back to article Cheap MacBook Airs for all!

Apple's cheapest MacBook Air will currently set you back $999 or£849, depending on where you buy it. Wait until August, and it could cost you just $799/£640. So says Digitimes' inevitable unnamed laptop industry mole, but it's worth noting that the rumour is simply that Apple is thinking about cutting the price of the skinny …

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Anonymous Coward

They are not 'radically' different as the others have just copied them - some very closely. Even at the current price you can get a device that runs OS X or Windows or OS X and Windows. You do not appear to really be paying a premium as the other manufacturers struggle to even match Apple's price.

My pick is the 11" Macbook Air with 4Gb RAM and 128Gb SSD - it's basically fast enough for most people to use as a desktop (plugged in to a larger screen) and small / light enough to actually carry with you (unlike the majority of notebooks). I used to use a netbook but in comparison (and I accept it is more expensive) they are a joke - slow, poor screens and larger.

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Anonymous Coward

Correction. They are not 'radically' different since form follows function.

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Anonymous Coward

Look at some of them - stick an Apple logo on the back and who would know? It's basically been - Apple have come up with something nice - copy it and we'll coin the term 'ultra notebook' to define that type of device.

When they are all the same (and some are actually more expensive) - can't see much reason not to buy the 'original'.

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"Apple have come up with something nice - copy it and we'll coin the term 'ultra notebook' to define that type of device."

We're talking clamshell portables with trackpads here- when the only real differentiators are hinge design, materials, and dimensions it's a bit of a stretch to talk about anyone copying anyone else.

The only really original design I've seen in this sector is the IBM/Lenovo butterfly keyboard and the first company to build one of those into a slim, small format machine stands a damned good chance of getting money out of me :-)

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@AC 8th May 2012 10:06

"Look at some of them - stick an Apple logo on the back and who would know? It's basically been - Apple have come up with something nice - copy it and we'll coin the term 'ultra notebook' to define that type of device"

It could also be that Apple stuck a sticker on a laptop and calling it MacBook. Looks a lot like mine from hp bought in 2007. It opens and you get a screen and a keyboard...

Human race is funny like that, you tell them that something is great and the majority blindly agree. Some of Picasso's stuff is a valid example I think...

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Re: @AC 8th May 2012 10:06

"calling it MacBook" should be "called it MacBook"

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Windows

Put a sticker on it

A friend's wife was complaining that she wanted an Apple MacBook for her birthday (a couple of years ago), so he did just this. He bought an HP, stuck a *really crappy* apple sticker over the HP logo, and she was, and still is, very happy with it.

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Bronze badge

Re: Put a sticker on it

Should have posted AC, expect apple to be calling soon with court order for you to divulge your friends name.

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Linux

I'm reading this on an 8Gb SSD Acer Aspire One

running openSUSE 12.1/KDE 4.8.3 netbook edition, it cost me about £180/about 5 years ago add in failed keyboard, failed network card, (though now 2.4Ghz/5Ghz) both in last 12 months, still less than £200.

I can watch video fullscreen no dropout never tried to edit video so don't know but low/no expectations. My portable office device of choice. I don't know what you mean by too slow, screen fine but obviously smaller - OTOH about £600 cheaper and no signs of running out of the oomph I need.

Not going to argue with any aesthetic choice you might have made but the "copied" BS is a tired trope, e.g., http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa043099.htm and do we want to discuss, e.g., KHTML?

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Re: Put a sticker on it

I've got a glossy black HP laptop from a few years ago that also has a very unconvincing apple sticker (from an ipod box, i think) over the HP logo. You can see the HP through the sticker and everything. Doesnt stop people asking if its an Apple laptop when they see it.

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Re: I'm reading this on an 8Gb SSD Acer Aspire One

" I don't know what you mean by too slow, screen fine but obviously smaller - OTOH about £600 cheaper and no signs of running out of the oomph I need."

Try to compile something on it, a custom Kernel maybe.

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Silver badge

Dolphins copied sharks

Sharks have been around for longer, so it is obvious that dolphins copied sharks. And the Thylacine clearly copied wolves and hyenas, but their industrial espionage failed them on the placenta blueprints. The sharks considered suing, but they know dolphins are more intelligent and can put on a better presentation in a court of law.

Anyone here is welcome to get their crayons out and show us how to make a thin light laptop that doesn't look like a thin light laptop.

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Re: Dolphins copied sharks

Dolphin tails are horizontal ... shark tails are vertical. This, along with their not having that ridiculous reliance upon breathing air while in the water they live in, like sharks, makes dolphins magical and revolutionary.

Dolphins win. Because being ideally suited to the purpose and having all the features you would expect is not magical, or revolutionary.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Put a sticker on it

That makes his wife stupid, and by association her husband for marrying her.

