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Rory Cellan-Jones

Did Steve Jobs deliver?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 15 Jan 08, 18:59 GMT

We had a big row - or rather a reasoned debate - in our morning editorial meeting about whether Apple deserves quite as much coverage as it gets. A leading economics journalist pointed out that the Ford Focus is a much bigger seller than the iPhone - but gets much less coverage. I felt the Focus was just a car – while the iPhone heralded major change in a whole industry

But we all agreed that Steve Jobs would have to come up with something pretty special to justify news of his keynote spreading from our web journalism to mainstream TV and radio bulletins.

So Darren and I trooped into the venue where journalists from across Europe were watching the relay from San Francisco and assessed each Jobs announcement for real news value as it happened.

First new product is Time Capsule – a wireless storage device – designed to be a companion to Time Machine, the Leopard feature which allows painless back-up of your data. Nice but not newsworthy.
So news value: 2/10

Then there is iPhone news - 4 million sold in 90 days. Pretty good, and makes the target of 10m sales by end of 2008 look very achievable. A few software updates for the phone, including the ability to locate yourself in Google maps and customise your home screen. And, at last, you’ll be able to send an SMS to more than one person at a time. Ipod Touch will also get new features, including Mail – but existing users will have to pay for upgrade. Again, cute stuff for existing users, but not a breakthrough for anyone else.
News value: 3/10


Now the first big one – an iTunes announcement. Jobs admits he’s disappointed with sales of movies, and announces a deal with all the major studios to rent movies online- to watch on your computer, your iPod or your TV. To make this easier, there’s a new version of the rather limited set-top box Apple TV, though it still lacks the browser which would make it a more complete IPTV device. This is important because it opens a new front in Apple’s battle to be as big in digital video as it is in music. The rentals start now in the US, later this year elsewhere.
News value: 7/10.

Now we finally get to hear what is behind the keynote slogan “there’s something in the air”. “Today we’re introducing a third kind of notebook – the MacBook Air.”
The slimmest portable computer you can imagine, produced out of an envelope by Steve Jobs to a chorus of oohs and aahs. He shows off the multi-touch. Well, yes, this is a beautiful piece of kit and a masterpiece of miniature engineering – and doubtless devoted Macheads will be storming the Apple stores. But is it hot news that a computer company has introduced a new and pretty expensive computer – even if it is thinner than any other? Not really.
News Value: 6/10

But is there going to be “just one more thing? No. And that leaves us just ever so slightly underwhelmed. A solid range of new products - but this was not an iPhone year.

Maybe it’s time to look at that Ford Focus…

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 07:12 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Pete wrote:

Not a vintage session but Apple are consistently innovative. I own a Ford Focus but I can't imagine ever loving it in the same way as my iPod.

  • 2.
  • At 07:17 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • James wrote:

I have to agree with your assessment, its been just a little underwhelming.

Time Capsule - Say hello to Windows Home Server.

iPhone - Some nice new features for the phone, iPod Touch gets features is should have had at launch.

iTunes Movies etc - There are a whole bunch of services already offering this, not least XBL Marketplace.

Air - Yeah, its a nice laptop, but it is extreamly expensive which will more than likely put off all but the most devoted Mac enthusists and those with boat loads of cash.

I agree about the MacBook air, it is a very good idea, but without its' optical drive comes the inability to quickly install software and watch DVD's. This is a huge risk by Apple, though I will simply assume that customers may simply purchase it for its' looks.

Some have also said about the new iPod touvh update - As a PDA, (is what I now assume it to be) is it really worth buying an iPhone anymore?

"...whether Apple deserves quite as much coverage as it gets."

Let me just ask one question: when was the last time news from Microsoft's keynote hit the front page with such vigor?

  • 5.
  • At 07:23 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Stephanie Marriott wrote:

I understand that Apple has to make a profit and is therefore putting a lot of effort into the popular stuff like delivering films to iPods etc. However, they are still a computer manufacturer who bundles software with the computer - like iLife. It's high time they got some good software designers to take a good look at their offerings, which I find so appallingly bad as to be unusable. Of course, this might be because I can't find out how to do the things I want to do - but then, the Help isn't up to much either.
Computers - unreliable (especially the power supplys)
Software - poor
After over 15 years of Macs, I've a lot invested in them - but I'm thinking about buying a PC next time I need a computer.
Apple should stop congratulating itself on how good it is and start working harder to keep loyal customers.

  • 6.
  • At 07:30 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Howard wrote:

Small tweaks, year in year out. Sorry Steve, got other more important things to worry about in life. Mortgage, taxes...

well i'm a signed up member of the machead division, and whilst i loved MBa, will not be running out to get one quite yet, I really wanted a price drop on their displays...looks like i'm going to have to wait however

  • 8.
  • At 07:55 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • rob wrote:

Roshan Patel

did you actually listen to the keynote or view the intro movie online about the 'air' - no i don't think so, otherwise you would have seen that you can wirelessly stream from another computer's optical drive mac or pc - i'm amazed how quickly people knock apple products with little or no knowledge before they open their mouths or start to type.
Oh and just as a point on your last blog about the iphone - the reason apple went with one carrier, a reason that many people seem to forget or not understand was for visual voice mail - at&t had to modify their network O2 had to in this country as well. While this is not the only reason its the biggest one - oh yeah and before you bash apple again for something out of their control please get your facts right. All carriers charge a hell of a lot more for roaming, the iphone doesn't - its a phone not a network.

  • 9.
  • At 07:57 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • gaz wrote:

I think that people need to become a little less short sighted in regards to modern computer devices. Only very dew in the media actually have a real understanding of software engineering and the innovation that goes into Apple products, other manufacturers do always seem to play catch up with the ideas and products released by people like Apple. It's about time that Apple had a fair representation in the media against companies like Microsoft. I remember when Vista was released and the BBC made out that the features were superior to the features of Mac OS X, the very features that has been copied! And now look at Vista - it's got the same awkward position in the software market as Windows Me did, Vista so far has failed with many people actually switching back to XP!!!

The MacBook Air is indeed an expensive laptop - but it's spec is good for such a thin, light and mobile product, its the same (if not better) than the original MacBook specs (which I'm using now).

Lets just remember, Apples products are trying to move with the ever changing teccy market - they deliver what you need now to do what you want to do. They are simple, reliable and the software is second to none.

  • 10.
  • At 08:09 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Colin Cooper wrote:

MacBook Air?, Sounds like a virtual menu for a fast food chain. But seriously, is it really any major feat of engineering or a technological break through when you spend millions in developing a "Light" product to leave out all the important, and required parts needed by a mobile/home worker. In this case the MacBook Air does indeed appear to be light weight, and not in the way Apple intended.

  • 11.
  • At 08:11 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • John wrote:

I'm underwhelmded with the Macbook Air, despite how pretty it is. For me the problems are that despite it's thinness it still retains a large footprint, nullifying any claims of portability. Other niggles are. Very expensive, only 1 USB, No Firewire, Slow HDD, Expensive SSD, seemingly no replaceable battery, mediocre battery life and no ethernet port as standard.

Now I appreciate that Apple had to make some sacrifices to get it so thin, but they've created a machine that will only appeal to a very small niche market.

  • 12.
  • At 08:16 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • agitpropre wrote:

Whether you think the Apple announcements are 'newsworthy' or not, BBC readers seem to think something is happening; as I write, the story is the most read and most emailed on the site. Face it: Steve Jobs is very good at getting coverage and at building expectations. That's a key factor in making Apple succesful. And not every 'innovation'is a winner -- I have the G4 Cube to prove it!

  • 13.
  • At 08:18 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

'while the iPhone heralded major change in a whole industry'

According to who exactly? Apple? The IPhone does nothing that other phones couldn't already do. It is Apple (no-one else) making this rather over the top claim for it.

The BBC's obsession (in particular the BBC News Website) with all things Apple is frankly bizarre and bravo to your colleague for pointing it out. At times the BBC News Website has felt like an advertising portal for Apple. 'Apple announces ultra-thin laptop' is not news, it's marketing.

  • 14.
  • At 08:20 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • max walker wrote:

Steph ( comment 7)

All laptops have reliability issues - its a function of their size and use; they don't just get to sit undisturbed on the desk. Macs are much better than most. I challenge you to name a better one.

As for software - you can't be serious. Windows, BSD, virus, flaky rubbish. What would you rate as better ?

  • 15.
  • At 08:20 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Graham wrote:

Yes I have to agree with you Rory. Would the latest fashion range from Marks and Spencer make headline news? Probably not, unless it was going to transform the fortunes of what is a major UK company or it was some far-out fashion we're all likely to go out and wear.

The mainstream media has been a bit late cottoning on to tech news, but now it has fallen under Steve Jobs' "reality distortion field"

I'm a big Mac fan... but even I can see that their products are still used by the minority (save for the iPod).

As for the MacBook Air... i wouldn't even give it 6/10 news value. Consider this: was the LAST "thinnest notebook in the world" in the news? I think you have your answer.

MBa - impressive looking machine, but not sure if its going to be worth that much money (bound to be significantly more expensive in the UK) for being thin.

Not impressed with having to pay for applications to go on the Ipod touch, sounds like a test for something that will become a bit more regular. Microsoft at least upgraded the old zunes for free.

  • 17.
  • At 08:34 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • jon d wrote:

"when was the last time news from Microsoft's keynote hit the front page with such vigor?"

Vista.

However, Vista wasn't finished. It still isn't, so it didn't deserve it. Maybe that's why Microsoft do get the coverage they deserve...

  • 18.
  • At 08:37 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Malcolm wrote:

As a dyed-in-the-wool Mac user since 1985 I think the MacbookAir is great but one question: if I don't have another Mac or a PC handy with wireless capability and a DVD/CD reader, how do I install my software on to the Macbook? I can already hear Mac dealerships rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of charging some silly sum of money to put all of your Apps onto the laptop for you post-purchase.

I suppose that the main users will be from office environments anyway but it's a big step to take and a whole lot more risky than abandoning the 3.5inch floppy drive as Apple did in the 90s.

The Time Capsule is the key innovation here and did deserve the hype. It's an excellent idea that makes life a lot easier - and chances are, the time capsule will end up being the hub of our lives. All your data safely backed up - but accessible remotely. And as it's in your home - not on a remote server, there is less worry about security / privacy etc. The flaws in the otherwise very sexy MacBook Air (MBA) are: a) Price is way too much, it should be LESS than the MacBooks. b) Too wide, they should have lost the empty space around the display and keyboard. c) Second USB port, so I can plug in my Vodafone 3G dongle and still have space for my Logitech wireless mouse dongle.

I agree with your comments Rory. There seems to have been something a little lacking in this year's announcements.

I've never thought that my current intel-based MacBook would be significantly better if it were a little thinner. It's quite thin enough already, surely.

I'm waiting for a 3G iPhone with a much better camera. That would excite me.

  • 21.
  • At 08:41 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Frank wrote:

Apple certainly gets a lot of accidental coverage on the BBC -- it's strange how eager the BBC is to grasp Apple terminology. For example, the BBC now offers "podcasts". These can be played on any MP3 player, yet they take their name from the iPod. Then we have the new BBC iPlayer -- again, that "i" is taken from Apple's range of hardware (iMac, iPod etc).

I realise this is common practice in the wide world, and many commercial companies used the "i" also, but the BBC is supposed to be impartial, especially when it comes to the technology used to receive its broadcasts. It would never call the BBC News a Sonygram. So why are BBC projects tied into Apple product names?

