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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Did the Macbook Air just get *****slapped?

Did the Macbook Air just get *****slapped?
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Sep 5, 2008, 02:47 AM
 
http://www.dell.com/content/products...dhs&ref=homepg

http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=3399

Check this thing out. It's not as thin, and a bit less of a full-fledged computer... but it's smaller and lighter... but it only costs $349.

$349?!?!

Come on Apple... you're killing us with your pricing. This thing is 1/5 the cost of a Macbook Air.

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Sep 5, 2008, 02:58 AM
 
So is an eeePC.

So what?
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 03:05 AM
 
Dude, I hope you get banned.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 03:57 AM
 
Don't you have to lug a backpack along full of ad-ons for the airbook?

Did Apple ever sell any?
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 04:04 AM
 
Does it run OS X?

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Sep 5, 2008, 04:20 AM
 
Actually, I'm interested in this device. Kinda cool from Dell, which is a change.
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Sep 5, 2008, 05:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by - - e r i k - - View Post
Does it run OS X?
theoreticaly.....
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 06:07 AM
 
The Dell Mini 9 apparently has a 3G card built in. Pretty cool.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2329426,00.asp
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Sep 5, 2008, 06:16 AM
 
A few years ago, somebody would have bothered to make a smart timeline picture, tons of netbook-like device have been released, most of the big notebook manufacturers have released one.

They don't compete with the AirBook.
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Sep 5, 2008, 07:21 AM
 
No firewire, no internal optical drive, worthless. Absolutely worthless.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 07:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
No firewire, no internal optical drive, worthless. Absolutely worthless.
Your post is pretty much worthless, too, considering that in those factors, it's a MacBook Air equivalent.

This thread is about how they compete.

The fact that you're clueless about the intended market doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, you know.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 07:33 AM
 
I have a Macbook Air, I was just poking fun at all the morons that said the same thing I just said. And do you have a degree in marketing? Everyone seems to be an expert on the "intended market segment" bullshit. Kind of tired of hearing that.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 07:38 AM
 
MacBook Air
vs
Inspiron Mini 9

Intel Core 2 Duo processor 1.6/1.8 GHz with 4MB on-chip shared L2 cache running at full processor speed (800 Mhz FSB)
vs
Intel® AtomTM Processor (1.6GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)

OSX multitasking
vs
XP multitasking


2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM onboard
vs
Up to 1GB2 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM.


Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor
vs
Intel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 950

80 or SSD 64 Gbyte
vs
Up to 16GB configured with a Solid State drive.

DVI output,VGA output,Composite output,S-video output
vs
15-pin VGA video connector


3.0 pounds (1.36 kg)1
vs
Starting weight of 2.28 lbs. (1.035 kg)4


iSight 1920 by 1200
vs
Optional 0.3MP or 1.3MP webcams

The Optional 0.3MP Webcam on the Dell rocks...
The Cleaning/polishing cloth and multi-touch gesture support on the MacBook Air rock too

Cool would be if Apple offered us a 12" MacBook but this seems will never happen

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Sep 5, 2008, 08:10 AM
 
Its a 8.9" display. While the form factor is interesting, its only useful for the most basic of needs even then I suspect reading the tiny display will get old fast
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Sep 5, 2008, 08:17 AM
 
And that bezel is HUGE!
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 08:21 AM
 
I'd buy one, if the keyboard were larger. $1799 for an Air is just insulting.

BTW, if you don't think these machines compete with the AirBook, you're mistaken. There is significant overlap with the AirBook. Both the AirBook and the Dell are crippled machines. It just comes down to what type and how much crippling you'll accept, and for what price.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 08:27 AM
 
If apple made an identical netbook that ran OS X, I would buy it in a heartbeat. If it cost $200 more I would still buy it. I love the Air, but I am not the target market. I'd like something very small and very portable that costs next to nothing. With OS X.
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Sep 5, 2008, 08:56 AM
 
dumb comparission
we don't have time to stop for gas
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 09:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
I have a Macbook Air, I was just poking fun at all the morons that said the same thing I just said.
Sorry, missed the sarcasm.

Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
And do you have a degree in marketing? Everyone seems to be an expert on the "intended market segment" bullshit. Kind of tired of hearing that.
Well, I do happen to have a pretty good idea of who's buying these things, actually.

