back to article Apple MacBook Air Late 2008

The MacBook Air is a quintessential Apple product, one that demonstrates both the company’s strengths and weaknesses. When it was launched at the beginning of 2008, the Air was admired – nay, drooled over – because of its elegant, ultra-portable design. But while some people lusted after it, others pointed to its limitations …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Oops! I sat on it!

    I don't see the point of a laptop so thin that you might break it by looking at it the wrong way!

    There's some nice PC laptops like the new toshiba satellite pro's which have core2duo, 3Gb ram, dvd writer, loads of extras.

    Posting anonymously since i don't want the mac fanboys hunting me down with a pack of wolves and shotguns!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...thin, but...

    Probably far more durable than most other laptops out thhere. Evidently, you haven't touched or held one. Still too expensive though.

  3. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)


    I haven't sat on my Air, but I have dropped it. It hit the lower left corner of the screen, which is now (vaguely - you have to look close to see it) dented. No damage was done to the screen.

    I can't think of many (any?) plastic cased laptops that are as resilient.

  4. Chris Gibson

    Here we go...

    Cue fifty posts along the lines of "The MacBook Air is crap because it doesn't meet my needs / I can't afford it / I hate Apple" and so on.

    Case in point above: "It might break if you look at it the wrong way! LOL!", writes Mike Giggler. It's actually an extremely solid laptop -- I think that one of the most impressive things about the MBA is that although it's very thin, it doesn't feel flimsy at all.

    Just my opinion, though. If you want a laptop with a load of ports, of if you need a really powerful machine, or if you're looking to spend less than a grand, or if you just think there are better alternatives, don't buy a MacBook Air. Seems pretty simple to me.

  5. Farai

    @Anonymous Coward ; Oops! I sat on it!

    There are very few laptops you CAN sit on and get away with it - you even have to pick and choose amongst the ToughBooks to get away with such foolery.

    I do wish people would come up with genuine reasons not to like something; objective reasons that show your comment is well thought out.

    You want Satellite Pro - go get one. I like, and use OSX - and these are the machines that run it. I bet you don't go flaming Nokia for not licensing their S40 mobile platform to other phone makers. You buy the phone out there that most closely matches your needs, wants and wallet.

    And yet Apple doing it's own thing in that same vein doesn't seem fair - WHY?!?

    Mine's the one with made by Freedom of Choice (TM)

  6. jai

    thin? yes - fragile? no

    just to add - i was having a go with a friends MBA and when they weren't looking, i did try and flex it a little, to see how fragile it felt, and it didn't really feel like it was in any danger of snapping. i doubt it'd prove to be any more likely to break than any other laptop

  7. Greg
    Boffin's still a piece of crap?

    £1700? No adaptors, no optical drive, non-swappable battery, non-upgradeable RAM, 1 USB port, no chuffin' RJ45 (I mean, come on!) and it's £1700? Are you mad?? Why in God's name would someone buy one of these things unless they wanted to be a complete poser? Yes it looks good (though it'd look better in black), but I'd rather have something I could actually use.

    If you want to be a bit of a poser, go right ahead. Me, I'll stick with my current laptop - a surprisingly well built £420 chunk o' hunk with a faster processor, more kit, and it even comes with a spare £1300 to spend on having a good time....

  8. fifi
    Thumb Up


    one of the reasons I bought an 'air is because it's tough. With the SSD, I stick it in a neoprene bag, and throw it in the top-box on my motorcycle. I've had it almost a year now, and it's not missed a beat. I've been touring with it, and it's ideal.

  9. Franklin
    Thumb Up

    Overpriced and short on features...

    ...and yet, the first time I saw one "in person," I wanted it too. Even though I *know* the paucity of ports (no Ethernet? Seriously?) would bug me.

    Love 'em or hate 'em, when it comes to industrial design, Apple is in a class by itself.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    One step short of greatness...

    Adding one additional USB port and an RJ-45 port would be enough for me to find it interesting. And it certainly wouldn't take much extra space. Not having them though, is all it takes for me to not be interested. There's no way I want to do installs of software over WiFi networking, and to use Apple's USB WiFi adapter means you can't have any other USB device hooked up at the same time.

    So close...and yet so far.

  11. Ty
    Jobs Halo




    Think about it.

