back to article It was the MacBook Air sub-notebook

For once the rumour mill was right. "There's something in the air," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. And then he hit us with the MacBook Air. It’s aluminium, has black keys, is super, super thin, and Steve held it easily with his fingertips. Apple MacBook Air Thinnovation “It’s the world’s thinnest notebook,” he went on. It has …


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  1. Alan
    Jobs Halo

    have to wonder if...

    The first 'smash this device' video on youtube will be it snapping in two like balsa wood?

  2. Andrew

    Let's put money on the RMA reasons...

    It's too thin.. so here goes.

    Battery Life will be rubbish - not the advertised.

    Someone is bound to snap it.. or sit on it.

    Internet Connection will be limited.. I'd need my ethernet.

    It too thin - on a lap it'd feel horrible I'm sure...

    Let the flaming commence :)

  3. Andrew Badera
    Jobs Horns

    so what's it going to COST?

    Based on the specs, I'm ready to turn in my Eee PC ... but not if it's going to cost me a year's salary.

  4. Bjørn Vermo


    Why would I want a thinner computer? I doubt it will be very sturdy, and thickness is not the limiting dimension of the current generation of notebooks either. If anything, I'd go for a thicker, more reliable model with longer battery life. I still have a Psion NetBook which works.

  5. Tim Greenwood

    The dark side..?

    I am even more tempted by the dark side now as I had already pencilled in a mac as my likely next laptop. That seems to tick a few of the right boxes immediately and I have to say it looks quite sexy.

    Am I now a lost cause or is there still time for me to turn away?

  6. Darryl

    Man is this thing going to overheat

    ...given Apple's track record with cooling (or lack thereof)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I Like It, but I Won't Get One

    I need either more screenspace (I use a 17") or less (If this will be a dinky thing I use to impress clients, then I don't even need 13". 10" like the TZ is fine).

    I also need more disk space, more RAM and more speed.

    I'll wait until they start to apply some of these techniques to the bigger bunch.

    I also expect to see a FIRESTORM of issues arise. Some will probably end in recalls. This tech is so extreme, and the tolerances so low, that something HAS to go wrong (Anybody remember the "FireBook 5300"?)

    It's the asbestos jacket...I expect "You Hate Steve" flames, even though I'm a die-hard Mac user/programmer/evangelist.

  8. Allan Rutland

    Is it just me...

    or this thing looks like it has no ports at all? No USB seem to be visible, no firewire, no nothing by the looks. And from what it seems, the usual Apple lets seal the battery into it means when the batteries gone, this things binned. That you can bearly get away with on MP3 players, but at the price this thing is, its a bit silly to expect it to be disposable. Slick fashion item, yet utterly useless otherwise.

  9. Gareth

    re: so what's it going to COST

    Maybe it wasn't there when you read the article, but it says at the end: £1199.

    By my reckoning, that's enough for an eePC AND a plane ticket to travel to whichever beach that model hangs out on.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No rear or underside picture?

    We need to know what ports it has. Surely there must be a power socket, or is it 1G for 5 hours then go buy another one? Someone already mentioned ethernet, USB would be useful, considering you can get USB hubs that replicate all the usual ports found on the back of a PC.

    Also is the battery replaceable? I imagine something that thin would be useful in the construction of letter bombs as already demonstrated by Mr J himself.

  11. jim
    Gates Horns


    Does it run Windows XP?

  12. Daniel
    Thumb Up


    maybe the standard mac books will get even more affordable now ...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Metric Martyrs

    "The MacBook Air goes from 1.9cm down to 0.4cm at the thin end. It has a width of 32cm, a depth of 22.4in and weighs in at 1.36kg"

    What is this, a lesson in dimensions from that NASA guy who mixed up measurements:

    At least this will not cost $125m, though knowing Apple..........

    Oh and also Toshiba did this back in 2002. Anyone remember the Portege 2010CT?

    1.19kg and 1.91cm thick

    built in wireless, USB2 and Ethernet removable battery and a magnesium alloy case.

    Is it me or are Apple way behind the curve?!

    AC as just waiting for the iFlame!

  14. Herby Silver badge


    No, it probably won't run XP, only Vista.