There's not nearly as many of them as Apple appears to have expected, but they're out there.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 09:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
Well, I do happen to have a pretty good idea of who's buying these things, actually.

There's not nearly as many of them as Apple appears to have expected, but they're out there.
So how many do you think Apple expected? I have no idea but figure they probably knew it was going to be low seller. In fact, I'd guess it's the lowest volume seller. However, even if there is overlap with the MacBook, I'm sure Apple's happy to have the upsell, and there are bound to be new buyers too.

However, it seems odd that some people think that just because the AirBook is expensive and small, it has a different "target market" than reasonably priced and small. Well, maybe there is to a certain extent, but my guess is that it isn't as big as some think it should be. All I know is that of all the people I have contact with that I would envision as being in the (presumed) target market (Apple fans who already own desktop Macs, have lots of disposable income, and have light needs on the road), none have purchased the Air, specifically because of the price. They either buy the MacBook or a MacBook Pro (and a few have Windows laptops, including ultra-lights).

In my case, I haven't purchased the Air because of the price, the slow hard drive, and the lack of Firewire.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 09:46 AM
 
I'd love to have Apple build an equivalent of that Dell.

My iPhone delivers a lot of the functionality of a netbook, that's the only reason I am not on the phone, credit card in hand. I'd go for the Ubuntu model in a heartbeat. I think Dell might have a real winner on their hands here. And, for a change, it looks nice too.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 09:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I'd buy one, if the keyboard were larger. $1799 for an Air is just insulting.

BTW, if you don't think these machines compete with the AirBook, you're mistaken. There is significant overlap with the AirBook. Both the AirBook and the Dell are crippled machines. It just comes down to what type and how much crippling you'll accept, and for what price.
Every single laptop on the market is crippled. I could say the Macbook Pro is crippled because it doesn't have a blu ray dvd burner.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 10:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
Every single laptop on the market is crippled. I could say the Macbook Pro is crippled because it doesn't have a blu ray dvd burner.
I would say you're stretching.

However, I do think that it's about time that the MacBook Pro get at least a Blu-ray option. I would guess Apple won't until they incorporate Blu-ray playback into DVD Player.app, and my understanding Apple has been dragging its feet on this for various reasons.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 11:09 AM
 
Well, I guess what ctt1wbw means is that any laptop makes a compromise between size, price, feature set, performance and weight.

The Atom cpu is several generations slower than what modern Core-based cpus have to offer. For many applications, the Atom cpu is sufficient, but not for others. Apple does have a nettop-like computer already that can run OS X just fine: the Apple TV. All Apple needs to do is bundle OS X with it and that's that. I highly doubt they'll do that, but they could pull it off quickly. The cpu is faster than the Atoms (AFAIK it's a derivative of the Pentium M, forgot which incarnation).
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Sep 5, 2008, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap View Post
I'd love to have Apple build an equivalent of that Dell.
I'd hate to run OS X on a machine with those specs.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 11:24 AM
 
Impressive--though my iphone has the same hard capacity as the high end model. I think watching a movie on an 8.9 inch screen would be more enjoyable than my iphone screen--and its supports flash. This is hardly a replacement for a full featured notebook but satisfies the needs of about 80% of the people that would use them. The Air is still much better than this, but $1799 better? nope. I agree that Dell has a winner here. Good for them--I think we're going to see big price drops on Apple computers soon. Yay!
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 11:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Well, I guess what ctt1wbw means is that any laptop makes a compromise between size, price, feature set, performance and weight.
I understand what he's saying, but that doesn't change the fact that he's stretching. The competition has already demonstrated that small doesn't have to mean uber expensive. Apple's pricing is a marketing choice, because they can get away with it to a certain extent. However, with more and more products coming online which share similar specs but at a fraction of the cost, Apple will either have to drop the price or will have to innovate more with the design. (I personally don't find the Air's design all that enticing, which is another reason I'm not willing to pay a premium for it.)

This is in stark contrast to the iMac. The iMac is way better designed IMO than the desktop competition, which is a big reason why people are willing to pay a premium for it.

