When Apple announced the next-generation MacBook Pro it was hard not to get excited about the huge Retina Display paired with Ivy Bridge processors and Nvidia’s latest GeForce 650M graphics. The new MacBook Air models look just a bit more exciting to me.
For the past three years I’ve used a 2009 13-inch MacBook Pro with Core 2 Duo as my daily driver. Before that I used a 2006 15-inch MacBook Pro (the model just before the unibody design). I seem to have a three-year cycle for laptops: after about three years the laptop just stops working correctly or runs far too slowly to keep up with my day-to-day needs.
The 13-inch MacBook Air seems like the perfect replacement for my MacBook Pro because it’s much faster than my current machine, and much more portable. In 2009 I opted for the 13-inch MacBook Pro because I needed a lighter laptop to carry to my first CES and to carry to classes during my last year of college. Now I’m attending more events than before, and a lighter laptop would be much nicer to carry around.
There was a time where I was afraid a MacBook Air would be a problem because of the lack of storage, but now that doesn’t seem like much of a problem at all. Between music services like Spotify and iTunes Match all of my music is in the cloud so I don’t need local copies of anything other than the few albums I always wants on hand. Netflix and Amazon Prime video offer the same for video, so I really don’t need a ton of storage space.
If storage does become an problem, I can easily purchase a Thunderbolt or USB 3 drive to hold larger files. Storage is relatively cheap. I also have a desktop PC to hold all the files I’ll only want when I’m at home.
Would I like a Retina Display MacBook Pro? Yes, but between the price, the lack of Retina Display support on the web, and the size, it just isn’t right for me. A 13-inch screen is perfect for me. An 11-inch screen might be a bit too small, but is still better than 15-inches.
I might miss being able to play high-end games like Diablo III with a MacBook Air, but that’s what the desktop PC is for. If my 3-year-old MacBook Pro can run all of the 58 Mac games I have on Steam, a MacBook Air with better specs should have no problem doing so. I mostly use my laptops for writing and reading on the web, but a few games like Binding of Isaac, Torchlight, or Civilization V are nice diversions from time to time.
In the end, the new specs and light weight make the decision to switch to a MacBook Air easy for me. It probably isn’t the best laptop on the market, and certainly isn’t the best that Apple makes, but it’s the best laptop for me right now.