Apple has an uncanny ability to infuse their products with that nebulous sense of futurism. When I first held the iPhone, the one word that immediately came to mind was just that: This is the future. It’s that unadorned look, the nobody-else-is-doing-just-this feeling.

When my MacBook Air arrived this morning, I felt exactly the same thing. Even the packaging feels future. It’s so tiny. It doesn’t look like any other packaging out there. The box opens as a board game and it’s really solid and sturdy.

The machine itself is without a doubt the prettiest laptop I’ve ever seen. The proportions feel so right. Impossibly thin, lighter than the ~3 pounds would lead you to believe. And yet it’s a full-blown computer with no sacrifices in the interaction. The keyboard is a slight bit more klackity-click than the new stand-alones, but still awesome. The screen is very bright and instantly at full strength (go LEDs).

People have been wondering how this is going to play out in the market. It doesn’t have enough features, the specs are too low, it’s too expensive, it’s not this, it’s not that. Bah. This is the RAZR of laptops. Lots of people won’t care about the compromises once they get a chance to taste the future up close and personal.

Anyway, enough pouring my heart out in love for Apple’s industrial design and ability to capture that feeling of future so perfectly. I’ll try to live with the machine over a week and report back with findings.

So far it’s very positive, though. The machine feels more than plenty fast. It runs the tests for Highrise about 25-30% slower than my MacBook Pro (2.4Ghz). Which is just about exactly what you would guess from a machine with 1.8Ghz. In normal operations (web/mail/textmate/iphoto), I can’t feel any difference at all yet.

Update: Ars Technica has an in-depth review of the Air. The reviewer only got 2.5 hours out of his machine, though. I’m currently on my 4 hour of service with the screen at half brightness, using the internet all the time, power savings set to “Better Battery Life”. Wonder how much of the difference is the SSD or if the reviewer just had something very CPU intensive running.

Update 2: MacBook Air Haters: Suck My Dick by Wil Shipley of Delicious Monster is funny and spot on.