The Atom cpu is several generations slower than what modern Core-based cpus have to offer. For many applications, the Atom cpu is sufficient, but not for others. Apple does have a nettop-like computer already that can run OS X just fine: the Apple TV. All Apple needs to do is bundle OS X with it and that's that. I highly doubt they'll do that, but they could pull it off quickly. The cpu is faster than the Atoms (AFAIK it's a derivative of the Pentium M, forgot which incarnation).
The Atom doesn't actually bother me. It's the other compromises and the very high cost.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 11:34 AM
 
The biggest shock for me is the price. $350 bucks? Are you kidding me? Yes, the MacBook Air smokes this thing in just about every conceivable way, but it also costs 5 times as much.

I live in a purely Apple world, so I very rarely look at what PC makers are doing. When I saw the price of this thing it really just drove home how overpriced Apple products really are.

This thing does 100% directly compete with the Air. It's a tiny notebook designed to compliment a more full-featured computer. The Dell may not be as fully featured as the Air, but it accomplishes the same basic task. Surfing the web on the go.

To make the pricing even more crazy, Dell has a promotion now where if you buy a regular laptop from them you can get one of these for $99.
( Last edited by ort888; Sep 5, 2008 at 11:40 AM. )

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Sep 5, 2008, 11:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
The Atom doesn't actually bother me. It's the other compromises and the very high cost.
Well, this would be fast enough for my parents and my sister, but just the Core cpus retail* for 200+ €, the top models cost more tan 400 or 500 €. (* I know Apple gets better prices.)

You cannot compare the AirBook (or similar machines by other manufacturers) to netbooks with Atom-class cpus. You're right that small needn't be expensive, but the expectations are somewhat different: much smaller screen (with lower-quality components), slow cpu speed (there are tons of threads of people complaining how slow the AirBook is), etc. The really small screen and very slow Atom cpu unfortunately disqualify that machine for many. I don't expect Apple to compete in that market segment (yet).
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Sep 5, 2008, 11:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
The biggest shock for me is the price. $350 bucks? Are you kidding me? Yes, the MacBook Air smokes this thing in just about every conceivable way, but it also costs 5 times as much.
I'm not sure why you have noticed this now, similar computers have been offered for about a year now. It all started with Asus' EeePC which (used to weigh 890 g, about a third less than the Dell). This puppy sold like hot cakes (for around $300, I guess), so other companies such as Dell followed suit.
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Sep 5, 2008, 11:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You cannot compare the AirBook (or similar machines by other manufacturers) to netbooks with Atom-class cpus.
Yes you can, and we already have. For some of us the Air is already heavily crippled compared to "regular" machines. The Dell is just crippled more... yet still potentially quite functional... but for a price that's less than 20% of the price of the MacBook Air.


Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I'm not sure why you have noticed this now, similar computers have been offered for about a year now. It all started with Asus' EeePC which (used to weigh 890 g, about a third less than the Dell). This puppy sold like hot cakes (for around $300, I guess), so other companies such as Dell followed suit.
For some reason, I find the EeePC less enticing.

For the very first time in my life, I actually find a Dell product nice looking and interesting. I've bought Dell products before, but not because they were nice looking or interesting. I bought them because they were cheap. This new Dell product actually has reasonable aesthetics, passable specs, and yet remains cheap.






I agree the Atom isn't for everyone in the supplemental-portable-machine category, but it's definitely sufficient for basic usage, like surfing, email, Word, Excel, etc. on the road. BTW, I use a G4 800 for this purpose at the moment. The G4 is slow, but the Atom would actually be significantly faster.
( Last edited by Eug; Sep 5, 2008 at 12:05 PM. )
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 12:02 PM
 
How is the Air "heavily crippled"? Ok, it doesn't have as many ports as, say, a Macbook Pro, but "heavily" crippled?

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Sep 5, 2008, 12:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
How is the Air "heavily crippled"? Ok, it doesn't have as many ports as, say, a Macbook Pro, but "heavily" crippled?
Besides the ports, I think the biggest one is the hard drive. The Air feels quite slow, because the hard drive is very slow... unless you buy a very spendy SSD flash drive.

(For me, the loss of Firewire on the Air is a big downer, but for many others they won't care.)
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I'm not sure why you have noticed this now, similar computers have been offered for about a year now. It all started with Asus' EeePC which (used to weigh 890 g, about a third less than the Dell). This puppy sold like hot cakes (for around $300, I guess), so other companies such as Dell followed suit.
Like I said, I don't pay a lot of attention to the world outside of Apple. Maybe I should.

