Thursday, 21 October 2010

Day 294, on which, somehow, the MacBook Air gets slimmer [21.10.10]

Dag to hundrede fireoghalvfems. I had a pretty good day today: a double period of art in which I did nothing but take photos and trace a massive Helvetica lowercase A was a highlight to be sure. I spent about twenty minutes tracing the A (over a lightbox) with a charcoal pen thing, then I blew off the excess charcoal dust and the whole thing smudged! I did manage to get a few other copies that came out alright, though. My mission is to cut out the lowercase A onto A5 lino then do some printing with it, dare I say David Carson-esque. That takes effort and a whole lot of ink and lino, so it's best left to another day.

Apple just released a couple of new products last night, and since it's become the norm to review them as soon as possible on this blog, I'll do just that. Here goes.

The central product in this newest wave of updates and releases is the all-new, updated, MacBook Air. Now, I'll admit, I was no fan of the old MacBook Air. It was gimmicky and it didn't have enough USB ports. Plus, it wasn't particularly powerful and everyone was pissed 'cause it didn't have flash memory or something like that. People who bought it bought it 'cause it was thin, and for nothing else. Not because of OS X, or its aluminium casing etc. The gist of it was "I've got a MacBook Air. Now I can boast to my friends about how thin it is. Also, it can fit in an envelope. I often use this feature."

But it seems the peeps at Apple have heard the cries of Apple fans across the world, and lo and behold our wishes were granted with the new MacBook Air last night. It's super thin - and I mean, super-thin, at 12mm at its largest base thickness (at the front). The screen itself is under a millimetre thin, which is just insane. I'll admit I exclaimed when I saw just how thin it is.

So great. It's thin. But it's always been thin. What's new? Well, it has a camera (see my post about the new iPod Touch for my thoughts on cameras in Apple products), so whoopee. One clever part of that is that it has a FaceTime camera, so you can chat to people's iPhones and iPod Touches on your MacBook Air. Which is a nifty feature, fo' sho'. Useful for outside-to-office FaceTime calls, or vice-versa. Maybe there could be some way to merge the FaceTime on your iPhone and the FaceTime on your MacBook Air? Like, the same profile or something? Just a thought, Mr. Jobs.

This cut-through of the MacBook Air base is proof of what's been obsessing the Apple tech department for the past year. It's amazing: I'd say 60% of the base is made up of batteries and battery casing. It's mostly battery. The harddrive and everything else are squished up the top, but they're almost tiny compared to these four massive batteries that power the Air. As a result, it has up to 7 hours of battery and 30 days of standby time if, for some moronic reason, you totally forget about your MacBook Air for a whole month. And - in relation to the comment at the start - it does have that flash memory thing. No more USB ports, though, but screw USB ports. Who needs silly USBs when you four freakin' huge batteries?

Apparently Apple is intending to redesign the entire MacBook range as MacBook Airs, creating lots of different versions of the Air instead of offering it as a gimmicky, lighter alternative to the more powerful MacBook and MacBook Pro. I agree with this reasoning, because I did think the Air seemed too much like a single, unique product when in fact it should have its own versions like the MacBook. I suggest, eventually, when the Air is powerful enough and has a few more USB ports, replacing the MacBook. This would mean the lightness and simplicity of the Air could be the cheaper option for a MacBook, whilst professionals and those of us with a little more cash could invest in the hardcore MacBook Pro which has more power and ports. Until then, I fear the MacBook Air may just get swept up in the gimmickyness which I despised from the first generation. With two versions now (11-inch and 13-inch), it's certainly getting there, so perhaps I should just wait and see what Apple makes of it.


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