Apple Macbook Air Review, Still The Best In 2014
So Easy, Even the Cat Loves It
Macbook Air For 2014
It was exciting news when Steve Jobs surprised the computing world with the innovative, ultra thin first Macbook Air. You could carry it around in an interoffice envelope, remember? I wasn't quite ready to buy yet though, were you?
I waited until the new MacBook Air was announced in June, 2013. Until then, it didn't seem robust enough to replace the standard MacBooks I'd been carrying for years.
Available immediately, the big kick with the new version is in how much it increased battery life, jumping it straight to the top as the best laptop you could buy. A year later, I'm still getting the best battery performance ever.
More New Features
Already ahead of the field, it adds surprising new features. The most startling is its "instant on," enabled by the new stainless steel hard drive. Flip up the lid, and in less than five seconds, you're fully live, including internet access.
What I also didn't fully appreciate until I flipped open the lid on my brand new Macbook Air was what a quantum jump it would be in computing experience.
Times are changing, and the new Macbook Air has found a way to stake its vision on the future. It's right on target. In fact, my fingers are tapping on the future's keyboard, right now.
The Air is neither an iPad, iPod or conventional Macbook with all the features we love. It's all three and more.
I spent years as a road warrior in sales, hauling iBooks and Macbooks in bags and backpacks, depending on the swiftly expanding availability of WiFi in places like Starbucks and Panera Bread, to get my work done.
The Macbook Air makes portability, ease and comfort something you can take for granted while still having all your computing needs filled.
Apple Macbook Air Review
Computing For The Mobile Future
That's a third of what my newborn son weighed, and if you've ever lifted a newborn, you know that they don't weigh anything.
A breeze to carry around, even in an office envelope - the Air, I mean.
Typical of Apple engineering design, it's beautiful to look at, thin and trim as Heidi Klum, but also like the model, it's sturdy and durable without sacrificing looks. When you pop out that laptop at the next Starbucks, you want it to look at least as good as you do, right?
It's sleek aluminum case does that for you.
Power? Mac Air lives up to its battery life promises, now giving you 10 to 12 hours on the 13 Inch model without charging, pretty unbelievable numbers for those of us who have had to live with battery charging strategies all these years.
For those of us with faster, less demanding apps, it's more like 7 hours realistically, more than enough to get us though a plug-free workday.
The Macbook Air runs, as always, on the newest Intel processors (part of what makes battery life so efficient) and HD 5000 Graphics.
As for one of the main features you consider when you buy a laptop, the new Macbook Air gives you a high resolution 1440 x 900 LED display. It's bright and vivid without the graininess we're accustomed to from laptops.
As with most laptops, the Air isn't as versatile for customizing as a desktop Mac. On the other hand, your desktop Mac isn't going with you from home to office on appointments all day.
The Macbook Air, which does its job with all the standard apps, from Photoshop to Microsoft Office, makes your office virtual, on the go, anywhere.
Sad and envious were the frowns I used to get from co-workers who hated my working outdoors in the summer. In shorts and T-shirt.
Fast and fully equipped for accessing and using the cloud that's taking over a big chunk of our computing load, I found my new Air perfectly adapted to Web 2.0 operations. The long life battery also plays a major role, here.
This review along with my writing that ends up in hard copy is written on a 2.0 platform and saved on the fly with little effort from me and without taxing the storage space in my lap.
But for me, the biggest Wow! with this machine is the solid state hard drive that springs to life instantly, no spinning up or even getting started gurgles when I raise the lid. It's as close to instant on as you can get with any computer, laptop or desktop.
It's super and, especially for those of us who've felt our laps frying under the old Macbooks, it's seriously cool. No worries about your future as a parent.
The new Macbook Air comes with more than enough storage space on its leading edge SSD hard drive in a Web 2.0 age. It boots up fast and has more than enough gas for all put the most demanding power users.
So, what are you waiting for?
Complete The Macbook Air with Apps
Share Microsoft Office docs with coworkers or go full tilt with an alternative Windows desktop in parallel.
For many of us who were Mac users stuck in a business world full of Windows, Parallels has provided a a great alternative, building a PC desktop on your match to which you can switch back and forth as needed and take advantage of Windows-only applications. Very elegant and easy to use.
Opening up to the world of Office applications.
God's Gift To Road Warriors and Other Weaklings
Not saying which group I belong to...
Well, I belong to both.
Before the Macbook Air made a flutter in the late Steve Jobs' heart, I spent much of my work week driving to appointments in the New York Metro area, diving like a bear after honey when I discovered those then rarer WiFi hotspots.
Hauling a laptop was far preferable to the alternative, which was trying to keep up with business without a computer, not really an alternative since I was in computer technology sales.
Legal pads were for the birds, and the really sad part about that was that I normally lost the ability to read my own handwriting and/or to comprehend my ad hoc shorthand.
A laptop was mandatory.
They were a bit of a chore to lug around though. So, when Apple first announced the Mac Air, I nearly swooned, but the first, the one where they showed you how to slip it inside a Manilla envelope, should you feel an urge to do so was not quite mature.
The features were limited, especially in terms of memory, battery life and storage for my purposes, and I was left to yearn for the future of weightless slim laptops.
Making The New Macbook Air Even Better
Adding Cross-Platform Versatility
To show you how beneficial it is to have Microsoft provide an Office for Mac set of apps, I'll have to brag a little. Aw shucks.A-hmm (clearing my throat for dramatic effect...)
I once, honest to God in heaven or wherever, was lucky enough to have The Daily Show With Jon Stewart as a customer. Not just little stuff, either, we were deeply involved in their computer network for all sorts of support.
I was also lucky enough to sign the Colbert Report.
My company actually built out their temporary first network and installed a permanent client-server set up when the show won its first long term contract.
I love Jon and Stephen for their talent and ability to maintain quality. I also love the bragging rights.
So, to get back to real business, I have never bought a non-Apple computer for myself.
When stuck at work with a PC, I brought in my own iBook, accepting the jeers and quips from the IT staff as poisoned with envy.
My laptops got lugged back and forth from home and appointments. But before the Air came along, I was still far ahead of the game because Microsoft's commitment to maintaining an Apple product made it easy to work the templates and applications unfortunate non-Mac workers (by this I mean everyone else) were already using.
When they weren't tied up rebooting (Again?) and updating antivirus software, that is.
The best example I can give you for the value of carrying a well-equipped Macbook happened on the day I got an email report while I was on the road. An attached Excel spreadsheet (Office for Mac opened the PC generated document.) showed me that The Daily Show was running short of support hours.
These are bought in blocks of time that a customer then uses as needed.
Settling into the first Starbucks I spotted as I raced through Long Island, I flipped open my iBook (Macbook's predecessor), slid my coffee a safe distance from the keyboard, fired up Office for Mac and used a template to pull together a quote while chewing one of those delicious scones.
I converted it to a PDF-extremely simple with a Mac-and emailed it to The Daily Show's line producer.
Before I finished absorbing the salesman's mandatory dose of caffeine, I got a PDF back from them, signed and worth hundreds of dollars to me in commissions. All over coffee in a Starbucks, not even a cellphone required.
Who needs an office?
Now that you can easily see the value of laptops, the lighter the better, let's move on the features that make the new Macbook air, not just really useful, but great, cool and even beautiful.