From MacBook Air raises troubleshooting questions
Apple’s new MacBook Air is svelte-as-can-be, but the device’s limitations and lack of traditional components raise some interesting troubleshooting/general questions:
- What happens when the battery loses capacity or runs out? The battery is apparently not user-replaceable. This means you can’t swap out batteries to extend operating life, and you’ll likely need to seek authorized service to get the battery replaced when it inevitably loses capacity or fails altogether.
- How do you perform an emergency boot? What if you can’t startup from the built-in drive and need to boot from a separate volume? The MacBook Air lacks an optical drive, meaning you can’t boot from an inserted DVD like the Mac OS X Leopard install disc unless you purchase the $100 optional, external SuperDrive. It’s not yet clear whether the MacBook Air can boot from an optical drive in another Mac via the “Remote Disc” function, but we doubt it.
- How will you apply major Mac OS X updates? If you can’t boot from an installer disc, how will you be able to install the next major iteration of Mac OS X? Traditionally, Mac OS X installers have required the system to boot from the disc.
- How will you use target disk mode? The MacBook Air lacks a FireWire port. This means you can’t use FireWire target disk mode — an invaluable troubleshooting tool.
- How will you NetBoot? The MacBook Air lacks a built-in Ethernet port, so NetBoots won’t be possible by default, precluding yet another option for emergency boots. You’ll need to purchase the $20 [sic] USB Ethernet adapter.
For the first item, take a look at Michael Gartenberg’s battery comments here. It is points two, three, and four that speak more loudly to me.
Wired’s Gadget Lab ‘breaks’ the following story, with the accompanying placeholder graphic:
Breaking: Apple Insider Leaks Ultra-Portable Details
All sorts of great speculation to build on the general Apple ultra-thin sub-notebook hype that I have been grooving on for months now.
MacBook Air | 9 to 5 Mac
Previous posts here on this topic: here, here, here, here, here, and here. It’s a great rumor, even if it’s only a rumor.
Two pairs of new items to throw on this fire today, in the order they appeared in Greader:
- From AppleInsider: Apple, which in January is expected to take the wraps off its slimmest and sleekest notebook in years, is reported to have placed orders for a new breed of 13.3-inch LED backlight units with production-ready quantities scheduled for delivery this month. … Citing “industry sources,” Taiwanese rumor publication DigiTimes reports that Kenmos Technology and Taiwan Nano Electro-Optical Technology (Nano-Op) have both recently become suppliers of notebook-use LED backlight units (BLUs) for industry heavyweights Dell and Apple, with shipments to each supplier expected to soar in the near-term. … Of interest, DigiTimes notes that the component shipments to both Dell and Apple are “for high-end models,” reinforcing assumptions that the Mac maker’s upcoming streamlined notebook will fall somewhere between its existing 13-inch consumer MacBooks and its 15- and 17-inch professional MacBook Pro models.
- Same as in #1, only in MacRumors.
- AppleInsider, again: Apple sub-notebook to retail for $1500: [CNBC’s] Jim Goldman reported that a source close to Apple’s manufacturing facilities has confirmed that the company will launch its much rumored sub-notebook at Macworld [sic] in January and that it will also have a 3G iPhone on store shelves by June at the latest. Goldman’s report on the new sub-notebook, which cited unnamed sources who have supposedly seen the product, mentioned … that the device will be 50% thinner than the company’s existing MacBook Pro, employ NAND flash memory in place of a traditional hard disk drive, and that it will definitively arrive at Macworld. … In addition, he did contribute one piece of new information, namely that the device is expected to be priced aggressively at approximately $1500.
- MacRumors links to the same report and quotes Goldman as follows: he says he now has hard evidence that the smallest laptop ever from Apple is only weeks away. He says the device will feature a 12-inch screen and will be 50 percent thinner–and lighter–than current versions of the MacBook Pro. He says the product will not have a hard-drive, but rely on Flash memory instead and likely retail for around $1,500.
It’s been a whole three weeks since I offered up any news on my favorite tech rumor, and I am sure my many faithful readers are as excited as I am that I have a new installment in this series (1, 2, 3, and 4). Via the ever-entertaining AppleInsider, excerpts from Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster’s most recent note to his clients are available.
…reports of an ultraportable [sic] MacBook are following patterns of previously expected products that eventually materialized. … We believe these reports are legitimate and continue to expect Apple to introduce a MacBook with a significantly smaller form factor.
Very interesting. Come on, Apple, you can do this.