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This apple didn’t fall far from MacBook tree, in a good way

John Davidson (via AFR) | July 2, 2013
While the rest of the world is marching on, Apple has actually gone backwards, but in a good way, with its latest notebook.

Something is wrong.

I'm touching the screen on my computer, trying to start Chrome, and it's not starting. Hey! Wake up in there! I'm hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del like crazy, trying to kick-start the touch screen, but it makes no difference.

Something feels wrong, too. I'm not nervous, and I feel I should be nervous. I left the power supply for this notebook PC at home today, and normally I'd be in a mild panic right now, watching the battery meter tick down and worried that I won't get this column written before the battery dies. But I've been working steadily for three hours now, and the battery meter is still reading 90 per cent and telling me I have 18 hours 58 minutes of charge left. Huh?

That three hours of usage includes about an hour of huge WiFi downloads and uploads, and it doesn't even include the 14 hours the machine was on standby since it was last recharged. Is the meter wrong, or does this notebook have an insanely long battery life? Something is most definitely going on today . . .

Oh lordy lordy! I've just realised what it is. I'm using an Apple MacBook Air. I haven't used one of these in two years or more, not since Apple took me off its reviewers' program because, as I was told at the time, I didn't subscribe to the Apple mantra that Apple products "just work".

That explains why the touch screen isn't working. Apple, almost alone in the world, doesn't believe in touch-screen notebooks.

The very fact that I'm using a Mac means . . . oops, I just went to move the cursor by touching the screen again, and all I did was leave a fingerprint . . . means something must be wrong at Apple, too. Its stock must be well down or something, if it's back to lending me its products.

But never mind. I'm just glad to be back in the fold, because this MacBook is a real pleasure to use after these years of using nothing but Windows notebooks. The keyboard, the trackpad, the shape and weight of the device, the manufacture - it's all so spot on, just like it always was.

That's the thing I notice most: how familiar the new MacBook Air feels. Windows PCs have completely changed these past two years, with the addition of touch screens and all sorts of weird and wonderful (mostly weird) chassis designs, but the MacBook I'm reviewing today looks and feels practically identical to the last one I reviewed. You'd think that Apple would have made a lot of changes in two years, but no.

Indeed, while the rest of the world is marching on, Apple has actually gone backwards, but in a good way, with its latest notebook. In our performance tests, the 2013 MacBook Air is marginally slower than the 2012 MacBook Air, despite the 2013 model having Intel's new Haswell chip that's supposed to have better performance.


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