It’s now the only notebook Apple doesn’t offer with a Retina display but, it’s the most affordable in the Mac lineup (excluding the Mac mini). Before I bought the MacBook Air I had the dilemma of choosing between the Pro and the Air. I wasn’t into photo or video editing at the time so the Air was the logical choice because of the battery life. The Air might very well be the best Mac of all time. The design hasn’t changed since it launched in 2008 and it’s still one of the thinnest notebooks on the market today.
This had me thinking. What makes the MacBook Air so good?. For starters it’s a well rounded machine. It’s not the most powerful but it gets the job done. A basic configuration has a core i5 and 8GB of RAM. This isn’t bad considering you still have the option to buy an i7 version if you don’t fancy the i5. The best part about this package is that you still have the benefits of the additional battery life over the Pro. Just to add some shade, the MacBook Air still has an SD Card slot. Some of the most expensive cameras on the Market still use an SD Card. I’m not arguing that USB-C is not the future but, most consumer bought cameras don’t have the option to use a PCIe express chip which would work fantastic with USB-C. So, the Air is still within its time. There is Thunderbolt 2 support and it still boasts MagSafe 2 technology. All of this is just words. It’s real world tests that count.
I’m a developer by day and my day usually starts around 10 AM and ends around 4 PM. There’s still plenty of battery left at the end of the day. By night I edit 4K video in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). You’re probably thinking my computer blew up trying to render out 4K video. Surprisingly you can edit 4K video, drop colour correction and then use a LUT and continue editing other clips without a problem. Obviously this is done by optimizing the settings in FCPX but, it gets the job done. I once had an 18 minute 4K video and after hitting export at about 11 PM it finished rendering and sending the file through compressor the next day at about 7 PM. It usually takes about 35 minutes to render a 10 minute video but on this occasion I put everything I knew about video editing into that 18 minute video. There was a lot going on in that edit but it managed to handle all that data. The Air wasn’t built for these kinds of tasks but, you can stretch its performance when you have to. If I had to buy a new Mac today it would definitely be a Pro or maybe the modular Mac Pro coming out next year. I wrote this because a lot of the hard work apple puts is in its software. Optimization of macOS (OS X) is definitely a step ahead of any Windows based computer. More so we underestimate Apple computers because the numbers on paper are far inferior to those of Windows based PCs. The big challenge Apple faces is that third party apps don’t use the software optimizations optimally. A good example of this is that FCPX can render out video exponentially faster than Adobe Premiere Pro on a Mac. I’ll do a video on this as soon as I get an updated 2017 MacBook Pro (assuming there is one coming).