Five Random Lion/Macbook Air Thoughts

Alex ponders while Lion downloads….

As I write this, Mac OS X 10.7 (“Lion”) is downloading. And downloading, and downloading and downloading. You get the idea. I don’t have the quickest net connection, and the servers are likely to be somewhat busy, as I discussed in an article last week at the ABC’s Technology+Games portal.
So while I sit and wait, I’m also looking over the release for both Lion and the new Macbook Air models. Yeah, I know, Apple also released new Mac Minis and the Thunderbolt display, but in a show of sheer arrogance, I’m going to state that they don’t interest me right now. I may well end up reviewing either or both; I don’t know. But Lion I’m grabbing right now, and all things being equal, I’ll be ordering a Macbook Air today as well. I’ve only been waiting since January this year for one…
A cautionary note: These aren’t in any order or format. They’re just loose thoughts.
1) How slow is Apple’s USB copying process?
Apple did one thing that genuinely surprised me with the Lion release; they flipped over and announced that there would in fact be a physical version. Of sorts. Except that it won’t be available until “late August” on a USB drive… for AU$75.
Ouch. There’s clearly an element of we-really-want-to-push-the-Mac-App-store about that pricing, although it is pleasing to note that Apple’s explicitly supporting the idea of heading to an Apple store (if you have one nearby — sorry, Adelaide, looks like I’m getting a nearby Apple store before you even get one) to download Lion instead. What’s more worrying here is the late August timeline. I mean, it’s taking me a while to download Lion, but is there just one guy in a factory somewhere in China manually copying the things?
2) Internet Recovery? I’m not made of bandwidth!
OK, it’s not a bad feature to have, but Lion’s Internet Recovery feature will be, I suspect, something of a last resort. The idea of trickle-downloading the OS over my connection when my system is dead has a certain time-critical lack of appeal. It’s only a feature on the new Airs and Minis, though, and hopefully Apple hasn’t EFI-blocked the ability to install Snow Leopard on those machines; I think I’d rather do a local install in almost every case. Well, at least until the NBN rolls out locally, I guess…
3) How heavy is the Ethernet adaptor?
I’m probably going to walk into an Apple store later today and see if they have any Macbook Airs in stock. Still not entirely decided on 11” vs 13”; I like the 11” form factor, but it lacks the SD card slot and the price difference between the upper tier 11” and entry level 13” isn’t that much. If there’s no stock  — and there’s no way of telling, although I am reminded of the Futurama ‘EyePhone” episode in terms of how Apple represents stock numbers… ah, what the heck, let’s embed it below
Anyway… if there’s no stock, I’ll order one online. I note with interest that it’s currently sitting on a 24 hour delivery schedule… unless I add a $29 USB Ethernet adaptor. Then it jumps up to 3 business days. Exactly how heavy is that Ethernet adaptor, Apple? Does it take three men two days to simply lug it across a warehouse floor?
4) The price is right.. except for the warranty
I actually don’t mind the Macbook Air pricing for the most part; it’s certainly more palatable than the original Air pricing, which made it something of a non-starter for most folks. It’s annoying, though, that AppleCare (the three year rather than one-year warranty option) for the Air costs a quarter of the price of the entry level model all over again, though. I’m always tempted with that to try my luck with statuatory law, which (to my limited, non-lawyer mind) should cover the laptop for more than a year. More than likely, I’ll cave and pay the Apple tax.
5) Hey look! Thunderbolt peripherals!
Sort of. If you spec up a Macbook Air, you can buy a Promise Pegasus RAID system that’ll actually make use of the Thunderbolt port on the new models. There’s just one teeny tiny little catch; the entry level Pegasus system costs more than the entry level Macbook Air. Call me picky, but I somehow doubt Apple will sell too many of that particular combo…
And as I finish these thoughts, Lion is… about 30% downloaded… maybe. Which means I won’t be installing anything until this afternoon at the earliest…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.