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I've been using a last-revision 2.13 Ghz Air (SSD) as my dev box and only computer for a year and a half. I love it. It's the best mac I've ever had (and my 10th since 1992). I do a fair amount of graphics work as well as code, and it's suitable for that - don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You can't walk into a Costco or Sam's Club without seeing labels I designed on my Air. And for coding, it's a dream. The ONLY reason I'd be a bit averse to getting the new one is it's no faster than mine; with the SSD, "2Gb" of RAM is really never a limit since the drive is basically lightning fast anyway; and the new one doesn't have a backlit keyboard, which is bad because I don't stop coding when it gets dark.

I'm an expatriate and live on the road; I'm literally never anywhere without my laptop, not even for five minutes, so the weight and form factors are critical. And I don't use my computer for entertainment, and don't care about having a DVD drive, etc. I do all my development with Flex, Dreamweaver, Dashcode and a LAMP stack, so my needs may not match those of desktop app devs. But for me it's really been ideal.




To offer a countering point of view, my 4 year old MacBook started dying on me yesterday - if I hold it wrong it reboots, so I had to go looking for a replacement. I ended up going for a new MacBook Pro 13" for several reasons: - I like being able to rip DVDs and watch them on my iPhone. It's one of the cheapest ways of watching TV series, if you don't mind not being up to date with the latest episodes... - 4gb RAM. More RAM never hurt anybody in the speed stakes. - Firewire - I work quite a lot with video, so being able to suck stuff in over Firewire 800 is a very nice feature to have. - And then, last but not least, battery-life. The MacBook Pro is a beast for battery life, and that is very important for me.

Some of the advantages of the Air include the fact that the screen resolution is better than my MacBook (but as I'm used to the MacBook resolution, it's what I currenty have, I'm sure I won't miss it) SSD drive, but I'm thinking that that is more about headroom on my MacBook Pro. In a couple of years time when it starts to feel a bit old and slow, I'll pop in an SSD (which should be cheaper by then), and my machine will get a new lease of life.

Just as an aside, my use case is mostly centered around programming in XCode and Textmate, but this is my principal machine at home, so lots of web surfing is also done.


I also like have a DVD, but I actually like several of the the external ones better. I never use it on the road so I tend to have a powered hub with some toys attacked.

You are so right on video, it really needs a bigger machine.

I think the biggest difference this time (I have used a MacBook Air in the past for dev until I switched to 17" MacBook Pro) is the added option of 4gb of memory. That will really help. Also, the lack of heat right under my left arm would be a nice touch.

// do not buy the official external drive - it doesn't work on other machines


Note that you can order 4GB RAM in any Air model, when you build-to-order online.


True enough, but as a general rule, I never buy extra RAM from Apple if I can avoid it. The stuff that is baseline installed seems to have a reasonable price tag attached, but they really do price gouge when it comes to adding extra RAM as a BTO option. So that, plus the fact that I doubt that RAM is user-extensible in the new MacBook Air (they call it 'onboard RAM' on the Apple Store, which doesn't fill me with confidence.)


I do exactly the opposite: I never want to have to open up a piece of hardware (I've done that plenty in previous lives)--I want to treat my computers as appliances.

So if I want 4GB of RAM, Apple it is.

Isn't the fact the RAM isn't user-installable (true) in the MBA even more reason to buy the full boat?


Have you considered the sony vaio Z? You can get a 1080p screen, 2 SSDs in a raid 0 or 1 configuration, a DVD/Blu-Ray player (think you can put another HD here instead), core i7 processor, decent battery life (6/7 hours), standard amounts of RAM, 13" and 3 pounds. It will blow your air out of the water while being the same weight and size. It's about 0.5" thicker although.

I do iphone development, so I'm stuck with what apple has to offer, but if I didn't that would be my machine of choice.


I did consider it, actually. The thing is, I need to use the Adobe suite a lot, much of that for graphics work, and I loathe Windows. If all I did now was code, I'd consider a Vaio running linux...I would say that's a better value overall if you don't need to do any graphics. I toyed with the idea of getting one and hackintoshing it, but I wasn't really committed to the headache of potentially having a brand new machine play badly with software I need to use daily.

Also, to the poster who wrote about the MBP vis-a-vis video...Yeah. Firewire is what's missing from this machine. I don't do any video work at all anymore so it doesn't bug me. But it would.


Does your Air have 2gb of RAM or 4gb? Does it ever feel sluggish?? I'm also a Flex developer :) so for me it's usually Flash Builder, photoshop, a browser and terminal.




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