I’m not sure which class I would be a part of in Louis Gray’s list of MacWorld Watchers but I have a couple of thoughts on today’s events at MacWorld, even if I am a Windows user and a consumer living in an e-commerce world.
One of the biggies that everyone is talking about and has Blockbuster having more than its Block being busted on Wall Street is the cool idea of being able to rent; and purchase HD movies from iTunes. While this isn’t strictly a Mac specific announcement; since the iTunes can also run on Windows and is a required ingredient for Apple’s takeover of the media distribution industry, it has high praise from Mac users because this means the money spent on their AppleTV might actually not have been wasted.
There are a couple of things about this distribution deal though that irritate me as a consumer. The first is that I am required to install iTunes before I can even browse the store and I have to have an account which requires a credit card. Excuse me, but … screw you. I don’t want to use iTunes to play my music; or watch my movies, and on top of that I don’t have a credit card. So I am basically blacklisted from any of these supposedly cool features because I’m a useless tool who doesn’t have a credit card (or don’t want to use it on-line) and I like better software for watching my movies or listening to my music.
I won’t even bother talking about the stupidity of withholding movies for renting until the 30 day window of DVD releasing has passed because I won’t even be thinking about using the iTunes service since as far as they are concerned I don’t exist as a consumer. As well Mike Masnick over at Techdirt does an excellent job of giving the whole idea a bit of a slap around. Plus Darren Olson has some interesting info over at SlipperyBrick about the new DigitalCopy that is now a part of the Apple media distribution and how it is all being restricted.
However, the second big thing coming down from the Mount of Jobness is something that I have some thoughts on. That being the un-enveloping of the new MacBook Air – the thinnest laptop on the market – or it will be in two weeks which is when it will actually ship. As well Brier Dudley quite rightly points out that contrary to what has been in the press the Air is hardly what could be called ultramobile:
But it’s ultrathin, not ultramobile. If it has a 13-inch screen, a full keyboard and a clamshell case, it’s a laptop. Even Apple’s calling it a “notebook” computer, which is its word for laptop.
The real kicker comes though as Nilay Patel of CrunchGrear points out:
but the MacBook Air has a sealed, non-user-replaceable battery, and that means we’re suddenly a lot less in love.
C’mon let’s get real here – a non-user-replaceable battery – whose brilliant idea was that? Whoever it was His Jobness had better see that they get a raise because in one simple move Apple has pretty well doubled its potential profit margin. Either that or they have created the world thinnest disposable laptop; because really, what are your options come the day the Air’s battery dies for good?
While some folks will line up at the Genius Bar and pay through the nose for an approved Apple replacement battery other folks will end up tossing this impressive piece of technology into a closet on top of their pile of other dead in the water pieces of technology. Either way, Apple adds to their profits at the expense of faithful customers; which appears more and more to be SOP for Apple.
I am pretty sure that the majority of Mac users, and those in the business, got their drool towels out – Robert Scoble and Jason Calacanis among them – along with their credit cards at the very sight of the Air but not everyone was impressed. Devin Coldewey at CrunchGear has a good tear down of the product from the dirty side of the fence:
There’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of people will buy this laptop, but its capabilities are really more in line with the Eee PC than a MacBook, and the Eee costs thousands less and actually is ultraportable. The price point is so far removed from this machine’s potential that it makes the iPhone look like a bargain. I’m glad Apple is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with current PC tech, but right now this computer looks like a bit of a lemon. A sexy lemon, though.
A sexy lemon .. I like that. I wonder though if it will be as sexy when it turns out you’ve spent $1,800.00 on something that isn’t as functional as what you are already using.
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