Wednesday, February 13, 2008

MacBook Air: harbinger of the tablet Mac?

As I was re-reading, for some reason, my old post on the November tablet Mac rumors, and got to the part where I speculate on the features of the purported device (such as ports and disk drives), something suddenly occured to me.

As I speculated back then, a tablet Mac would very likely need to do away with some traditional Mac features, such as an optical drive. However, I didn't think it would lack Ethernet or FireWire: I thought those would be too extreme omissions.

Guess what: Apple has just shipped a Mac without any of these things. It remains to be seen how exactly people are going to respond to such a radical elimination of items whose presence in a Mac have been taken for granted for almost a decade, but looks like Apple is on to something there.

The Air is more of a breakthrough in what it lacks than it is in what new features it adds (basically, a MultiTouch trackpad), and I'm sure Apple is eagerly anticipating feedback.

If it turns out that there exists a significant enough class of users who don't mind the radical departure this Mac represents, Apple can be more confident in launching yet another product category: a tablet Mac, taking the Air's ultraportability concept yet one step further.

MultiTouch cannot be forever confined to cellphones and trackpads.