With fresh rumors circulating about a new MacBook Air, and a makeover long overdue, what would constitute a great redesign?
The story line seems to be that Apple wants to insert the new portable in between the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 9.7-inch iPad, thus the rumors about an 11.6-inch device.
Assuming Apple actually has something like this in the works, I can't help speculating on the design goals for a new Air. Should it be a hybrid tablet-laptop? Should it be just a smaller, more powerful, more battery-efficient version of the current Air and pack features like a killer display?
But before I go any further, let me say that a recent write-up about the Air is spot-on. In short, unless you use the Air day in and day out (which I do), it's easy to mistake it for just another pricey ultraportable laptop. What makes it so different? Above all, the finely tuned distribution of weight makes it feel lighter than it actually is (three pounds). And I could go on and on with seemingly fulsome praise. The keyboard (the best I've ever used in an ultraportable), the razor-thin but stunning display, and the snappy performance, despite its ultrathin design.
My point? The current Air is a tough act to follow. Possibly one of the reasons (the iPad and the updated 13-inch MacBook Pros being others) that Apple has taken so long (two-and-a-half years) to offer a next-generation Air (or that it may not even bother).
Getting back to what a next-generation Air should be. Beyond the updated processor (Intel ultralow power Core i7?), what would be a good choice for the graphics technology? The Nvidia GeForce 320M in the 13-inch Pro? A step up from this?
And the display?… Read more