Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mainstream portable computing, circa 2011 - today

The computer industry pundits are all a-twitter about Apple's new MacBook Air laptop computer. It's a brilliant design. I tend to buy a new laptop ~every 3 years, so I'm not running out to buy one, but perhaps variants on this form-factor will proliferate across the Mac line by the time I'm in the market again.

People are complaining about lack of Ethernet and FireWire connections, lack of CD/DVD drive. But wait, hang on!

--> Today, wireless is almost ubiquitous, so I don't really need Ethernet.

--> As for FireWire - unless you use it to hook up your video camera, most use it for backups to an external drive. But Apple intro'd another truly ingenious product this week for backup, called Time Capsule.

--> If I'm using a home media server or am wirelessly networked, I don't need the CD/DVD drive for movies or music (or backups, see above)

Also, Apple was first to deep-six the floppy drive - when's the last time you used one of those? Similarly, there's no modem in the current generation of Mac laptops: you must purchase a $50 external modem for the current generation of MacBook Pro machines. But when's the last time you used dial-up?

No, I think Apple has a very interesting product that seems like sort of a "niche" head-scratcher product now, but is a harbinger of mainstream portable computing, circa 2011.

Ziff Davis has published a review and commentary about the MacBook Air - it's fun to read the reader responses.

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