MacBook Air: A complete about turn

Posted on by Mike Evans

Yesterday, after a great deal of heart searching, I opted to buy a new 11in MacBook Air to replace my ageing late-2010 model. I looked at the shiny new MacBook Pro with its retina display and, while surprised that it feels lighter than it looks, I felt I ought to stay with the form factor of the little Air. 

When I got home I set up the new computer alongside the old and connected them together with an Ethernet cable (using Apple’s USB-Ethernet adaptor at on the 2010 model and the Thunderbolt-Ethernet on the new Air). 

Migration woes

I ran Migration Assistant, as I have done countless times before, and paired the two devices. It ran, and ran, and ran. After four hours the system stalled at “30 minutes left” and it was clear we weren’t going anywhere. I consulted Apple Discussions and learned that stalling is a common occurrence, usually cased by the transmission of a very large file. I should wait, was the general consensus.

After five hours I aborted and started again. The same thing happened, a stall at 30 minutes. I set Migration Assistant running for the third time at 9 pm and left it to run overnight. This morning it was stalled with 29 minutes to go. In all my years of using MA I have never had the slightest problem. I can’t blame the network or a slow connection, and I have no clue why this should happen three times in a row.

Of course I could do a complete manual installation, copying what I need from the old computer, but for various reasons I do not want to do this. I am travelling next week and don’t want to find that I had overlooked something during the manual installation process. 

Second thoughts

I now tell myself all these migration problems were an omen. A byproduct of all this waiting is that I began to have second thoughts about my choice to go with a new Air. After studying the two little computers sitting side by side they are like two peas in a pod. My old model has been well taken care of and it is difficult to tell these two computers apart other than by inspecting their ports or noting that the new machine has a backlit keyboard. It’s a bit like trying to sex budgies.

I didn’t feel the excitement I usually experience when I get a new toy; this was business as usual, if somewhat speedier business. It’s absolutely, totally irrational, I know, but it’s how I felt over breakfast this morning. 

I again started to worry that a retina display MacBook Air must be in the works, if not later this year, certainly in 2013. Then my thoughts turned to my first impressions of the MacBook Pro when I handled it yesterday. Apart from the bigger size, that’s what my heart tells me I want. 

With all these doubts, and a stalled Migration Assistant to boot, I decided to do something I have never done before: Return a computer. The new Air is now sitting in its box and shortly I shall go back to the Apple Store to return it. 

Time to think

For the moment, with the new retina display Pro on three to four weeks’ delivery, and my choice of a built-to-order model (for the faster processor and extra RAM), I shall take a few days to ponder. I would like to say that I have not been influenced my M.G.Siegler’s choice, but that would be telling porkies.

In the meantime, my 2010 MacBook Air is still running well, even though it is a little sluggish when processing big photo files, and it will be no real hardship to continue using it over the summer. Whatever I decide, I will probably keep my little 2010 Air for those occasions when I need the ultimate portable Mac. 

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