Is the MacBook Air 11” Adequate for Aperture? We’re Gonna Find Out…
I’ve been lusting after a new MacBook Air since they were released, but have been waiting to see what the reviews said for performance. After all, it’s (just) a Core 2 Duo processor, and even at the top-end, significantly lower specced than my 2.93Ghz 15” MacBook Pro from early 2009. But the hope of course was that with a more modern graphics card, the SSD “hard drive”, and some wishful thinking, that it could still stand up as an Aperture machine.
I’m not looking for a primary Aperture system. That’s what the 27” iMac is for. I use a laptop for basic edits while on the road, until I get back to my main system and can merge my traveling library with my main one. Plus email, web, writing, etc. of course.
I called up Derrick Story of The Digital Story last night to ask him how his experience had been with the 13” MacBook Air. He was one of the earliest adopters, and was showing it off at PhotoPlus Expo in New York a few months ago. His experience has been very good, and he’s written about it on his blog quite a bit—including recording a podcast on his trial and tribulations with color management, titled “Color Management Made Really Easy”. But he also had splurged for the biggest, baddest 13” model. Derrick also pointed me to an article on MacWorld which was quite encouraging; “2010 MacBook Air: ultimate-edition lab tests”, which I eagerly read last night.
The conclusion was… these little Macs are pretty damn sweet.
But still, it was the 11” model that I wanted. Why such a small screen screen when I’m going to be using Aperture? One word: Economy. No, not the financial state of the Union, but the class I end up sitting in most of the time while flying. Aka “cattle class”, “the cheap seats”, or “haha you’re a working photographer, not a corporate stooge—back of the bus for you brother!” class. And I simply can’t work on the 15” MacBook Pro in economy. To tilt the screen enough to see it, I have to pull the laptop practically against my stomach. Just try typing that way. And if you’re not extremely careful, when the guy in front decides to take a nap and leans back in his seat, he can take your laptop screen down with him. I’ve gotten to the point where I resign long flights to opportunities to catch up on movies—but frankly, that’s no way to run a business.
Friday I fly to Madrid. 10 hours in the air, and now, for once, I’ll be able to work.
I sure hope there’s no good movies showing.
After some time in the field, I will of course share my experience with you all. I bought the top-end 11”, with the larger 128GB SSD (which is still quite small), 4GB RAM and the 1.6Ghz processor. I was disappointed to learn that the backlit keyboard and the IR receiver are gone, both of which I use, but I suppose there will always be compromises.
Time will tell if they’re worth it… or not.
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