During yesterday’s Apple press conference Steve Jobs made a profound statement. He said that the new MacBook Air models represented the future for the company’s laptops. For the past two years many of us have thought that the Air concept was a bit of a dead-end – a stripped-down, port-light and DVD-less experiment that was going nowhere.
But we would have been wrong. We can now see with clarity that the Air concept is capable of being extended to the entire range of MacBooks and Pros.
The first Air was revolutionary because it had no DVD drive, hitherto thought of as essential. No longer, and it was significant that there was no great emphasis yesterday on the existence of the USB DVD drive that is still available if needed. The fact is, it is now no longer needed.
I seldom use the DVD drive on my MacBook Pros. In fact, I have disposed of all my CDs and DVDs and rely exclusively on downloads. Since I no longer buy CDs I have no need to import into iTunes. About the only use I have for the DVD slot is when I need to tweak the operating system.
While the original Air relied on a rather complicated piggy-back system for software installation, the new models come with OS X installed on a small USB flash drive. It’s logical, and the days of CDs, even for computer operating systems and software, are over.
Apple is always in the forefront when it comes to dropping legacy ports and drives; they were the first to do away with the floppy drive which other manufacturers clung to until the bitter end. Now they have shown the future again: no DVD drives, no hard drives (instead they have jumped right over the SSD drive and opted for integral flash).
All this brings down size and weight and Apple have taken full advantage of this with the new MacBook Airs. The next to benefit from this new minimalisation will be the 13.3in MacBook Pros. In effect they will become slightly thicker versions of the Air but with more space for additional ports and faster processors. What’s the betting that the smallest MacBook Pro and the 13.3in Air will be merging within the next two years?