Storage, Mobility Advantage Goes to Air

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-06-13 Print this article Print


5. Multitouch gestures in 'Lion'

Apple has decided to double down on multitouch with the upcoming launch of Mac OS X "Lion." By using the Air's trackpad, users will be able to quickly access Mission Control with a gesture, switch between apps with a swiping motion, tap-to-zoom, pinch-to-zoom and much more. That functionality has been available on the iPad since its launch last year, and it has proved extremely popular for users looking for intuitive control. It'll be a nice addition to the MacBook Air, and it takes another advantage away from Apple's tablet.

6. Pricing is spot-on for what consumers get

Though Apple is often criticized for the relatively high prices of its computers, the MacBook Air delivers a fine value for what customers get. The cheapest 11-inch version goes for just $999, while the top-of-the-line 13-inch model is available for $1,599. Considering users will be able to get the mobility of the iPad 2 with the functionality of a full-fledged laptop, dropping $1,000 or more on the MacBook Air doesn't seem unreasonable.

7. Extra storage

Apple's iPad 2 offers storage sizes of between 16GB and 64GB. That simply isn't enough any longer. A growing number of people are storing video, boatloads of music tracks and other digital media that take up a lot of room on storage devices. A single movie, for example, can be several gigabytes in size. With the MacBook Air, Apple ups the storage considerably, offering users options of between 64GB and 256GB. Over time, consumers will find quickly that the MacBook Air's extra storage is an absolute necessity.

8. FaceTime support

When Apple first announced its FaceTime video-chatting feature for the iPhone 4, some wondered if it would take off, since it only worked with the company's latest smartphone and the then-new iPod Touch model. Now, FaceTime is available on the iPad 2, as well as Macs. That's an important factor in the iPad 2's battle with the MacBook Air. If Macs still didn't support FaceTime, users might want to opt for the iPad 2 if their friends and family owned other iOS-based devices. But now that Apple has added FaceTime to its line of Macs, the iPad 2 doesn't have an advantage when it comes to video conferencing.

9. Mobility

Apple's iPad 2 and MacBook Air were both designed with mobility in mind. Either device can be tossed into a bag and pulled out whenever necessary. But the MacBook Air arguably boasts more mobility than its tablet counterpart. The device, which is just 0.11 inches thick at its thinnest part, and weighs only 2.3 pounds, is one of the most easily transportable computers on the market. Though Apple's iPad 2 is slightly lighter and thinner than the MacBook Air at the computer's thickest point, it's far more fragile. Without a case or protective screen cover, it can be damaged easily. For the road warrior, the MacBook Air seems to hold up just a bit better.

10. The iPad 2 doesn't have the iCloud advantage

When Apple unveiled its iCloud service at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6, the company made one very important announcement: The service will work on iOS-based devices, as well as Macs and PCs. That is integral to the MacBook Air's market appeal. If Apple didn't offer iCloud support in Macs, the iPad 2 might have become a more worthwhile option. But because they both come with iCloud, and their contents can be automatically shared through the cloud, Apple's MacBook Air is right there with the company's tablet. Combine that with its many advantages, and it becomes clear that the MacBook Air is one of Apple's most compelling iPad 2 alternatives. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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