I use a lot of Apple gear these days for a variety of reasons and had to quickly throw my four primary devices in my backpack so I could move some stuff around my new home office. I’m in the midst of writing a multi-part MacBook Air Review and I realized that it’s pretty amazing that I can pack so much computing power into such a small backpack without breaking my back.
According to Apple’s spec sheets, the combination of my 15″ MacBook Pro, 13″ MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone 4 weigh just 10.3 pounds combined. Add in one AC adapter for both MacBooks, an iPhone/iPad charger and the weight of my backpack and the whole package is still less 13 pounds.
As much a I like my new MacBook Air, it still doesn’t have enough storage or horsepower to serve as my only device, especially on extended trips. The MacBook Pro has a 2.66GHz Core i7 processor that’s better-suited for slicing and dicing videos and other large media files. It also has a better display with a higher resolution. As I mentioned earlier, the MacBook Air does not have a swappable batter, which means I’d be dead in the water at a conference or on a multi-leg journey.
If I brought all four of these devices I would be able to do approximately 14 hours of work (web, writing and light photo editing), watch 10+ hours of movies on my iPad and talk for about seven hours on the iPhone. That should pretty much cover me on any trip of any kind.
Each of these four devices have do something better than all the others. The iPhone 4 of course has 3G and is more portable. The iPad has seemingly endless battery life. The MacBook Pro has the most power. And the MacBook Air is the best laptop I’ve ever owned, balancing portability with performance.
As you can see in the above photos, Apple’s managed to keep its industrial design consistent across all of its mobile devices. There’s more than just cosmetics to consider here. The MacBook Pro’s AC adapter works with the MacBook Air’s and vice versa. The iPad’s adapter will charge the iPhone’s and can be used to synch both. My iPhone’s headset can be used with all of these devices, enabling me to use chat services such as Skype and other apps that require voice, such as Dragon Dicate for iPhone and iPad.
All four of these devices ‘go together,’ which is a positive, but there’s a downside to all this glass and aluminum. In my experience, I find it too easy to knick small chunks of the aluminum off of Apple’s devices. My MacBook Pro already has a couple of very small pieces of aluminum missing and I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the same happend to my MacBook Air. Another thing to remember about aluminum is that it oxidizes. That’s not a problem if you remember to wipe down your MacBook once in a while, but if you get lazy the salts and oils from your skin will eventually eat away at the palm rest, leaving small black pock marks. If you sweat a lot you should grab a film protector for your MacBook. In general, none of these devices are very rugged and I worry about dropping them, especially the iPhone 4. Apple’s clearly put form before function.