Is The MacBook Air Still Necessary?

Recent rumors floating around the net within the Mac community are saying that Apple is planning to update its MacBook Air line.

The Air hasn’t been updated in well over a year now, in stark contrast to its siblings the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines, which have seen significant improvement — the Pro line recently got a major power boost with Intel’s new Core i5 and i7 processors.

But the question that’s been nagging at the geek part of my brain for some time now is this: has the MacBook Air lost its appeal?

Back when it was first introduced on January 29, 2008 at the MacWorld San Francisco convention (when Apple was still a participant, that is), the world was awestruck; after all, this thing was thin! How could you get a computer to be that slim and stylish, and still remain fairly productive? Well, with a lot of sacrifice, of course.

Apple chose to omit quite a few integral features that we take for granted on our laptops: small things like a DVD drive (the optical drive, more correctly), sufficient USB ports, and a large enough hard disk drive.

In essence, adding the Air to your computing setup would mean placing it in the position of being your “ultra-portable” computer; you wouldn’t be able to get by with having this machine as your primary device, unlike with other laptops, including Apple’s own MacBook and MacBook Pro models.


So, given the exorbitant price that the Air commands ($1499), is it really worth it to purchase the MacBook Air, if it’ll only be used occasionally? In my opinion, I hardly think so. Especially in today’s world economic climate. People need computers that have the essential features to get them going, and stay productive whilst on-the-road, and frankly, the Air doesn’t cut it. After all, what’s the sense in having an ultra-portable notebook when you still need to lug around a USB-supported external CD/DVD drive for when you need to insert a disc?

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The Air is, if anything, a glorified netbook. I know Apple would hate me for placing this moniker upon their beloved little laptop. But it’s the truth, really. There’s far better equipped, ultra-portable computers out there, that allows one to do a world of tasks more than they ever could on the Air.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Apple and am a die-hard fan other their computers. I’m a Mac user of just over a year now, and love my unibody MacBook to bits (and bytes). But the way I see it, the MacBook Air is a strange creature living amongst Apple’s notebook line-up. Unlike how the iPad received so much fanfare from CEO Steve Jobs for its definitive placement in the Apple ecosystem, the Air seems to be a floating electron in a sea of atoms. Let’s hope that, with this rumoured update to the MacBook Air, we’ll have a clearer picture of its place in our technological world.