweet deal for 800 dollars instead of euros. However, the netbook has performed well over expectation. I have been using it everyday. The Macbook Pro 2008 Im currently writing on had a hard drive failure in early June and I only got around fixing it yesterday (with SSD ;-), mainly because I was doing fine with my timeline. It has no where near the processing power but I used it a ton for surfing the web, taking notes in class and the SSD must have really made a difference because it felt as snappy as my macbook pro in these instances. Furthermore I had no problem using Traktor and Virtual DJ as well as sound recording and editing with Adobe Audition. Coupled with a good screen, half the weigh of my macbook, the ability to fire up a strategy game like civ 4 or medieval 2 in class or on the road has been awesome and with a battery life of 7 hours; it will surely be missed now that the screen broke during my holiday travel. Alas, I will not give up on my Timeline... Reply
  • NYCPHOTO - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    I own a MacBook Air 13" and the battery life just wasn't good enough for me. I got only a few hours per charge and that is if I was lucky. My eventual solution was to get an external laptop battery from Novuscell Batteries. So far, no regrets because I'm now getting an extra 12+ hours of battery runtime per charge on my Air. Reply

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