Yesterday evening, I began composing an article comparing my experiences a few years back with my sole computer being an ultra-thin notebook quite like the MacBook Air, but ended up at rather a different place. In compositing an image comparing my old Toshiba PortÃ©gÃ© 3010CT with the super-thin Apple, I noticed that Apple’s illustrations of the MacBook Air are simply too thin! What’s going on here? Is Apple using distorted images to emphasize the machine’s thinness? Or is it an honest mistake? Shocking photos below the fold…
Pictured below is Apple’s dimensioned image of the MacBook Air from the tech specs at apple.com. This matches the illustration on the Design page of the site. Superimposed over the image is a red box measuring 12.8 by 0.76 inches, calibrated to the width of the MacBook. Notice that the notebook is much thinner than the red box – about 25% thinner.
This wouldn’t be a big deal normally – it’s just a harmless illustration, right? But “thin” is the selling point of this machine. It’s the whole value proposition. So showing the computer as thinner than it actually is could be a major sales boost.
How does this compare to other Apple product images? The MacBook Pro, which also uses thin as a selling point, is dead on in this side view (adjusted to close the lid). And the iPhone is exactly correct, too. So if Apple can get it right with their other products, why not the MacBook Air?
Try This For Yourself
- Get a ruler (remember them?)
- Visit apple.com and find some edge-on photos of products
- Measure their width and thickness
- Divide the width by the thickness that you measured and compare that to the listed specs.
A 12.8 by 0.76 inch MacBook Air should come in just under 17 times as wide as it is thick, but Apple’s illustrations are over 23 times wider than they are thick! This would make it .55 inches thick! Funny, though, that the side and top views aren’t distorted at all!
Back to the Toshiba and Apple Comparison
As for the Toshiba, it was livable. It only had one USB port, too, and lacked an optical drive. Like the MacBook Air, it’s CPU was a bit underpowered, and the hard drive was too slow (and even lacked a cache). But I was able to get my work as an IT manager done on a daily basis, and it was amazingly portable. Being narrower and shallower than the Apple, I used a compact bag, too, which lightened my load considerably.
I’d definitely consider a MacBook Air for my personal use, but it’s hard to justify at that price. Especially with that flash drive! I’m not bothered by the battery issue except as far as travel goes – gotta look for outlets in the airport!