  • 22.
  • At 08:42 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

Hmmm, Stefanie which planet are you from?? I used MS Office for years and switched to macs and iLife / iWork in 2005. I now produce all of my presentations in Keynote and export to PowerPoint or Acrobat if I must - my colleagues envy the high quality of them. I even saved one as a quick time movie and used my iPhone to show senior colleagues the draft in their offices and get face to face feedback instead of trying to organize an impossible mtg where'd they all be present.

I don't worry about viruses, it integrates seamlessly, I think I've rebooted my 3yr old laptop 4 times in last 12 months - oh and a major system software upgrade cost me just over $150 for the full 5 member family professional version.......
The mac user interface leaves my pc colleagues fuming with jealousy and me when reverting to a client's **ll clunker frustrated.

Just now I'm in the middle of Nigeria of all places having watched a real time blog of the Keynote speech complete with photos with my iPhone sitting on a bar while drinking a very cold beer.

Yes there are similar solutions from other suppliers but none who provide it all - or so elegantly.

What's a Zune.......?

  • 23.
  • At 08:45 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Alex wrote:

I was fortunate enough to be at the keynote in person.

Time Capsule, nice idea if you have a few different macs at home or in the office that you need to back up. The poster who compared it to Windows Home Server clearly has no idea what he's talking about. Apples and Oranges, plus I doubt Time Capsule is so quick to corrupt all your files as WHS is!

Apple TV - until now that has been a fairly useless device, but with the new software I think it's going to become a lot more popular. Add to that the movie deal and it's quite a well-rounded offering.

The MacBook Air is clearly a fantastic piece of design, and even I as a professional geek would agree with optical drives being fairly overrated. I haven't burnt a music CD for years, the majority of software I download from vendors, and they've made provision for the odd occasion where you DO need to put a disc in a drive. The 64Gb solid state storage, whilst expensive, is a great option. Liked it, just a shame I bought a MacBook Pro 3 months ago!


  • 24.
  • At 08:50 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Err...

It's actually slightly over 4 million iPhone's in 200 days, not 90. Given that 3.4 million of them have been sold in the US that means that only 600K have been shifted in total in the UK, Germany and France over November and the Christmas period.

I know you guys love Apple but come on...

  • 25.
  • At 08:51 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Roger O'Donnell wrote:

TBH the ASUS eee had me more excited than any of the Apple announcements.

Last time I saw anything even close was the long forgotten Psion MC400, that manged to get a multi-tasking, windowing OS on a surface mount 8086 clone and 40 hours of battery life (that is not a typo) the touchpad mouse was well ahead of its time... but it was largely ignored. you can see one in use on Die Hard 2.

The ASUS eee has pretty much the same sort of foot print and, although not a leap in technology like the PSION, is important in so far as the use of solid state storage in a 'real' PC..

Apple is a hand full of innovations with incredible marketing. There must be SOMETHING that has a 'wow' factor...

  • 26.
  • At 08:52 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • a gafaranga wrote:

the point is not that apple gets good coverage, it is that most of them are positive - now that what i call pleasing customers - or is it good PR, or is it because news such as "Thinnest Notebook in The World" sale - so every newspage wants to have it on the cover page!!

The truth is i just logged on to bbc.news at this time of night just for one thing - to check the update on Apple's keynote!!

once you go Apple it's tough to go back, thx Steve

Can someone please tell apple that the current US £ exchange rate is 2:1 & thus the price should be £900 on a level playing field

  • 28.
  • At 09:08 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

I've got to say that $20 for the new itouch sotware is disgraceful especially when most of the software should of been on it since it's launch.

Is this a sign of things to come are we going to see apple charging us for our software updates for the Itouch and Iphone?

  • 29.
  • At 09:15 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Steve Farr wrote:

It looks stunning sure. But for me the ugly OLPC is still rules - it has innovation that even Apple have failed to match.

  • 30.
  • At 09:18 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Duncan Reeves wrote:

This year's MacWorld was certainly not as exciting as some of those from years gone by; even I'll admit that, and I work for an Apple reseller. It happens; some years are hot, some aren't.

It seems that every week or so there's someone else on the BBC, either hitting out at Apple or praising/announcing some new product or trend or sales figures. But why? Why is Apple different to Ford?

Because everybody buys cars and one car is the same as the other; four wheels, steering wheel, engine, seats. Aesthetics change, as do some thoroughly uninteresting numbers that make no practical difference. A Ferrari is just a Ford with the corners smoothed down.

Until, it seems, a few years ago, Apple's slogan was, 'Think Different.' Well, that catch line has apparently been lost to time immemorial, but that is still Apple's claim to fame, at the computer end. Everybody buys computers, and ninety percent of those computers are Windows machines. So the computer companies lose definition; Dell, Sony, Acer and a thousand other manufacturers claiming their product is better or different or somehow revolutionary. If it runs the same operating system as everyone else, and uses the same components as everyone else, in more or less the same way, how can it be revolutionary? How can it be different?

If someone brought out a car that didn't run on petroleum (hydrogen, for instance), I think the BBC would quickly jump all over it, and reporters all over the world would either praise it as a breath of (literally) fresh air or point out that it was impractical. Impractical? Well, at the moment, all cars come with a universal support infrastructure already in place; one engine is pretty much the same as any other, there are fuel stations every few miles, and a plethora of technicians, garages and assorted other after-purchase support options. Not so with the revolutionary hydrogen car, which, by the way, is also more expensive than the normal petrol driven car.

And perhaps that's why Apple gets the mixed coverage it does; because it isn't Windows, and everyone uses Windows. And not running Windows, I've found, is why a lot of people use Macs.

  • 31.
  • At 09:19 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Matt Prescott wrote:

Google or Apple farting seems to be global news these days...

  • 32.
  • At 09:20 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Axl wrote:

My, what a cynical bunch of commentators. Apple is a victim of its own success, I think. It would be very hard to please you lot, if not impossible. I love these new products. They're not ALL NEW and none of them do EVERYTHING, but their key functionalities are implemented so much better than anybody else's. The design is fantastic an the size of the Air makes is very special. Clearly if you are dependent on an ethernet cable the Air is not for you. Ditto if you need to watch dvd's often. Personally I would love one but the price is too high for me. I might spoil myself next xmas, though.

  • 33.
  • At 09:21 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Jay Moore wrote:

"Apple delivers style without substance"

Hardly news.

  • 34.
  • At 09:31 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Francois Gould wrote:

Let me suggest an alternative for the reason the macbook air has no optical drive: Apple couldn't find a manufacturer that made one small enough... So they invent some fluff about it being a "wireless design"
Give it 18 months and they'll be announcing a "new" macbook air with the world's thinnest DVD-RW drive and a couple more USB ports. Or at least some snazzy airport device that gives you all that functionality.
Rule #1 of any computer launch: never buy a first generation product....
Oh, and until Apple get some gaming companies on board, I'm sticking to windows... XP mind ;)

  • 35.
  • At 09:34 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Francois Gould wrote:

Let me suggest an alternative for the reason the macbook air has no optical drive: Apple couldn't find a manufacturer that made one small enough... So they invent some fluff about it being a "wireless design"
Give it 18 months and they'll be announcing a "new" macbook air with the world's thinnest DVD-RW drive and a couple more USB ports. Or at least some snazzy airport device that gives you all that functionality.
Rule #1 of any computer launch: never buy a first generation product....
Oh, and until Apple get some gaming companies on board, I'm sticking to windows... XP mind ;)

  • 36.
  • At 09:35 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Drew wrote:

The MBa looks good, but the Apple vs MS arguments got boring about five years back!

  • 37.
  • At 09:37 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Lennie wrote:

Before you all start knocking something you know little about, please read the technical details and what it can and can't do, rather than listen to an uninformed journalists' blog.

www.apple.com/uk/macbookair/

It's like their piece about Blu-Ray – how uninformed is that? 70% of Blu-Ray owners have PS3's which are fully upgradeable!

Typical MS/BBC bias coverage!

  • 38.
  • At 09:42 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Gav W wrote:

"did you actually listen to the keynote or view the intro movie online about the 'air' - no i don't think so, otherwise you would have seen that you can wirelessly stream from another computer's optical drive mac or pc - i'm amazed how quickly people knock apple products with little or no knowledge before they open their mouths or start to type."

So, if I want to load software (2.5Gb of Adobe Creative Suite for example) or watch a DVD I have to find someone else with a Mac (with a DVD drive and wireless and the software to stream it) and connect to them?! Not very practical, and very very very slow (the 2.5Gb CS3 installer over wireless - it takes an hour from DVD, bring wireless intot the equation and we're talking about next day). It doesn't even have ethernet or firewire - one USB port isn't going to get you very far - then again, you can carry round a USB hub in the space you save. A lighter, but slightly fatter Sony Vaio with a built-in DVD-RW drive seems a better option.

  • 39.
  • At 09:47 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • patrick powell wrote:

I'm trying to work out what is so special about a laptop being very, very thin. I mean so what. Takes up less space in breiefcase. Big bloody deal. For me the sub-$100 Onebook laptop (I think that's what it is called) was and is far more fascinating, and I would be a little more impressed with Apple if it lent that project the benefits of its innovation and expertise etc. I must admit I have several Apples (and on PC) and I prefer them to Windows, but I do find this tendency for an all-singing, all-dancing parade to be organised every time Jobs passes wind a touch tedious.

  • 40.
  • At 09:58 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Stevo wrote:

one of the biggest let downs is apple not being able to squeeze an optical drive in. watching dvd's on the move is a big part of a personal computers job, especially one as portable as this. Apple claim hat with DVD rentals you wont need an optical drive but with only a max storage capacity of 80GB it's not enough to carry a decent collection.

I don't buy into using another computer's dvd drive wirelessly; you can't exaxtly tap into another laptop on the train.

  • 41.
  • At 09:59 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

I have an Apple Newton. Anybody remember that groundbreaking technology? Thought not.

  • 42.
  • At 10:01 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Bob wrote:

Macbookair spec issues that I can see offhand:
No replaceable battery
1 USB 2.0
No optical drive
slow 4200rpm hard drive
RAM not upgradeable
Mono Speaker
No Ethernet
No Express Card
No Card Reader
No WWAN
No Firewire

So when your battery starts not holding charge in approx 15 months or so you will have to send your laptop to Apple, or take it to an Apple repair centre to have them charge you to swap the battery - another Apple rip-off. Also, if you want to wanted to carry an extra battery because you know you are not going to be able to charge your laptop - well, that's not possible - poor, poor, poor.

  • 43.
  • At 10:09 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Dan A wrote:

At first look the Happy Shopper version of the MacBook Air looks like pretty good value. Dual core processor, widescreen, 2MB memory. However the hard disk is woefully slow at 4200rpm. It is a lovely looking piece of kit but if you want to use it for anything serious you need to take the monster upgrade leap to the two grand version which comes with a solid state drive.

Mr Jobs yet again unveils the Emperor's New Clothes.

  • 44.
  • At 10:11 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Dr Chris Parsons wrote:

Yawn! Another overhyped Apple product. I cannot believe the fuss over the iPhone...great interface, beyond doubt, but if you live in Europe, it's a terrible phone when compared with Nokia's offerings, or indeed anyone else's. Somebody already said it...style without substance. Another thing that amuses...the myth of all these XP machines crashing all over the place. I'm responsible for hundreds. On the whole, they ain't pretty, but they do the job.

