MacBook Air: What's The Niche?

Posted: Oct 20 2010, 3:04pm CDT | by , in News | Apple

MacBook Air: What's The Niche?
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Say hi to Apple's "Productivity" tablet

Apple's recent announcement of the MacBook Air came at the end of some portentous tidings. While the Air isn't quite as exciting as a Mac App Store, it does bring some nifty features to the table.

Instant-On is great, made possible by Apple's love of SSDs, and thirty days of stand-by time kicks all sorts of ass. But the Air doesn't seem very impressive up against something like a 13" MacBook. You're looking at twice the RAM and significantly higher processing power- 2.4 GHz dual-core over 1.4 GHz dual core.

The MacBook may not have Instant On, but it does have a better battery life. So clearly we can't view the Air as something meant for the same category as the Pro. But where DOES this thing fit?

Apple appears to be pushing the Air as an iPad for "power-users" who need to be able to create content on the go. The Air will be less powerful than the Mac, but it is also far smaller and the SSDs make it more nimble. Excellent stand-by time and decent battery life means a device you can flip open wherever you are and use immediately to bang out content. The Air isn't meant to fight with laptops- it's really aimed at the high end of the tablet market.

Android and webOS and MeeGo will all be showing up in a broad spectrum of "productivity" tablets- many of which will sacrifice battery life and low cost for horsepower. The Air provides a more elegant (and probably lighter) counter to these devices.

I'd be surprised if it didn't also dip into high-end netbook sales. The Air is definitely still a laptop, but that isn't really what it's built to fight.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
The excitement about new smartphones, tablets and anything mobile drive Robert to unearth the latest rumors and developments in this fast moving space. He adopted 4G as soon as it become available and knows where the mobile market is going.
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