Rumored 11.6″ MacBook Air Feels Like a Miss

By Tyler

5 responses. »

Steve Jobs told us we’d never see a netbook. They were underpowered with piddly features and the low-end market wasn’t something Apple wanted a part of. Instead we got the Macbook Air. While not a smashing success, the Macbook Air was light, small and packed with just enough features for most people whose computer habits demanded portability over power.

But it wasn’t a netbook with its full-size keyboard and 13″ screen. So what do we call a rumored 11.6″ version of the Macbook Air? If it feels like a netbook, looks like a netbook and most likely can’t be upgraded (just like a netbook!), it’s probably a netbook.

And that’s crap. WTF happened to Apple? Where’s the company that made fast, super-awesome computers that did tricks and made every use feel like a creative genius? While I certainly don’t begrudge the beauty of the (rumored) 11.6″ Macbook Air, this feels like a miss.

It feels like a miss because this isn’t Apple’s market. The netbook market values price over value, battery life over power and size over performance. Why am I, a long-time Apple customer, typing on a 13″ MacBook Pro that really hasn’t been updated except for its case, chip and graphics card since it was called a white MacBook, while Apple spend its time making iPhone 4s and smaller Macbook Airs?

As an Apple fan, ask yourself these questions:

1. Are you really satisfied with you Mac Pro?
The case design hasn’t been updated in years, we STILL don’t have Firewire 1600 or 3200 and there’s no USB 3.0 on the horizon. Aren’t these professional machines?

2. Do you really care about monitors?
What good is an expensive Apple monitor if the computer you’re attaching to it is a generation behind everything else? While I’m not going to get into a chip speed argument here, I’m tired of Apple updating their showy products (monitors, iPhones and iPods) over their bread and butter pro machines.

3. Do we really care about the iPad?
Great, so Bloomberg says the iPad is going to be thinner and include a camera. That doesn’t help me write or edit quality video.

4. Does iLife matter?
iMovie ’08 is slow on my 13″ MacBook Pro with four gigs of ram. Is there any valid reason for this to be happening? What kind of machine do I need? Oh, have you used iPhoto’s face recognition technology lately? Does it even work?

5. Is Ping even worth your time?
When iTunes Genius first came out, I scoffed. Then I used it and still use it sparingly. Is it a fun party trick? Yes. Anything more than that? Nope. Is Ping even a fun party trick? How many of you have taken the time to build your network? I sure as hell haven’t.

Enjoy your new MacBook Airs, iPod Touches and Cinema Displays. If there’s one thing Apple is getting really good at, it’s allowing you to consume their content, but I want to think different. I want to create.

About Tyler
Storyteller. Inspirator. Opens bananas like a monkey. Minimalist runner. Eliticist. Have my name on my shirt. Knows all the words to Baby Got Back.

5 Responses so far.

  1. Tom

    September 28, 2010 at 2:32 am

    So let's see if I'm following your argument correctly. Apple is rumored to release a smaller version of the macbook AIR, not that they have, but only rumored, and therefore Apple sucks. Is that about right?

    I don't recall Apple ever making computers that "did tricks". My Mac Pro certainly doesn't do tricks, but it is an extremely well built computer that is still smoking fast.

    I don't look at the case too often since it's under my desk but I didn't buy it for looks. However the case design did allow me to drop in some really big hard drives quickly and easily. On the other hand, I guess I should hate it because it still looks like old PowerMac G5s. Suck it Apple!

    You're complaint about Apple only updating "its case, chip and graphics card" for macbooks seems like it's missing an argument. Isn't that what everyone does when updating laptops is update the case, chip and graphics card? Those are the key features I look for in my laptop purchase. What more should Apple do for you, their longtime customer, who must type on a barely updated Apple product while Apple feverishly spits out iPhones, iPads, and iPods?

    According to Apple, they've sold over 100 million iOS devices since 2007. Think about that. That's probably more than the total number of Apple computers sold since… ever. You could say that Apple is distracted from their core customers, or you could make the argument that Apple core customers have shifted into the mobile arena. An 11'' macbook Air would fit into that new market. It also happens to be the market where people are buying. Amazons bestseller list has the macbook pro 13.3'', iPads, macbook 13.3, and the mac mini in the top 20. Unfortunately, mac pros weren't to be found.