The association and stupidity doesn't stop there =)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dolphins copied sharks

Dolphins are smart and friendly, and sharks are ugly and cause you problems.

badanology.com

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Anonymous Coward

must

be something new in the pipeline and theu're getting rid of old stock

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Put a sticker on it

... and your point is - that his wife was blind?

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Re: Dolphins copied sharks

Dolphins are not ideally suited for the purpose of swimming underwater.

Evolution has made them very good at surviving there, but being reliant on surfacing every minute to breathe does put a damper on your range of abilities. That and being warm blooded in a cold environment does make you less energy efficent as they need to maintain temperature against the gradient.

Mind you, their brains have proven the great equaliser. While not magical, is certainly revolutionary compared to the primative neural network of the shark.

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Anonymous Coward

Thunderport

Will Apple abandon Thunderport in favour of Ivy Bridge's inherent support for USB 3 ?

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Re: Thunderport

Doubt they'll abandon Thunderbolt. It would be nice if both are included.

Anyway as for cheaper Macbooks, yes please - but digitimes aren;t exactly reliable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thunderport

Unlikely - more likely to support both. Thunderbolt is still the premium connection and it's faster still and it's very nice to be able to plug in a single cable which then does video, firewire, USB, gigabit ethernet etc.

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Gold badge

Re: Thunderport

Not just faster it doesn't burden the CPU as much which is critical when doing audio or video work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thunderport

So, I have a 27 inch iMac with Thunderport. I also have a digital SLR which uses CF cards. The fastest CF card readers are all USB 3 and there are no USB3 - Thunderport converters on the market (not sure if this is technically feasible)...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is Intel's invention, not Slackle. (just have to say it to make sure the fanbois don't go claiming someone elses invention as Apple's own)

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Silver badge

Re: Thunderport

It is technically feasible, because ThunderBolt (LightPeak) is an extension to the PCIe bus, and can do anything an internal PCIe card can (hence the Vaio Z laptop with an external GPU). There is a convoluted and expensive way to do what you want:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresscard34thunderbolt.html

Thunderbolt > ExpressCard 34 adaptor > Expresscard 34 Compact Flash Reader

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Thumb Down

That's "cheaper", not "cheap".

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Anonymous Coward

No-one said they were 'cheap' but I'm guessing new, smaller, lighter components and materials are more expensive than larger ones. The F1 analogy is a bit too obvious but not a bad one.

You can only really compare like for like - compared to a £400 laptop they are a premium - but compared to other ultra notebooks the prices are about the same. As someone who carries my 'Air' around every day I'm actually very glad it's less than half the weight and size of the laptop it replaced (good deal faster as well).

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Errr, the article headline said they were cheap!

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Anonymous Coward

Newsflash: Apple are thinking about...

... lots of things.

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Trollface

Cue the moans from current Air owners going....

..."Wahhhhhhh all these plebs are joining my expensive club...wahhhhhh! I won't look so special sitting in Starbucksa with my precious...wahhhh!"

Etc. Etc.

Oh you look special alright.

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Trollface

Re: Cue the moans from current Air owners going....

It's not Apple that does a laptop called Envy is it... Try HP.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue the moans from current Air owners going....

Green with envy eh? I must have owned at least 15 laptops / netbooks etc. over the last 15 years. The MacBooks just get it right - well made (important when you actually carry it around - whereas I suspect many chunkier laptops are sitting on desks 90% of the time).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue the moans from current Air owners going....

Pretty obvious where the envy comes from when the other manufactures see Apple's sales figures and decide to near-enough copy their designs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue the moans from current Air owners going....

None of the Apple owners I know give a toss about what other people think. It always seems to be other people commenting on them rather than the other way around, I wonder why.

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Re: Cue the moans from current Air owners going....

There is a subtle difference between buying something for its aesthetic properties, and buying something for the way you think it will enhance your own aesthetic properties while with it.

I wouldnt buy a high end laptop to make me look good. I would buy one because it looked good.

However, on the flip side the reverse is true. I would not buy a cheap ugly laptop, because while using it in public i would look cheap and ugly.

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There is one killer app for Macs - iBook Author

I bought a MacBook Pro a couple of years ago, hoping to have the "Apple Experience". Nothing much happened. It was amusing to play with it for a while, but then I had to get on with some real work so I installed Parallels and Win7 (which worked astonishingly well). Realized after a couple of months it was just silly to be using such an expensive machine to run Windows. I literally never ran anything in OSX any more, so I gave the MacBook Pro to my daughter and went back to a proper computer (one with a docking station - a stupid and incomprehensible omission from the MacBooks IMHO).

Then Apple released their "enhanced eBooks" for the iPad. The most famous of these (and it's free) is EO Wilson's "Life on Earth". It's astonishingly good in terms of the ability to integrate rich media seamlessly.

