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Review: two weeks with the MacBook Air

updated 02:10 pm EST, Wed February 20, 2008

Second look at MacBook Air

MacNN has taken Apple's MacBook Air for a longer test run to experience using the notebook on a day-to-day basis. After two weeks of steady usage, "the world's thinnest notebook" held true to Apple's claims. The device fits neatly into an airline seat pocket, runs applications quickly with no issues, and provides just enough external connectivity via its folding ports for most average users.

MacNN has previously given first impressions, as well as explored the Air's specific Migration Assistant, following photos of the unboxing of both the Air, and accessories. We also observed iFixit's take-apart, and benchmarks from Primate Labs.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. manleycreative

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    still no answer

    How do you reinstall the OS after a reformat if you don't have another Mac?

    I got another Mac but seems a pain to have to reinstall the OS that way.

    Come on, how about a thumbdrive with the OS on it or a direct download.

    Does Apple offer a direct download that I'm not seeing?

    Even then you'd have to back it up on a DVD.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    install disk

    hey manleycreative,

    You can put OS X install on a USB drive. All intel macs can boot from USB.

  1. hezekiahb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    leopard 10.5.2

    Leopard 5.2 also included a sharing preference built in for remote disk, so anyone with Latest leopard can share their drive to you for a re-install.

    Not certain about target mode working through USB on other intel Macs (might be firewire only) but I know that in Target mode you can see any CD/DVDs in the Mac you have attached or any other drives besides the main volume.

  1. chas_m

    Joined:

    0

    pah

    manleycreative's question is fairly bogus, since the need to reinstall the OS is absolutely minimal (most people would say "nil") in the course of the life of the machine under typical use. Plus it seems obvious now that a future version of 10.5 will be introducing USB target mode to complement FW target mode.

    The tech-savvy can (and already have) thought of at least three ways to do this (image on an external USB drive, bootable thumb drive, Apple's own Remote Disc feature, Time Machine). The MacBook Air has some other issues that might keep some people from buying it, but this ain't one of them.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: pah

    manleycreative's question is fairly bogus, since the need to reinstall the OS is absolutely minimal (most people would say "nil") in the course of the life of the machine under typical use.

    Right....it's a question with a tough answer, so let's discount the question. I guess you've never installed an OS update and said "s***! This screws up x, y, and z. Need to roll back to the previous version!" which, in OS X parlance, means re-installing the OS and then installing the updates up to but not including the one that failed.

    And, if most people wouldn't need to do it, why would Apple so elaborately make sure you could do it in so many ways? Why not just say "h***, you won't need to do that, but if you do, get the DVD drive".

    Plus it seems obvious now that a future version of 10.5 will be introducing USB target mode to complement FW target mode.

    Really? When is that? Do you have a time frame? Inside information? Or is it so obvious that we all know it's going to happen (like resolution independence)?

    And is this before or after they allow time machine on a AEBS drive?

    And how much will it cost? Since it allows for enhanced use of your hardware that did not exist when you bought it, it won't be part of Leopard. It would have to be a separate purchase.

    Oh, and in case you didn't notice, the original poster specifically said "What if you DON'T have another mac?" What is Target USB mode going to do for anyone in this case? "Wow, look, I can see a USB drive symbol on my monitor! Woohoo! Now what?!"

  1. mrrwthird

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    we love you, testudo

    "Right....it's a question with a tough answer, so let's discount the question."

    nobody's trying to discount the question, and it doesn't have a tough answer- i count four different answers in the previous posts alone, and i'm sure we could think of a couple more if we *really* tried. you're attacking the poster's choice of words because you know his point's valid, but you want to find a way to piss on his parade anyway.

    "And, if most people wouldn't need to do it, why would Apple so elaborately make sure you could do it in so many ways? Why not just say "h***, you won't need to do that, but if you do, get the DVD drive"."

    computers- *all* computers, not just macs- are remarkably flexible tools, which means there are usually several different ways to do pretty much everything. you suggested that apple simply tell people to buy a dvd drive- not only did apple do this, but they also took the time to write a piece of software which lets you use *existing* dvd drives. sounds like they one-upped you.

    "s***! This screws up x, y, and z. Need to roll back to the previous version!"

    two words, dude: "time machine".

  1. Hobeaux

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    remote install

    the Air comes with that Remote Installer software that works on PCs as well as Macs (this allows you to put a DVD into another machine on the wireless network and then install software over AirPort). I wonder if that would work for the OS?

    I think that the initial question is a good one, even if framed in hostility.

    Many folk were angry with Apple when they removed the floppy drive because they couldn't see a world without one. I believe that Apple sees a world in the near future where DVDs (and Blu Ray?) is obsolete and everything is installed wirelessly. Or, they just hedged that if people really wanted to have a drive they'd buy one separately and shove it into a closet when they don't need it.

    personally: I use my DVD drive maybe once a year or two -- when a new OS comes out or when a major software package is upgraded.

  1. Hobeaux

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    *even if

    sorry, after re-reading your initial post i don't see the hostility. my bad.

  1. deanmcg

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Time Machine

    two words, dude: "time machine".

    Except that time machine full restores require the machine to be booted from the DVD that is supplied with the Macbook Air as any other will not work.

  1. Norrin Radd

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    OSX

    Since I moved to OSX when it was released, I can count the number of times I've had to re-install system software on zero hands. Yeah - I use my computer everyday - not for heavy processing stuff, like video editing - but 4-5 hours a day is probably right. It just doesn't crash. I can find a computer with a drive for updates and new software installs (and even those are diminishing with wireless downloads), who can't?

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