So you’ve seen the latest Apple Keynote and Steve Jobs seemed pretty convincing to you when he presented his latest creation, the MacBook Air. You are stunned by its design, but you are still doubtful because beauty comes at a price (and high one, too) and with reduced functionality. MacBook Air or MacBook Pro? If you’re still undecided, you’ve come to the right place to help you clear your mind.
With a 13.3 inch widescreen LED display, full-size keyboard, and large multi-touch trackpad, the MacBook Air may look at a first glance just like any other laptop. But the stunning beauty of this product mainly lays in its incredible thinness (just 0.74 inches) which make it an extremely lightweight laptop, too.
Does this device have any drawbacks? First of all, as I already mentioned, the retail price is quite high (starting from $1799 for the basic model, which isn’t exactly ‘cheap’). Moreover, the most noticeable missing feature is the absence of an optical drive that could be used to read/write CDs or DVDs.
How can you use a laptop without an optical drive, you’re asking? Good Old Steve reassured all Apple customers that, while this seems like a radical and rather extreme choice, you won’t actually feel the absence of it at all. Apple accomplishes (or tries to do so) by making of the MacBook Air a strongly wireless-oriented device, using solutions never seen before. It’s true, there is no optical drive, but there are predispositions to ‘lurk’ from any nearby wireless enabled device and use its own optical drive. Could the ‘parassite’ strategy really work? Only time will tell, but the folks at Apple seem to be pretty convinced of what they’re doing.
The other, minor drawback in using a MacBook Air compared to a more traditional MacBook Pro is its limited horsepower. Through a close partnership with Intel that begun many years ago with the transition of Mac OS X to the Intel platform, the engineers in the most acclaimed microprocessor company in the world developed a chip specifically designed for the MacBook Air that would comply with the strict Apple requirements on the thinness side. The results are pretty astounding and are to be considered a huge progress towards the aim of reducing chip dimensions, but even Intel had to admit the MacBook Air double core engine had to be partially limited in RPMs — just a 1.6 GHz Duo for the base model and 1.8 GHz for the advanced one, whose price is though still outrageously high ($3098).
Given its characteristics, then, the MacBook Air advanced model is mainly targeted at high-end and business classy consumers, leaving the rest of us with the basic model that still looks too high, at least for now. But since it has launched just recently and given Apple’s usual marketing strategy, we should soon expect a substantial price drop on both models — not as substantial as the infamous iPhone 33% price drop, but still to a point where its cost could be comparable to that of the rest of the MacBook lineup.
Which one is the best for you then, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro? The answer may not be obvious, and in most cases both would probably serve you well, with the reliability and stability for which Apple products have become famous over the last few years. However, now you’re entering the shop and know you’re going to come get out of it with one of those two jewels in your hands. What do you do?
When you will be presented the choice, keep in mind all the factors explained above: if you are looking for a classy product, maybe a little expensive for its characteristics, but with a stunning design and optimal battery life and never seen before wireless capabilities, and at the same time you feel like experimenting and are willing to trust Apple on the fact that, after all, optical drives won’t be missed, then you should definitely go for the bold choice and buy a MacBook Air. On the other hand though, if you are more of a traditionalist fellow, don’t mind about a little bit more weight (or can’t afford a lighter laptop) and love to watch rented DVDs while you’re traveling, then you already know that a good old MacBook Pro should be your first choice.