MacBook Air versus iPad – which is the future of mobile computing?

I used to own an iPad and I’ve never owned a MacBook Air. While nearly every family I know now owns at least one iPad, I’ve found that MacBook Air adoption lags far behind. Whether it’s the lack of storage space, the limited processor power or even a distrust of the MacBook Air product line, I wasn’t quite able to pull the trigger when I was looking to upgrade my 13.3″ MacBook Pro.

But it seems I’m in the minority. At the collaborative workspace Gangplank in AZ, I now count two 11.6″ MacBook Airs and at least four 13.3″ models. These are being used as primary computers for sales guys, coders and a database programmer. They are all running up to a new 24″ Apple monitor and I’ve yet to hear a complaint.

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This shocks me.

Most of these MacBook Air users previously bought and used iPads, but found their use too limited for most simple note taking, emails and the like. This surprised me a bit, but these guys are certainly NOT normal users and obviously value a bit more flexibility when it comes to their technology.

For too long we’ve seen MacBook Airs as underpowered laptops, and it seemed that the iPad was a logical choice to replace the far more expensive Apple laptops for low-power usage. For years I’ve seen writers with 15″ MacBook Pros, housewives with loaded 17 inchers and coders with far-too-powerful MacBook Pros. Now that these people have (hopefully) accepted the iPad as their choice for the little computing they actually do, it seems the time for MacBook Airs as THE choice for mobile professionals is nearly at hand.

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Intel is clearly on board with this trend, as they just released new MacBook Air processors that offer serious speed upgrades to the existing models. I like the direction this is going, as it seems obvious that the 13′ and 15″ MacBook Pros should be replaced by MacBook Air models in the near future.

The iPad and MacBook can handle the lower end market. The question is…will they be enough?