Jan 15, 2008

A little disappointed by Stevie

To tell you the truth, I am amazed by Apple. I'm not a fan, but I sort of have mixed feelings about them. Love them in so many ways, hate them in even more ways. But this time I was waiting for Steve Jobs keynote during MacWorld, because I wanted one thing, a Mac equivalent to the UMPC (ultra-mobile PC = those extremely small laptops). Yeah I know that was a rumor that faded quite fast, and no one believed it was still a viable option, but I was hanging by a thread.

The Background Confession
To tell you the truth, I never owned a Mac computer, but I was considering replacing my Toshiba laptop (my only unit now) with a MacBook during the summer, one reason is the smaller and lighter factor, the other is the reported "no crash, no virus" system. Then I thought it would be crazy to go totally blind and get a new system without having ANY previous experience with it, especially that I know that Nokias aren't 100% Mac friendly. That's when I read the rumor about the ultra-portable macbook that got widely understood as a UMPC equivalent. That's when I thought that this would be the best solution for me. Keep my laptop, get an ultra-portable MacBook.

The Announcement
You can read the keynote coverage from Engadget. Basically what Jobso announced was some high-end back-up drive (500GB and 1TB *drool*), a customizable today screen for the iPhone (he gets applauded for something that has been here on many other mobiles for ages... cutting-edge technology y'all!) plus lyrics and Google My Location, 5 new apps for iPod Touch that would cost existing users a whopping 20$ (are you kidding me?), a new Apple TV concept (rent movies in HD for 4$ and 5$ prices, looks interesting but won't threaten the 0.3$ dvd-rental shop near my house) and the Apple MacBook Air. Basically that is an ultra-thin MacBook, 0.78" at its thickest, with no CD/DVD drive, no Ethernet port, no modem, no card reader, (and many more "no"s I don't know about), 1.6 or 1.8GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo, only one USB port, but 5hrs battery life. Oh and 80GB hard disk, are you kidding me? You put 180GB on the iPod and 80GB on a MacBook?! Seriously?!

The Problem
What I would want Jobso to understand is that people with a mobile lifestyle really don't worry about how THIN a laptop is, but about how HEAVY it is. Making it half the size of the Sony series doesn't matter because you made it the same 3 pound weight. Let me be clear. If I am working on a desk, in bed, on a couch, I don't worry about how far off my knees/table I will be placing my hands (read: i don't worry how thick the laptop is) but how much weigh I am laying on my knees. So no, I don't care that it can fit inside an envelope if it's gonna break the envelope's side and drop out. What I want is something light enough for me to carry in a bag, a backpack or Samsonite-like bag so I don't come home every day crying from my shoulder pain.

The Wish
A 7"-8" full-fledge OS X Leopard running machine with a tablet form factor (ie: pivoting touchscreen + full keyboard) where the touchscreen has multi-touch functionnality, with average processor, at least 60GB hard disk, 5 hours battery-life (loved the idea), wifi, 2 usb ports and a real 3.5mm headphone port. I want to see it for 700$ or 800$, and weighing at 1.5 pounds maximum. Is that too much to ask for?

So next time Jobso, do some thinking before you act. Yep the Air (btw that has the same pronunciation as a swear word in lebanese) is good-looking, eye-candy, yeah yeah I feel like if I see it in real life, I will fall in love instantly. But no, I'm passing this one. If it was 1.5-2 pounds, I would run right now and get it, not even worrying about the lack of every single option nor the nifty 1800$ starting price.


  1. I think that the most funny part of Steve's keynote was the announcement of the new iPhone feature to "SMS more than one person at a time ..."

    How cool is that ??? My Nokia 2110 could do that back in 1995 !!!

    Don't get me wrong ... I love Apple'a stuff (well, except the stupid iPod-thingies) , but applauding Steve for adding 12-13 year old functionality is a bit lame ...

  2. James @ Nokia CreativeJanuary 16, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    What you just described is exactly what 10 million others want, myself included!

    Strangely, I think that there is a good chance that the iPhone will become that product. I'm sure Apple could deliver an iTablet tomorrow if they so desired. The problem is with software, not hardware.

    The UI in Leopard is simply not designed to display on a small screen and be manipulated via multi-touch with gestures. It's getting there, as the Air proves, but it's still probably 3 or 4 years away.

    The iPhone UI on the other hand is designed for just such an environment, all that's missing to transform it into a 'proper' OSX Mac tablet are some cool 1st and 3rd party apps. By the end of this year there should be thousands of them!

    Have you considered picking up a refurb MacBook, those little beauties are almost perfect, and if you get refurb you save yourself quite a large chunk of cash!

  3. we all know the iphone is overrated and misses many basic features. However that's only because apple imposes all these limitation. Technically the hardware(620MHZ CPU) and OS (UNIX based) in the iphone is by far superior to any other phone in the market, and hackers ported many many apps to the iphone, and it's only a matter of time(february) that apple will allow third party developers to legally add applications to the iphone.
    I personally still prefer nokias because I don't like touch screens, you have to use 2 hands and your eyes, while any other phone you can only use one hand.

    You can't ask from apple a laptop for 800$ while the n95 costs that much!! currently for 800$ you can get a bulky ugly acer laptop.

    I encourage you to buy a macbook for your next laptop, and have to disagree that nokias aren't 100% mac friendly. In fact mac has built in support to sync with any nokia. The nokia multimedia transfer app is also good. When you get a mac you will know what I mean, everything just works without the trouble of installing stuff and figuring out weird system problems.

    I totally agree with you about the weight, very nice point of view (Y). I even don't see the point in having tiny laptops when hand held devices are becoming more and more capable and smaller.

    finally I like your note about the sounding of the word air in lebanese, but that might give it a push in marketing here :P

  4. And somehow I find a lot of smiles coming from me as I read this.

  5. I too am unimpressed. The Air seems like a half-assed medium between a UMPC and a regular laptop.

    It's not a good UMPC because it's heavy and large (screen size.)

    It's not a good laptop because it is severely crippled.

    What the hell is it? And am I supposed to buy it just because it's thin, despite all the lack of regular features?

    I can't help but feel that Apple lately abuses its fans' loyalty. Just because it's Apple and it's pretty is no excuse.

  6. Other I agree quite a bit, just ask me the consistency of 60 Gb in "the Wish" with previous comments. You don't mean 160 Gb? - kW


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