    You people are wasting my oxygen. (Greg)

  12. P. Lee
    Jobs Halo

    re: Overpriced and short on features...

    Apple has a unique ability to make you want its products. I love my (freebie) ipod, even though I don't really listen to music that much. Apple's products just make you want to touch them.

    Oh yes, and the multi-touch trackpad. Its absolutely essential to make a laptop usable. Once you've used one you'll never want anything else with a laptop.

    The Air may be low on features, but it does more than enough for its target market.

    I'm a linux fan (windows is just for games) but if I ever have to buy a laptop, it will be a mac of some sort. As can be seen by talking to most Apple owners, those who buy rarely regret it.

  13. David Austin


    v1 looked nice, and v2 seems to have solved the weedy performance. The only thing I really don't get is why only 1 USB Port? Sure, you can use a hub, but If you're ditching every conceivable port known to man, at least throw a few USB Ports on, especially if there's no built in Ethernet.

    Come on, Ive and co - You seriously can't squeeze another USB Port and a Network port on the thing, after all the work you've done on JesusPhone and iPod nano?

  14. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Can't you ever test important things?

    I mean what's the point of running benchmarks. You won't really notice any change below 1:2.

    What's more important is how durable it is. And Apple has had _lots_ of problems back then. Apple is, unfortunately, absolutely uncreative when it comes to securing the reliability of their devices. Drop it from a meter a few times and see if it still works.

  15. stephen dean
    Thumb Up

    As A Matter Of Fact....

    ...I did drop from a height of about a metre while I was testing it, and it survived just fine.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    The MacBook Air is not MEANT to be a powerhouse for geeks, it's targetted at people who want reasonable performance in a very compact form. Apple have *deliberately* stripped out a lot of the unnecessary stuff (unnecessary for its target market, not geeks) to make it so unbelievably thin and portable.

    The whining I keep hearing from people moaning about how expensive it is given it's been stripped down. Sorry guys, but stripping all this stuff off a standard laptop form factor takes R&D time, it's the same reason Porsche make versions of it's cars which have everything stripped out (glass for perspex, removal of seats, no air-con etc, right down to the badge being a sticker rather than a metal badge) and cost MORE than the standard versions with all the trimmings. It's a niche market that they're catering for and the design costs time and therefore money.

    If you have about £1200 to spare and want an Apple laptop, you have 2 choices - buy a full-featured MacBook Pro if you're a geek and/or want the power and features the larger form-factor provides, or buy a MacBook Air and get the ultimate in portability with some features and performance sacrificed in order to achieve that.

    Remember geeks - the MacBook Air is not targetted at you! Go buy the MacBook Pro instead.

  17. Jason Grant

    Why oh Why

    Do people continue to criticize at product that would never fit their needs or in fact is not even targeted at them as a potential customer.

    I have seen the MBA and absolutely love the form factor and design, however like others here I would never buy one, why not, because it wouldn't do what I needed, however why should that stop me liking the product for what it is or admiring the design aesthetics. I think it's great that innovation like this continues as eventually it will filter down into the sort of devices I need and use.

    It's a real shame people insist on this type of behavior - it is not constructive or enjoyable (and I usually enjoy reading the news and views on El Reg).

    Please, Please accept products like the MBA and iPhone for what they are, and if you are not the intended audience then don't feel you have to try and ruin the experience for those who are. I am not an Apple Fanboy - I use products from many manufacturers (including Apple) and don't feel the need to call something a pile of cr@p just because it doesn't meet my needs!

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Free PC's

    I get PC's for free,...

    Now,.If Mr. Jobs would like to give me an MBA for "FREE"

    I'll use his products.

  19. skeptical i

    Right tool for the job?

    While I look askance at Air having only one USB port (??) and a non- replaceable battery (???), I also agree with the many posters who basically said that if it won't work for you as-is, don't buy it. I wouldn't buy a Maserati to haul sacks of concrete any more than I'd buy a pickup truck to race on the autobahn. Kudos to Apple for pushing the design envelope; in due time I expect we'll see something with all the features that powergeeks need built into something stylish enough to make us look forward to doing work on it.

  20. hj
    Thumb Down

    since when

    Do you have to be a geek for requesting an RJ45 or second usb port?

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