Any time Apple unveils a new product, someone is likely wondering if it’s a viable choice for music. The answer on the new MacBook Air is probably yes – though for music production, even at a $999 price, you may want to sacrifice a little bit of weight for the specs on the non-Air MacBook line.
Here’s a quick look:
- Core 2 Duo architecture. While running at slower clock speeds, this is a more efficient CPU choice for audio. (Don’t let the clock fool you, in other words – there’s a fair bit of power here.) You don’t get the battery life or dirt-cheap price of the Atom – but you don’t get its abysmal performance, either. And the Air has a 3-6MB L2 cache. This isn’t a netbook, in other words (though it’s also 2-4 times as expensive, of course).
- NVIDIA 320M is good enough to make this a choice for light visual work. Mini DisplayPort, natch.
- Two USB ports.
- Mysterious storage. I say “mysterious,” because Apple doesn’t talk about the specs on its drives. Flash memory has done quite nicely for audio reads and writes, but it depends on the model. Wait for a teardown before committing. Updated: See Ars Technica’s numbers. That SSD is fast. No worries here – though you’ll have to shell out more if you want more space, and you don’t have the FireWire 800 option on the Air for external storage, only USB2.
- Multitouch trackpad (nothing new but, incidentally, works with things like Logic)
Viable? Yes, probably, as a second machine. And for those who want a laptop that’s light and thin like a netbook but with something closer to laptop specs, this is it. For audio, I think the big question mark is the flash storage; I’d love to hear from someone who knows. On everything else, again, it’ll be worth comparing to the MacBook Pro.
Of course, this isn’t really something aimed at production customers at Apple, but I think it’s nonetheless worth considering, and mostly because I’m curious to hear what commenters say.