What I’ve learned about weight and portability, or, Why I would buy the 11.6″ Air if the iPad didn’t exist

Look, my shoulders and I have long since come to the conclusion that lighter is better, and to a degree I am willing to sacrifice some functionality in that trade.

Using an iPad as my every day, primary computer has definitely fostered new ways of working, both physically (where and how I sit), in terms of processes (storing, accessing, printing documents, etc.) and activity (I now read a LOT more than I used to).

Each of us has our own preference point on the curve between heavy weight + features vs. light weight and a higher or lower price depending on what hardware you buy (read: if you get a net book it’s cheaper, if you get an iPad or Air it’s more expensive).

I’ve made my choice and for me there is absolutely positively no going back. I don’t think I will ever use a “full” OSX device as my primary computer ever again. The iPad is simply (mostly) that good. And for the few remaining workflow issues, help is on the way from iOS 4.2, and will invariably continue to improve further in the future.

That said, the new 11.6″ Macbook Air presents an interesting alternative to the iPad. At 2.3 pounds it weighs more, but not *that much more* considering you get a full hardware keyboard and the ability to run “real” full boat applications if that’s your thing. It’s more expensive of course, even more than the most expensive iPad.

Ironically (at least as far as the iPad vs. MacBook Air debate goes), Apple is clearly heading down a clear road to bringing iOS conventions to its traditional desktop OS, which will ultimately make the Air much more like an iPad with a keyboard than it is under say Snow Leopard: an app store, full screen mode, tiles, etc. all conspiring to make the UI and UE of OSX much more like that of iOS. Of course, regular readers know i’ve been predicting this for a while 🙂

The other interesting thing is Mission Control, which near is I can tell is going to be the easiest way to switch back and forth between old school OSX mode and iOS’ look and feel overlaid onto OSX. Yes, they couch it as a way to get at anything/everything from one easy place. But fundamentally I see this as much more boiled down.

In fact, I think ultimately Mission Control will be disable-able in the master user’s control panel, so that one could leave a Mac in semi-permanent iOS-like mode. Young kids growing up banging on their parents iPhones and iPads, and older, less tech savvy people comfortable with simpler UI metaphors will all feel immediately more comfortable with hardware set up like this.

And further down the road there won’t be a distinction at all – it’ll essentially be all iOS(like) all the time, for all but coders. You read it here, if not first, then…in any case. It’s the future whether you like it or not, says me! Personally, I like it!

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About Tony Moody

I make movies. I wield a Les Paul and an iPad. I consume media - copious amounts. And I dabble in assorted nonsense. What do you do? iPadAlone.com Indalo.biz
This entry was posted in Apps, Features, Hardware, Musings, News, OS operating system, Speculation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What I’ve learned about weight and portability, or, Why I would buy the 11.6″ Air if the iPad didn’t exist

  1. Tristan Ward says:

    Good to see you are still persisting with this. I check in every now and again to see if you’ve stuck with it.

    Personally I don’t think I could go quite as hardcore as you. However, that said, my iPad is now a permanent fixture in my day-to-day.

    I have no mobile phone now, iPad is my mobile coms device (not a big fan of public voice coms myself) so email all the way baby.

    I bought a SENA folio case for my iPad for when I’m out and about and it now serves as my wallet. That’s right I no longer carry a traditional wallet in my pocket and that also means my iPad goes with me everywhere. It’s amazing how much easier it is to avoid micro purchases when carrying cash is an inconvenience. It’s also amazing how much as men we take the constant availability of both our hands for granted… 😉

    The reason for checking in this time was to see if the new Airs had swayed you to switch back to OS X Desktop. I see you have resisted that temptation 😉

    • yoyoyankees says:

      Thanks for posting and WOW I have to admit that in many ways you are far more hardcore in your iPad usage than I am in mine! No phone…no wallet?!?

      Haven’t been swayed yet and doubt I will be. At least not until the OS rev beyond Lion. My sense is that by 10.8 OSX will look and feel (and behave) much much more like iOS doea today, and that we will likely have touchscreen laptops (and desktops) despite the ergonomic challenges and despite SJ saying it doesn’t work.

      Sort of related: I wonder how much thinner they could make the bottom half of the Air if it had a touchscreen keyboard rather than hard keys. So, still two screens…full touch below, old school above.

  2. Paul says:

    I would have liked to see more discussion here about the MBA vs. iPad. It seemed to start out that way, but then digress into a discussion about Lion as the beginning of the iOS-OSX convergence.

    • yoyoyankees says:

      Thanks for commenting. And I hear you! The lack of more direct comparison stems from a few things:

      1) I think iOS 4.2 on the iPad is the right thing to compare when looking at the iPad
      2) I think Lion on the Air is the right thing to compare when looking at the Air

      In other words, neither device is (yet) particularly ready to be so directly compared IMHO.

      3) I’ve only used the Air at the Apple Store. I may pop for one as a gift to a dear one, which will give me more time to play with it of course, which in turn would likely yield a more meaningful comparison.

      4) Other means of comparing them – physical specs like size and weight, screen resolution, etc. – are pretty easily scraped from Apple’s site and thus sort of obvious.

      All that said I think many of the Air reviews I’ve read so far point to people making more or less direct comparisons with he iPad. One reviewer (Gizmodo I think?) ended their review by saying they were selling their iPad. And Walt Mossberg definitely talked about the Air’s iPad-ness.

      Good stuff!

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