Once upon a time I used to go ecstatically crazy over a Macworld launch and write all sorts of stuff about it and so on and so forth. These days I find it easier just to sit back and look at all of the cool things unfurl.
If you’re very new to the internet, or never really look at newspapers or take part in any other forms of communication between people, then you might not be aware that firstly, Apple has launched a new laptop (or notebook (which I believe is the more generally accepted term (at least in the US) these days)) and secondly, it has received lots of criticism.
Fair enough some of this criticism is probably due, for it has one USB port and no media drive. You can make up your own opinions about what you think of this, personally though, I don’t really mind these things. The one USB port seems limiting in most ways, is it really though? How often do you have more than one peripheral connected (AND IN USE) when you’re out and about. Most likely you’ll have a USB key, a printer, an external mouse, or an iPod connected. These wouldn’t all be at the same time though. You might want to use a USB key and a mouse at the same time, which is understandable given the frustation of most trackpads… (AAAGH eeePC!) As we are told though, the MacBook Air’s trackpad is a) multitouch and b) larger. This should hopefully make it more tempting to stick with the trackpad instead of changing to an external mouse. I say ‘might be’ in this case because to be honest I haven’t a clue what the trackpad is like on these things, but if the iPhone is anything to go by, then I’ll probably be impressed. With printers, enough of them are WiFi enabled, or connected to a WiFi network so that the need for a USB cable with a printer these days (unless it’s some huge image files…) is waning. That said, you would only use a printer to print off a document and then most likely unplug the cable and walk away, so having one usb port would not be too annoying. Same goes for an iPod, you’d only sync it on there (that would take a comparitively small amount of time), the charging could be done at the wall. The only usb object left would be the usb drive, something that might be useful, but not always used. So I come to the conclusion that only one USB port might just be bearable and usable!
The DVD drive (or lack thereof) is a different case altogether… But it does resolve itself in a similar way to the USB issue. Apple probably have thought (and fought) long and hard about this and have come to the conclusion that it is not necessary to have one. That is, assuming you follow their way or living (in reference to digital media that is). As explained in the keynote, there are a few things that you would commonly use CDs and DVDs for. In my case these would be…
-Installing BIG new programs (like Leopard, and someone raised the case of Windows w/ Boot Camp)
-Adding CDs to iTunes (I despise the iTMS in terms of listening to music and the culture surronding it as it kills the album, which is an entity in my opinion)
-Converting DVDs to iPhone format.
If this MacBook is not your primary computer, then there’s no real need to do most of these things on it except the installations. You might want to watch DVDs, but you may have a DVD player and a widescreen TV for that, or there’s the iTunes Movie Store, or even you could convert it to a suitable format before you leave home and stick it on your HD. In any case, you could probably manage without it.
Though the MacBook Air has been receiving lots of criticism about it’s revolutionary new features/things that it doesn’t have, most of them are not particularly well deserved. The obvious drawbacks all have reasons behind them, most of these are pretty legit given a fairly normal scenario. So in essence, I think it’s a great little product, with some excellent engineering behind it all, even if I wouldn’t buy myself one in the near future…