MacBook Air: Perfect for bike commuters?

Today at the MacWorld convention Steve Jobs announced the new MacBook Air laptop from Apple. At it’s thickest point, the MacBook Air is only 0.76 inches and weighs a paltry 3 pounds.

MacBook Air

Even at that tiny size it boasts a 13.3 inch screen (same as previous model MacBook), a full-size keyboard and large multi-touch trackpad. Specs will include up to 2GB of RAM, 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and an 80GB harddrive.

At this tiny size and weight, is the MacBook Air the perfect laptop for the daily bike commuter?

MacBook Air

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0 thoughts on “MacBook Air: Perfect for bike commuters?”

  1. Jeff Moser says:

    That’s pretty thin! Hopefully it wouldn’t fold in half in your messenger bag!

  2. steve says:

    I would be scared to put it into my backpack even with my current quilted timbuk2 laptop sleeve. What ever weight advantage I got would be negated by the extra padding I would put around it.

  3. david p. says:

    yes, it is perfect.

    what a sexy looking computer.

  4. Paul says:

    As long as Tom Bihn starts making a Brain Cell case for it so I can carry it safely in my Pac Designs bag, this is pretty close a perfect laptop for a bicycle commuter. It would be better if the solid-state version didn’t cost $3K USD, but even the non solid-state version would be a considerable improvement in luggability over the 12″ Powerbook I’m using now.

    The less moving parts the better. I just had my second optical drive die on me in 6 months in the Powerbook.

  5. Eileen says:

    The XO (the OLPC) computer is better if you don’t mind Linux tinkering and not having a full powered computer (no running Photoshop CS3). It’s solid-state. It’s smaller than the Air (10″) but much more rugged (thicker casing, drop tested, humidity tested, etc) and weighs about the same. Cost was $188 — but — you had to give $400 to the OLPC which paid for two laptops, one for a child and the other for you. They may be doing the donate deal again next Christmas and meanwhile they say they are going to offer it up to the UK and a few other countries (first round was for US and Canada only).

  6. Noah says:

    I’d take one if it was free.

    I commute daily with a 13″ MacBook and there are very few reasons I’d make the switch to the Air, despite it being as thin as the LCD alone on my MacBook. This wouldn’t really leave that much more usable room in whatever I was carrying it in, and I could save the extra 2 pounds by not eating so damned much.

  7. BSR says:

    It’s perfect, except for being a Mac. (flame-away, mac people!) 😉

    Seriously, it looks pretty fragile. I’ll second Eileen’s XO recommendation, or (if you can handle a little 7″ screen, the Asus Eee.

  8. Andrew Kreps says:

    There are a lot of choices on the market that have much smaller overall dimensions than the MacBook Air. For me, the thickness isn’t the deal breaker — it’s the overall footprint. With its 13.3″ screen and what looks like nearly an inch of border on any side, you’re talking about something that’s probably 15″ x 12″ when viewed from the top, which is too big to fit in a lot of bags.

    A number of machines out there are based on 11 or 12″ screens, without the astronomical ‘cool tax’ Apple products tote. Any of those would be a better choice, in my opinion.

  9. jeff the veloteer says:

    I would much rather save the $2000 and suck it up, carry an extra 2 pounds, and not buy another piece of non-biodegradable or recyclable plastic that will be obsolete in a few years. The NY Times online opinion section has a great piece about America’s constant desire to replace electronics that are perfectly sufficient (

  10. Jeff Moser says:

    “Perceived Obsolescence”. Companies sometimes changes things around every year to make you think that the one you have now sucks. Kind of like Specialized’s Stump Jumper line. They reroute the rear shock every year. Will the rider really notice a difference, or does it just make the one you have now look obsolete?

    Sure there are innovations, but as a nation of consumers, we’d do well to enjoy what we have a little longer.

    …sorry…kind of getting off topic here!

  11. John says:

    My answer is “yes and no.”

    Actually, I was also considering its usefulness for touring (not the subject of this blog, but still biking), where a few pounds and cubic inches make a much bigger difference (also, the long battery life would be a plus if you’re not in hotels every night). I’d like to know more about its durability, though. The solid state drive will be more rugged than a regular hard drive, because it has no moving parts, but it’s the thinness that irks me–seems like it could be snapped in half without too much effort.

