The Future of the MacBook Air and What it Will Become

by Sebastien Gomez Jan 22, 2008

Everyone agrees (or almost everyone) that the Macbook Air is an astonishing machine but it lacks something. Not a superdrive or ethernet connection, but obviously a better price. The thinnest notebook in the world is now the most expensive piece of metal in the world and will only attract the most addicted of Mac fans. No one has really felt the “I gotta have it” feeling after watching the keynote or even playing with the laptop on the show floor. It’s a cool product, but we play with it knowing we won’t be buying it just yet.

The Macbook Air is a gorgeous machine, that’s for sure. It’s fast for the size and so incredibly portable, but it lacks marketability only because of its price tag. $1799 is way too expensive to compete with what the present Macbook can offer. Apple wanted to make the ultimate computer for the “on the go” individual. In my opinion, they have failed and will realize that very soon. If only for the price….

This is only the first step in a slew of upcoming products that will use the new softwares and technology that Apple has come out with. Air is the new black and that is an understatement; the more I can detach my life from all wires, the better. The solid-state drive is what makes me want this notebook, but again the steep price is still insanely unaffordable for the rest of us. I am desperately looking for a second computer to carry around, to do daily tasks with and keep up with life in general. I’m not looking for a laptop to run Final Cut Pro in real time or retouch my pictures with Aperture or Photoshop. I, like the vast majority of Apple users, am looking for a cheaper alternative.

Some will say, just go with an iPhone and you’ll get your portable life problems resolved. I don’t think so. I want a full size keyboard, a bigger screen, and enough hard drive space to play around with. The Macbook Air could have been it, but unless it had launched at $1000, it’s not on my radar.

I believe that with the ever changing technology, SSD will get cheaper and cheaper within the next year and “Air” will live through an incredible price drop very soon (remember the iPhone?). While Apple will unveil their newest lineup of products with the new touch features and cool software, we’ll see the Macbook Air become more accessible and changing niches. Right now, only the wealthy can afford to buy a second notebook this pricey, but not for very long I assure you.


  • It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the price and features as the competition hots up too.  I see IBM has already announced the release of the Lenovo X300 series that is smaller and lighter than the MacBook Air whilst managing to offer more ports, a built in DVD burner, higher resolution screen and faster processor.  Remove the marketing spin and the MacBook Air remains a pretty looking but underpowered machine.


    Paul Howland had this to say on Jan 22, 2008 Posts: 38
  • And that little Lenovo laptop will probably be priced around 3500-4000. As I’ve mentioned before, and will continue to say, Apple is priced exactly where it needs to be for this subcompact market. Their benchmark, the Sony, enters in at 2099 and uses a 1.06Ghz processor and an 11.1” screen.
    I understand that the price seems high to you all. If that’s the case, then this laptop is not for you. I personally had the wow factor and ordered one as soon as I was allowed. It fits into my lineup of computers perfectly and offers exactly what I’ve been looking for. The price point is not off base. True, I would like a lower price, but when comparing it to the others, this works just fine.
    Check the comparison here:

    diablojota had this to say on Jan 22, 2008 Posts: 25
  • diablojota had this to say on Jan 22, 2008 Posts: 25
  • Since Apple’s never been in the subnotebook market before, I don’t think Mac users are used to the prices these types command. And no, the 12” Powerbook doesn’t count since it’s too heavy and thick for a subnotebook.

    The odds of seeing a decent subnotebook for $1000 from ANY computer vendor is about as likely as Steve Jobs buying a Zune for his personal music player.

    It’s simply not the same market. R&D;expenses are not the same as they are for standard notebooks so a higher price must be charged to make it profitable. It surprises me how many people in the press or bloggers miss this point and wonder why Apple didn’t make it cost less than a MacBook since it obviously has fewer features. Anyone who has looked at the subnotebook market will see notebooks with fewer features and far higher prices. If anything, Apple’s price is on the low end of the market. It’s being marketed to anyone who values portability over features. That’s a larger segment than just the rich.

