Wednesday, February 06, 2008

MacBook Air in Australia

My MacBook Air arrived this morning. Shipped direct from Shanghai. I do love it - light enough to carry around every day but with a lovely full sized keyboard and screen.

The remote DVD/CD software, which you install on other machines from the first install DVD works nicely. I didn't think I'd need it until I tried to install from a shared iWork 08 disk and it told me that it wouldn't let me do that.

Random thoughts so far:

The screen is really bright. The keyboard has FKeys for keyboard illumination brightness (I've never had a laptop with illuminated keys so maybe this isn't new). It has a disk eject key but it doesn't eject the remote disk. 2Gb of RAM is a good thing of course. The magnetic property of the magsafe power plug are a good thing in that they make it easy to plug in - it jumps to the right spot.

Part of the "thin" effect is an optical illusion. For me, being light weight is more important than being thin.

The big trackpad seems good, haven't fully tried all the features but two finger scrolling works very nicely thank you.

Great that it came with video adapters for both VGA and DVI, I'm sick of buying those. I think I'll have to buy the ethernet USB device to fit in with some workplaces.

At the office where I'm working at the moment I've hit a terrible networking bug that crashes anything that uses WebKit when I try to use a Microsoft authenticated proxy (even Dashboard crashes) so I've held off installing the 2007 security update in the hope that the problem started there - will report back with an answer in a few days. Update: Yes I can confirm that the crash bug when using an MS Authenticated proxy is not present before you apply "Security Update 2007-009, version 1.1". So, if you must use one of these proxys DO NOT apply this security update.

I'm being frugal about space but really 80Gb is quite sufficient. I won't be using this for my music or photo collections. I've installed my favourite apps and I still have 50Gb free.

Hey, it's missing the little Apple remote! Well, we have plenty of them so no problem here, and yes it does respond to a remote and Front Row is all there as you'd expect.

Too early to tell about battery life but right now it's showing 3:42 remaining.

These things will sell very well in my opinion.

Update: The single USB port is really high power, and that's handy. I have a serial ATA case that I've always had to plug in to two USB ports or a plug pack to power, turns out that the USB port on the Air is rated to 500mA and powers it without any problem.


huntc said...

Hey Peter,

One curious thought that might stop me from buying (apart from my wife having imposed strict financial control on spending!) is the inability to remove the battery.

If I fly somewhere, and security insist that the battery is removed and I've already checked my luggage in (the normal sequence of events) then what happens?



Alastair said...

The keyboard backlight has been there for a while (my PowerBook has it), although I don't find it all that useful to be honest.

I found it interesting to hear the variation in MBA opinions; on the one side is Calicanis who said "zero downside" on a recent TWiT, and on the other side is Jacqui Cheng's opinion, which was less than stellar.

My opinion is that it looks like a nice second machine. The question is, how well does it sync to the main machine? I don't use .Mac myself, but Merlin Mann (amongst others) are less than complimentary. This makes me think the MBA is definitely a 1.0 product, although something to watch, as the syncing gets better.

ben said...

"It has a disk eject key but it doesn't eject the remote disk."

I guess the only use for it is for the USB superdrive. Hilarious nonetheless!

Peter B Marks said...

It's a fully functional Mac, sure it's not as fast as my main machine but I think the trade-offs (for size and weight) are well chosen.

On .Mac, I have subscribed for some years now, it works well for me. My habit with new machines is not to use the migration assistant, certainly in this case when I was migrating to a smaller machine for the first time, but rather to set up a clean user and use .Mac to migrate my data.

I sync Address Book, Bookmarks, and Yojimbo notes. After setting up email accounts and a few applications (iWork and Omni suite) I feel right at home on the new machine.

Apple now has two products for the weight conscious road warrior: iPhone, (iPod Touch), and now the Air.

huntc said...

Hey Pete - a few months on - do you still like the Air - be honest (I'm thinking of buying one!).

Peter B Marks said...

Yep, totally great.

The only thing, which I've experienced with other Mac laptops, is trouble waking from sleep when external monitors are attached.

I tend to shutdown when I move locations.

Overall, I'm very happy and it's a joy to carry about.