As many Apple fans had hoped, Apple introduced a new ultra-portable laptop computer today. It's ridiculously thin. It has a nice LED screen. It's environmentally friendly. I'm probably not going to get one.
I've been waiting for Apple to announce a proper successor to the 12" PowerBook for some time now. Sadly, I believe the new MacBook Air isn't it.
For one thing, the hard drive is a potential issue. The default hard drive is an 80Gig 4200RPM drive, a bit on the slow side. A much better alternative is the optional 64Gig solid-state hard drive, but this will set you back a whopping additional $1000, putting the total price of the MacBook Air above the price of a MacBook Pro, or even a low-end Mac Pro.
The thing that kills it for me, however is that the Air lacks a proper graphics card. It uses an Intel integrated video chipset, which, according to some reviews isn't exactly a great performer. Granted, the intended audience is not your average gamer. However, it's somewhat sad when my four year old computer would probably outperform the Air in an average game, even though the Air has a much more advanced CPU and more memory. And remember, the 12" Powerbook did have "dedicated" graphics from NVidia that would also likely beat the Air's integrated Intel video chipset today in average performance tests.
The Air, thus, ends up looking like a really thin MacBook, without a DVD drive. Or, if you buy the solid-state drive model, it ends up looking like a crazy expensive, really thin MacBook, without a DVD drive, that someone will likely attempt to steal from you.
Not that I'm advocating buying a Dell at all, but they do offer a notebook, the XPS M1330, that is slightly cheaper, but has a better CPU, an actual GPU, a DVD drive, and is only about half an inch thicker, and about a pound heavier. So why get the Air? Simple. It comes with Mac OS. Really, that honestly is almost worth the price of admission. Almost.
One more thing. The Dell comes with Vista, which you should factor into the cost, since you'll be spending some quality time replacing it with Windows XP.