    Pleiades had this to say on Jan 22, 2008 Posts: 4
  • Pleiades is right. I don’t need blazing speeds or a quadzillion ports and super-duper mega-features for my portable. I need portability. And I don’t want to lose useability (screen & keyboard size) in the process. MacBook Air offers this. As I’m not in the market for new notebook (yet) and it hasn’t been released (yet) I don’t know if the MBA is for me. But it is absolutely in contention because of size and weight.

    MB & MBP can out-spec the MBA without trying, but if I have to lug them around, day after day (and I do) then the MBA suddenly becomes very very attractive. Of course, it would be even more attractive if my home computers were ultra-new macs with blazing fast wifi n. They’re not. So the choice for me will be a little more difficult.

    But Pleiades is right, the MB & MBP are in a separate market to the MBA.

    oz-nom had this to say on Jan 22, 2008 Posts: 13
  • “No-one has felt the “gotta have it” feeling after… playing with it on the show floor”

    Bold statement!

    All you’re saying Sebastien is
    “for me, it’s not worth paying extra for lighter and thinner.”

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Jan 22, 2008 Posts: 228
  • Nope. What I’m saying is after talking with various Apple users who would be in that “buying category”, none of them have stated that they just had to get their hands on it right now.

    Obviously if we all won an MBA, we would keep it and be very happy with it. But unlike other Apple products, people are still on the defensive. It’s a great product but it is still in its infant stages.

    I think it’s wrong to think that Apple should not try and compete with the lower priced market. Granted they have done very well with pricey computers in the past they should and will consider this lower niche once they get it together in the manufacturing firms.

    Unless Apple wants to become the next Blockbuster Video Rental Service, it is still a company that builds and sells computers. Everything else is just icing on the motherboard. wink

    Sebastien Gomez had this to say on Jan 22, 2008 Posts: 11
  • Sorry Sebastien, I meant to separate those 2 comments.
    I thought it was a bold statement that no-one REALLY wanted it.
    .... And overall in the article I thought it was largely your opinion that you were generalising.

    I think it’s wrong to criticise the MB Air based on Apple not competing elsewhere for the cheaper laptops you want (you’re free to criticise Apple itself for that, of course!). It’s like criticising the AppleTV because it can’t run Photoshop.

    That’s not being “on the defensive”... just saying that because the mba is not what you want it to be doesn’t mean its not cost effective for what it is.

    You need to write yourself an article “Why won’t Apple make a really cheap laptop for us!?”.

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Jan 23, 2008 Posts: 228
  • Yep! My opinion indeed, which is why it’s in the opinion category.

    —“You need to write yourself an article “Why won’t Apple make a really cheap laptop for us!?”.”

    Not really because they will very soon wink

    Sebastien Gomez had this to say on Jan 23, 2008 Posts: 11
  • The AIR *might* drop by a couple of hundred bucks over a year. But the real problem I think is storage. For a couple of extra mm, Apple could have put in the 160GB 1.8” iPod hard drive and that would make this a decent machine. Jobs’s obsession with thinness is good, but taken just a bit too far and too extreme.

    The best hope is either they’ll make a slightly thinker air with the 160GB drive (doubtful at this point) or that they’ll use the technology to make a thinner and lighter Macbook (though it won’t be as thin).

    countach had this to say on Jan 23, 2008 Posts: 11
  • In my opinion… smile
    Opinion articles aren’t about telling me what you think I think, or what you think everyone else thinks.

    Stick to giving your opinion on the technology smile

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Jan 23, 2008 Posts: 228
  • Sure thing Greg, will do.

    Sebastien Gomez had this to say on Jan 24, 2008 Posts: 11
  • Careful all you early adopters! Apple might actually drop the price at some time in the future… or perhaps they will charge you $20 for iWork. That would be a total rip off! I would suggest not buying it until Apple promises _not_ to reduce the price or add any cheep, or god forbid FREE, productivity software. smile


    krreagan had this to say on Jan 24, 2008 Posts: 10
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