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Bill Bennett


Why I chose the new MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air

It’s almost 30 years since I first owned a Mac.

I bought one of the first 128K Macs in London in the winter of 1984. It cost more than a new car. I know because we bought a Citron 2CV at the same time.

Macs were my first choice until we decided to spend less money on computers and pay school fees for our children instead. Since then I mainly worked with Windows PCs.

On Friday I picked up a 13 inch MacBook Air from the YooBee store in Britomart.

Apple’s MacBook Air is a beautiful piece of engineering. And it is a delight to use.

Physically it is spot on, although I still find the keyboard and trackpad unfamiliar. There are moments when I’m not certain about the Mac way of doing things: simple things like moving the cursor to the end of a line of text. No doubt command-right arrow will become natural with time. And I guess I learn to stop hitting the Caps Lock key.

One reason I chose the new MacBook Air: battery life.

Apple says you get 12 hours from a single charge. While I suspect you couldn’t watch video non-stop for 12 hours, the claim is not ridiculous. I charged the MacBook on Friday after I got home, did a ton of work over the weekend and didn’t need to plug it in again until Monday lunch time.

At a guess I’d say that was close 16 hours of work in total. Or slightly better than I get from my iPad.

The key is the new Haswell processor. Apple slowed the processor down to help it maximise battery life. The chip is smart at closing down when the computer is not in use.

In practice this liberates you from power worries. If I take this computer out to work, I won’t need to carry a power cable. There’s no need to schedule things around places with power outlets.



6 thoughts on “Why I chose the new MacBook Air

  1. A great choice for you. I’m still stuck in the Windows camp because I need a bigger screen with high resolution for my portable needs, which include design and layout work. If I didn’t need to do that away from my desk, I’d be attracted to a smaller MacBook.

    Sixteen months ago, when I bought my current Dell laptop – 15.6 inches, 1920 pixel resolution, i7 processor – Apple couldn’t give me similar specs at any price. The model with the closest specs cost, as I recall, about twice as much. Just not in the race. My main tools – MS Office, Photoshop and InDesign work just as well on Windows. Granted, it doesn’t look as cool but it does the job and it’s reliable.

    If I could afford a second laptop, yes, I’d love your little Apple as an off-base writing and blogging tool.

  2. A nice thing about OS X is that you can choose to use EITHER the traditional GUI keystrokes from Mac such as cmd-rightarrow to go the end of the line or cmd-v for paste OR the keystrokes familiar to every user of emacs or other command line GNU software such as readline, bash etc i.e. ctrl-e for end of line or ctrl-y to paste (yank). Both sets of keystrokes work at the same time as they don’t overlap.

  3. Welcome back, OSX is a very different kettle of fish to the old MAC OS. My old MacBook still trundles along after 5 years. If you want to have a play with applescript some time let me know or Xcode. Realbasic is pretty good for knocking something together quickly. Plus you have all those unix goodies to play with. Never really got into Automator though I did make a few work flows once.

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