    If you want to think different, there's always building a hackintosh. Apple's sort of at the mercy of Intel unless it can find a way to make its own CPU chips that are as fast. Besides, it sounds like a much more interesting article.

  2. Tyler Hurst

    September 28, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Apple was a successful company before it moved its focus from Macs to iOS devices.

    Apple, and especially its Mac line, has always been about more than raw power or hard drive capacity, it's been about pushing the envelope for design, usability and stability.

    The Macs aren't getting better, they're simply getting faster. Before they made the switch to Intel chips, their programmer prowess is what kept them going. They had limitations (chips) and found ways to get everything out of what they had.

    That's not happening anymore. It used to mean something to own a Mac and now falling into the realm of just a computer.

  3. David

    October 28, 2010 at 11:13 am

    The Mac line and the pro machines aren't Apple's bread and butter. It's not what they make the most money on, it's not whats driving millions of people in droves to go purchase. Apple isn't a stupid company. They're putting their time and money in the things that make them the most money. iOS devices.

    Apple may have been a successful company before they moved the focus to iOS devices. But they are a MUCH more successful company now with their iOS devices. Something that they couldn't have even imagined with just their Mac. Even in their recent event, Apple even said that the Mac division is about 20% of their business. If Apple remained just a Mac company, they would only be about 1/5th the size they are now.

    And even with the Mac line, the changes that are happening to the computers are what most buyers would care about. Better screens, bumps in speed, better hardware cases, etc. Actually, i'm not sure what you consider "better", because upgrading those things seem to be "better" for me. Really, what else can you upgrade? And the things that they are upgrading ARE pushing the envelope for design, usability and stability. So I really don't understand what you're trying to say in your post and in your reply.

    As for iLife, depending on what aspect you're talking about in terms of "slow" and how slow "slow" is, having 4gb of ram isn't going to magically make everything fast. If you're rendering something, you need higher cpu speeds for that to be not "slow". If you want the application to load faster and the things you make on it to be written to the hard drive faster, you need a faster hard drive; perhaps an ssd.

    And as for the iPad, it's not meant to be for long blogging sessions or editing video in the first place although I have gotten quite proficient at typing with the on-screen keyboard. So, I'm not sure what you're talking about there either.

    Overall, the post doesn't make any sense and your reply doesn't answer any of Tom's questions as well. But, at least you realized/admitted that you were wrong about the new Macbook Airs; although predicting that they would fail wasn't the problem of this post.

  4. Tyler Hurst

    October 28, 2010 at 11:33 am

    David -

    So you're saying my opinions are wrong?

    If I think iMovie is slow on my computer, then it's slow, for me, on my computer. I shouldn't be required to own a high-level pro machine (i5+ or Quad-Core) in order for a consumer-level movie editing program to not stutter when I'm scrolling through clips or freeze for 5-6 seconds when I add transitions.

    Perhaps that's acceptable performance to you, but I expect more from my Apple software and I especially expect better performance from consumer software on a pro machine.

    And my argument has nothing to do with Tom's assertion that the pro market isn't where people are buying. It's quite obvious that the iOS devices are better money makers, but as a longtime Apple user, I don't like that. Had I criticized their business practices, you could bring this up, but I did not.

    Some of us have a greater connection to companies than others. That's fine. But the fact you don't understand that wasn't the problem of your comment.

    • David

      October 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Just wanted to follow up with your general opinion 2 years later.
      How'd that work out?
      It's interesting to see how wrong you were in hindsight isn't it?
      Sorry to gloat, but it was funny to see strongly you were convinced of your wrong ideas back then, and it's even funnier now looking back.
      I really really hope you're not still typing on a 13" MBP =)
      And the 11" MBA most definitely was not, and is not, a netbook.
      Hopefully you've updated your ideas by now, because all your opinions have been proved wrong.
      P.S. Your defensive comment to my comment was even funnier because of your doubling-down-ness. =)

  5. Iraqi Dinar

    June 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    It feels like a miss because this isn’t Apple’s market. The netbook market values price over value, battery life over power and size over performance. Why am I, a long-time Apple customer, typing on a 13″ MacBook Pro that really hasn’t been updated except for its case, chip and graphics card since it was called a white MacBook, while Apple spend its time making iPhone 4s and smaller Macbook Airs?

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