Macworld Disappoints

There was a lot of buzz about this year’s Macworld keynote, but for the first time in awhile, Steve Job’s keynote was a bust.

The two big announcements were Itunes movie rentals and a super thin Macbook.

Movie Rentals?

Anybody with a Netlfix account has to laugh at Itunes movie rentals. With Itunes, you can rent standard definition movies for $3 or HD movies for $5. The DRM on the movies disables viewing 24 hours after the first view. Why would anybody use this? Netflix gives unlimited rentals of SD or HD discs for $14/month. If you want to watch movies on your computer, you can stream any movie you want at no additional cost with Netflix.

With Itunes, if you want to actually want to watch movies on a TV, you need to buy an Apple TV device for over $200 to get the same movies on-demand functionality that your cable provider already provides. Apple’s moves in to video distribution have largely failed, and the Itunes movie rental service will continue Apple’s pattern of failure when it comes to video.

Macbook Air

I’ve been waiting for a Mac ultraportable for 5 years. The Macbook Air is probably the worst Apple laptop design since Steve Jobs returned to the company over a decade ago. The Macbook Air is a clear example of overfocusing on a design element, while sacrificing usability. The laptop is thin, and it looks stunning, but at what cost?

  • The battery is NOT removable.
  • There is no wired Ethernet port.
  • The processor is slow.
  • The disk is small and slow.
  • There is only ONE USB port

I will never recommend a laptop to anyone that has a non-removable battery. My Macbook Pro turned 1 this week, and both batteries are about 50% life. There is no wired Ethernet port? How the hell is anybody going to use this laptop at a business? Professionals are the #1 consumer of ultraportable laptops, and most businesses have no or limited wireless access for security reasons.

Performance wise, the Macbook Air is a dog. Its processor and disk are slow. Apple would have been much better off not focusing on thinness. Weight is the most important aspect of an ultraportable. If the Macbook Air was .5 lbs heavier with beefier specs and a removable battery, it would have been a hit.

Instead, Apple focused on the superficial (thinness), sacrificing the Macbook Air’s utility.