Anyway, after I decided to switch to Mac I waited for Macworld in January to see what Steve Jobs would announce in terms of new notebooks. I wasn't overly impressed with the MacBook Air so I bought a high-end black MacBook with 2 GB of RAM. Having tested the MacBook Air since, I'm confident I made the right decision - it's a good choice for regular travelers or the fashion-conscious, but I think most people would be better served by a MacBook or MacBook Pro.
The 13.3 inch widescreen display on the MacBook and MacBook Air is the perfect size for air travel, even if you're stuck in cattle class (like I am as I write this). Anything bigger can't be tilted back far enough to see, because the seat in front gets in the way, whereas anything small results in a keyboard and screen too small for everyday use.
As for software, while I'm very happy with Leopard in many ways the OS is irrelevant. My move away from XP wasn't driven by ideology, I was just looking for something reliable that worked out of the box (unlike Linux) and didn't get in my way (unlike Windows). It's easy to forget I'm using a Mac because Leopard stays out of my way. I brought a few multi-platform apps with me from Windows world to ease the pain of transition, such as Firefox, Audacity and FileZilla as well as Google Docs which eliminated a lot of my backup requirements.
One day I hope to access all my apps through a browser - making it easy to jump between computers and operating systems - but most online apps can't match the funtionality of the desktop counterparts yet. I was going to use Thunderbird and Lightning for email and calendar - but I found Apple's Mail and iCal to be more stable on the Mac and obviously better integrated into the OS, such as the fact I get calendar reminders even when iCal isn't open. The tight intergration into Spotlight, Mac's desktop search tool, is also a major bonus.
Coming from a ThinkPad running XP, I have to say it's frustrating that Apple doesn't make more of an effort to cater to business users. You might say "you should have bought a MacBook Pro", but it wouldn't address most of my issues. For starters, Apple refuses to build a docking station port into its notebooks, which would make it easier to sit down at a desk and plug your MacBook into all your desktop peripherals with a single cable. There's no external kill switch for the wifi and Bluetooth cards. The audio line-in jack isn't powered so you can't use a headset with 3.5mm jacks, forcing you to buy a USB headset. You can't easily toggle between using the built-in LCD and an external display. The keyboard isn't backlit (although the MacBook Pro features this). As sacrilegious as it sounds, Apple should take a few lessons from Lenovo's ThinkPad range if it wants to expand its market share.
There's a few other little annoying things about the MacBook on the software front. Unlike Outlook, iCal's appointments don't include fields for entering specific event details such as the location. Mail doesn't feature built-in pop up notifications for incoming emails, which seems ridiculous considering how much of a timesaver this feature is. I guess you have to keep in mind these apps aren't really targeted at business users, who would probably be better off with something like Entourage.
While all these shortcomings are annoying, there are workarounds for some and none are enough to drive me back into the arms of Windows. I know I said the OS is becoming irrelevant, but Leopard has a lot of little features that really make life easier. CONTINUED