What’s most amusing about Apple releasing what amounts to a Mac netbook isn’t that they had ridiculed the entire notion of a netbook back when they announced the Ipad. It’s rather that they’ve given consumers better reasons than ever to want to buy a netbook type device. One might assume that most people purchased netbooks for the portability, weighing whether or not the reduced computing power was worth it. The presence of the Ipad changes that. After having my Ipad for the better of two months before going back to my laptop, I would conclude that Ipad owners at some point come to one of 3 realizations:
- It’s the only computing device they’ll ever need from this point on to get their work done.
- It’s great a great companion to a desktop/laptop, because they still need those to get most, if not all, of their work done.
- It’s perfect for most every situation they encounter, but sometimes a traditional computer is still needed to get some work done.
It’s the customers in the third category that the 11 inch Air, to me, is targeting. The 13 inch is redefining idea of a modern laptop in terms of portability and size. It’s smaller brother is for, presumably, Ipad owners who need a little more computing maneuverability. The Ipad has popularized the notion that you don’t need the fastest processor to get through the day in a way that was never communicated by netbooks. Ipads created a need for something in between itself and regular laptops and desktops. An Ipad Pro, so to speak. When people usually think of netbooks, it’s mostly about their size, not how it suits their computing needs.
Although Apple will never call it so, the 11 inch Air rightly belongs in the netbook class of mobile devices. For comparison:
What does the higher price tag of the Air net you?
- Better Design & Construction: From the unibody casing to the new battery design to the high resolution LED display, the new Macbook Air simply outshines the other models I’ve outlined here in terms of build and component quality. The performance difference between the flash storage and regular Hard Disks must be worth it alone to lots of people.
- IOS-esque influences: This was the crux of the Back to the Mac Event, bridging the gap between IOS devices and Mac OS devices: instant on, desktop app store, battery life…
That’s where, to me, the price difference is justified. So why release it after the Ipad?
Even though it seems backwards, the idea might be that the Air completes or complements your experience of using IOS devices, hence the new IOS like features shown in the Air and the preview of Mac OS 10.7.
Macbooks compete in the high end laptop market, where they are competitive in pricing and specs, inline with their competition. On it’s own, the 999$ Air isn’t even in the high end netbook segment, it’s stratospherically above it. However, if you consider the Air as the high end Ipad so to speak, it makes much more sense. Only need email and internet? Go Ipad/Iphone. Need a little more, get an Air that turns on nearly just as fast, and thanks to the mac app store, feels similar to other IOS devices. Or both.