MacBook Air: Early Adopters Debate Its Merits

Business users of Apple's new MacBook Air say it's the unit they've been waiting for. But it's price can be a deterrent.
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3 min read

This story appears in the February 2011 issue of . Subscribe »

Can't Live With It
Scott Allison, CEO, Teamly, a San Francisco team-management application development firm

No matter how attractive or lightweight the MacBook Air may be, Scott Allison says he can't justify the expense--$999 to $1,599, depending on screen size and processor speed.

"I can lose or break my Asus UL30 laptop twice before I've spent the same as what the Air costs," he says. "At three times the price of a regular laptop, it's impossible for me running a startup to justify this cost."

Although his Asus isn't quite as thin or light as Apple's new Air model, Allison says, it is comparable to the first version of Air. What's more, the Asus' battery life smokes even Air's newest version, clocking in at 12 hours of usable juice per charge.

"It also has an HDMI and external VGA port, which the Apple does not, and both of these are really handy," he says.

Teamly's developers use Macs to develop applications, but Allison tests their work in beta on a PC--ideal for finding glitches early in the process.

Windows "is what the majority of our clients are using," he says. "You can't beat everyday use for real-life testing."

Can't Live Without It
Gail Sideman, owner, Publiside Personal Publicity, a Milwaukee publicity firm

Gail Sideman bided her time for two years in hopes that Apple would tweak the MacBook Air enough to make it acceptable for her to use daily in her publicity business. The latest evolution did the trick.

"I waited for more USB ports and longer battery life, both of which I got with my new 11-inch model," she says. "I put most of what I have on my iMac on it, and it's worked beautifully. It will be more functional for me than my [Mac] Pro."

Sideman had considered an iPad for portability, but she was turned off by its inability to juggle multiple applications and lack of keyboard.

As a promoter of sports figures, authors and other high-profile people, Sideman travels a fair amount. The ease with which she can tote her Air is a big plus. "Just last week I was in New York, and, unfortunately, the hotel I was in had a bad Internet connection in the room," she says. "If I had my old computer, it would have been a real pain schlepping it down to the lobby. It was much easier with the Air."

Sideman's new computer has twice the battery life of her old MacBook Pro, and it boots and wakes up faster.

"I used to have to budget my time working on flights because there are very few domestic flights with electrical outlets," she says. "That's not a problem anymore."

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