Saturday, February 02, 2008

More Random Thoughts on the MacBook Air

The more I read about the MacBook Air from folks who either (a) basically get free review models, or (b) haven't bought one or quite possibly seen one (note, I haven't seen one) the more annoyed I get.

Either you buy one because you think it's worth the money (for whatever reason) or you don't.

I have, in the past, been something of a "road warrior", but I currently work from home and hardly ever need a portable computer. When I do, it needs to be a fully capable development machine. Guess what? I don't plan to buy a MacBook Air.

I posted earlier that the Air would sell to the kinds of people who buy Louis Vuitton handbags -- and I stand by this. This doesn't just include fashion victims, it includes folks like senior managers and partners in consulting firms who want a functional very light notebook that's actually pleasant to use and generally fly business class, and thus don't care too much about battery life. (I used to work at Andersen ConsultingAccenture, which employs a lot of people who fit in that exact category.)

The point is, people willing to pay $1000-$2000 for a fashion accessory that will be passé in a few months will happily buy a highly useful (not to mention gorgeous and tax deductible) gadget for $1500-$3000. (This is the reason that Mac users aren't swayed by articles on how you can build a Hackintosh for $800. If you earn a decent living, you have better things to do with your time.)

If you've ever had to carry something around with you all day, every day, you quickly reach the conclusion that the two most important features of that thing are (a) weight, and (b) size. This is why pro photographers who own professional DSLRs carry around point-and-shoot cameras. The Air is a winner on weight, and its size is fine, because there are only three sizes: (suit) pocket size, briefcase size*, and too big to carry around. No functional notebook is suit pocket size, and a 10" laptop with a crappy screen and cramped keyboard is effectively the same size as a 13" laptop with a great screen and a proper keyboard.

* For women there's a fourth size: handbag size. And no usable laptop will fit in a small handbag, while the Air will fit in a large one.

I once bought a cell phone on the basis of features (over size). Never ever again.