Mac Bloggers Gush Over Air, Salivate Over MB Pro, Ponder iPhone Firmware
Feb 1, 2008 4:00 AM PT
Apple's super-thin MacBook Air notebooks shipped this week, and the first units have been arriving on customer doorsteps. For Mac enthusiasts, just a glimpse of one in an Apple store was enough to start the gushing.
"First impressions are VERY positive," noted mashoutposse in a MacRumors.com forum created just for the MacBook Air. "First off, this is one beautiful computer. The curves and taper are just right. Thin is definitely the name of the game here -- it is as thin as we've all been told it is. Thin, but not at all flimsy. The build quality is excellent; feels very solid in the hand. The black keyboard against the silver metallic body looks much better in person. Speaking of the keyboard, it is great. Good amount of travel and response; amazing that we have a keyboard of this quality attached to such a thin computer."
The model with the fast solid state drive may make up for slower processor.
"I got to play with the 1.8/SSD model. All of you who opted for this configuration are in for a real treat -- it is speedy. Basically, sub-one-bounce application loading. I wasn't able to do anything heavy-duty, of course, but the feel I got was of a total performance package on par with a current MBP (MacBook Pro). It left a strong enough impression on me that I'm seriously considering abandoning my plan of upgrading later and opting for the SSD now," mashoutposse wrote.
"The (US)$3K pricepoint actually began to make sense. The funny thing is that the computer IMO (in my opinion) is so physically attractive and well put-together that I couldn't help but feel like pouring the money into it to make the inside match the outside," the writer added.
Undressing Tech Gear
Apple is known for packaging that's as cool and sleek as its award-winning industrial design, and the MacBook Air packaging is no exception. This week saw the first bunch of unboxing photos, including a YouTube video posted by desenso44, who noted (as desenso) on the MacRumors MacBook Air forum "I'm totally never telling my girlfriend that I made this ... "
The three-minute video starts with the plain brown cardboard shipping box and gets right into the shiny black consumer packaging, ending with the MacBook Air ready to boot up.
Tech site Ars Technica also got in on the boxing action, dedicating an entire post and three comparative photos to the small size of the packaging, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted was 40 percent less than other Apple laptop packaging.
Still, the Pros Want Power
Aside from all the MacBook Air gushing, customers looking for the power and size of the Apple MacBook Pro line are looking for an update or refresh before they buy, and it seems they won't have to wait too long, given the length of time between MacBook Pro product line updates. Many Apple watchers were waiting for Tuesday of this week, hoping against hope, only to be disappointed. A few rumors have hit the pipeline, making some would-be purchasers second-guess Apple and their own needs.
"I ordered a brand spanking new MBP only yesterday," wrote Ghostwriter in response to a MacBook Pro update article on AppleInsider.com. Four hours later, I come home to find this article. Naturally I was annoyed, and phoned Apple ten minutes ago to cancel my order. I asked the woman whether any updates are due in the near future, and she said that other people had been asking the same question, that a certain rumor had gone over the top somewhat, and that there were no planned updates to the MBP line in the next three to six months. So I didn't cancel it. Any thoughts?"
Hundreds of posts span multiple sites on the topic of MacBook Pros, with posters speculating on dozens of features -- 2.8 GHz processors, Blu-ray, bigger standard hard drives, new keyboards and magnetic latches. So what gives? Only Apple knows when it'll release a new MacBook Pro, but the whole situation raises the question: Why are Apple enthusiasts in agony over a product refresh?
"Only Apple seems to enjoy this level of loyalty. While Sony users are likely the closest, if they don't find something timely from Sony they seem to have no problem switching to Toshiba and more recently Dell," Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group, told MacNewsWorld.
"It's the consumer version of single sourcing -- your choices are easier but they are also more limited, and you are at the mercy of the vendor. This is one of the reasons Apple doesn't do that well in business and why you don't see as much growth with things like thin clients and PC blades -- too much dependence on a single vendor, and professional buyers know this puts them at risk," he explained.
"It is one of the disadvantages with going with Apple, but clearly for most Apple users, the advantages easily overcome the disadvantages," he added.
In Other News
Bloggers have been making a lot of relatively minor posts about Apple's latest moves, most notably delaying the release of Apple TV's software update for another week or two, releasing software updates of iWeb and iWork '08 -- perhaps in advance of OS X 10.5.2. One such blogger, however, brought up an issue that others linked to -- the inability of an iPhone owner to cut and paste text.
Sven Rafferty, editor of SvenOnTech.com, searched Macworld for Apple employees who could speak to what was going on with the frustrating lack of a cut-and-paste feature on the iPhone. He eventually found a source who would at least acknowledge that it was an issue Apple was aware of, but even with that source, Rafferty declined to name the Apple employee or directly quote him.
"The deal is, Apple is aware of the desire for this option and it is working on it in the labs as we speak. The trouble it is having is implementation. How to easily call up a copy or cut option and then the paste action," Rafferty noted on his blog.
MacNewsWorld followed up for more detail.
"Based on my source, I did get the sense that this is a priority for Apple," Rafferty told MacNewsWorld.
"In fact, it felt like the source was stressing that this has been an issue for a while for the iPhone and isn't something it just started working on ... I specifically asked, 'So will we see this in the next firmware?' He responded with a smile and said, 'Apple is aware of the problem and working on it.' I gave the source an 'out' and questioned, 'Okay, a month, a year, next iPhone?' He simply repeated the same phrase. So, in short, I don't have any idea of a release," Rafferty explained.
"Based on its difficulty in integrating [cut and paste] into the iPhone, I'd say either it's close ... or far. I can't see an in between at this point. Either Apple is going to crack its road block or it's going to get writer's block," he added.