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Sep 5, 2008, 01:02 PM
 
If Dell can do that for that price, then how about coming down with the Air's pricing?

Does anyone else agree????

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Sep 5, 2008, 01:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Like I said, I don't pay a lot of attention to the world outside of Apple. Maybe I should.
You didn't miss much. The foundation was laid by the EeePC, but the problem with the EeePC early on was its usability. It was cheap, but for unusable specs. ie. You didn't have enough space to run Win XP. The only way to make it usable was to spend considerably more with it.

With the machines in 2008 (including the Dell), you can actually use the thing with a real mainstream OS. (Linux doesn't count.) For $449, you can get the Dell with 16 GB SSD.

It will get really interesting when the Atom hits 2.2 GHz (or there is something comparable) and the SSDs hit 32 GB, for a $399 price point. I predict 2009. The 1024x600 screen is already adequate for a machine like this.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 01:30 PM
 
Hmmm... It's even more interesting than I predicted. In 2009, the newer Atom chips will get matched to low power GPU chipsets that together can decode full hi-def H.264.

They also get dual-core, but I'm not sure we'll see dual-core netbooks at these price points. Furthermore, they'd be running Vista. (XP isn't allowed on dual-core anymore, for marketing reasons.) Vista is quite a bit slower than XP.
( Last edited by Eug; Sep 5, 2008 at 01:39 PM. )
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 02:17 PM
 
The more I think about it, I think there's something to be said about this computer. I'd be tempted to buy one, if it weren't for the tiny drive. Starts off at 4 gig. Heck I shoot 4 gig's worth of images in one day.
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Sep 5, 2008, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
The more I think about it, I think there's something to be said about this computer. I'd be tempted to buy one, if it weren't for the tiny drive. Starts off at 4 gig. Heck I shoot 4 gig's worth of images in one day.
Then you'd probably hate this thing. My guess is that it's not gonna be too fast for image manipulation either (assuming you actually used it for image manipulation on the road).

It's probably theoretically possible to put iPod drive in it, but then you'd still suffer the same hard drive-related slowness you get with the MacBook Air, only worse.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 03:14 PM
 
Terrible comparison, very different purposes/markets.

Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Hmmm... It's even more interesting than I predicted. In 2009, the newer Atom chips will get matched to low power GPU chipsets that together can decode full hi-def H.264.

They also get dual-core, but I'm not sure we'll see dual-core netbooks at these price points. Furthermore, they'd be running Vista. (XP isn't allowed on dual-core anymore, for marketing reasons.) Vista is quite a bit slower than XP.
GPU and memory controller in the CPU package is expected for the next generation of Atom (~Q3 2009); the rest of the connectivity will come be connected via DMI probably to a single-chip chipset like PCH.


The dual-core netbooks will also be running Linux.

Originally Posted by Eug View Post
It's probably theoretically possible to put iPod drive in it, but then you'd still suffer the same hard drive-related slowness you get with the MacBook Air, only worse.
I doubt it... it uses a miniPCIe slot for the SSD rather than a 1.8" IDE drive like the MBA/iPod.
( Last edited by mduell; Sep 5, 2008 at 03:23 PM. )
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 04:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Then you'd probably hate this thing. My guess is that it's not gonna be too fast for image manipulation either (assuming you actually used it for image manipulation on the road).
You're right but then I'd not being using it to manipulate any images just store them. The added benefit of email/web/word documents makes it a useful tool (of the storage space was sufficient).
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Sep 5, 2008, 05:36 PM
 
Your guys ought to look at the MSI wind then if you like the Dell, 10" screen same weight and a 80GB HD with XP.

http://www.msimobile.com/nblist.aspx?series=White
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Sep 5, 2008, 06:40 PM
 
Those are some of the ugliest PC's I have ever seen.
     