  15. Phil Endecott Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Halve the weight please.

    Tosh portege R500 10U is 790 grams. This is twice that.

  16. Vaughn
    Thumb Up

    Id like to point out...

    It has 4 ports: Magsafe (AC), Headphone, USB and a Mini DVI port that can be broken out to Composite, Digital and S-Video as I recall. The latter three 'drop down' when needed- thats why they are hard to discern in the product shots.

    As someone pointed out, I am sure that a bevy of port replicators will be released, this is the first Mac I know that opens the door for enterprising developers to write the drivers for the many existing options too.

    Lastly the MBAir is not limited to borrowing optical drives from nearby Macs, it can wirelessly possess PC hosts too. :)

  17. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns

    AAPL 166.72 -12.06 points.. Wall Street says YAWN!!

    OK Apple Tards, explain this in your terms of Apple Fantasy-land and the Apple World of Denial.

    Apple (AAPL) was up to $199.92 on the NASDAC exchange just before the years end, with all the pending Fruits - Nuts -n- Flakes Bowl aka MWSF. Now with grand YAWN intro of MacBook hAIRbrain Apple stock CRASHES 12.06 points in hours and a total value LOST of $33.20 (265.6 points) since 12/31/07. Think Apple's jig is up? Wall Street seems to agree! Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ......


    (I sold my 200 shares, bought at $145, at $199.71. Thank you Apple Tard that bought them)

  18. AnonymousEngineer
    Dead Vulture

    To Quote Will Smith in Men in Black...

    I fell like I'm gonna break this damn thing.

    How long before someone snaps an airbook in half?

  19. Alex

    I've got one!

    a toshiba portege 2010CT that is, it hates me, it has one nipple and about 32mb of memory, I need some kind of DamnSmall OS to squirt into it but then it has drivers from Mars!!

    still that macair does look quite tasty and no doubt it would preform considerably better than my macbookpro in the fliping eggs dept!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Useless at multimedia


    one usb port. No Firewire. 1.8 inch hard disk?

    DV editing on that is not going to be fun, let alone HD. Of course, it'd run great if you fork over £700 for the flash drive upgrade.

    A Macbook would probably get more performance than this on IO bound tasks. For a third of the price.

    And if all you want is a lightweight surfing machine, then why not get an eeepc? It's actually small, rather than 'thin'.. Whoever asked for a thin laptop? Small, that's they key.

    I really don't understand who this laptop is for.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    I remember the Toshiba

    A fantastic machine. Apple are def way behind although unlike Tosh you will probably hear how great it is, how innovative, how stylish and how must have as Apple hype it beyond belief and throw mega bucks at marketing it. The sheeple will believe it too!

  22. Colin Wilson
    Thumb Down

    My wife just made a good point...

    You can:

    1) fly to the US (although we prefer Canada)

    2) buy it at an Apple store

    3) fly home

    4) declare the purchase to customs and pay the import duties

    5) send off the claim form to get the sales tax back from Canada

    ...and it'd STILL BE F*CKING CHEAPER than Apple are trying to sell it to UK buyers for :-/

  23. Ray Gratis

    Thin becomes sharp?

    How thin does something have to be before it is considered sharp?

    What a larf if these are confiscated at airport security!

  24. Nick Mallard

    Battery :/

    And they've not learned from the iPhone disaster - this has a sealed, non user replacable battery too.

    That'll be expensive in a couple of years.

    The price doesn't look too bad, but once you look closer at some of the components, I'd not want them in a very, very, very cheap budget PC notebook - 4200rpm ata drive? That won't last long - and how much will the solid state replacement cost? :)

    It does look nice though, and this will be the first nice thing I've said about Apple. Ever. That's how laptops should be looking but it does need further expansion possibilities and a proper battery.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A huge let-down

    Good stuff: It looks great. It's really thin and light. It has a backlit keyboard.

    Bad stuff: It starts at £1200. The solid state disk model is £2030! (a 17" Macbook Pro is £1800). It has shared memory graphics. You can't upgrade the RAM. There's one USB2 port. There's no ethernet. The battery isn't user replaceable. The screen is glossy only.

