I'm gonna get a lot of grief for this but I'm going to say it. The 11.6" Macbook Air is a high-end netbook. Don't get me wrong. I'm very close to getting it.
Now, I know last week that I was leaning towards the Macbook Pro but after discussions with some mobile warriors about specs, needs, and costs, I have taken on a new perspective about it.
Including that I think it's a netbook. However, it's a very well designed netbook with a lot more muscle than most low-end laptops packed with a lot of innovations that most PC laptops will not see for years to come.
Having said that, here is why I think it's a netbook and why it's worth the money.
A lot of people I know who bought this, most of them are writers and bloggers, bought the 11.6" version of the MBA over the 13" version and have fallen in love with it because if the light weight, longish battery life, and has enough processing power for the times when you absolutely have to do some more intensive work.
Compare this with my MacWind, which is a MSI Wind with OS X installed on it, it has a 10" screen with just as long of a battery life but with a more aged processor with less power and a graphics card that really has not right to be created and used.
I did a lot of writing on Macwind and it did well. However, there was a lot of getting used to. The keyboard was cramp and the touchpad was just average. And before you state that this may have been because I was running a hacked OS X on it rather than the Windows XP that came with it.
Sorry, on OS X or Windows, the keyboard would still be just as cramp and the plasticky feel of the touchpad would feel just as, well, like plastic.
Surprisingly, the Atom chip in the Macwind was adequate for general use but I had no illusion that I would use it to do some Photoshopping or simple iMovie work.
However, with the 11.6" MBA's Core 2 Duo running at 1.4 or 1.6 Ghz, I can imagine myself using it from time to time when needed. In fact, this would be a markedly improvement over the original Intel Mac Mini Duo Core I bought in early 2006.
The decision now is just how long I should wait before getting it. While the late-2010 MBA is much more improved over the 2009 version, it is largely due to the improved Nvidia integrated graphic card. There were more than a few, but judging by the sales, detractors who wanted to see the Core i3 or better chip in use.
The speculation is that there was no way for Apple to use the current Intel mobile chips with Nvidia GPU. Regardless of the reason, the Air is more than just about the CPU. It is the sum of all the innovations that came from Apple.
And the 11.6" MBA is a netbook that I just don't see HP, Dell, or anyone else come close competing. Just like the iPad 2 unveiled this week really forced some of Apple's competitors back to the drawing board, I think that was what the new Airs did with the very portable segment of the laptop market.
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