OPINION: Making MacBook Air the “entry-level” Mac is a big mistake

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Thin and Beautiful. Apple’s MacBook Air recently got an upgrade that saw it finally get some much decent specs – such as an Intel Core i5/i7 Sandy Bridge processor and an updated integrated graphics card. However, doing that saw the axing of the MacBook. And in my view, making this as their “entry-level” Mac, or in fact notebook, is a big mistake.

Yes, Apple has retained the pricetag of the MacBook for the updated Air. But what do you get for that? An 11-inch screen, 2GB of memory, a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 64GB of flash storage. Yes, while I know that the Air will also let you quickly start up and is, well, a Mac (with all the crap that comes with it – Oh, it can’t get viruses), but 64GB of memory? Even if it is flash memory, it’s not worth the cost for that.

I mean, come on. For less than that, I can get a Dell XPS 15 for AU$999 – which has a 2.0GHz Core i7 “Sandy Bridge” processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 15-inch screen. If I wanted a 13-inch notebook, I would have spent less than $999. And also, did I mention it also has a DVD slot drive?

What was brilliant about having the MacBook was that it felt cheap, but at least you know you would have some decent specifications for that price, and a decent amount of storage and RAM. Yes, it was running an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with an Integrated NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics card, but it was a 13-inch display with 250GB of storage. Oh and did I mention that it also had a DVD slot drive?

If I was Apple, I would have upgraded it to run a Core i5 processor or a Core i3 processor – similar to what it competitors in the 13-inch notebook line are running.

Yes, the MacBook was not as well designed as the MacBook Pro or the MacBook Air, but it compared to the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, it did the job you wanted. And it wasn’t as a pompous, expensive and most likely redundant laptop such as the MacBook Air.

With Lion, the MacBook Air essentially looks like a bigger version of the iPad. The new desktop layout that organises your apps into a grid just like iOS reinforces the idea. If you want something that is pretty and portable – get a 64GB iPad with WiFi/3G connectivity. And that is cheaper than this “entry-level” Mac notebook.

So, don’t be fooled in thinking that you should get this just because it had a price cut. If you’re seriously looking for a notebook, then get a MacBook Pro or a PC notebook. The features of this “entry-level Mac” does not make it cost-worthy.

And I’m expecting a lot of Apple fanboy hate. Bring. It. On.

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