I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Mac Book Air

I don't know why I feel compelled to speak about this, but I do. There are a lot of people who don't like the new MacBook Air from Apple, announced this week at Macworld 2008. A colleague whom I work with mentioned he thought it would be the Mac Cube, take 2. Revolutionary, perhaps, but not a big seller. I'd like one, myself, but I am not sure I need one. It would make an excellent machine for reading websites, checking mail, writing blog posts, and controlling music to my wireless hi-fi. But the complaints swirl about a number of different areas: * too big * no Ethernet * no optical disc * needs a second computer * no Firewire * too expensive I mean,cry me a river, folks. If you don't want it, then don't get it. Apple makes perfectly good laptops that have more ports, more power, more flexibility. They're not that thick, either. As always, Apple is making a statement here with Air. Thin is in, sure, but let's cut back on the storage media and wires. It was gutsy with the iMac, and it's about time someone challenged us with a product like the Air. Corporate environment? Get a bigger laptop. One with a Kensington lock, etc. Education? Same deal; get the cheaper laptop. No kid needs a $1800 laptop, when a $1000-1200 will do. I think Apple does get in trouble when they try to establish that "3rd" in-between level in their product matrix. But it worked for iPod nano: small like a shuffle, but the screen/features of a classic. The Cube, I liked it. I'm sorry it didn't catch on; it was perhaps too evolutionary for its time. But when you have two products that do not differentiate themselves terribly, putting a third in-between can be confusing to the customer. They're going to see the extremes, and the product in the center suffers. Apple needs a compelling reason to sell a super-thin computer. The space savings with the cube was negligible. Space-saving with this Air is several degrees richer: its design, new trackpad, and weight/physical dimensions are going to appeal to a good number of folks who want a good computing experience without the bulk. I know for one, a very close friend bought the MacBook Pro because it was silver (aluminum). "Don't like black, white looks cheap." Okay, that's your opinion, and you bought based on color. Now, he could have gotten the color he wanted at a cheaper price. He never uses Ethernet; he backs up to a Firewire drive (which also supports USB 2). Same screen technology, slightly more area. He would have been a good candidate. My friend Todd thinks they're going to sell like hotcakes. "Hotcakes, John, like hotcakes! So thin and supple... they'll be the most popular Mac ever!" He may even have drooled. I'm less optimistic, but I don't see 2008 as the year of cube, part 2.

Music 423

David Daniels and Martin Katz