On my recent trip I brought along my MacBook Air as my primary machine. I took care of email, administrative junk, etc. but I also did some development work. Due to its light weight it’s a great travel laptop, and one that could be shrunk further rather easily by using a screen with smaller pixels and eliminating much of the bezel around the screen and keyboard. I believe you could trim 2-3 diagonal inches off the design quite easily – perhaps a little more by going to a 95% keyboard.
With those changes, the MacBook Air would be small enough to rival the iPad in size and portability. Apple would never use the term, but it could certainly become a sub-notebook or a netbook. It’s also powerful enough that it would also make pretty much every other netbook on the market obsolete (of course, it wouldn’t exactly compete on price).
I find this interesting because I’ve been cutting back on my iPad usage of late. I still use it daily as a news (feed) reader, but I find it too limiting for doing much browsing1 or email2. Ultimately that’s why I’m not using the iPad as much – I’m just faster on Mac OS X for general computing than I am on an iOS device.
If I had a MacBook Air the size if my iPad, I think I’d probably choose to carry it as an on-the-go device instead of the iPad. Especially if the battery life was remotely similar to the iPad’s.
I’ve been thinking about a netbook sized Air since I started seeing the rumors. The price would be the main factor in limiting a device like that from hurting the iPad. At that size I think it would compete and that’s another reason the new Air will still cost a premium. I love my iPad, but I think a smaller Air would win me over. Full blown Mac OS wins it for me.
On our trip to Australia, we brought along both the 15″ MacBook Pro and the iPad. An Air would have represented a welcome relief to my back, as the MBP did get heavy with the rest of the items in my backpack!
Now, if we were just traveling for pleasure rather than for work, we’d probably just bring an iPad all by itself. Maybe throw in an Airport Express or Cradlepoint for those times when an Ethernet port is all we have to connect to the Internet.
P.S. Thanks for the MsgFiler plug too! 🙂
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You kinda hit it right on Alex. Remember the pre Intel days of Apple with the 12in iBooks and Powerbooks, those were a great size, even before the widescreen craze hit. That is the machine I have been waiting for. I just upgraded a couple year old Toshiba u205 12in screen to a Lenovo x201, 12in screen as well. I really wanted a Macbook but with traveling frequently and lugging my machine from home to the office and everywhere in between the size is just too large. Once can only hope we will get those 12in notebooks back, or even smaller.. with a good graphics processor they could be docked to a nice screen for day to day use.
Guys find the form factor machine you like and load it with OSX. Hackintosh what you want to run OSX on not be limited by Apple’s sometimes poor choice of hardware.
Or buy any old thing you like and put the new version of Ubuntu on it. the latest versions with Cairo dock are impressive.
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I don’t know how technically possible this is, but a MBA with the next gen of Apple’s A4 chip inside would be pretty sweet (if the Rosetta-type translation didn’t bog it down too much).