    I got an XO-1, and I think it’s pretty great for touring (small, light, extremely durable, very long battery life), although it’s not going to replace a full-size laptop for everyday use because of its tiny keyboard. I was actually hoping that the new MacBook would have a smaller screen–like the old 13″ PowerBooks (or were they iBooks?).

  12. Marko says:

    What if you fall? I would get a fully rugged Panasonic Toughbook.

  13. Sexy……..Apple=Vanilla in the bike world – I think it is perfect!

    I would ride with that lovely piece of technology any day – it is probably just as fragile as your carbon frame bicycle if you crash the right way it is toast. Take the chance – alleviate your back & make room in your pack!

  14. For my purposes, the best computer for commuting is an external hard drive with a computer at either end to plug it in to.

    That said, the Air looks pretty cool. Although when I saw it my first thought was (like many other bike commuters), “How would it go getting bounced around in my pannier/backpack/messenger bag?” It looks so flimsy, I’d have to go to the shop and see if they’d let me stand on one to be convinced.

  15. joel says:

    Meh, I’d rather take the weight off me (I’ve got plenty to spare) than have to deal with another “no drives” computer. I LIKE being able to use my laptop for watching movies on occasion. If the weight is the issue, I’ve got a 12GB USB drive with PortableAps on it, so why carry the whole computer?

  16. Quinn says:

    IM a PC fan. I Swear jobs has horns.

    Besides, I have had 3 laptops and None have been what I call Quinn-proof, aka DJ wipe-out proof. I can only imagine that lil thing.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Asus eeepc looks good enough and is much cheaper.

  18. andrew says:

    “Flimsy” “Fragile”, “planned obsolescence” – You are talking about an aluminum cased, unix based operating system ultraportable notebook from a company that makes nearly all of their OS updates backwards compatible about three generations longer than the biggest OS competitor. This isn’t a HP/Compaq/Dell/Gateway/Lenovo/…. boat anchor made from the cheapest plastic available in China to run only on an inefficient backwards OS. The average Mac owner’s computer is far older than the average Windows based PC precisely because they don’t go obsolete nearly as fast.

  19. Jamie says:

    Andrew is right, its solid aluminium. If you smash your bike into something then the chances of you braking any laptop is high. This device is perfect I don’t know why people are complaining about the number of USB ports. When you are on the road how many USB ports do you use and if it was a n issue you would just go and buy a hub. and have a powered hub at home. If you are using an external screen then you get the apple wired keyboard that has to USB ports on it. There is no problem at all that i can see. The battery life is 5 hours with continuous Wi-Fi connectivity, if you turn it off you could easily get 5 or 7 hours on a single charge. I have orderd one because i believe that this is perfect. Its almost as powerful as te macbook and if you price up the black macbook it isn’t that much different. People who are complaining about the price shouldnt the engineering that went into this is amazing and that is why it costs what it does.

    Same core 2 duo CPU that is 60% smaller
    Motherboard that is as long as a pencil.
    Intel GMA X3100

    Come on people why are you complaining.

  20. Lum says:

    I wouldn’t bother with this machine for commuting.

    I now ride around with a Panasonic Toughbook Y7, nearly the same specs in terms of weight and battery life. The Y7 has a larger screen, built in dvd recorder, 2 usb ports, ethernet, changable battery/memory/harddrive and could quite literally break the MacBook Air in half its so rugged.

    But, its not a shiny new MacBook, which matters more to some. Me? I’ll take something that is actually rugged.

  21. racchel says:

    I commute to work on my bike 16 miles up huge hills. I absolutely love the MacBook Air. It is my primary computer and it works great, is beautiful, and saves my back. I bring it almost everywhere–it’s so small and light I don’t have to decide whether I want to lug it, like I did with my old computer.

  22. nan says:

    What kind of protective case do you put your macbook air in for long rides? I have one that I’m planning on bringing with me on a 2 month cross-country bike trip but wondering if I should buy a sleeve or a rigid case? It will be tucked into a panier that has some rigidity to it.

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