Apple announced today the arrival of the Apple MacBook Air. It is very thin, completely wireless and has no optical disk drive. Included on this device is a built in web cam that can be used with iChat software to videoconference. Note that iChat is NOT standards based, but, it can allow up to 4 people to communicate. An external USB web cam can be used (I also surmise that standards based Mac videoconferencing software can be used as well).
On to the announcement.
To be clear (I will keep checking to make sure I am correct) this device appears to be radical in at least two ways (other than being thin):
1. It is wireless. This means that if you do not have a wireless router or other capability in your house, you cannot connect to the Internet (unless you hop on your neighbors unsecured network or live in San Francisco and have a Meraki network connection to hop on). I suppose you could use a USB network adapter like this one to connect to your wired network.
2. It has no optical disk drive. Hmmmm, I remember when floppy drives were no longer needed. At that time I wondered how I could live without them….I did. Now the optical drive is gone. All upgrades (for example, installing new software) need to be done via another computer on your wireless network or via the Internet. Apple has the software that allows your other computer to work as a wireless node. Interesting.
Word of caution: Before you jump in the car, or on the web, and buy one of these cool computers, make sure you can live in a wireless world and have another computer handy for talking with your new MacBook Air.
I will keep learning about this exciting new product and add updates to this blog as needed.
PS: In other MacWorld announcements that are not getting as much attention. iTunes will now rent movies and Apple TV version 2 now works with or without a computer. THOSE are two very significant announcements, IMHO. See this blog entry for more info on the future of DVD’s and streaming video. Steve Jobs has once again changed the world, but, no one really knows that yet…wait a few years.
Parting note: You have to admire Apple. They are not afraid to innovate.