Monday, January 15, 2018

The MacBook Air: A Decade’s Worth of Legacy

Stephen Hackett:

A decade ago, we entered the current era of notebook design when Steve Jobs pulled the future out of an envelope.


At just three pounds, it was a full two pounds lighter than the 13-inch MacBook, which was still wrapped in white or black plastic at the time.


The base model shipped with a 4,200-RPM hard drive straight out of an iPod. This led to the MacBook Air feeling slower than other Macs of the era. A 64 GB SSD option was available for a whopping $999.


In hindsight, it was clear that Apple was building toward a world without optical drives for some time. The media components of this plan were obvious, but the Time Capsule wasn't introduced until this very keynote.

Joe Rossignol:

A decade later, the MacBook Air remains a product in Apple's lineup, but likely only because it is a lower-cost option. Beyond a minor speed bump last June, the notebook hasn't been updated since March 2015[…]

David Sparks:

For early adopters, it was rough going with a very slow spinning disk (unless you paid a mint for the SSD) and a slow processor but even then it was clear Apple was rowing in the right direction. The original MacBook Air even had a hinged door for the USB port, making it feel more like a tiny spaceship than a computer.

What’s striking to me is the huge improvement in size and weight compared with the MacBook of the time. There were a lot of compromises, but you were also getting a lot in return. The weight dropped from 5 lbs. to 3 lbs. (67%). The 2016 MacBook Pro made similar compromises but for diminishing returns. It reduced the weight by less than half a pound (about 10%).

Tim Hardwick:

Apple currently has no plans to make any major upgrades to its MacBook Pro lineup in 2018, according to DigiTimes.

Update (2018-01-17): See also: Hacker News.

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