    What is this product? Is it supposed to be an 'ultra-high end of the low end' laptop? Is there such a market?

    Why have Apple spent so much time and effort working on the Macbook when it was fine as it was? The gap was that left by the 12" Powerbook is what needed filling. Basing this on the guts of the Macbook Pro, ethernet, a hole for more RAM and at least two more USB ports would fully justify the first price (nothing can justify the second!). I would happily have it a pound heavier and a bit thicker to make up for it.

    How disappointing.

  26. Michael Jarve
    Jobs Halo

    Cost!? Be damned

    God himself delivers his only begotten laptop and people are concerned with cost? Blasphemy!

  27. Tag

    re: Id like to point out...

    It may be able to 'borrow' optical drives, admittedly a nice touch, but what about if I don't have another Mac right next to me to borrow from? More to the point, if I do, then why do I need to buy this thing?

    Secondly, Apple can't say "it's the world's thinnest laptop" since as far as I'm concerned, it isn't really one. No ethernet, no optical drive inside, and one USB? Once I've tacked on port replicators and an optical drive and a power supply, it'll be a pretty cumbersome piece of kit.

  28. Paul F
    Thumb Up

    For Enthusiasts Only

    Obviously this isn't meant to appeal to anyone who doesn't own another, bigger computer. It's a travel device only, kind of like a spider. You have the wagon for utility, the sports car for joyriding. You'd have to be daft to use one as your primary computer.

    Also - Ethernet is an option as a $29 USB dongle.

    Big minus for me? No exchangeable battery. Bzzzt!

  29. Daniel

    No Firewire?

    1 USB, and no Firewire? Have they lost their minds?

    Seriously, this sounds like the perfect machine to replace my aging ibook, especially since I care more about size than power anyway. But ports - that's a different story. 1 USB port for I/O is a joke!


  30. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    But is it as good as my old vintage Toshiba Portege

    But is it as good as my old turn of the century P3 Toshiba Portege replete with a rugged alloy case a long 3 hour operational life on a small 3Ah battery with wifi a plug in via PCMCIA card and so on !

    It too also fits in the same size envelope too !

    Now it they sold for a grand maybe but anything more is way too much of a rip off !

    Now where was the the Paris angle again ?

  31. Silvergunner
    Thumb Down


    Been a Mac faithful, it was news to me that Apple are making such a huge mistake. The main points are that it really isn't that different from a standard Macbook, but with a thinner construction and almost twice the price. I was expecting Apple to release a machine to compete against the EEE for around £400-500.

    Seems like they didn't listen though, and this will fail like the iPhone did. Steve, if you are reading this, PLEASE release a low-cost 7" Macbook instead of this £1200 monstrosity...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also the USB port can be an Ethernet port

    Apparently there is a USB dongle to give a wired ethernet port. Not clear if this is a USB to ethernet adapter or just a passthrough that brings out a proprietary connection to an ethernet port in the USB port. If it is the latter, it means you couldn't use a USB hub with this so having a wired ethernet port would take your only USB port.

  33. Tom Chiverton

    That tosh...

    The Toshiba maybe the same thickness, but look at the rest of the specs - it's only 866meg by 256 with a 30 gig disk !

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @ Webster

    First, I'd like to thank you for taking my Apple shares from me when I sold them at $145, after buying them at $20. Maybe one of these days you should take the time to learn how the market really works and understand what drives market fluctuations. Perhaps you should do a comparison between Apple and Dell over the last five years. Yeah, that's Apple up there returning the four bagger, while Dell is the slightly lower than flat line.

    As to Anonymous Engineer, about as long as it takes them to break the little Sony VGN-TZ150N/B laptop I would image. BTW, the Sony runs $1900, and only has 1 GB RAM, and only runs at 1.06.

    Finally, a special call out to the AC who posted the Toshiba reference. PIII, 866 mhz, with 256 MB RAM, all for £1324 pounds. Are you really trying to say that this new Apple is really the same animal as that Toshiba?