When I discovered that Apple was giving away the authoring package for free (iBook Author), it caused me to actually buy an iPad 2 (no point in paying a hundred quid more for the retina display), and "borrow" the MacBook Pro back from my daughter. Note that if you're developing these iBook you need the iPad for testing the book.

I now love a lot of things about the iPad (it works so smoothly compared to my Android ICS tablet). I hate iTunes and the pain in the ass way that you get content on and off the iPad.

But as a long time "Apple skeptic" I think they have very cleverly created a new application (enhanced ebooks), along with the development environment so that anyone can put together a very sexy looking, multimedia text book.

If I can be persuaded to like Apple then anyone can :-)

Cheers,

SPuD

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is one killer app for Macs - iBook Author

there is a point in getting the retina display. unless you are a blind fish :P. I too am developing a book for ibooks and actually i find it that books are only readable on the retina display - no headache, no need to zoom in. This also applies to all text-presenting apps.

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Anonymous Coward

Omitted Truth

"But as a long time "Apple skeptic" I think they have very cleverly.." lied and cheated and colluded with publishers to fix the price of eBooks.

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Re: Omitted Truth

They should come to germany, here the price of books is fixed by law :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is one killer app for Macs - iBook Author

For reading books the new iPad >>>>>>> iPad 2.

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FAIL

Re: Omitted Truth

>>>"But as a long time "Apple skeptic" I think they have very cleverly.." lied and cheated and colluded with publishers to fix the price of eBooks.

Errr...no they haven't. Apple does not "fix the price" of eBooks. As an author you can choose to give your book away for free (see the example I gave - EO Wilson "Life on Earth"). Or to charge anything you like up to $15.

Oh - perhaps you mean they fix the maximum price of eBooks at $15?

Gosh - as a consumer I would think that's a good thing.

Since you're obviously a fellow Apple-hater who has glanced at news headlines without reading the story, you may be referring to the exclusivity clause in the iBook Author publishing agreement. This is as follows:

- You get to use the authoring environment free of charge. This authoring environment is way better than anything that exists in the PC/Linux/Android world. The resulting iBooks are so slick that there is no equivalent technology on the horizon for an Android tablet (I wish there were).

- If you choose to give away your book for free then you can distribute it however you like (ie. not through the IBook Store).

- If you choose to give your book away for free then you can use the facilities of the iBook store, and Apple will not charge you a dime for doing that. It would cost you a fortune to market a free iBook in anything like the same way if you tried to do it yourself.

- If you choose to charge for your book you must distribute it through the iBook store - you are not allowed to use other distribution mechanisms. This is the point that many people jump on - but that's because they don't understand the publishing world. When you sign any publishing contract you are bound to that publisher exclusively (for that book), unless they release you. Apple is not doing anything different or sneaky here. In fact they only take 30% of your book cost, which is less than half of the normal cut. The author ends up with far more of the final sales price using Apple's mechanism.

Anyway - Apple doesn't need me to defend it - they're doing rather nicely with their hundred billion dollar cash pile. I'm sure they do a lot of things that annoy people, but the iBook agreement is not a lie (or "Omitted Truth"), and is actually a great deal for the authors.

Cheers,

SPuD

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Devil

Best job in the world

Make stuff up about popular product and then get paid.

But anyone can play at this game.....

Dell may remove all DVD drives from laptops

Another PC in a Commodore 64 box may be launched

Apple may only install SSD's in new machines.

Seems an easy game to play.

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Silver badge

Re: Best job in the world

Yep add in -

Xbox/PS3 will have 16 core CPU/run off bananas

20xx will be the year of Linux

iPhone x to be slightly better than last one

etc. etc.

If only real life fishing was so easy. Still it gets the clicks in, if only we wern't all using AdBlock..

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Silver badge

Re: Best job in the world

I disable AdBlock on The Reg, because it was the Reg that told be about it. And they asked me nicely not to use it. It's no hardship on me, because El Reg's ads tend to stay on the right, and don't pop up all over the place like some sites do.

They asked nicely, and I feel I want to encourage that kind of courtesy.

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Silver badge

>MUG consumers

who are happily using Office with menus on a 16:10 display.

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Facepalm

Trolling?

You 're like a stuck record. We get it, you don't like Apple or their users. Well done. I'll make sure that you get a shiny medal. Now, pretty please with a cherry on the top, can you stop trolling and spamming every single Apple article that published here?

So much for the house rules El Reg mods...

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Headmaster

re: it's machines aren't radically different

2 errors in single statement. First, it's not "it's" but "its". Second, they are radically different: Macs can (legally) run MacOS, competition cannot do that. --fix'd dat 4 ya

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