SteveNote roundup

by Volker Weber


The MacBook Air is pretty slick, but I would not want one. I need access to optical media, and I have had a similar setup in the ThinkPad series. Too many moving parts. It's also missing an Ethernet port, and that is a must have. Showstopper: a sealed battery.

Time Capsule: Airport Extreme with a drive. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a solid thing.

Apple TV: nuf said.

iPhone update: that was expected, read: leaked

iPod Touch update: $20 for the update. Apple is testing the waters. Since they control the distribution channel over the iTunes store, they will probably want to establish total control. I think the SDK will not free the iPhone. You will still need to have your apps approved by Apple and listed on the iTunes store.


wrong link for the time capsule.....

Ole Saalmann, 2008-01-15

nice (and pricy) device, but only one USB port and no Ethernet included will create the need for the iUSBHub, if you have to use a cable LAN and need the external drive.

Ok, Steve has to save something for the next SteveShow ;-)

Armin Auth, 2008-01-15

No Ethernet but 802.11n... Apple took a risk before and dropped the Floppy before anybody else did. Same thing here? I think so.

Christian Kube, 2008-01-15

Volker I believe you have come to some hasty conclusions this time.
You probably haven't been watching the "guided tour" for the macbook air.

If the remote disc sharing feature (mac AND PC) over WiFi works as well as I believe Time Capsule will, well, than there isn't really need for any external, separate, optical disc drive.

As far as the lack of ethernet port, I see your point but I beg to differ here.
It's just a "brave" decision from Apple as much as it was getting rid of floppies on the first iMac ten years ago.
Cable connections to the ethernet are rapidly disappearing in offices as well as at home.
I would not point to this as a shortcoming. Time will tell us.

Pieterjan Lansbergen, 2008-01-15

i been on the X series for a while so im used to no drive , pretty sure i could live without the ethernet jack if there was a 3g modem buildt in also.

if i were a laptop designer for a "regular" company i think its time to update the resume

Flemming Riis, 2008-01-15

They could have integrated at least a Firewire-Port. Ethernet is obsolete - I rarely use it at work. What I really miss however is UMTS. This subnotebook seems to be perfect for "on the road" but I wouldn't want to go via my mobile phone for internet access there all the time.
And of course the battery seems to be rather slim ...
At last I guess that only few will spent 1699 Euros (again a bad joke compared to the 1799 weak Dollars - 1499 Euros would be adequate).

Martin Hiegl, 2008-01-15

-What I really miss however is UMTS

there is still the usb version but it sorta breaks the design

Flemming Riis, 2008-01-15

I don't think I would miss the optical drive if the remote disc thing works as advertised.

But it looks like the battery is not replacable: «Integrated 37-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery».

I keep my laptops for 3 to 5 years, and the only time I have replaced the battery was because it was recalled. But I would probably like to replace the battery of this very portable machine. I guess it's possible, but not cheap/much work.

I can't find an option in the apple store to upgrade the RAM, either. That would be even worse than the non-replaceable battery.

Timo Stamm, 2008-01-15

you can get the ethernet-usb plug for a few euros in the shop. would work for me, umts is not bad either since my mobile phone works great as modem. (+easier to recharge)

Samuel Orsenne, 2008-01-15

The MacBook Air is not for me, I can't do without ethernet and at least 2x USB. But did his Steveness mention if those SSDs will also be available for the regular MacBooks in the near future? Does anybody know?

Frank Dröge, 2008-01-15

Interesting discussion, folks. Here are the reasons for my conclusions:

I have customers who will not entertain the idea to put up a wireless network. Bringing my own Airport Express would violate their policies. I thought a MacBook Air would be a disconnected device but I have learned you can buy a USB dongle. I will uphold my conclusion because a dongle is another moving part.

Apple makes some bold decisions, but I don't like all of them. I don't like the fact that they dropped the VGA port early on. As a speaker I often need to connect to a beamer, and if I leave my Mini-DVI/VGA dongle behind, I am lost. Those are also not readily available so I have become nervous that I must not forget it.

Dropping the optical drive means I cannot burn a CD/DVD while travelling. That is a big no-no since I need this capability quite often. I also cannot read a disk somebody hands me. I would need an intermediary computer to easier share the drive or to transfer from CD to USB stick.

Thus a regular MacBook fits my usage profile better. YMMV.

Volker Weber, 2008-01-15

Regarding the battery: every single Mac I ever owned burned through the first battery in 12 to 18 months. If the battery is sealed and is not covered by AppleCare, that is the end of the story for me.

Volker Weber, 2008-01-15

@Volker: the you have to buy a new one every 12-18month. sounds like a good strategy for increasing sales :)

I really like this new Macbook Air, I wonder if they will make Crumpler-Bags for them looking like big envelopes ...

Samuel Orsenne, 2008-01-15

I admit - I don't like toshiba


Did anybody see the Portege r500 ?

12 inch, 800gr, transflective display for good usage with sun light, with optical drive, about 3200 Euro

seen in a Darmstadt notebook store


pierre kerchner, 2008-01-16

Yeah. I bet it does home movies.

Volker Weber, 2008-01-16

I am wondering, after Apple released its time capsule which appears to me as an ordinary NAS with an access point attached, could this also affect the selection of supported network volumes for Time Machine? Maybe in 10.5.2?

Since you educated me into buying a ReadyNas, I would love to have that device as a supported backup target, preferable over SMB. Somehow I have a bad feeling in my guts to commit my data to some "unsupported" media...

Holger Just, 2008-01-16

So it's all my fault? :-)

I have an external USB drive attached to the ReadyNAS and save my backups there. Time Machine fills up all available space.

Volker Weber, 2008-01-16

It has to be someones fault :)

I haven't had the ability to play with Time Machine yet since I'm technically in the process of switching to the bright world of Apple. But isn't there some switch to restrict the file system size Time Machine is able to occupy? At least for local backups there absolutely has to be some sort of quota mechanism.

But at last I assume there is still no update to your advice on using the ReadyNAS unsupported. So lets see what Apple has in the pipeline to brighten up our day.

Holger Just, 2008-01-16

I'm just back from Macworld... and I laid my hands on a MacBook Air.

Your reasons make sense, vowe. But if you touched one, I am very sure you would say, "I want one!" I certainly did.

esther schindler, 2008-01-18

I agree with Esther. The MacBook Air is triggering the same effect in me like the new iPod nano when it made its first appereance. I had an iPod, but I couldn't resist the new thing because it looked so good and did exactly what I needed. Now that I have an "old" Powerbook the new thing is tempting, since I would mostly use it at home.

One aspect that hasn't been discussed here yet, however, is games. Many computer games need the originally purchased CD/DVD to be inserted for copy protection despite most or all data is being read from the harddisk. If I tried to play such a game, I would probably have to crack it despite I legally purchased it. Maybe it would be possible to have the CD sit in the other computer that the MB Air can access, but while this makes sense for installing software, it surely doesn't for gaming.

Philipp Sury, 2008-01-18

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