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iPad and MacBook 'Hook Up' - Apple Releases New MacBook Airs

10.20.10 @ 2:46PM Tags : , , ,

At Apple’s Back to the Mac event today, Steve Jobs closed the show by asking, “what would happen if an iPad and a Macbook hooked up?” Indeed, the new MacBook Air seems sort of like an iPad for creatives — people who need a real keyboard and an OS that can run more than mobile apps, but something thin and light enough to take everywhere. It has iPad features like instant-on (with no boot time, apparently), no moving parts (all flash storage, with no hard drive and no optical drive), and increased battery life of 5-7 hours wireless web use and 30 days of standby (a stat typically associated with phones). Are the new MacBook Airs “iPads for creatives?”

Here are the stats of the new models:

13.3″ model:

  • .68″ to .11″ thick
  • 2.9 pounds
  • Full-size keyboard and trackpad
  • 1.86GHz or 2.13Ghz Core 2 Duo processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320m graphics card
  • 13.3″ LED display at 1440×900
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • SD Card slot
  • 128GB SSD $1299
  • 256GB SSD $1599

11.6″ model is the same as the 13″, except:

  • 2.3 pounds
  • 1366×768 display
  • 1.4GHz or 1.6Ghz Core 2 Duo processor
  • 5 hours battery life
  • 64GB SSD $999
  • 128GB SSD $1199

The NVIDIA GeForce 320m uses shared memory (meaning, it has no dedicated RAM of its own), but these laptops should still be considerably more powerful than any iOS-powered device. One wonders how an app like Final Cut Pro would handle on these machines for light editing on the road (with a USB 2.0 external drive) — which will be known in the coming days, presumably.

For people who were considering getting a Kindle and/or an iPad — now there’s a third ultraportable to look at, the MacBook Air. Because of the price disparity, however, with the Kindle under $200, the iPad at $500+, and the MacBook Air at $1,000+, perhaps you’ll get all three? The fact is, our lives are so reliant on computers today that devices like the Kindle and iPad are designed specifically for those times when we don’t want to be using a computer. Because of their portability and mobile-like features, however, the new MacBook Airs (or is it like “attorneys general,” where the plural would be Macbooks Air?) almost fit into this category too. The machines are on sale today. Does this revamping of the MacBook Air make you think about buying one?

Link: The New MacBook Air


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  • I have to admit, that is pretty sick. Reminds me of my comment a while ago on your post, in which you had asked what we want in an iPad. I said, “a keyboard,” and you thought that was funny. Just goes to show.

    BTW, you mention editing off an external drive, but I don’t see any USB port in those specs.

    • Oops, left that out — but yes, it has a USB 2.0 port on each side:

      One of the things I’ve been surprised at when using a borrowed iPad is how limited it is in terms of file system and storage (not to mention its lack of a USB port). That has me considering forgoing the iPad in favor of a Kindle + MacBook Air, given my current laptop is going on its fifth year and might not make it to a sixth.

      • Why not take what you’ve learned with your Hackintosh, and make a HackBook?

        • It’s worth it to me to build a machine for $1,500 that outperforms a $2,500 piece of hardware that just sits under your desk, untouched. But in the case of Apple’s mobile devices, it’s the elegance of the hardware you’re paying for. Two totally different undertakings IMO.

  • Thanks for that post.
    They look good but I’m happy with my Macbook Pro here.

    I’m waiting for your Hackintosh post to see what Hardware you got and things like that. I’m really interested in that and would probably do the same unless you tell us a reason not to do it.

    • Sebastian — it will be up EARLY next week. Got delayed by a day or two but it’s almost done.

      • Alexander Miller on 10.20.10 @ 3:51PM

        Yeah ive been interested in creating my own hackintosh for avid and c4d but i dont have the funds for trail and error… really looking forward to your instructions. is it osx86 or is it a legit snow leopard that you would buy from apple with update support and what not? Or will i have to wait a week? lol

      • thanks a lot man
        I’m really excited

  • Until they fix things like the WordPress app for iPad, these new Airs will probably be the travelling bloggers machine of choice. But I think the iPad is pitched to a slightly different user – i bought one the other day – and to me it’s a kind of ‘holiday computer’. You can’t really do to much work on it – which is a good thing… it’s like, the computer for relaxing. But it’s presentational , too, good for showing clients, colleagues and peers your work. Plus it’s very ergonomic – something hunching laptops and desktops can’t really compete with.

    i’m always amazed at the way Apple find ways to shove their new machines into gaps that serve a new customer. I can imagine taking an Air on a trip where I needed to type, blog, and edit and dump photos. Anyone serious about video or audio is going to jump to a Macbook Pro for that.

    The Airs and the iPad are both exceptional vacation/travel computers. The iPad is better for reading, and the Air is better for writing. Fix the WordPress app and the iPad has me all the way :)

    • What’s up with WordPress app? Haven’t used it on an iPad.

      • It’s really buggy… broken pretty much. u can’t even upload images…. desperately needs an update. maybe there’s a way around it with some other app, I don’t really know of one…

  • The one thing you should know, New MacBook Air is not using SSD, it’s just a flash storage just like iPad.
    (You can check it here –
    It has flash cards like SD, CF on its mainboard, so it could be very slow then reading/writing data.

    • That depends on how the implement it. Most SSDs are built using the same type of flash chips just configured to stripe data for faster reads and writes. What makes SD and (most) CF cards slower is they use fewer chips, not that the chips are worse. The speed will depend on how Apple is implementing the flash.

      I think it will be somewhere between SSD and iPad speeds.

  • I never thought I would pick a MacBook Air over a cheaper Pro, but when I get a new laptop soon I think that’s what I’m going to do. I think the new Airs are perfect for a second computer.

    • Me too — it’s time to replace my 4.5 year-old MacBook Pro, which can’t even play Flash video anymore (though that would probably make Apple happy). I wouldn’t buy an Air to be a primary machine, but now that I have the hackintosh it’s perfect.

      • I completely agree about this being a great road machine. Your post for the Hackintosh has got me excited to FINALLY move into the APPLE world. Being able to have my base machine at home and then this little laptop for offload and logging of clips in the field is perfect. From what I was reading on a post on wired or tuaw I think it was, the guy said he completely surprised how well it held up to his old small Macbook Pro. Really encouraging to think you could get away with having a laptop as thin as the air and still have basic edit ability. :)

  • I don’t usually comment but I gotta admit thankyou for the post on this special one : D.