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Sep 5, 2008, 09:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Star-Fire View Post
Your guys ought to look at the MSI wind then if you like the Dell, 10" screen same weight and a 80GB HD with XP.

http://www.msimobile.com/nblist.aspx?series=White
Based on that and the Eee pc dell missed the boat by having a 4 gig sd drive in the computer. Most have 80gig and are in the 500 dollar range where as the most expensive model for Dell but only includes a 16gig SSD drive. Given the price points, I'd say it was a mistake by dell to use the SSD drive in such a low cost model. Just my $.02
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Sep 5, 2008, 10:26 PM
 
I'm a writer and been waiting for something like this.

cheap. light. and easy to type on.

Obviously I assume it's not as nice as a full keyboard, but seems much bigger than most of those other mini notebooks.

Yes, I'm an Apple person, but for writing i use Final Draft and Word so that's all I'd want in this computer.

It's something to use in the coffee shop, not for an office.

Yes, Macbook Air is better... but I think we'd all love apple to take the Macbook Air and make it in a smaller size like the white iBook where. They can do it. If they charge 799, I'd snap it up.
     
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Sep 6, 2008, 06:36 AM
 
There comes a point when the screen is just too small. I don't see how people could honestly work with the screen size on it. The Macbook Air is as small as I could go without having to carry around something like a portable scanning electron microscope to read the damn thing.
     
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Sep 6, 2008, 07:16 AM
 
I agree, when I was looking for a laptop, I found the MacBook's 13" too small and went with the MBP. Having sad that, these computers and even the MBA are not geared as one's main computer. Working on a 13" screen part time could be palatable for short amounts of time.
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Sep 6, 2008, 08:23 AM
 
The Air's LED screen sold me, though. I love it.
     
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Sep 6, 2008, 10:39 AM
 
I don't know how many of you here use an Eee PC. I have had the new 901 for about a month, and I am shocked that someone is comparing the Dell with MBA. It does not even stand out with the rest of the sub-notebooks. I got my 901 for only $50 more than the mid-Dell (remember the 35% off deal at *Bay?). But the Dell is heavier, only 801g wireless, 4-cell battery, 512MB RAM, 8G SD, no webcam (0.3MP as an option, kidding me?)...... Add everything up you will easily top the $550 line of the Eee or MSI WIND. There is a reason why Dell is thinking of selling of hardware factories: it can not compete with those (small) oversea companies. My point is, Dell does not even compare with similar PC sub-notebooks.

Having said that, I found my Eee PC 901 is really a cute machine. While I doubt its usage for a long run (small keyboard will annoy most of you), the battery life is fantastic at seven hours! I can bring it to work everyday and browse the free internet whenever I like without worrying the power. The ability to mod the machine is also very intriguing. (See the forum http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewforum.php?id=53 for all the possibilities). But it is really more for geeks than an average Joe or business Joseph. I found I use my iPhone more often on the road, and at home, it often sits there doing nothing (we have 15" MBP, MB, iMac 20" and Mac Mini at different rooms). I am concerned about the residency of the Eee in my family Maybe I will find more interesting usage of it during the next long air travel? If Apple offers a 11" mini notebook with bigger keyboard, I will definitely pass the MBA and Eee for that!
     
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Reply With Quote
Sep 6, 2008, 11:36 AM
 
We all know that OSX is leaps and bounds better than the competition. I feel pretty confident that not one of us would consider any other OS out there for our main computer.

But these mini/net books are not about that. They are strictly about convienence. For my main duties, I prefer to work in OSX. But for misc things such as web browsing, typing papers etc, I honestly don't care what OS I am under. Yahoo is yahoo is yahoo. And typing a paper is typing a paper is typing a paper.

So I am on the side that sees this as certainly direct competition for the Air. For the purpose they are supposed to serve, neither are underpowered. It's only when you compare them to your main workstation that you end up with that conclusion.

Mini 9 surfs the web, so does the air.
Mini 9 has a web cam, so does the air. (who cares about the pixels, are you using it to do digital photography?)
Mini 9 has bluetooth, so does the air.

The way I see it is, if you are using the Air to accomplish things that the Mini 9 cannot, then you wasted your money on the Air, because if you wanted a workstation you passed on two infinitely better choices in the MB and MBP.

Kudos to all these companies churning out these little books. I'm ordering one for my sister and niece. They need access to the web. No need to pay 2k for a machine to do that.

I love the Apple brand, but some of you should really get a reality check if you don't agree that in general their products are over priced.
     
 
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