  • 45.
  • At 10:12 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • alecstilleyedye wrote:

the macbook air is beautiful.

that said, i can't help feeling it's under-specced for the price. no ethernet? that's apple as it always has been, not afraid to throw away old technology. ten years ago ethernet was the daddy for networking, now it's wireless, and apple is embracing the future.

the irony of all the hype now is that it was in the early 90s that the macintosh was so superior to the win-tel pcs that it was laughable. if that had been reflected in the mainstream media (and apple had made a better job of marketing, and pricing) then we wouldn't have all the hype today as apple would be where microsoft is now.

but we'd need someone else to be apple…

  • 46.
  • At 10:13 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Adam wrote:

Oh really.

BBC uses Microsoft all over the place (iPlayer anyone?), interviews abound with Microsoft people (wasn't there one in HYS recently with Bill Gates?).

Every time Bill Gates scratches his nose it is in the headlines. The web pages on the BBC were awash with Vista months if not years before it's eventual release and people complain about Apple announcements?

Methinks the uninformed bloggers protest too much!

The air is an impressive piece of kit but its still too big to be portable, and its way too expensive.

I'm currently using an ASUS eee and yeah, it might be 1-2cm thicker, but it was £220.

  • 48.
  • At 10:20 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Jan wrote:

Last week, Bill Gates informed us about a vision. The vision was about making keyboards redundant. Nice.

Today, we are informed about something that is not a vision: a new piece of engineering and beautiful design.

The vision of Bill Gates was thought to be important enough for a dedicated interview and a positive assessment.

The real thing receives sarcasm.

This is not a blog but propaganda.

  • 49.
  • At 10:22 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Matthew wrote:

Agreed. Apple is still hands-down leading the pack in the realm of new technologies that effect every day life. They provide an amazing product at a fair cost, and in the end, will help to lower the cost of technology for everybody world-wide. Apparently the path to a future in which all these tools are fully integrated into the home, car, office, cafe, airport, hot tub, etc. just can't be paved quickly enough for some. How about a little gratitude, people!

Hi
Why is is so supprising that Apple gets lots of media attention.
Media Types Love Macs
Media Types love design over function

Apple Make make Macs, Apple products tip the balance with design over function.

Ergo Lots of media coverage....

Ian

  • 51.
  • At 10:23 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Roy USA wrote:

When the Iphone 2 worldphone is announced in 2 months, you will understand why this Macworld was a little underwhelming. They tried to have the IPhone 2 ready for announcement for this show, but it was not done. Apple now makes big announcents two or three times a year beond Macworld.

  • 52.
  • At 10:24 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Brian wrote:

[quote]At 07:55 PM on 15 Jan 2008, rob wrote:
Roshan Patel

did you actually listen to the keynote or view the intro movie online about the 'air' - no i don't think so, otherwise you would have seen that you can wirelessly stream from another computer's optical drive mac or pc - i'm amazed how quickly people knock apple products with little or no knowledge before they open their mouths or start to type.
[/quote]
Hmmm, it can access a drive on another computer, wow, I have been able to do that on computers for years, its called file and folder sharing!

  • 53.
  • At 10:33 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

Almost FOUR years ago we had the Sony Vaio VGN-X505VP - with 1.8in hard drive, external DVD burner and minimal ports but clever a little dongle that expanded connectivity to peripherals - THAT was a marvel.

  • 54.
  • At 10:41 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Martin wrote:

Isn't it obvious why there's no optical drive?

Did you miss the bit about renting movies off itunes?

Why do you need an optical drive (which is available as a £65 external USB superdrive the size of a CD case from Apple anyway if you REALLY had to have one) when you can download your movies and music, and lets face it your software too, and store it on your time capsule or apple tv box?

If the iPhone was genuinely revolutionary, where were the features on the touch screen, tv showing, music playing, internet surfing Nokia 7710 four years ago?

  • 56.
  • At 10:49 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • humps wrote:

News worthy, not a great deal today. But we can look deeper in some of the key products.

No 16Gb iphone. No further announcement for other countries.

iTunes movie rental has to be the easiest and most user friendly option. Others are no where near the ease of use of itunes.

MacBookAir is incredibly thin and makes the sony TZ series looks so yesteryear. It is cheaper than the Sony for those complained about Apple's price. I for one will not miss the optical drive, most people don't buy a sub notebook as their only machine anyway. LED backlid, 5hr battery, illuminated keyboard, Magsafe plug ...etc this is one hell of a notebook! The eeePc is a toy/gadget that I almost bought, but couldn't think of any real use after playing with it for 10mins. This apple is a real notebook that I can use everyday for almost all tasks.

  • 57.
  • At 10:51 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Brian Hazeldine wrote:

MBa is a big disappointment, no use for replacing either my Palm TX nor a real laptop with adequate storage, connectivity and optical drives. People don't seem to have realised that Apple is trying to support the music / film providers strategy to wean consumers off physical media that can be pirated, and get consumers to pay for inferior quality compressed formats, mpgs etc, that studios can control & re-sell. I'm sticking with CDs and DVDs, and though I've been putting it off, I'm really going to have to get to grips with GNU Linux!

  • 58.
  • At 10:59 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Miles wrote:

While I was disappointed they didn't update the Macbook Pro, I have to hand it to Apple. The Macbook air really demands a new way of thinking about the laptop both in terms of design and usability. Its a shame this blog attempts to marginalise their obviously huge effort and technical achievement.

  • 59.
  • At 11:00 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Keith wrote:

Yeah, I am another underwhelmed MacHead (and have been so since 1985). As some others have posted, the new MBA is thin - so what - it is still the same footprint as the MacBook, with half the things missing. And so what if you don't need a DVD drive to install? When you are travelling (which is the purpose of a small portable) then you are not likely to have access to a wireless-enabled PC or Mac from which to load anything.
Having the same footprint as the MacBook, which makes use on plane and train tables so awkward, makes the MBA the biggest anti-climax from Apple in a long time.

Too much Apple? Too much Microsoft? Not enough Asus?

Thanks for all the comments. We do read them.

I think there's arguments on both sides.
In terms of BBC News website output - the Apple event has warranted a single story, a feature about products gone by and some blog posts.

I don't think that's too much. If readers had come to the news website and found no story at all, that would have been strange, don't you think?

Given every major news organisation around the world is reporting the event - and some from the UK even sent journalists to San Francisco - I'm pretty happy with the time/resources committed to it.

That said - I'm just finishing a new blog post in which i delve a bit more into the nitty gritty, which will be live tomorrow morning UK time.

Now you don't HAVE TO read it....

I used to hate it when people were bashing Apple, but I'm actually starting to enjoy it now. I don't particularly want Macs to become too wide-spread and popular - I rather like the feeling of being part of an exclusive "we-know-better" club.
I was a PC man for years but after I switched to Mac I've never looked back. Especially now that compatibility really isn't an issue anymore (and for the very few times that it is, you just keep a copy of XP running parallel on your mac).

I like having style. I like looking good. I like my Mac.

So by all means: Keep being unimpressed, keep bashing Macs, keep looking ugly and keep your PCs.

  • 62.
  • At 11:27 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Martin wrote:

There are plenty of thin PC laptops out there. I'm typing this on a Gateway machine with a wide screen, it's very light and thin AND it has a DVD built in.

I've got an old Dell L400 that is even thinner and lighter that runs Windows XP and cost me £200 secondhand.

Sorry Jobs. Your stuff is over hyped and expensive.

  • 63.
  • At 11:30 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • carl wrote:

Macs? Yaaaaaaawn. I'm sure all the mac fanbois will be queuing up to buy this underspecced, overly expensive piece of junk..

Oh well, A fool and his money are soon parted ;)

Next!

  • 64.
  • At 11:32 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Marty wrote:

Can somebody please explain the huge price difference of the macbook air between the US and the UK? At $1799 that should equate to roughly £900 yet it's going on sale in Britain for £300 more than that! I refuse to believe that the shipping costs for something that weighs little more than the stamp being used to post it can justify such disparity. Rip off.

  • 65.
  • At 11:38 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Ulrik has just demonstrated why a lot of PC users laugh at Mac users. That's laugh 'at', not 'with'.

Back to your skinny latte, son. It's about as substantial as your input.

  • 66.
  • At 11:42 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Helen wrote:

I know, let's all just throw money away! That would be fun.

This is vanity at its very worst. The only reason anyone would care how thin it is is because they're cursed with too much money and too little sense. Think about it: no CD drive, one USB port, no replaceable battery... and if it's that thin, it has to be pretty fragile.

I have an iPod shuffle, because (despite owning over 16GB of tracks) I can't say I regularly listen to more than 250 songs. It's just all going a little bit crazy: Mac owners, I wonder how many of those shiny, flashy programmes you're using? What the point is of carrying all those thousands of photos and tracks and videos on that huge memory? What exactly can you do that can't be done for half the price with a PC or ordinary laptop?

I use Apple products, I own both an iPod (several infact) and an iMac G5, but I'm dissapointed with this years keynote, ok the movie rentals thing will be good, once it gets here... but thats about it.

The "Time Capsule" isn't new and other companies sell similar devices for cheaper.

And as for the "Air" what a load of rubbish, yet again Apple have marketed a product that should really be aimed at the sub-notebook market wrongly and the price tag is just stupid over £1,000 for the basic model! And come on you can't even replace the battery!! I mean what are they thinking?

  • 68.
  • At 11:52 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Jon T wrote:


Just love all the 'hate Apple', 'expensive rubbish', comments above. Fine, have your opinions, but don't spout about things you clearly don't know about.

Apple is the most innovative business in the world today and its products are revolutionising your lives whether you like it or not.

That's music, film, computing, and mobile telephony. Just look at what Intel and Google are doing with Apple! These guys are firing on all cylinders and anyone of the millions of us now who have ditched Windows for OSX, or iPhone for their 'smart' Nokia, know the differences are huge and growing.

  • 69.
  • At 11:55 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Ian K wrote:

Show me a new car which has even half the degree of innovation that the computer computers have to put in just to be competitive, and I'll give it a fanfare.

  • 70.
  • At 11:56 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Jake Spires wrote:

I never ceases to amaze me. That anyone is dull enough to think a 1" think notebook is newsworthy at all.

It also amazes me that in a world that is becoming wise to spin, that no body has spotted the i-swindle.

You want to run the "amazing" re-done version of a 20 year old operating system called Unix renamed and re-visualized and now called called OS X. So you HAVE to buy an Apple PC. You buy your Apple PC, otherwise called a Mac (but still a Intel PC in a white box) you then get a copy of itunes for all your media needs. But hey, this isnt a player, its more like a shop with a player attached.

And so the whole thing unravels, it makes any comment about a Microsoft Monopoly look a little mute.

No choice at all. You cant decide what OS you want to run or choose from a long list of hardware that suits your exact needs and much more practically your pocket!..You HAVE to have an over priced white or silver branded box. That comes with a built in shop. Ummmm..Am I the only one that wise to this?

  • 71.
  • At 11:57 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • anthony akong wrote:

To the man with the Psion. Surely you meant Symbian OS using an ARM processor,which now runs on something like 70% of phones,as does the iPhone (Processor). Apple was apparently an Investor in the development of this processor years ago. To the file sharer, will you Computer share files wirelessly with three operating systems? By next year every computer manufacturer will be trying to do something like this,right down to the multi touch pad on the front.(Trying)
Look at all the iMac/iPod/iTunes/iPhone clones that are starting to appear.
I think that Jobs and co. are probably a bit smarter than most of the people posting here,and are playing a long game.

  • 72.
  • At 11:59 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Jon T wrote:


Oh and talking of coverage - how much coverage did the BBC give to the 'Table' technology from Microsoft - lots of course.

So, using the Focus analogy, it shouldn't have had ANY. It is vaporware that hasn't sold a single instance, and probably won't for a long time. And even then it won't be to us, it'll be far too expensive.

