Opinions on the Apple Air appear to be divided between the 'cool gotta have one' and 'thin is nice but X is better' as Paul Boutin and others argue.
I don't much see the need for a cellular modem as Boutin does, apart from planes where cellular is banned and places like cars where the point is moot, I am out of free WiFi range maybe an hour or two a month. I could see the point if I was regularly going down to NYC on the Acela.
My bigger practical concern is battery life. Whether the battery really lasts five hours or not is rather less important to me than the ability to swap batteries. The flight from Boston to SFO takes six hours. Thats a two battery flight.
My other functional concern is the lack of a touch screen. The Tablet PC is a powerful idea. The iPhone demonstrates that Apple can make superb touch screen devices. Given the choice of the cellular modem capability and the touch screen capability give me the touch screen.
Another thing I think a little suspicious is the price of the flash drive version, flash drives are pricey but a $1300 upcharge is somewhat steep. I suspect that the real issue is supply, nobody would be buying the hard drive model if the price differential was only $600.
The strange thing here is that we can now predict with a pretty high degree of confidence what the next Apple announcements will be
- Price drops on the solid state flash as the supply situation is improved. Once the price differential drops to $300 the hard drive version is discontinued.
- True GPS receiver functionality in iPhone and iPod Touch, thus demolishing the GPS navigation market at a stroke.
- A version of the Air with a G3 cellular modem
- MacBooks with touch screen capabilities to match tablet PC
One idea that I think Apple should look into but doubt that they will is a large screen version of the iPod touch - 5", 12" even. This would provide a platform for Web browsing and video viewing and effectively render Kindle obsolete. the reason I don't think it will happen is that I suspect Bezos will have pitched Jobs on the idea of doing Kindle before doing it himself. Amazon can hardly want to be in that market themselves, its a device they want to exist, not one they want to make themselves.