Tag Archives: MacBook Air

Gadget Stands

The HiRise iPhone/iPad stand from Twelve South is amazingly sharp looking. It needs a user supplied cable, and it supposedly can work with cases on both phones and iPads. Twelve South makes some great products, including the BookArc which my MacBook Air is sitting in right now. I have an iPhone 4S, which doesn’t have the Lightning connector, so I am waiting to pull the trigger until my next iPhone, which should be sometime in October if the rumors are true. I don’t see Apple moving away from the Lightning connector, especially since they stuck with the 30-pin connector for so long, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Anyone looking for a cheaper, more portable option should check out AmazonBasics Portable Fold-Up Travel Stand. It’s under $10, folds up pretty compactly and is surprisingly solid and stable. Because the legs and neck both have set positions it’s can’t literally be put in any position, but there is enough of a variety that it should work well with most tablets. When folded up, it’s probably the size of an awkwardly shaped TV remote, and could easily fit in most tablet bags.

As for a cheap, DIY iPhone stand, I have actually built a couple of them out of LEGOs that I have from my childhood. It doesn’t take many pieces and you can build it to fit your needs. You can build ones with slots for cables, or not. And if you are really hardcore you can probably build a cable right into one. Either way, it’s an nice nerdy touch that would look fine on most people’s desks, end tables, etc.

Stand1Stand2

Why I Want an iPad Mini

I want an iPad mini. The device doesn’t even exist, but I want one. This post isn’t about whether the device is real, or when/if it will be announced or even what exactly it might look like. Instead this post is just about why I want one.

The iPad is a great device, and it excels at several things. It’s great for reading websites/RSS. It’s great for watching video. With a keyboard, it’s great for writing. But therein lies the problem. The onscreen keyboard is a terrible experience for me. With the exception of sending an iMessage or typing in a Google search, it really isn’t usable. My attempts to tweet, e-mail or blog with it have left me completely unable to succeed without my ZAGGfolio keyboard case.

As a result, my iPad has become basically an alternative to my MacBook Air. I generally make a decision about which of the two to bring based on several factors:

  1. Do I need to do any writing/coding/e-mail?
  2. If so, what kind and how much?
  3. Am I going to be in a small space like a car or airplane?
  4. How long will it be before I will be able to charge it?
  5. Is their WiFi readily available?

When it’s all said and done though, I usually make a decision to take one device or the other. And sometimes that leaves me in a position where I wish I had the device I didn’t bring.

The iPhone is also a great device. It’s probably my favorite device. It’s very much like the iPad sans keyboard, in the sense that it’s pretty good for reading but pretty horrible when you need to do some writing. I can get by with the touch keyboard most of the time for Tweets and the occasional e-mail, but things break down when I need to write anything longer than a sentence or two.

The problem is, if I drew a line with a scale from 1 to 100, and put the iPhone at 1 and MacBook Air at 100, the iPad would end up around 75-80. In a perfect world, it would be a lot closer to 50. That is where I am hoping the iPad mini would come in.

I would really like to see the best qualities of the iPhone and iPad combined into one device. It should be smaller than the current iPad so that it’s easier to hold with one hand, but bigger than the iPhone so that it’s easier to type on (bigger keys is important, but not so big that much of the screen is obstructed). About the size of the Kindle Touch (6 inch screen) wouldn’t be bad. A little bigger might be OK. Price would obviously be important. At $200 it’s a slam dunk. At $300 I would at least have to think about it. Having some sort of built-in cellular data would be nice too.

That device is the one that fills the void between a Mac and an iPhone. That is the one that makes sense to take along with those two devices instead of in place of one of them. That is the device that I can throw in my bag no matter where I am going and not feel like it’s too much.

Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is a great device. I think for many people it could replace the Mac for 95% of the things they do. Someday it might be able to replace the Mac for me. But in the meantime it fits awkwardly in my workflow and doesn’t fill the void I really have. Hopefully the iPad mini will.

Episode #48 – NFL Draft, House of Lies and Computer Woes

NFL Draft talk including Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and the Chicago Bears plans. A final discussion of season 1 of Showtime’s House of Lies. And a discussion of Hippo’s recent unfortunate tech disaster.