  • 73.
  • At 12:02 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Marios Patrinos wrote:

The MBa is a beautiful piece of design no doubt thanks largely to Jonathan "Jobs-in-waiting" Ive.

All technology is a compromise and the MBa is about expanding the product line to bring in those niche users.

No optical - how many people now use CDs to load software?!

Not enough USB - for the poster complaining about their mouse "dongle" - simple answer is ditch RF in favour of bluetooth or fit a USB hub

If I could afford one (sort out the pricing Jobs, PLEASE!!!!) and was in need of a laptop then yes, would buy one and that is a lot to do with the look.

Time-capsule - excellent - what's the betting BT will add storage to the Home-Hub quick sharp!

Video rental on iTunes - about bloody time - but why the damn wait for a European launch AGAIN! For a global company this is woeful.

iPhone - a glorified iPod - the camera is poor, it's too big, the "software" and features particularly with EDGE instead of 3G is outrageous at the price particularly with tied contracts. For that price I'd want a killer-everything (camera, organiser, music/video player and internet access).

That said, I switched to a MAC mini at home to replace the PC and haven't looked back!

  • 74.
  • At 12:20 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • James wrote:

Apple's high media profile and attractive products are encouraging a new generation of customers but unless they improve how those products actually work they are going to start losing them.

I was attracted to purchase a Mac by promises of a system that never crashes, an amazing user interface and a great performance. Unfortunately the reality is that I've gone back to using my Windows laptop for anything other than the simplest tasks. While the system might not crash it does like to hang (particularly with iTunes). I find the user interface to be less well thought out than Windows and there are considerably less sensible keyboard shortcuts. The one button mouse that comes as standard might be pretty but is also pretty limited and many applications don't allow for a full range of instructions from the standard keyboard (end and home in particular).

Mac software might be great for graphics but it is awful for numbers. There is no spreadsheet on its iLife bundle and all of the Mac only systems are useless compared to Excel.

Compatibility between Windows and Macs remains woeful. Unless you click every box correctly only the small proportion of the world who also has a Mac will be able to open your attachments. Even my iPod which had been plugged into a Windows machine was not initially compatible!

I've emailed Apple about these grips and they suggested spending yet more money on upgrading to Leopard. I think that I'll be saving it to buy a new Windows machine.

  • 75.
  • At 12:23 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Harry P wrote:

52 posts later someone FINALLY realises why there’s no optical drive, and incidentally also why there's only 1 USB, only 80gb HDD etc:-

It’s all about the download. Hey Steve is even telling you in so many words that this is a wireless (read download) machine. Yeah this is the next iTunes / iPod proprietary cash cow.

If a drive is missing I'd say it is a blu-ray drive not a DVD drive, but the format war was not yet done at time of production no doubt. Well, imagine if Apple followed up iPhone last year with size zero laptop this year,but with only a DVD drive - world would have just yawned and rolled over.

Ultimately, Apple innovates - end of. This is why the hype exists.

However, the design sexy is all part of the lure, and the next grab (movies over IP) has advertising revenue like the web never did before. That's why Apple with their MBa + Apple TV , Sony with their PS3 + Blu-ray, MS with Xbox live + BT, Sky and the Mobile Telcos with mobile TV are all coming in strong to get you all hooked up to their proprietary systems.


  • 76.
  • At 12:37 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Toby wrote:

Marty (#64), the US price doesn't include 17.5% VAT that Apple are obliged to add to the cost in the UK. In most states in the US sales tax would be added to that price too - the price is pretty directly comparable when you take this into account - it's just a difference in how items are priced in the US to here.

  • 77.
  • At 12:41 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Piers wrote:

There is no right or wrong here, just people's opinions regarding their views on products that without a Micro$oft we would never have competition. Apple were far behind in the competitive world back in 1991, which was the year I first switched on a Mac, but they've come on leaps and bounds since.

I seem to find that when I do eventually speak to a MacBasher and ask them what Apple machines and software applications they've used to arrive at their poor ratings they always seem to offer a blank look. So, for the majority of you out there who make comments about Apple products without first trying them, may I gently persuade you to sit with a Mac for a couple of hours and then go back to your virus ridden and under-developed Micro$oft platform (which I have to remind you of Vista which is the first major release and upgrade from this particular manufacturer for FIVE years, while Apple have released one every year within the same period).

What Apple are doing, and have done for years if you haven't noticed, is bring to us extremely innovative products which makes consumers not like you and I who squirm in delight, but the countless unnamed and invisible developers who then have to figure out how to build on such potential masterpieces. Apple are truly the innovators here, even if some prices are a little too high for the majority of consumers. Yes, we can all sit here and moan about products, but how many of us in the real world actually could invent anything like what Apple are offering? And in style, too.

We all sit behind our desks, steering wheels and un-protective employers while the real innovators work hard at bringing products onto the market that will make all our lives easier, and more fun. What we need to do is support the innovators like Apple, who are extremely supportive with their almost daily upgrades, and make sure that the likes of Bill Gates don't steal ideas from Steve Jobs ever again. Micro$oft DO NOT support their large customer base, hence the world of viruses you all pay an annual subscription to anti-companies for, and you can tell by looking at the 114,000 known viruses out there (compared to a couple of minor glitches by Apple with malware recently and very quickly overcome).

Ask yourself this, if a Ford Focus stayed the same for five years you'd quickly jump ship to a manufacturer that stayed on top of things, yes?

So, ladies and gentleman, may I introduce to you the leader in everything from home user products to business applications (Office 2008 produced by Micro$oft is even released on the Mac platform first, so what does THAT tell you?)...

... Apple.

Piers

  • 78.
  • At 12:41 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Toby wrote:

The fact that PC users seem to think that Vista is cutting edge OS is pretty amusing to Mac users.

But putting aside the sarcasm, the problem with many of comments here is that fundamentally miss the point. I don't know what the market for an ultra thin mac is, but I do clearly remember similar sorts of negative comments when Apple decided to ditch the floppy, or when the first gen ipod was released. Granted, the itunes phone was a bit of a dud. But what Apple does very well is drive the technology forward at a fast rate. Sometimes with its own good ideas, sometimes with ideas that it appropriates from other sources. Often the end result is a product that is easy and reliable to use and as a result builds strong customer loyalty and takes a profitable section of the market.

The Mac OS may not be the best system on the planet, but it substantially better than anything ever produced by MS.

Finally from a mac users point of view, I think the most interesting announcement was the time capsule HD. If you haven't experineced the Time Machine software, it's hard to explain what a huge benefit this has been and that that a single wireless drive for backing up machines is an excellent addition.


Microsoft has still yet to undergo any process where it rethinks its OS, the end result being the substandard VISTA.

  • 79.
  • At 12:55 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Richard Whitcombe wrote:

OK so lets summarise here:

Apple have invented a wireless network in the home and shared drives on a remote computer. That's only been around 20+ years so not bad for them in their usual catch-up and rebranding. Noteworthy? No. Newsworthy? No. Innovative? Nope. Most people have been sharing and backing up files for years.

And the other product is a monsterously overpriced cut down laptop which lacks basic useful features of a machine 1/3 of its price.
So ages waiting while software sends over a slow wireless network.

As per usual they create nothing new and just rebadge already established systems to fool the gullible.

How the hell do they get so much coverage? Their entire survival is based on hype and appearance over actual function. No doubt they play the media well but surely something like the BBC should be able to see through it ?

  • 80.
  • At 12:58 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Greg wrote:

Did Steve Jobs deliver? Yes. The BBC alongside other mainstream broadcast and print news outlets are covering yet another of his product launches.

Ok, so you really mean did he deliver a killer new product or service. Are any of todays announcements likely to have a profound impact on an established industry or even our lives?

On the product side, highly unlikely. What we heard today was solid but nothing that's going to change our lives or the computer business.

On the service side it might be different. Securing the major Hollywood distributors is strategically very significant. To achieve such a comprehensive coup whilst at loggerheads with many of the same companies over iTunes pricing and revenues indicates Apple is not the only company taking movies seriously. It's now possible to imagine the high street without a Blockbuster on the corner. Time will tell.

It says something about Apple's past achievements that the original question is even posed. Apple gave us the first mainstream computer with a mouse and graphical user interface. The iPod and iTunes have made it possible to maintain and purchase music in a simple, stylish and affordable way. We look to Apple to give us some some kind of insight to the future just like we look at Ford and GM when we want some insight in to the state of the auto industry.

  • 81.
  • At 01:36 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • marc jones wrote:

What Apple does best, is innovate in the field of user experience. Those claiming all the iPhone offers was already out there have almost certainly not lived with the device as I have. The same applies to their massively superior and intuative operating system.

Jobs is a talisman that turns an ailing company into a monster success and as such when he announces something new it is newsworthy.

Apple are not perfect and nor are their products, they get get a little nearer to it than most and usually sometime in advance.

  • 82.
  • At 02:19 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Jase wrote:

Hey , All the people whining about Apple getting it wrong , it has no CD drive , You cannot replace the battery , it only has one USB port , its too thin , its too fat , its too small , its too big...

...heres an idea , DONT BUY IT!!!

Seriously, I cannot believe the reaction Apple products get , I'm a Mac fan ( I will never buy a windows PC ever again ) , but if Vauxhall release a new super-grey Vectra ( with extra grey option ) do I feel the need to log onto every website going and vent my anger? No. I just say , thats not for me and i move on.

People seem to think they Apple have some sort of obligation to produce EXACTLY what they want and when they dont they throw a wobbler about it.

In fact , I am now so wound up I'm penning a letter to Ford about the latest Mondeo and its blatant lack of any hovering or amphibious abilities.

  • 83.
  • At 02:23 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • terry wrote:

I presume most of the posters haven't seen the video of the Macbook Air, otherwise they would have noticed the external DVD burner that Apple have made for it. As usual people camplain about the price but comparing it to PC laptops of similar spec and quality (how many laptops have a durable aluminium shell?) the price isn't bad unless you want the solid state drive. Still wouldn't replace my Macbook Pro which is still only 1 inch thick.

What interests me most about the Air is the new wide multitouch trackpad that uses gestures to control the computer. Move two fingers apart and the text grows in size. Picture too big to see, just pinch on the pad and its smaller.

It says something about Apple that where others just rebox components from the vendors Apple have actually got Intel to design a new Core 2 processor specifically to fit inside the Air.

The big event of the keynote for me is Time Capsule, not the Air. The Air looks pretty so gets all the press coverage, but Time Capsule is just so much more useful. Imagine all your computers (not just one) backed up automatically and wirelessly and there's a wireless router, network drive and print server built in there, and it works with Windows as well

  • 84.
  • At 03:13 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Rosie Marks wrote:

I haven't bought an iPhone yet. I'm waiting for the iPhone to have the camera positioned so I can video chat and and use ichat on it for that matter, like my Sidekick. The camera needs to swivel somehow. Now there's a nice little problem to solve.

  • 85.
  • At 03:18 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Dzi wrote:

I own both an ipod & a zune, I have a toshiba equim laptop & a macbook & I have an iphone & a HTC touch. I "like" my apple appliances because they look good end of story.

The number of times i've been to the apple store and spent hard earned cash upgrading and repairing deices is countless. I HAVE NEVER HAD TO UDGRADE OR REPAIR ANY OF MY WINDOWS DEVICES & A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO ZUNE GAVE ALL ITS USERS AN "AMAZING" UPGRADE FOR FREE. The day you use a Zune you will give your ipod to charity. I swear.

Having said so both MAC's & MS's products are expensive overcommercialised. Linux is the way forward. I choose windows because they're expensive to buy but cost nothing to keep, unlike my MAC stuff.

