Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Selective Hardware Usability

Usability by reduction ...

"Apple’s introduction of the MacBook Air has done what few computer manufacturers normally do by removing a vital component. They’ve opted to rely on hardware residing on a second computer to make up for what’s not included. What can be viewed as a hindrance is the beginning of something revolutionary.

I’ve previously railed on the MacBook Air for being an overpriced ultra portable failing to compete with the Mac portables when it came down to raw specs. Sure, it’s very thin and easier to lug around than a regular MacBook and its Pro counterpart, but its advertised features (or lack of) could lay the groundwork for something much better than toting a laptop in a manila envelope (because we all base our computer purchases on how easily we can mail it off).

What I’m talking about is the ability for users to select which hardware components they want to use in unison with another Mac. Apple is already trying the concept with the MacBook Air remote disc feature in which you can use another computer’s optical drive to read CDs and DVDs. The irony is that you can’t install Windows and you must carry a CD containing the needed drivers for it to work, but who says this can’t be expanded to other Macs as well?

Of course the biggest hindrance is bandwidth constraints, which explains the lack of DVD playback with the MacBook Air’s remote disc feature, but the stepping stones are being laid for a networked digtal hub. Apple rarely refers to the Mac as a computing platform by itself, but a piece of the digital hub. This can be beneficial in many ways, the most prominent being your Macs, iPods, iPhones, and even Apple TV accessing the same content and data from one central source. The end result is slimmed down systems that have no need to have redundant hardware meant to store the same data, exactly how the MacBook Air is meant to be."    (Continued via Apple Matters)    [Usability Resources]

MacBook Air - Usability, User Interface Design

MacBook Air

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