To see why Apple omitted certain features in their new MacBook Air (MBA) notebook (optical drive, Ethernet, FireWire), we need to look at the world that Apple envisions the MBA (and therefore its human user) will inhabit. Some of the pieces of Apple’s world vision are already in place, and some are just around the corner.
I recently read a quote from a Macworld Expo attendee who, after seeing/touching/holding the MBA, stated, “Apple sees the future and runs into it as fast as they can”.
Apple’s past history is pretty good when it comes to the future. Back at the turn of the century (that sounds weird, doesn’t it? but it’s an accurate description of 2001), critics scoffed at the original iMac’s lack of floppy drive, and new-fangled USB port system. Apple brought WiFi capability into the mainstream while most consumer PCs didn’t even have an Ethernet port as standard equipment. Doubting Thomases (and Teris as well) dismissed the iPod as a passing fad.
So what of the future? It’s wire-less, and not just as in “WiFi”. OK. We still need some wires, cords, and cables. The phone/cable wires into our homes’ broadband modems. Perhaps an Ethernet cable to our main desktop computer (although you don’t even need that, really). Power cords. USB/FireWire cables for fast, high-volume data transfers of “heavy” data like digital video.
The future is also disk-less. CDs and DVDs. Stick a fork in them. The only survivor is the high-definition DVD, most likely the Blu-Ray format. But even Blu-Ray’s reign will be relatively short-lived, as REALLY high speed fiber-optic broadband makes downloading of 1080p HD more appealing (except here in Maine, of course, but that’s a whole ‘nother article). Digital download movie sales and rentals and cable and satellite video-on-demand will take care of the rest of the drive-to-the-video-store market.
What’s “greener” than no plastic disks to make/destroy, and no gas/emissions from the family SUV? Hmmm?
Audio CD sales are being rapidly replaced by digital downloads. All but the bulkiest of software titles/upgrades (like complete operating systems and mega-suites like Adobe’s Creative Suite) are available for download via the internet. Again, no more disks or packaging.Finally, many newer digital still cameras can download photos to your computer via Bluetooth wireless. Camera memory cards are even available with wireless transfer capability. They’re pretty expensive right now, but that’ll change.
|© 2008 Peter F. Zimowski|