Monday, January 28, 2008

MacBook Air

So, I used to work at the fruit stand, and because of that, some people have asked me what I thought about Apple's last big offering, the MacBook Air. I have to admit that I am pretty underwhelmed. So, Apple has released a lot of products that were panned initially, and then turned out to be hugh hits, like the original iMac (only USB!) and the iPod ($400 for a music player!), but I don't see the MacBook Air making any such significant waves. The reason is that the design (to quote an Apple poster) is evolutionary instead of revolutionary. Like the iMac, the machine could mainly be defined by what it is missing (firewire port, PC card slot, and most significantly, an optical drive), but in terms of the basic offering, it is far less bold a statement than the iMac was at the time. It is a slightly thinner and much lighter portable computer, for basically a 50% cost premium over the MacBook. The only reason I let myself get a little excited about the MacBook Air is because of what it portends, namely future iterations of thinner, lighter MacBooks. I think there is a market for this offering, but I am hesitant to say it is going to be a big market. One could say that mobile executives would buy this (and I am sure they will), but I think the lack of an evdo integrated card (along with Apple's typical ease of use) will limit the uptake.

I think the biggest buyers of the MacBook Air may be the least exciting (to me, anyway) of all market segments, which is at least the situation in my family. Of all my family members, only one called me asking about purchasing the MacBook Air: my Mom. She is a baby boomer with excess income, no interest in firewire ports or the fastest processor, and she puts a premium on making everything she carries with her light, so that she can pick up and visit the grand-babies at a moment's notice. For some reason, I am not sure she will make it onto the next Apple ad, however.

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