11″ MacBook Air vs. iPad 3G

At one point, I had both an 11.6″ MacBook Air (1.6GHz, 128GB, 4GB) and iPad 3G (16GB) to supplement my main 15″ MacBook Pro. After 30 days, the MacBook Air went back to Apple. Why? In those 30 days, the Air was used for no more than 10 total hours. The rest of the time, it sat under the display or on a corner of my desk.

I had convinced myself that the MacBook Air had a purpose. The problem was that I was looking for a niche that needed filling. As hard as I tried, there really wasn’t a place for an ultraportable like the Air in my workflow. Maybe if I was a writer, the Air would still be around…

Work and play are spread out between three core pieces of hardware:

  • 15″ MacBook Pro + 27″ Cinema Display
  • 16GB iPad 3G
  • 16GB iPhone 4

I thought that my productivity could be improved had I replaced an iOS powered iPad with a full OS X notebook. Surprisingly, I reached for the iPad 9 times out of 10 when I stepped away from the MacBook Pro. The iPad – in my eyes – is the ultimate go-to device. Instantly on whenever you need it, access to a huge collection of useful applications, able to capture crude or refined sketches and equally capable as an entertainment device.

iPad 2 anyone? I can’t wait…

UPDATE: I just setup and moved my apps to my new white iPad 2. Initial impression: this thing is awesome and has a new peppiness to it.

Discuss - 4 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Thanks for your review. I am considering giving my wife my macbook and ipad and getting a 11″ macbook air (1.6GHz, 128GB, 4GB) and a kindle. I travel a lot and in addition to my work PC , and bring my ipad to access the web, email, reading, etc for personal use and thought the macbook air would be ultra portable and give me more capabilities on the road. Doesn’t the macbook air “always on” like the ipad because it uses a solid state drive?

  2. ned says:

    So what is your reasoning? I’m trying to decide between the 2, but all you say is that you use the ipad more. But why do do you use the ipad more? Tons of applications is all you say. But the mac air has software you can use that are useful.

    • Derek says:

      The iPad is great because I can just pick it up and go. I feel that iOS coupled with a handful of my favorite applications allows me to kick back and relax or switch into work mode to sketch, respond to work tasks, review client documents, etc. The only tasks which I absolutely can not complete are Photoshop or working in a local code environment. I also couldn’t sketch on the Air. I like the fact that the IPad can replace a notebook and pen – sketch a crude idea and share with the team or email to myself later. It’s a “in the moment” device. I tried Photoshop on the small screen but always closed shop and moved to the MacBook Pro. I guess my particular situation just didn’t have a gap that an ultra portable needed to fill.

      Some of my favorite apps that help me get work done on the iPad are:

      – Adobe Ideas
      – OmniGraffle
      – Dropbox
      – Box.net
      – Evernote

      I picked up on tablet pen which helps with more detailed sketches on the screen but usually just stick with my finger.