I’ve now been using the Air for some time as my only laptop. The Pro still hasn’t left the desktop and I doubt it ever will while I own it. My girlfriend replaced her regular MacBook with an Air as well. The verdict after extended use? L-o-v-i-n-g it. Both of us.
Gruber has a great post today on the appeal of the Air, which serves well to sum up the experience. The machine is plenty fast for everything I do with a computer. It’s plenty fast for emailing, browsing, photos, programming, and more. Probably the only people who wouldn’t find the performance of the Air good enough are the same people lusting after an 8-core Mac Pro.
That’s certainly a fair position. If you do computational intensive work, then you’ll want all the firepower you can get. Most people are not like that, though. I think we’ve reached the point where the computational firepower for laptops is simply Good Enough in the Innovator’s Dilemma sense of the term. Meaning that the puck is going to go somewhere else. That we’ll start caring about other things now.
For a laptop, those other things are exactly what the Air is optimizing: Thin, light, and sleek. But what I continue to be impressed with the most on the Air is simply the build quality. The MacBook Pro has OK build quality, but the regular MacBook frankly blows in this department in my mind. The plastic feels too cheap, it creaks and bends, and the black surface gets permanently smudged way too quickly. It just doesn’t feel tight in the same way the Air does.
The Air also works great with a 24” screen hooked up. I actually enjoyed working on one of those at the office the other day. No, it’s not as gorgeous as the 30” running at home, but it’s still pretty alright. So the only reason I still have the Pro is to run that 30” at home and even that is somewhat of a dubious argument if I hadn’t already invested in it.
That’s a long way around of saying I couldn’t agree more with Gruber. The Air is a perfect one-machine solution for a heck of a lot of people. Dismissing it as merely a 3rd computer vanity accessory, as I’ve seen many do, is misguided and not based on actually using one for a longer period of time.
If you fall into the category of feeling your machine is fast enough to do what you’re currently doing, I’d strongly encourage you to take a look at the Air and enjoy somebody optimizing for other factors than just performance.
BTW, I promise this will be the last love song I write for the Air. At least for a while :)