    Do any of you anti-Apple fanatics ever bother to even try to read about the product? Nah, I bet you just see the word Apple and go into a hissy-fit.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    not bad...

    its not too bad. yes, the ports are a limitation - ethernet RJ45 presentation via a USB? nasty..but it'd provide. likewise, serial port via USB. but thats a lot of dongles suddenly...and an external DVD/CD/BluRay?? unit. nasty.

    yes, some other laptops are lighter and thinner...but they are quite far behind for processor/memory and HD space.

    that said, i think I'd prefer a couple of EeePCs instead...especially since Apple seem so content to rape the UK for pricing - yet again! its cheaper to FLY TO NEW YORK TO BUY ONE !!

    Apple != helping solve global warming

  36. Colin Wilson

    The Paris Hilton angle

    Perhaps it'd fit in there too, as well as an envelope...

  37. DrXym Silver badge

    Please check your brain in at the door

    This thing is too expensive, has too few features and has a sealed in battery, hard disk and memory. Who in the right mind would buy something that doesn't even allow the battery to swapped out? Would it have killed Apple to put a screwplate underneath to access the battery, or to make the battery clip in somehow like every other laptop in existence? No it wouldn't. Just like with the iPod and iPhone this seems like a cynical ploy to encourage users to "upgrade" when the battery dies, or suffer the horrible inconvenience and expense of getting it replaced. It certainly doesn't indicate good design.

    Also judging from Apple's recent record on build quality with expanding batteries, yellowing cases, melted power cables and overheating it will be interesting to read the tales of woe that impatient new owners of this laptop will have.

  38. Will
    Jobs Horns

    Share price

    To the guy gloating over the share price, anyone who has ever watched Apple's share price after an Apple announcement will know that it always takes a dive. This is because the mediatards and fanboys whip themselves up in to a frenzy of expectation which drives up the share price, then when the products don't live up to the expectations it crashes between 10 and 20%. Now is always a great time to buy, you can make a good return by the end of January.

  39. Ben Bufton
    Thumb Up

    I think it looks cool...

    ... it's not cheap, but I'm not cheap - can't wait!


  40. jai

    re: My wife just made a good point...

    the difference between the US and UK prices works out to be just 300 quid. cheapest flight the New York that i can find at the moment is 260quid so you're gonna have to time your flight to conincide with a favourable currency rates, and also so that you won't have to stay over in a hotel anywhere

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What's the Paris Hilton angle then?

    I got it! It's the Paris Hilton of laptops. Thin and pretty at first glance. After a second look though it is ultimately shallow, expensive, and useless.

    And the Air also has three ports...

  42. Hywel Thomas


    The comparison of US to UK price is slightly unfair, failing to account for VAT.

    USD -> GBP, add 10%, add 17.5% VAT and you get £2029.

    The apparent 30% difference is really just 10%.

  43. Nexox Enigma


    You can get a Fujitsu P series for about that weight with a full compliment of ports, verified long battery life, and an optical drive for a little less weight. Of course it's thicker, but thats because it has roughly the same sized parts crammed into a smaller area, since it has a smaller screen. Which runs pretty much the exact same resolution as this 13.3 inch screen, so it doesn't really matter, unless your eyesight is bad, in which case, get glasses.

    I suppose nobody wants to copy over music or movies for the road, because doing that over wifi will be loads of fun. No docking station either, which is pretty much a must for any laptop that I move around frequently. Then again its got no ports anyway, so I'm not exactly going to be burdened with plugging in lots of periferals every time I use it on my desk. Better invest in super high mark up (and inferior) Apple bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

    I'd rather have my 4 year old Fujitsu P5020D than this thing. I've dropped it, stepped on it, melted bits of it with a soldering iron, and gotten it into a few bike crashes over the years, and it still works great. Its obviously a bit slower than this thing, but since I'm running Slackware with Fluxbox, not OS X with that 'impressive' gui, it is probably a hell of a lot more responsive. Plus its small enough that I can use it comfortable on airline tables with the seat ahead of me reclined fully, on my lap, and any number of places where a 13.3 inch screen might be a tight fit. Plus they fit in my favourite backpack, which holds only up to 11 inch laptops. If I wanted to spend that much on a new laptop, I'd get a new Fujitsu... which is actually lighter than this thing. And weight is what bothers me the most.

