Ever since netbooks made their debut, I’ve wanted one. The biggest issue was there was not Apple solution. The appeal of a netbook running Linux was almost enough to make the few hundred dollar investment worthwhile. But my loyalty and passion towards Apple and OS X was too strong. Enter the iPad, the perfect portable computing solution. Or was it?
Turns out that the iPad was a great portable computing device. However it came with may limitations. Admittedly it’s ideal for many different things, but overall it was not enough to satisfy my computing desires.
I took two out of town trips with only the iPad, leaving the MacBook Pro at home. I was able to check email, browse the web, and get stuff done. One situation did occur that I needed to email a PDF that I didn’t have access to. But other than that I didn’t feel like I wasn’t connected. But as the owner of an iPhone I didn’t feel that I was gaining much. Typing wasn’t that much better, I enjoyed the bigger screen, but was that enough?
I also found that when I was in public I would reach for the iPhone before the iPad because of the small size and privacy. Also the iPad became more of an entertainment device than a productivity tool. Traveling with the iPad was great though, it was a very useful device to have on a long plane ride.
When the MacBook Air 11″ was introduced I was very interested. The compact size and solid state components were very appealing. But how could I justify an iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air? I debated this for several months. One day I came to the conclusion, that while the iPad is a great device, it added little to what I had with the iPhone. I needed more power and I felt the MacBook Air would provide that.
My biggest reservation about the MacBook Air, was the processing power and limited storage. I took several trips to the Apple store to play with the Air. I wasn’t convince right away though. Finally after realizing how little I was using the iPad, and how it had become more of an entertainment device, I decided to give in and buy the Air.
I had the 3G iPad, and while I only purchased the internet for a couple months, having access was a great feature. I wondered how I could get this connectivity with the Air. The iPhone tethering plan was the perfect solution. No WiFi, no problem, I could get on the internet just about anywhere. While expensive is proves to be a great solution. Especially for someone like myself who travels a fair amount. As a mater of fact I’m using the tethering to post this right now.
So far I love the Air. It’s been an ideal solution for a travel computer. There are many limitations, but over all it’s a quick computer and I don’t think it will every be enough for a primary workstation, I think it’s all I’ll take on the road from now on.
I almost feel like I want a high power Mac Pro as a main workstation, then the Air to take on the road. I find that I don’t do a lot of work that requires more than the air 99% of the time, when I’m out and about. With the addition of a bus powered USB drive everything you left behind can tag along, so you don’t have to worry about the internal storage. Also using MobileMe and Back to My Mac, you can always access your home computer.
One thing I miss out the iPad is how easy it is to quickly check something on the web. It’s a great passive browsing experience, great when watching TV or a movie.
While maybe the cost is a little high to justify multiple computers, I think the MacBook Air is an amazing option that should be considered. The screen is breathtaking, the solid state performance is impressive and the size is truly unbelievable.