If you're looking for "nice" graphics and looks go for MAC. But performance wise look up MS.

I'm writing this on my iPod while listening to some iTunes.
I had no trouble scrolling down the page reading the blog and comments with the wifi connection.
This in itself isn't newsworthy & has no content or style.
I was just eager to see what Apple were doing & what I could do with an iPod.

  • 87.
  • At 03:39 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Jay wrote:

Er, the Mistubishi Pendion was thinner ten years ago. But never mind, eh, it's Apple!

Sony's X505 was only 1mm thicker four years ago and had a removable battery, replaceable hard rive, ports etc. There is now a Vaio out there just 4mm thicker but with an optical drive - and it's smaller in overall size. And cheaper. But it isn't Apple.

It's those pinstripes again........

  • 88.
  • At 04:52 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • jenifer howard wrote:

Why does "John" on the promo video keep calling it a "Mac Boo-guerre"
Basically piece of ovepriced fisher-price toy, with no use whatsoever. Reduce it to say 99 quid then maybe good for offices etc but 1200 quid u gotta be joking. 1 USB port? where does the mouse plug in and don't tell me u mac-heads can draw with the pad. So you MUST own a PC Mac etc to be able to load up stuff. How much does the external drive cost?
Jenny

  • 89.
  • At 06:05 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • RAV TUX wrote:

2.86 lbs for the MacBook Air is hardly news worthy.

The Fujitsu U810 is 1.56 lbs & a Tablet PC.

The Fujitsu P1620 is 2.2 lbs also a Tablet PC.

The ASUS Eee is 2.028 lbs and has a Linux OS.

When MacBook comes out with a Open Source Linux based OS that is also a tablet PC that will truly be News Worthy, until then I yawn at such things.

  • 90.
  • At 06:31 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Gareth wrote:

I have to agree I wasn't that enthusiastic about it all really.

Yeh sure Air is nice, but with a lack of an optical drive and something like a 33% mark up on the US price for is UK buyers it does make it a somewhat expensive laptop. Dell's new slimline XPS range is arguably a better deal.

Time capsule is a nice idea, but its not anything that special. Apple are genius' as taking an old idea, putting it in a pretty case and pretending that came up with the idea.

The iPhone and iPod Touch updates were a bit pityful, more flashy looks, some features that should have been there from the start, but no real substance. Unfortunately that 3G iPhone we all crave still seems to be a bit of a pipe dream.

To Jared @ post no. 4 its unfair to compare a Microsoft and Apple keynote. When was the last time Microsoft released any hardware of any sort. They don't, they are a software company (except the XBox).

  • 91.
  • At 07:57 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Malcolm Collins wrote:

All this childish bickering about Apple v MS is quite interesting with all this my computer is bigger (smaller?) than your computer stuff. I changed over to Macs about 4 years ago. Over that 4 years I have had to help friends with Windows kit about 30 or more times to sort out non-working machines mainly due to viruses the last one only yesterday. Oh and before everyone points it out most if not all of those problems were on machines with AV software. How many problems have I had with the Mac? Zero that's how many. Sure they cost more but so does a reliable BMW against a Peugeot (or a Focus!!). Stop being emotional and take a step back and look at the real cost in protective software and 'downtime' before you bleat on about Windows.

  • 92.
  • At 08:02 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Timo wrote:

Now the funny thing about Apple is that they have NEVER been a leader, infact they have always copied hardware, software and design. They have a wonderful marketing department but as anybody who has done real research knows that Apple has copied software and hardware ideas from others. Apple has never been an innovator, they just copy other ideas and repackage them. I am a big Apple fan from the early days but I can still see them for what they are.

  • 93.
  • At 08:07 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • rob wrote:

First off - this is a laptop to use on the road - no one is going to buy this as their main pc - so yes they will have access to a dvd/cd via wireless in my experience broadband now a days is up to the task(or they can get the companion dvd drive). Secondly, poor jenifer still wants to plug in her mouse - say hello to wireless - i haven't had wires on my keyboard or mouse for ages. And thirdly price, exchange rate is about 1.8, £1299 less vat is around £1020 - US price, sale tax differs from state to state some are 0% minnesota for eg is 6.5% - so go do the math.

Still amazed people bash something they really don't check their facts first - but i guess it must mean us pc uses are just gealous.

  • 94.
  • At 08:18 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • blogward wrote:

Ive is a great designer and Jobs is a great salesman, but I can't help thinking that when Jobs leaves and Apple have run through the iPod dividend, that they will be in the same place they were in about 1999. Nowhere. And if the WGA and the AMPTP don't sort something out, there won't be anything new to download! Me? running a triple-boot Hackintosh.

People are getting so hung up on the lack of optical drive in the MacBook Air. This just reminds me of the iMac launch in 1998 when Apple took the bold move of removing the Floppy Disk Drive.

At the time there was shock at this bold move from everyone, but in the end it was the much needed death nail to the Floppy Disk Drive, at least on Apple.

I think today will be the beginning of web based software distribution, and quite possibly the next version of Mac OS X will be distributed over the net as well as on DVD - after-all most of Apple's iLife and iWork software can be downloaded and installed across the web legally from Apple.

Apple are just responding to the times that we are living in a connected world and software is becoming a service we use across the internet.

  • 96.
  • At 08:38 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Kevin Yates wrote:

I'm the opposite of an iknucklehead but the world would be a whole lot more boring without apple. They may not be the hippy geeks against the Microsoft conglomerate anymore (they share the same world these days)but they do sometimes think outside the box. I even bought my daughter the new classic ipod this xmas. That being said, they've had quite a year and commercially, they really need to reap some reward for all that investment. Maybe next year we will see some more ground breaking products / developments. Maybe even I might go across to the dark side and join Darth Jobs..... only kidding.

  • 97.
  • At 08:39 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Gareth Williams wrote:

I suggest you do the maths. At current exchange rathes $1799 is about £920. They are selling it for about £280 more over here then in the states. Even with VAT thats a whopping big increase.

OK then so you argue this is a laptop for people on the go to check their emails, surf the internet and do a bit of word processing. I would argue that £2000 is extortiante amount of money for something that I could do with a normal PDA. ASUS are selling the same idea at a fraction of the cost, and that has more connectivity!

Like a lot of things Apple it is style over substance. It looks pretty, but is it functional enough to validate the really high price that goes with it? I do wonder sometimes how much extra we pay Apple simple to have that little symbol painted on the side.

  • 98.
  • At 08:46 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Phillip Davis wrote:

Once knew an automotive engineer and I could not repeat his opinion of Ford cars but it was not complimentary. [Ford - Found On Roadside, Dead]
Don't think I would compare anything as beautifull as Apple to something as grotty as Ford.
Must admit though that the Air is hardly likely to set the world on fire but does show Apple is not sitting still.

  • 99.
  • At 08:48 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Gareth Williams wrote:

"Apple are just responding to the times that we are living in a connected world and software is becoming a service we use across the internet."

To a certain degree you are right, however I think the technology to enable software over the internet is far from mature yet. When Apple dropped the floppy drive it was pretty much dead anyway. DVDs still have a lot of life left in them yet. When downloadable films and software start becomming more the norm then there would be a case for it, but at the moment they are not. DVDs are still the preferred media for distributing software.

Yeh I can wirelessly stream data from another DVD drive, but thats not helpful when I am sat on a train and want to watch a DVD. OK I can buy the extrenal DVD drive, but then that kinda defeats the object of having such a small, light, portable laptop.

Its very good for what it is. A light internet, email, office application machine. I just don't think the price accurately reflects its use.

  • 100.
  • At 08:49 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Ynda wrote:

Apple have always led the IT industry in terms of product and vision. I'm surprised that the BBC/World media have only just cottoned on to that.

The Apple II, the Mac were years ahead of the competition. Steve Jobs left in 1985 and returned in 1997 and the revival in Apple's fortunes has been stunning. So I can see why the BBC and everyone else pays attention.

This year's MacWorld was more about consolidation than true innovation but hey, still no bad thing and still more interesting and relevant than anything else from the IT world at the moment.

  • 101.
  • At 08:58 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Max wrote:

Nice to see Microsoft still get their entire UK staff to post negative and ill-informed 'opinions' every time Apple news hits the BBC.

Do you get paid overtime for it, guys?

  • 102.
  • At 09:00 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Tim wrote:

Duncan (#30): "Why is Apple different to Ford?

"Because everybody buys cars and one car is the same as the other; four wheels, steering wheel, engine, seats. Aesthetics change, as do some thoroughly uninteresting numbers that make no practical difference. A Ferrari is just a Ford with the corners smoothed down."

Sorry Duncan, you're wrong. Last month I had a Ford courtesy car as my 8 year old BMW needed repairs. I couldn't wait to get it back, the Ford was just cheap.

Same goes for most PCs. The Apple product is better engineered and nicer to use.

That said, the MacBook Air is all hype as far as I am concerned. I'm sure some people will love it and find it ideal for their needs but I'm not one of them. I'm definitely considering an iTouch for my birthday now that it has the additional features.

I think the assessment used in the pullquote is correct - the movie rentals direct to the living room TV is the potential game changer.

  • 104.
  • At 09:10 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Ryan wrote:

Ford Focus just a car? The iphone is just a phone, albeit a smart one.

  • 105.
  • At 09:12 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Keith Gould wrote:

A comment on pricing. US Prices are never quoted with sales tax included. To make fair comparisons you have to consider the ex-VAT price. This brings the MacBook Air much closer to the £900 being bandied about. Next, whilst the exchange rate is near to 2:1 (1.9616 on the FT today), you'll only get a rate that good if you're a bank.

On the cost of software for the iPod Touch. I believe US finance legislation is at the root of this charge, and that the charge is set at a level to address this. I'm no expert on Sarbanes-Oxley but I have first hand experience of how this legislation has prevented companies from being able to just add features free of charge. Sarbanes-Oxley poses the challenge of whether or not to introduce new functionality at an added charge or deny customers additional function and avoid complaint. For the benefit, the charge is trivial.

  • 106.
  • At 09:20 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

My old Sony Vaio was almost as thin. Nothing new here then, just hype, PR and iSheep.

Interesting comments about the lack of optical drive in the macbook air. I remember when the original iMac came out without a floppy disk drive, and everyone was wondering how we would all cope... Looking at my works desktop PC, there is now dust in the floppy drive, and neither of my laptops (one Windows and one iBook) have floppy drives and I haven't missed them one bit.

The Macbook Air is too pricey at the moment though.

As for the iPhone updates, yes, they are really only of interest to those people who have one, but speaking as someone who has one, they are a welcome addition. When was the last time your mobile phone manufacturer added new functionality for free? (granted the multiple SMS recipients should have been in there from the start)

  • 108.
  • At 09:34 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • pam wrote:

i will never buy anything from apple again. i can't believe how people have forgotten (or never knew thanks to the pro-apple media) how apple cheated customers by fitting an irreplaceable (at least by oneself) battery to the ipod: one would have to send the ipod back to apple to change the battery as though it needed a repair!!!

  • 109.
  • At 09:35 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • joe wrote:

Rob: "did you actually listen to the keynote or view the intro movie online about the 'air' - no i don't think so, otherwise you would have seen that you can wirelessly stream from another computer's optical drive mac or pc"

What's the point of a super thin and light laptop if you need to have a chunky PC on standby to watch a DVD? True Mac fanboyism in evidence in some of these comments!

  • 110.
  • At 09:36 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

Apple have done it again. Their hype and PR have once again got the iSheep worked up into a frenzy over something so trivial and meaningless.

