MacBook Air, one month on

Someone emailed recently asking for an update on life with the MacBook Air. What can I say? It's completely fantastic. Every time I pick it up, put it in my bag and walk to work, I know I made a good choice.

I used the MBA recently when I was shooting the second day of Scotland on Rails. Aperture 2.1 performed flawlessly on it: downloading cards was perfectly fast and moving through the UI was fine. I turned off preview generation on import, and that kept everything moving nicely.

I've been building software on it, surfing the web and RSS, doing email, light Aperture work, several apps open at once, no real problem.

There's really nothing more I can add that Daivid Pogue hasn't already said:

every now and then, a couple of messages come in that really irk me. These messages tell me how wrong I am about something I reviewed, which is fine — but they come from people who have *never even tried the product.*

It was that way with the iPhone, in the time after it was announced but before it was available. "This will be the biggest flop since the Cube," went the critics. "No removable battery? Nobody will touch this thing." Etc.

The blogs were full of this stuff.

As it turns out, they were massively, humiliatingly wrong. Four million iPhones were sold in the first 200 days. Its sales surpassed Treos, Windows Mobile phones — everybody but BlackBerry.

So what's the lesson here? Simple enough: those vocal pre-release blogger-bashers are terrible predictors of a product's success or failure.

All of this brings us to the MacBook Air. When it came to public pre-opinion, I knew I had another iPhone on my hands. Here it was, another Apple product with a stunning and sexy design, gorgeous software — and several missing standard features. (In the Air's case, those features included a removable battery, an Ethernet jack, a FireWire jack and a built-in DVD drive.)

So confident was I that the spec-peepers would dump on this machine, I actually tried to pre-empt them in my review. I tried to explain that looks, size, shape, fit and finish actually matter, actually affect the pleasure you get from a machine. "But for anyone who shares Apple's admiration for elegance," I wrote, "the tradeoff is worth it. This laptop's cool aluminum skin and smooth edges make it ridiculously satisfying to hold, carry, open and close. You can't take your eyes or your hands off it."

Needless to say, my tactic didn't work. The feature counters blew right past my attempts to describe the differentness of this machine and dumped on it. "This will be the biggest flop since the Cube! No removable battery? Nobody will touch this thing!" Etc.

I have no idea what the Air's sales are like, so I can't yet say that the blogger-bashers were wrong again. I do know, however, that the Air has precisely the same effect on people (who actually *see it*) as the iPhone did: they're awestruck. They want to hold it, to touch it


I don't think I have ever agreed more fully with anything I've read on the internet. Exactly my experience.