Daniel Eran Dilger
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What’s wrong with the MacBook Air?

Daniel Eran Dilger
Apple shipped a few MacBook Air units to its retail stores Friday, leaving the scant supply to mainly serve as in-store demo units. While our SSD model remains on order pending shipment, we managed to snag the one of the few available HDD-based units from one of the company’s San Francisco outlets and have set to work on an in-depth review of its ins and outs.

Continues: AppleInsider | What’s wrong with the MacBook Air?

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  • gus2000

    There’s plenty “wrong” with the Macbook Air. Starting with the fact that I don’t have one. :) Seriously, though:

    – the fingerprint reader: Data security is always important, but moreso on a portable device. The Air can implement security in software, but the point of the fingerprint reader is that it keeps security from being so much of a burden that users forgo it. So the software solution must be simple and elegant. The fingerprint reader can work in reverse, however, giving the user a false sense of security.

    – the WiFi on/off switch: Every traveller knows that transmitters must be disabled when required. Again this can (and is) implemeted in software, but the switch provides a postive Yes/No status. It might even be a literal kill switch to the hardware, but I doubt it. Just make WiFi easy to turn off, with a BIG MESSAGE that I can show to the flight attendant who’s about to signal for the air marshall.

    – battery life: seal the battery, fine. Just make it high-capacity. Lithium batteries are quite light, so make the thing a *tad* thicker and give me coast-to-coast runtimes. With the iPhone, Apple underpromised and overdelivered; I understand that this is not the norm in laptop runtimes (i.e., “*Runtimes were tested with everything off and the user asleep”) but I guess I have come to expect more.

    – mobile broadband: This one hurts. When on the go, there is no substitute for having always-on broadband. This could be accomplished with a USB dongle, but puh-leeze! Maybe Apple will let me use the iPhone 3G as a wireless modem via bluetooth? That would be a nice solution. Just as long as it doesn’t kill the battery of both…

    – You’re right that optical drives on laptops are 95% useless. Remote Disc is pretty sweet, and I suppose you could make ISO images of some discs to take with you.

    – Keyboard softkeys are pretty useless, too. I’ve used them on occasion. The most common functions are handled on the Mac by the Fn keys now, right? No need for programmable keys.

    – How about Apple selling their own brand of LCD projector that has WiFi builtin, along with iChat and Bonjour? Then I can just activate screen sharing on my Macbook and voila…wireless presentations. Asking too much?

  • PerGrenerfors

    Personally I’m happy that HP/Dell/etc don’t make cars.

    Then there would probably be like an extra dashboard with all the on/off switches. Don’t forget fingerprint reader to use the car stereo.

    In fact, the lack of all these things is one of the Macs most appealing features in my book.

    Last year my dads HP/Compaq laptop suddenly didn’t connect to the home wireless network anymore. I spent what felt like days with him on the phone going through settings and updating drivers. It turned out there was a tiny button on the front, obscured by the palm rest area, that had been pushed. I can’t believe people who actually like these things get columns in tech magazines to bitch about Apple stuff.

  • Robb

    I like the car analogy… when the MBA commercial aired during the Super Bowl, nearly everyone at the party I attended started talking about how great it looks, how thin it is, etc.

    I had the same problem with my mom’s Toshiba laptop and spent three hours trying to figure out why it wasn’t connecting to wireless. Turned out my dad had turned it off because he was tired of the pop-up messages when he was playing Solitaire!