  • 111.
  • At 09:39 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Mr T wrote:

I have loved Mac machines since I first bought an iMac about 6 years ago and it still runs brilliantly. Recently I purchased a MacBook Pro, another spot on purchase...

Then I see this announcement, I thought why did I not hang on?

Then I read that is will only have up to an 80gb (reasonable of course) hdd and no dvd/cd drive...

Until all material becomes purely downloadable I think Apple are making a very, very niche machine here.

  • 112.
  • At 09:48 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Rose wrote:

In your report on the software update of iPhone you said that Google on iPhone had located you to BBC Television Centre. Was that the correct location? If so, what was that flurry of activity going on behind you. Surely, the BBC isn't allowing Apple to promote itself in all its glory from TV Centre?

  • 113.
  • At 09:54 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

I think people claiming that Apple have "always led the industry" are slightly delusional as I seem to recall it being the Windows based PC manufacturers who were using Intel chips before Apple were. Apple changed and their increase in PC market share is precisely because their PCs (because that's what they are) are Intel based and now run Windows. After all, no-one has developed a serious (there are a few rough efforts) OS X emulator for the PC because... well... why would you?

People on both the MS and Apple divide need to realise that both PC platforms have their good and bad points. I use both and I can tell you that the idea that an Apple PC is more reliable or better than, say, a good PC made by MESH or another reputable manufacturer is, frankly, nonsense. Like anything else the quality of a Windows PC is dependent on the components it’s made from. If you buy cheap rubbish then that's what you get. If you buy something a bit higher end then you're not going to have the same issues so comparing an Apple iMac to a bargain basement Dell is disingenuous. It's also true that there are more security threats for Windows based machines but as they account for over 90% of the world's PCs this is hardly surprising. Attributing the risks just to the OS in question and not scale of opportunity is extremely naive.

As for Operating Systems, the person who suggested that MS have only released one OS in the last five years is kind of missing the upgrades that SP1, 2 and 3 brought to XP all of which were free of charge. I will admit Vista is a huge disappointment just now but then so were the first iterations of Windows 95, 98 and XP. Unfortunately it’s the MS way to do their beta testing on the paying public but then Apple is just as guilty of this too as anyone using Leopard will attest to.

Now Apple does innovate in other areas. The iPhone has the best UI for any mobile device without a shadow of a doubt. The problem is that the device it's attached to is really rather ordinary, but then if it was attached to, say, something with the power of a Blackberry or an N95 that revenue stream would dry up because why would you ever have to buy another phone again?

Ultimately Apple will excite and exasperate in equal measure. There will be those who lap up everything they churn out and those who scorn everything and most of us will probably fall somewhere in the middle. Regardless of where you stand the technology world would be a poorer place without them though.

  • 114.
  • At 10:17 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • John Walker wrote:

Congratulations to Apple for producing products that offers something that PCs/mobile phones/PDAs have never been able to offer. A seemless merge between technology and software; it is built to work.

M$ needs a serious competitor and strive forward the rate of technology (it took 5 years to get Vista out and it hasn't been a revolutionary piece of software - have they wasted those 5 years?).

Already, M$ Office for Mac has brought down their prices when they realised that they were in competition with iWorks. This is the kind of pressures that need to continue and stop monopolies sitting on their laurels.

At the moment, Macs offer me with a superior product and meets my needs at home, pleasure and work. And they work seemlessly.

I will not be buying a Macbook Air, it doesn't have any benefits for me whatsoever - my Macbook Pro works just as well and easy enough to carry about. I will be considering Time Capsule as my laptop is not getting backed up enough.

  • 115.
  • At 10:22 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Peter Copping wrote:

To get the "real" UK price in $$ multiply the US price by 1.05 and then by 1.75 (duty and tax) Then choose your exchange rate to convert to £££.
Bundled software is a "competition" issue with the EU. Probably thats why you get no free exernal superdrive but won't any DVD burner work with OSX?
Undoubtably 'air" is a pun since the MBA is essentially vanity wear. (like the competitive Sony TD's). Since ASUS is Apples main contractor for MBs then a an Apple MB EE say at 50% more would have been very nice.
Perhaps thats the real story???

  • 116.
  • At 10:54 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • John wrote:

On the price difference: US prices are quoted excluding any sales tax, which varies by state and even by city, Americans are used to mentally adding their local tax onto any price (for example in NYC add 9%). The UK price includes the ridiculously high 17.5% VAT. It also covers the higher support costs in the UK due to a smaller user base and higher relative costs in the UK such as wages and rent.

On no CD drive: I can't remember the last time I installed any software from CD, even my last Linux install was USB key and network based. Ripping CD's and DVD's can be done at home with an external drive, it's only watching DVD's on the road that I would miss, but Apple is obviously pushing towards the download model through iTunes. I just spent 3 weeks on the road with an ASUS Eee and never missed a drive.

On lack of USB ports: Two would have been better, but one is not the killer it would have been only a year or two ago. I have a bluetooth mouse and a wireless networked three-in-one printer, my only regulary used USB peripherals are my USB key, my external 2.5" drive and my DSLR, I would rarely have 2 plugged in at once. Add the external DVD drive to the mix, and maybe you would need a USB hub at home for the convenience, but its hard to think of an on-the-road scenario where I would need two at once. A USB 3G dongle might be an issue however, but then I'd prefer a 3G bluetooth phone anyway.

On no Spreadsheet in iLife: Look again, there's Numbers which was introduced last year. Not an Excel killer yet, but give it time.

Yes everyone else has done all these 'new' products before, but none as well executed and seamless as Apple does them. Revision 1 of any Apple product is always a little under-whelming as they seek to get the basics just right, revision 2 is always the best time to jump in when they roll out the more advanced features.

No, I'm not a Mac fan, just a Linux user looking for the perfect hardware solution. I want an ultra portable with an 11" to 13" screen that I can take on the road with me, but still powerful enough to use as my primary machine at home when docked with a 24" screen and wirelessly networked with the usual peripherals. I don't want to have to keep 2 different machines in sync. Does the Air meet my requirements? It's close, but the battery could be the deal killer for me.

  • 117.
  • At 11:34 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • SBGT wrote:

The macbook air…from what I can tell…

…is an expensive treat designed for those who probably don’t really require a computer. They’ve housed half the features and strengths of a macbook into a smaller case.

It doesn’t take a team of researchers and designers to know that less content means a smaller chassis…this was always the problem that designers were having (and the same applies to almost all digital devices) and most would not be willing to compromise their products. I cannot see any commendable achievements in doing this, other than to be the first to put out the slimmest laptop.

What you’re left with really is an elaborate portable film player (or in this case entertainment centre)...and a great lasso to gain more iTunes (and film) downloads, due to the lack of optical drive. Apparently you can wirelessly connect to an optical drive, but this is hardly convenience for the ‘portable’ device and people on 'the move'.

My self and the people I know who own Macs/G5/MB Pro etc use them for graphic design, film production, Sound Design and Music production. This new macbook is of no use to anybody with serious computing needs, and I hope they brand it as such.

  • 118.
  • At 11:57 AM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • guy thiebaut wrote:

My response on seeing the rollout of the new laptop was similar to a French president's response to being questioned about his affair - "Eh bien?" or in translation "So?"

As an IT worker Apple's innovations appear to me as merely eye-candy as there are other products that do what Apple products do except they do it better.

Perhaps "Hot Air" would have been a better name.

  • 119.
  • At 12:18 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Brian wrote:

I think the Macbook Air is a sensible product at the wrong price. Clearly it has to be a second machine for people as too much software still comes on CD/DVD and the world isn't wired enough yet. In time CD/DVD players will die, but not yet.

But let see - take a MacBook, remove a few bits of hardware, slim it down and put the price up! For the cost of an MBa I could buy a Macbook AND a ASUS eee (thanks to those who pointed me in the direction of this!) I see MBa 'lite' coming or a price drop a la iPhone.

  • 120.
  • At 12:20 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Del wrote:

@95

Sam, yes, because no other laptop manufacturer has ever excluded the drive and expected the user to use wireless. Well, none apart from Sony, Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic, Mitsubishi.........

More historical revisionism: it doesn't exist until Apple copy it.

PS Typing this on my tiny 21mm-thick Sony X505. No drive; wifi; 10.4" screen, 822grams. And made four years ago.

  • 121.
  • At 12:55 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

lenny wrote:

"I really wanted a price drop on their displays..."

A price drop? From Apple? Hahahahahahahahaha... etc.

  • 122.
  • At 12:57 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Greg wrote:

They may not seem like big news, but all Apple does should be big news because it does it all so well! i do not know of any company going out of their way for a Ford Focus, but i have an Alpine head unit in my car designed to have my iPod plugged in, alongisde stereo systems and speaker sets for the iPod, and then macs can support most IT, whereas Windows struggles with anything going the other way.
The world is slowly realising how good Apple is, now take note...

  • 123.
  • At 12:57 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Ifor wrote:

Is this a bit of thin air?

  • 124.
  • At 01:28 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Greg wrote:

i have recently switched from windows to mac, after a virus got round my regularly updated antivirus software and destroyed my whole system, on my originally £900 Vaio.
I bought a mac, upon reccommendation, due to the lack of virus threats, and reliabilty being better than normal MS pc's.
i dont think this new release is to really make us all go wow, but to show the direction Apple are heading. Making smaller and thinner machines. i think this is a template of where Apple machines may go in the future.

  • 125.
  • At 01:59 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

I sit on the fence of Apple/PC debate (as I have both), so am able to see the pros and cons of both sides.

First of all the entry level Macbook Air is cheaper than the corresponding Sony (I have the 13" SZ4 which is £1600) and the air looks amazing but the specification of the air is considerably less than the Sony, plus the only people who buy ultra portables are on the road a lot, so add the air external disc unit in your laptop bag and you are back up to the weight/size of the sony.

If I was going to buy a macbook air, I would want the one with the solid state drive and slightly faster processor, but this costs over £2000 which makes it not only the worlds smallest, but one of the worlds most expensive laptops

Everything else in the keynote was "yeh yeh", nothing else was interesting really.

  • 126.
  • At 02:02 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Tom wrote:

Gimmick, gimmick, gimmick; that's all that Apple stands for these days, and are many people going to really buy a laptop which does not even have a CD or DVD drive. Jobs himself admits its a wireless machine, and I'm not convinced entirely that it's a good thing.

As someone with a degree in computing, many of Apples supposed innovations come across to me as gimmicks to make the masses go "ooh wow, aren't Apple amazing", when in reality Apple have as many problems and issues (if not more in some cases) as Microsoft.

  • 127.
  • At 02:19 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Colin wrote:

Yet again more free publicity for Apple.
Why does this Apple laptop get an article written about it while the Asus Eee PC doesn't. The Eee Pc is harder to get hold of than a Nintendo Wii, and is truly changing the market. As usual, Apple with their overpriced shiny products will be hyped up to the max.

  • 128.
  • At 02:42 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Alastair Nisbet wrote:

Underwhelming ? Yes in some ways, but when you think about it maybe that's because Apple has so carefully paved the way for yesterday's announcements.

iTunes movie rentals you don't even need a computer to download and watch ? That's prety revolutionary stuff. We all use iTunes so the idea of renting movies using iTunes just seems so obvious.

A microscopically thin but powerful laptop which doesn't need a CD drive because it can wirelessly borrow the drive of any nearby PC or Mac - that's pretty damned clever.
Yet again Apple seems light years ahead of everybody else in their thinking - the trick for them is to make it all seem like an obvious progression for users. A lot of people are going to be thinking - Renting movies on iTunes - that's so much easier than any other way.