  44. Nick Fisher
    Thumb Up


    Who uses RJ45 connectors on laptops these days? Er, that's right, no-one.

    Notice it doesn't have parallel ports or those splendid PS/2 DIN connectors either. Those fools at Apple, what were they thinking?

  45. Greg
    Jobs Horns

    The stupidest laptop I've ever seen

    There's a better vid here, sports fans:

    At 0.4cm thick at the thin end, what's to stop you snapping it in two? He went on about it being durable, but he opened it with his fingertips. And if it's only that thick, it can't have any cooling.

    And what the hell is this:

    "It's optimised for the wireless world in a way that only Apple can do."

    Errrr...what magical way do they have that the rest of us don't?

    Oh, wait, it's wireless-N. Nice. So it's non-standard wireless and partly proprietary, most probably. That'll be the bit that only Apple can do.

    Also from the vid:

    "Re: Screen - Whether you're delivering a keynote or watching a movie, everything is blah blah blah..."

    Watching a movie? On what? It's got no optical drive! OK, I could rip some to the HDD, but only a few, seen as the HDD's so damned small. So that's useless too. I notice that every solution he has for it not having an optical drive involves buying another Mac product. Yes, why use your existing DVD library when you can rent ours? Why install stuff when you can use your other Mac to install stuff (which you can only do by....installing stuff)? Backup? We've got another Mac product for you! Or perhaps you'd like to add to the already OTT £1200 price tag to buy the external drive? I am reminded of this:

    As for ports - one USB port (for the optical drive it's missing) and a proprietary monitor port so you'll end up paying a fortune for adaptors that you then have to carry with the system. Nice.

    And if I'm not much mistaken, that's a sealed-in, non-replaceable battery. So in a few years, it's dead and there's nothing you can do. Except buy the new Mac, of course.

    That's got to be the stupidest laptop I've seen in ages. So I'm sure Apple will sell millions of them to their fanbase. All they have to do, it seems, is wear a black top and say "wireless" a lot.

    I do like the trackpad gestures, though. Very nice, those.

  46. Paul Murray
    Thumb Down

    My Next Mac

    My next Mac will not be one of these. It will be a PowerMac with dual quad-cores and a truckload of memory. Laptops be damned. I got a 12" powerbook with a PPC and 3/4s of a gig. Run MySql, two instances of glassfish (DEV and PROD), The GIMP, and eclipse enteprise and the damn thing starts grinding to a halt. "Ewww! I'm running out of memory! Watch the beach ball while I swap memory for a minute!". Weak as piss.

  47. jubtastic1
    Paris Hilton

    Well colour me disappointed

    I was [s]hoping[/s] praying for an ultraportable, something to replace my aging and battle weary PowerBook 12". Instead Apple deliver a feature crippled ultrathin with a very dodgy precedent setting sealed in battery.

    When exactly did thin become such a desirable goal that it became ok to leave out everything else? Am I supposed to get a new thinner laptop case to reclaim that .5cm? MacBook Air? PHBook more like.

    This long time Apple fan/technician is going to get an EeePC, it isn't exactly what I want but at least it's light and small, two qualities that tend to be top of your list when you have to lug the bastard thing around all day.

  48. dave hands

    disposable laptops

    Only a very very rich man could have come up with this. A £1200 disposable laptop.

    What a muppet.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Its all about looking good

    Apple are becoming more and more like a marketing company and this product shows it.

    One USB only - its a bit crippled today or Apple have some huge intention of everything going wireless soon?

  50. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    The Battery

    According to the boys at digg the battery is USD$129 and free fitting as in a similar deal to the iPhoney , the yeah but is that you have to sign the usual disclaimer about the no guarantee regarding data loss 101 doc .

    The usual do it yourself battery boys will figure out within the next month or so on how to halve that cost !

    But the lack of ports or port extender or add on flat battery pack will be telling , it thus reminded me why of Macintosh Mark 1 was a total dog because it too suffered from similar faults back in its day ! But oh my the empty case of Mac Mark 1 does make a wonderful bog paper holder though !

    Now I know what the Paris connection is , thanks guys !


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