In 2010, Apple released a great update to its stunningly thin and light laptop. I had checked out the pre-2010 MacBook Air, wondered at its thin, sturdy design, and marked it off as too expensive and underpowered. When Steve got up on stage to tell us all about the “new” MacBook Air in 2010, I was hooked. As usual, I went all-in on the idea that this was what the future of portable computers looked like. Even so, I did not buy a 2010 nor even a 2011 MacBook Air. I had a 2008 MacBook Pro (15-inch) that was serving me well and no real need to upgrade (sidegrade really, because the 2010 Air equal to my Pro at best and slower at worst).
Fast forward to today and the old Pro has been eclipsed by Apple’s thinnest and lightest. So, a couple of weeks ago, I went to the Apple Retail Store (still not a great experience for me, by the way) and purchased a base-model 13-inch Air. It’s the best laptop I’ve ever owned. No, it does not feel as powerful as the old Pro did when it was new. It is, however, much lighter and gets nearly twice the battery life (more than 3x what the Pro gets now with its low-grade, aftermarket battery). Add on top of that the much larger and better integrated trackpad and screen resolution equal to the old Pro though at a higher density, and the Air goes over the top.
I’ll admit that at this point, my iPad still feels like a piece of the future (version 4 announcement notwithstanding). There’s something about the touch interface on the large screen that still seems like magic or sci-fi. Still, if I think back to what I might have dreamed up the first time I used a notebook computer, this MacBook Air couldn’t be closer to that vision.
For anyone who is looking for a laptop, I don’t know that there’s any other choice that makes sense. The only reason I can think of to select something else would be if you simply can’t stand Apple’s products. Otherwise, even stacked against the new MacBook Pro’s with Retina display, I would (and did) choose the 13-inch Air.