  • 129.
  • At 02:44 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

Job's product is full of air.

Its monitor is not even OLED and, imagine that, this miracle of technology has a HARD Drive!
[and no optical drive of any sort]

And if you want to get it with a minute FLASH memory (64 GB) it'll send you back another one thousand bucks.

Thank you, Steve, but no, thank you.

  • 130.
  • At 02:58 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • John wrote:

I'm not sure why people are so stuck on the Ford Focus imagery, Apple is more like the Aston Martin of computers, it would be Dell who are the Ford equivalent. When Ford release yet another Focus model, it's just bleh, nothing new to see there so no headlines, but when Aston Martin release a new model...

  • 131.
  • At 03:04 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • RD wrote:

All the coverage is both extremely biased and providing free advertising to Apple. BBC is supposed to be unbiased, however I haven't seen any other 'worlds thinnest laptop' stories in the BBC news archive prior to this one, so why only report it when Apple beats the record? Stop branding new products as news, BBC tech reporters need to stop regurgitating press releases and hype, otherwise be fair and run the Ford Focus story...

  • 132.
  • At 03:05 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Independant User wrote:

Apple is the darling of the BBC. This article / thread by its own addmission challenges newsworthiness yet the BBC still manage to give it top billing.

I've complained in the past about the BBC giving unneccassary coverage to Apple so this isn't the first time. And I don't work for Microsoft either - I use both Macs and Windows PC.

What we can do is take a lesson in marketing from Jobs and Co. Its desirable even though its average.

  • 133.
  • At 03:35 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • John wrote:

Mirek, I hope you have your tounge firmly in cheek:

1) No-one has OLED laptop screens yet. It does have a LED screen though.

2) $999 is the current retail price of a 64Gb flash drive and that's the biggest consumer drive you can get, it's still expensive tech hence the cheaper HDD option. In 12 months you'll be able to get a 128Gb flash drive for about $500 to replace the HDD.

3) No optical drive, well that's half the point really, bar listening to CD's and watching DVD's, what do you need one for when you're on the road? Rip your music and films instead and save carrying both the drive and the DVD's.

  • 134.
  • At 03:40 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • A.Blackwell wrote:

I know, let's all just throw money away! That would be fun.
This is vanity at its very worst. The only reason anyone would care how thin it is is because they're cursed with too much money and too little sense.

Apple are tapping an emerging market with this device.
Travel and mobility is increasingly important in top-flight business. More women are working in top positions. Something light and elegant like the MBa will be a godsend.
You can use Bluetooth to connect peripherals such as mice, headsets and even projectors; no need for multiple USB ports and clumsy cables and the backlit keyboard is great for use on planes. Optical drives are needed more and more infrequently, makes sense to give it as an option. I could go on but if you don't see this device as appealing, then you are not the person it is designed to appeal to. No need to insult the rest of us.

I take issue with Apple being the pet of the BBC - why do we get the online iPlayer onlyn and every computer with an Apple on the back gets some gaffer tape over the logo but I see Dell, HP, etc. everywhere?

The MacBook Air fits a slot in the range and you don't have to buy it if you don't want it! They all run MacOS, Linux and Windows so, again, you have a choice of OS.

Where Apple fall down is a low end UMPC and that is why I am typing this on an EeePC in Linux and have a Mac for everything else.

I think the BBC is pretty balanced in its coverage with Windows and MacOS. Now, Linux is a different matter.....

  • 136.
  • At 03:54 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Tom wrote:

I think it is ridiculous that people are complaining that this keynote is on the main technology page of BBC news online a day after it happened! It's technology, and it's NEW(s). If the BBC didn't report it then it would be crazy! People who say that the BBC are bias towards apple are wrong. Many a time I have thought the opposite, as sometimes there are some negative articles on the site ie. security flaws in OS X. I think people just need to give it a rest with the old Microsoft Vs Apple argument. It's OLD. Move on. Both companies do great work.

As for the products, I think finally someone may have come up with a global standard of renting movies over the internet. I really think they have it right this time. Blu-ray Vs HD DVD? Neither. I think the Internet is the future on this one. As for the other stuff introduced? As usual, very cool. Probably won't be buying any of it though.

Although the air looks good, it is lacking in what people want - CD drives, lots of ports and hard drive space. They said on their site that it would be good for students, but as a student I know that people want lots of storage space for their music, photos and movies. Is it a innovative product? yes. Would I buy it? no.

  • 138.
  • At 03:56 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Tom wrote:

I think it is ridiculous that people are complaining that this keynote is on the main technology page of BBC news online a day after it happened! It's technology, and it's NEW(s). If the BBC didn't report it then it would be crazy! People who say that the BBC are bias towards apple are wrong. Many a time I have thought the opposite, as sometimes there are some negative articles on the site ie. security flaws in OS X. I think people just need to give it a rest with the old Microsoft Vs Apple argument. It's OLD. Move on. Both companies do great work.

As for the products, I think finally someone may have come up with a global standard of renting movies over the internet. I really think they have it right this time. Blu-ray Vs HD DVD? Neither. I think the Internet is the future on this one. As for the other stuff introduced? As usual, very cool. Probably won't be buying any of it though.

  • 139.
  • At 04:21 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

I have to admit I'm agnostic about Apple. I love the iPhone but haven't owned an Apple computer since the Mac Plus but all this sniping about the lack a DVD drive or one USB port....well don't buy it then!!! Buy one that has a DVD drive included if you really need it. However, I've never used the DVD drive on my PC notebook while travelling. Oh the Macbook Air doesn't come with a RS232 port.....I really need one of those, how could that Steve Jobs overlook...........Oh right I guess I should buy a laptop that has a port instead then. That's wasn't difficult was it?

I love the desgin of the Air and I'd like a computer that could run OSX/Win32/Linux but I need something with a smaller footprint so I'll be buying an Eee now (I was holding off until today, it doesn't have a DVD drive either). Should I be spitting venom at Mac now?

  • 140.
  • At 05:12 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

In the field of consumer product design there is a term to define what Apple have that others don't - 'X' factor. It is unknown what it is or how to achieve it, but the boys from Cupertino seem to have found a rich vein of it. It's not exclusive to Apple, and is somewhat a matter of opinion (some might argue that Alpha Romeo have it - your not a real petrol head utnil you've owned one).

As for those that claim that Apple's products and software are just 'eye candy', try them, use them, they really do just work, and ask yourself why MS have emulated features that are part of OSX in Vista (calendar, mail, contacts... not very subtle).

As for MS not charging for updates, fair enough service packs are free - but so are Apples software updates AND to upgrade to the equivalent Vista (after all Ultimate Edition is the only version that you can really compare to OSX like for like) will cost you approx £190 for an 'upgrade' of 1 licence. Leopard cost just £85 or £129 for 5 licenses for one of the most advanced Unix varients ever produced - so much so that the folks over at Ubuntu seem to be using some of OSX's interface in Gutsy...

That is all.

  • 141.
  • At 05:14 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

In the field of consumer product design there is a term to define what Apple have that others don't - 'X' factor. It is unknown what it is or how to achieve it, but the boys from Cupertino seem to have found a rich vein of it. It's not exclusive to Apple, and is somewhat a matter of opinion (some might argue that Alpha Romeo have it - your not a real petrol head utnil you've owned one).

As for those that claim that Apple's products and software are just 'eye candy', try them, use them, they really do just work, and ask yourself why MS have emulated features that are part of OSX in Vista (calendar, mail, contacts... not very subtle).

As for MS not charging for updates, fair enough service packs are free - but so are Apples software updates AND to upgrade to the equivalent Vista (after all Ultimate Edition is the only version that you can really compare to OSX like for like) will cost you approx £190 for an 'upgrade' of 1 licence. Leopard cost just £85 or £129 for 5 licenses for one of the most advanced Unix varients ever produced - so much so that the folks over at Ubuntu seem to be using some of OSX's interface in Gutsy...

That is all.

  • 142.
  • At 05:40 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Nick Crispe wrote:

The dependence of the Macbook Air on other gadgets looks like both a product weakness, and an attempt to maneuver us into buying peripherals to rescue the functionality. Why no firewire port? Surely that doesn't weigh too much. And, if we don't need a CD-DVD drive, why not put the system restore software on a USB device? A little more effort, and a little less desire to manipulate us, would have made the Air self-contained. Beautiful though it is, I'm waiting until the defects are fixed.

The thing that excites me most is where this will lead. Apple are always thinking ahead...The Wireless concept of the MBa is groundbreaking....imagine this tech 15 years from now...a central 20TB hub in your home with everything saved on it connected to a superfast wireless connection making all your files and media accessible from home, work, your car, phone....wherever you are you can access what you need...you never need forget anything again.

That blows me away and Apple are already thinking about it!

To Gareth, no. 90.

One word: Zune.

  • 145.
  • At 09:07 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Robert McLachlan wrote:

I think many miss the point of the MacBook Air. It is an ultraportable, not a desktop replacement. Personally I do most of my work on a desktop Mac (rarely use the DVD drive incidentally), but I want a portable to be able to travel and still work, access the web, email etc. The MacBook Air is ideal, I dont need anything else, given Wireless/Web access I can file share with my desktop. Perfect. However if I only required one computer then the MacBook Air is clearly the wrong solution. What is the problem here - if the specs are unsuitable then buy a different Mac portable.

  • 146.
  • At 09:15 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Gary wrote:

Whats all this about not being abble to install software on the MBa due to there being no DVD drive. The last time I installed any thing via DVD was yonks ago. You can download nearlly all software from the internet now.

The MBa will be a great mac. Remember the first iMac, what no floppy (I still believe that some PC's use floppys?)

  • 147.
  • At 09:34 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • green wrote:

Charging £13 in the uk for the touch upgrade is ridiculous. It also makes me think that until new tech is released the touch might just keep being updated with new apps in the way this new update was done.

  • 148.
  • At 12:09 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Gary, you miss the point here. This is a laptop computer which means it's used on the move. Unless you live between your house and Starbucks you're not going to be able to load anything onto it.

The very fact Apple have to supply an external DVD unit for it just shows how poorly made it is especially when you consider the likes of, say, the Dell M1300 which is less than a pound heavier, only slightly wider and actually has a smaller footprint without sacrificing major features like the Airbook has.

You can wax on about wi-fi being the future but until it's a hell of a lot more widespread than it is now it's just not practical.

  • 149.
  • At 12:51 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • in a small town... wrote:

When the new duo-dock for this
Air book is available, perhaps it
will be a desktop replacement, too.
(Looks like an iMac, book slides in.)

Little mention of the new touchpad's
abilities far beyond the previous form.
The iPhone's touchpad is in the MB/Air.

Wirelessly sending info to a wi-fi external
optical drive or HDD hybrid is a nice feature
and the new software (and hardware) is fine.
And backing up to a wi-fi hard drive is great.

A second-generation product may see better
adaptations of technologies; if manypeople buy
it, the next generation's price may be lower.
I'll have to wait for an Apple certified reman,
since I can't afford nearly $5k for the whole kit.

in a small town...
alaska

  • 150.
  • At 01:03 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Paul J wrote:

Love the look of the air but will wait for more powerful versions with bigger screens, thats if Apple bother to fix my macbook pro,

Apple released a software update last year (SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1) that has rendered thousands of peoples superdrives useless, my mac will now not burn or read DVD- discs and sometimes will not read any discs at all, its a massive problem that the're sweeping under the carpet and my macbook is just out of warranty.

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1081038&tstart=0

If Apple start caring about their current customers maybe i'll start caring about their new products!!

