Feeds

Sons of Macintosh - shaking the Apple family tree

The Jesus Phone is not divine

Boost IT visibility and business value

Various and Sundry

MacBook Air: This slim, sexy three-pound cutie might best be described as the love child of an iPod and a MacBook. Like the iPod, its battery is sealed inside and not user-replaceable. It has a 1.8-inch, 4,200rpm, 120GB hard drive as does the iPod Classic; a single analog audio-out minijack; and connects to the world through a single USB port. (Well, yeah, it also has a Mini DisplayPort, but you know what we mean).

Like the MacBook, it has a 13.3-inch glossy display, a full-size keyboard, and runs a full version of Mac OS X. No Ethernet nor optical drive, although Apple will sell you a USB-tethered MacBook Air SuperDrive for $99.

Also, like both the MacBook and the MacBook Pro, you can opt for a 128GB solid-state drive instead of the stock HDD for an extra five-hundred bucks. Unfortunately - also like its two siblings - that SSD isn't one of the new, fast Mainstream SATA Solid State Drives from Intel, which at this writing only ship in the 80GB capacity (160GB units are coming Real Soon Now).

Needless to say, the Air isn't for everyone. If, however, you travel extensively and have a "real" Mac back at your home or office, this li'l slip of a thing could be a boon companion.

MacBook Air: B+

Input devices and displays: Let's cut to the chase: The ill-named Mighty Mouse is crap, the wired and wireless keyboards are far less deplorable but still suboptimal, and the Cinema Display line is gorgeous but hella overpriced.

Where do we begin with the Mighty Mouse? Its dual buttons, to be kind, have less than fully positive clickability, its squeezable side buttons give poor feedback, and its miniscule scroll ball may be fine for equally miniscule hands, but normal humans will find it annoyingly, well, miniscule.

But what's most galling about the Mighty Mouse (available in both USB-tethered and Bluetooth versions) is that in a world populated by such fine mouse-customization software as Kensington's MouseWorks, Logitech's Control Center, Microsoft's IntelliPoint, and Macally's Input Manager, Apple steadfastly refuses to give users any decent degree of control over button customization. C'mon, Steve - you've finally given us two buttons, ferchrissakes. Why not go all the way?

Apple Wireless Keyboard

Where's the keypad?

Apple keyboards, both USB-tethered and Bluetooth, are an acquired taste we'd rather not acquire. Although we've talked with many users who find them perfectly acceptable, their lack of full-travel keys and adequate tactile feedback make them more toy-like than workmanlike.

And although we vowed above that we'd not diss Apple products for their prices, we'll make an exception for the Cinema Display line. Apple makes lovely displays with good brightness, color, contrast, viewing angle, and refresh rates, but they charge an arm, a leg, and a spare kidney for them. Case in point: The excellent 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display runs a cool $1,799. The excellent 30-inch Gateway XHD3000 display can easily be found for under a thousand bucks. Case closed.

Apple Mighty Mouse: D-

Apple Keyboard: B-

Apple Cinema HD Displays: B

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: Apple Computer Inc.

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts
Samba implementation? Time to get some devs on the job
Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes
Linux Foundation lights a fire under storage devs with new conference
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.