MacBook Air: Why a smaller footprint is welcome
When the MacBook air was announced two years ago I was first in line. I chose the 64GB solid-state disk version, largely because I wanted to see whether SSDs lived up to their reputation for speed and reliability. I haven't been disappointed, despite the early problems with hot running which occasionally resulted in one of the processor cores shutting down, especially when watching videos or backing up disks.
I still have the computer but it hasn't seen many outings since the iPad arrived. For a year or so I used it as my main travelling companion but found the limitations of the small disk and the relatively slow processor speed restrictive for long absences from home.
But the concept of a small, light OS X device is still compelling. My main disappointment in the original Air was that it was simply too big. Although incredibly thin, it occupies exactly the same footprint and has an identical size of screen as the MacBook (or 13.3in MacBook Pro for that matter).
This is why I am excited by this week's rumours of a 10.7in replacement for the Air later this year. I suspect this is one of Steve Jobs' "amazing announcements" for the second half. Good as the iPad is, the current implementation of iOS (even the forthcoming iOS4) is restrictive for power users and I believe there will be a ready market for a smaller full-function computer. Whoever said Apple would never enter the netbook market?