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Co-Host: Chris (http://twitter.com/cmwilliams51)

Running Time: About 35 minutes

Download: Direct | iTunes

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Theme music by FantomenK

When Will Apple Modify Their Notebook Line?

This post refers to marco.org

Marco Arment:

To placate pro users and buy some time until Intel makes lower-wattage quad-core CPUs, Apple could keep selling the current-style 15” MacBook Pro with fast, hot CPUs and GPUs alongside the 15” Air. In this update, they could quietly discontinue the 13” MacBook Pro since so many people are buying the MacBook Air instead. And then, in a future update, they could quietly discontinue the 15” MacBook Pro, leaving only the 11/13/15” Airs to satisfy most customers and the huge, heavy 17” MacBook Pro for high-end needs.

I think this makes some sense. I definitely think the 13-inch MacBook Pro will be gone sometime this year. I wonder how many 17-inch machines Apple actually sells. I think they will definitely have an 11-inch and 13-inch Air. I wouldn’t be shocked to seem them keep the 15-inch Pro for a while since that is their signature Pro machine at this point. I don’t think they want to make the 17-inch their only truly powerful machine quite yet.

Tom Bihn Ristretto Gets Zippered Pouch

This post refers to tombihn.com

Ben Brooks on the new Tom Bihn Ristretto:

Great update. It addresses my biggest complaint: the open front pouch that used to let all my stuff spill out. Very nice.

I have a Ristretto for my 11-inch MacBook Air, and have the same problem Brooks does. It was an odd design not to make the out pouch close with more than a flap that clips. I really love the bag though, it fits the iPad or MacBook Air well and can even hold both if need be. I would love this updated model, but I don’t use it enough to warrant the investment. But if you are looking for a bag, for any MacBook Air or iPad, I highly recommend the Ristretto.

Henge Dock For MacBook Air

This post refers to hengedocks.com

Henge Docks have announced a model for the MacBook Air is now ready for pre-order. I have one for my 2009 MacBook Pro and it’s a pretty sweet deal. It work’s as advertised and I have never had any problems with it. I would buy one again, as I assume they have only improved since I bought mine.

(via Engadget)

PlugBug Charger

This post refers to twelvesouth.com

Twelve South, makers of the BookArc have a new product, the PlugBug Charger. The idea here is that you connect this adapter to your MacBook Pro/MacBook Air power brick in place of the little piece that plugs into the wall. What you end up with is a slightly larger power brick that also has a USB charger connected.

I admit the concept is very cool, and it looks really nice, but I still prefer my Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger instead, which provides three plugs and two USB ports all in one package and for just $12. The only downside to this is that you need a three-pronged outlet wherever you plan to use it.

(via Patrick Rhone)

The iPad As a Work Device

This post refers to daringfireball.net

John Gruber saying it better than anyone can regarding the iPad:

I do work on the road using a MacBook Air, not an iPad, because I’m one of those users for whom the iPad’s design compromises get in the way, and slow me down. But I like having the iPad as a separate device, for reading and video. The marvel of the iPad is not that it can replace a Mac. It’s that it opened the door to all sorts of things that a Mac was never all that good for.

That is how I would sum up the iPad for me as well. It’s the best device I have for surfing the internet, browsing RSS or Twitter and watching video. Anytime the keyboard has to be used it’s a big failure.

I agree with Gruber’s statement that this is opening new doors and will change the way we compute in the next 10 years.

The iMac/MacBook Air Setup I Dream About

This post refers to elliotjaystocks.com

Elliot Jay Stocks has two posts about his decision to forego a setup with just a MacBook Pro and a cinema display and instead roll with an 11-inch MacBook Air and a 27-inch iMac. The funny thing is, this is exactly what I have been thinking for my future setup.

I already rock an 11-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, which spends most of it time docked with a Henge Dock to my 24-inch monitor. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is essentially just a desktop that can be used as a portable in a pinch. That is the main benefit of this setup, also having a spare backup.

But come next fall, I may opt to switch to the same setup, which Elliot does any amazing job of outlining.

(via Shawn Blanc)