NEW MacBook Air – Finally!
Hey, how’s it going? Dave 2d here. The new MacBook Air just got announced with the new Mac Mini, as well as the new iPad Pro. The MacBook Air – this is the old one – was a device that I think for a lot of people was like that gateway product into the Apple ecosystem, and I think it’s been long overdue for a refresh. It’s now running a 13.3-inch retina display so 2560 by 1600. It’s got an updated design, a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports and those can go all the way up to four PCIe lanes. It’s got a headphone jack but no USB a.
Now, the keyboard that they’re putting into this new MacBook Air is that third-generation of butterfly switch keyboard and here’s my take on that. So the original MacBook Air, one of the things that made it so vastly popular was its keyboard. I think this keyboard was loved by basically everyone that used it. Even Apple haters would touch this keyboard and appreciate that this was an excellent keyword, especially for an ultrabook. The keyboard on the new MacBook Airs – those butterfly switch keyboards – those are divisive keyboards. I feel like some people liked them some people tolerate them but a lot of people just straight-up dislike it and it’s a keyboard that is gonna shape the adoption of that new MacBook Air. That butterfly switch style keyboard has been around for several years now and a lot of people still don’t like it.
The CPU that they’re running is a fanless hny processor. It’s the i5 8200 why. They’ve bumped the clock up to 1.6. It’s a respectable CPU, nothing crazy. It’s a 2 core CPU, I think it’ll fit the needs of most people. But I want to talk about the thing that is most important about this new MacBook Air and it’s the price tag. So it’s, what I think, is a very expensive machine for what you’re getting. So the MacBook Air tradition like the old one has been, not that it’s like a budget product, but it’s kind of like an entry-level MacBook at $1,000 it got you into Mac OS. I think for a lot of students and professionals that was basically what they needed.
This new MacBook Air starts at $1200 and in this market right now in 2018 that is not an inexpensive device. See, if this thing is started $1000 this thing would have just crushed the market – $1000 MacBook Air, like the new MacBook Air, would have been amazing. People would have been buying it off the shelves but at $1200 it’s a good laptop but it’s just not that entry-level product that the MacBook Air used to be. So you’re now competing at that price point with other Mac products. Like the $1300 MacBook Pro – it’s a little bit heavier like a hundred 150 grams heavier – but you’re getting a way better screen, a more robust CPU, a more robust system overall for an extra hundred dollars. Not that the MacBook Air is a bad system, it’s just that name used to be synonymous with decent value in the Ultrabook line and it’s – I don’t think it is this year.
Moving on to the iPad. So the new iPad Pro looks awesome this year. There’s no home button, the bezels are smaller, the whole design just looks a lot cleaner to me. I do find it weird that the corners the display have a different radius than the corners of the device. It just looks really un-Apple to me. They probably did it to make the device more comfortable to hold but visually, it looks weird. The performance on that new iPad Pro looks amazing! I think a lot of people don’t recognize just how efficient and how powerful Apple’s chips are compared to stuff from Intel. I think we’re on the cusp of seeing Apple running their own chips and stuff on their laptops instead of using Intel stuff.
The pencil, the magnetic pencil, I mean this is something that interests me but every single time I’ve used an Apple pencil on an iPad Pro I felt like it was so silly how this one was charged and how it never connected magnetically to the iPad, but they fixed all that this year. It now has use PC connectivity which is nice. I feel like it’s a bit of a stretch in terms of just how useful that will really be. I mean it looks cool in pictures and you know have an external monitors and stuff like that but because this device still doesn’t have mouse support, it’s gonna be difficult for apps to really take advantage of external displays, because you still have to navigate through the iPad touch controls or a pen, right? And that’s usually not ideal for most applications.
They’ve also removed the headphone jack and I think that’s something that a lot of existing iPad users use. So that’s honestly quite disappointing but in the pursuit of aesthetics, that’s what they have to do.
Okay, last thing – Mac Mini. This is a device that hasn’t been refreshed in almost four years. It got a pretty heavy overhaul – it looks to have user upgradeable RAM which is good. I don’t think I can upgrade the storage which is a bummer. It’s got a four or six core CPU, both options are pretty solid. The GPU in here still pretty weak so honest I’m running an external GPU, you’re not going to run any kind of graphically intensive applications.
The pricing on it is disappointing to me. It’s a $300 price bump from the previous generation and I used to think that the Mac Mini was one of their best valued products. You could open it up, you kind of throw in RAM storage pretty easily and I think for a lot of developers, that was device that they use, right? That was like, you could plug up to your existing monitor, your existing keyboard and now you could develop Mac applications without spending too much money, but at $800 that’s a pretty steep investment. Not that it’s a bad product, it’s nice that it’s been updated and it’s a pretty good looking device this year but it’s just a lot more expensive than I thought it would be, considering the pricing of small desktops right now.
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