  • 151.
  • At 07:13 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew Williams wrote:

Apple has an excellent marketing department, that is the main thrust of their current success. These marketeers make MAC buyers feel warm and fluffy for spending too much on a fashion item (isn't all fashion overpriced?) and then aggressively promote Apple to everyone else and they do both successfully. It is perhaps best to view all such Apple launches like concept cars - looks great, some new ideas etc wait a year or so and a more practical version will come along at half the price.

What I find more disturbing is the amount of control Apple put on the entire product chain - hardware and software and no one bats an eyelid - 'cause they ain't number one in the market. Meanwhile Microsoft is stuck in hard place - if tries to do the sensible business thing by making it's software more attractive with inclusive features / applications etc a la the Media Player legal rangles it gets hammered for abusing it's monopoly, if it doesn't include these items it gets panned for not doing everything it should.

For the record I work in marketing and use a PC (I like USB ports, very handy these days)

  • 152.
  • At 07:46 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Philip Roberts wrote:

If we're judging keynotes one could argue this year's MW was better than last years. Last year = Apple TV plus the ANNOUNCEMENT of one other product (which wouldn't be available for at least 6 months). Granted the iPhone was big news but what % of Mac users have bought one? At least everything in this year's KN is available immediately or very soon and included an actual Mac....

  • 153.
  • At 11:00 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • jako101 wrote:

Frank, I realise that the BBC player is called the iPlayer, but you do realise that the Windows version came out ages ago and only a beta version exists for the Mac?

If that's a Mac bias, then please BBC stop now!

People often don't realise the difference between Windows and the Mac OS X. There are plenty of differences and if you go to try one in any Apple store, you'll see why people make the switch.

Apple are constantly innovating and are very intuitive, something that Microsoft seems unable to grasp.

I switched last May after really never thinking about it. It took 5 minutes for the Mac specialist in the store to show me everything I wanted. I was sold and I still am.

Apple do a lot of marketing and it works well, it doesn't mean I fall for all of the Steve Jobs claims. He has products to sell, it just so happens that most times, he has the best products!

  • 154.
  • At 11:01 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Marcus wrote:

Just spent 20 minutes reading the above comments!!
The new Mac Air is a beautiful piece of design and it fulfils the needs of a certain segment of the market - those who appreciate design, are relatively affluent and need a
second machine. Basically the computer is no longer locked aweay in the office, it is now part of our home and lifestyle, so of course we want something that looks good. If this is not important to you in your next purchase then Of course you can by a Sony or a Dell (both good machines) with disc drives and if that is what you need then go ahead and buy them. But like all good design and marketing, if the product ticks all the boxes and 'delights' the customer then people will buy it.

I have an iMac but will probably get one to continue my work and leisure writing... but that is because I can afford it and it meets the needs I will need a second machine for, if it didn't I wouldn't buy one..simple

  • 155.
  • At 11:59 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Martin Childs wrote:

Well I was left a little cold over this years Key Note speech with one noticeable exception. OK, lets look at was revealed...
MacBook air - Great design as you would expect, but limited although I can see a market for it. If there is no optical drive then an external should be bundled in. "Over the air" installation is ok, but it is slow and lets face it DRM is machine specific and not user...so, I can see people having issues with media and software not installing.
Internal battery...well I hope Apple have sorted their battery woes out for this product. As for having a spare battery when you need it? - forget it.
Somebody mentioned that an aluminium case is durable...well, it's not as durable as modern plastics - when it bends it stays bent and can split.
Connectivity...lacking, but the Ethernet port is a big one - home routers usually need a direct cable connection for initial setting up. I think this seemingly small point may point a large finger to Apple's marketing strategy - design restrictions in it's products so that you have no option to purchase their compatible add-on.

iPhone update - worthless..so they add half baked functionality to Google maps...so what happens if you don't have any signal or WiFi hotspots close by? - you are as lost as before. I'll keep to GPS in my Nokia. The problem with the iPhone, is that it's geared to the US mobile market where there isn't the competition like we have here in Europe.

Time Capsule - nothing really new here. Saying that, anything that encourages people to back their data up is a good thing. Data should really be stored in remote locations, which is why I prefer the remote server solution...similar to those offered by BT.

Apple TV - this is one thing that did push all the right buttons for me. The hiring of movies when I want them, without going to hire them out or waiting for them to be posted through the door is a big plus. Hiring of HD movies, initial struck me as being a great feature...now I'm not so sure. I'm not sure if the average UK broadband speed would make this infeasible for the majority of potential customers here in the UK.

  • 156.
  • At 12:25 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Ian Ward wrote:

I've been fed up with Vista's (and Windows) slowness and inability to meet my work needs.I've bought an Mac Book Air because it is WIRELESS and extremely portable. FIVE hours battery life. Seamless Wifi backup via Time Capsule storage of 1TB.NO HARD DISC chewing up battery life, just Solid State Drive. Easy to use Applications.Result ? Increased productivity and profit.

  • 157.
  • At 12:31 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Joe wrote:

Apple have done this before - it was called the G4 cube, and was a tiny computer for the time. It didn't sell very well due to the high price, i believe the same will happen with the macbook air. It is more a design statement and almost a look into the future of laptops. As usual with apple they are changing the industry. Although from this years keynote you can tell why apple dropped the "computer" from its name a few years ago.

  • 158.
  • At 12:41 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

"The thing that excites me most is where this will lead. Apple are always thinking ahead...The Wireless concept of the MBa is groundbreaking....imagine this tech 15 years from now...a central 20TB hub in your home with everything saved on it connected to a superfast wireless connection making all your files and media accessible from home, work, your car, phone....wherever you are you can access what you need...you never need forget anything again.

That blows me away and Apple are already thinking about it!"

This feature is already enabled with the PS3 and PSP interface. Apple are behind Sony in terms of this!
The MBa lacks so many fundemental features (such as USB ports and ehternet, optical drive etc) and is so underpowered, that it makes its price-tag a joke.

Why not buy a laptop which weighs just a tiny bit more and is a tiny bit thicker to get more performance, more features and at a cheaper price??! I mean, the MBa still occupies the same surface area as most laptops!

  • 159.
  • At 12:43 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Jonathan wrote:

I can't believe how many people have completely missed the point with with the MB Air. It isn't replacing either the MB or MB Pro, its an alternative. It won't be appropriate for a lot of people and its not meant to be.

  • 160.
  • At 05:38 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

"Ian Ward wrote:

I've been fed up with Vista's (and Windows) slowness and inability to meet my work needs.I've bought an Mac Book Air because it is WIRELESS and extremely portable. FIVE hours battery life. Seamless Wifi backup via Time Capsule storage of 1TB.NO HARD DISC chewing up battery life, just Solid State Drive. Easy to use Applications.Result ? Increased productivity and profit"

That's amazing since it's not on sale yet.

  • 161.
  • At 09:48 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Ian Ward wrote:

I've been fed up with Toshiba's & Vista's sluggishness and inability to meet my needs.I chose a Mac Book Air because it is Wireless focussed and EXTREMELY PORTABLE ! -A top notch L.E.D. screen that lights up on opening the magnetically sealed lid. (no spikes to catch on sleeves !) Wireless 802.11n2/Bluetooth =EDR - Wireless backup via Time Capsule 1 Terabyte storage. -NO HARD DISC chewing up battery (5 hrs) life, just 64 GB Solid State Drive. -Easy to use Applications that DON'T CRASH. Fast processor. -Result ? Increased productivity. It's a no brainer.

  • 162.
  • At 02:47 PM on 18 Jan 2008,
  • James wrote:

159 lot of comments!... well ill add my piece... ive been a mac fan for over a year. The time machine router sounded rubbish tell I watched keynote. this is a truely ace idea and im saddened I didnt think of it. Would have liked a up-dated macbook pro with macbook keyboard and magnetic lid. I have an unlocked american iphone and it does its job, its not a revolution but is quite good (if I could find the earphones!) movies are suberb on it, a HSDPA connection would rock but then I dont use it for internet much!.. Movie rentals in UK as my partner keeps telling me look how long it took to get a few ugly betty episodes for the IPOD we are looking YEARS ahead. And as for the air.. well it looks ace but im saddened Apple put there designers into it, I have a macbook and its basically the same, a laptop either sits on your 'Lap', your 'desk' or is docked so why an earth were they trying to make it so slim! there mac's are ace, the software is ace but I think they lost the plot with this one! im going for a macbook pro and a time capsuale (thingy!) then im going back to the future and inventing a normal notebook! Peace be with you.

  • 163.
  • At 08:12 PM on 18 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

I love Apple. Yum yum yum...

Thinnest notebook? Not so, the Mitsubishi Pedion is the thinnest laptop made and that was 10 years ago. Admittedly it is no longer on the market so Jobs' claim is inaccurate because of the way he words it - you cannot buy the Pedion any more but it is still the thinnest notebook available.

http://www.news.com/Mitsubishi-unveils-notebook/2100-1001_3-205190.html

The BBC article that the MacBook Air refers to is little more than an advertisement and the person who wrote should have done research into Jobs' claims before just lavishing praise onto him.

Thinnest notebook? Not so, the Mitsubishi Pedion is the thinnest laptop made and that was 10 years ago. Admittedly it is no longer on the market so Jobs' claim is inaccurate because of the way he words it - you cannot buy the Pedion any more but it is still the thinnest notebook available.

http://www.news.com/Mitsubishi-unveils-notebook/2100-1001_3-205190.html

The BBC article that the MacBook Air refers to is little more than an advertisement and the person who wrote should have done research into Jobs' claims before just lavishing praise onto him.

  • 166.
  • At 03:46 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Faisal wrote:

I think Apple's pricing strategy is a bit silly. If it dropped the prices a little bit, it could probably sell a lot more products. The price on the ipod has fallen drastically, just a year ago, in Canada, I paid $400 for an open box ipod video 80GB. Now a better version is available for much cheaper (Around $250). While I would like to buy a black Macbook, I just can't justify almost $2000CAD with tax, when I can get a windows laptop for about $599 with better specs and storage. While I am a big fan of OSX (my wife has a macbook), the fact is that with some annoyances a windows laptop can satisfy pretty much any need. Also, while the Apple experience is great on most of its products, I am a little ticked by what I am discovering are some of its not so customer-focused tactics. Why does an Ipod not come with a user-replaceable battery? Why should I have to pay the price of a new ipod shuffle, just to get my battery changed? And the whole thing with bricking unlocked iphones was also malicious, the kind of practice that people have been hating Microsoft for.

  • 167.
  • At 04:45 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Faisal wrote:

I would like Apple to design my perfect handheld device (should be another 3-5 years) as follows:

1 1 TB Hard drive (better if solid state)
2.Big on-screen keyboard (than iphone)
3.Blackberry Push email
4. 2 mm thin
5.Cost $99.99 (CAD)
6.Paper-thin slide out keyboard for working on a desk or typing documents.
7. Slot loading CD drive (to work with 8 GB discs size of a dime and paper-thin)
8. Satellite radio
9. World GPS
10. Advanced solar power - 1 minute charge --> 10 days usage.

A bit challenging, but with some wonders from technology partners, doable! ;-)

  • 168.
  • At 03:54 PM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • Matthew wrote:

@ Steve Goldberg:

Although you are correct in saying that the Mitsubishi Pedion is actually thinner than the Macbook Air, I think the slogan "The world's thinnest notebook" refers to today, and in relative terms comparative to the specifications of other laptops.

I'm sure if Apple realy wanted they could officially make the worlds thinnest laptop ever, albeit a very poor performing, slow one.

I guess it is a bit of a mis-guidance, but yeah, just thought id give my thoughts.

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