I want to talk about using the MacBook Air 11.6" as a daily machine, especially for writers.
After 2 days of setup (syncing my iPhone, moving files, installing applications), I'm ready to go. I decided to do new installations of software instead of using Apple's Migration application because my old MacBook had three years of crud from multiple installs and some issues. I wanted a fresh start.
Size-wise, the keyboard is exactly the same width as my MacBook and just 1/8" shorter from the bottom of the keys to the top of the number keys (the Function keys are smaller by about a third, but they work fine. I wrote for a couple hours yesterday and it didn't seem much different than my older MacBook.
The key touch is great--typical Apple. The wrist pad area is about 3/8" shorter, but very usable. Not sure why Apple keeps making the front edge so sharp. Might have to file that down a bit. I used a cleaning rag on my old MacBook (it had a sharp plastic edge) for my right wrist since it tends to hang off the edge a bit more than my left--due to using the trackpad, I guess. Or maybe I'm built weird. MB Air Trackpad is glass like the MacBook Pros, and large. Very nice and not overly sensitive.
The first thing I noticed is how BRIGHT this LED backlit screen is. Wow, what a difference! After using it for a day, it would be very hard to go back. Haven't tried it outside in sunlight, but might work. Screen is reflective, but not as bad as some.
Real Experience: I was using Office for Mac 2004 on the old machine, but upgraded to Office for Mac 2011 Home & Student edition. I use Word for writing and keep the formatting tabs (or whatever you call those things labeled Home, Layout, Document Elements, etc) rolled up. I set the Preferences to launch with them closed. This provides more vertical space for the writing window.
I tested Word at the Apple Store, opening two docs side-by-side, and found it very usable.
Let me just say, this computer is FAST. Fifteen or so seconds from cold boot to everything working; 1 1/2 seconds for full Shutdown. With the Solid State Drive (SSD) of memory instead of a standard hard disk, it's lightning fast read & write times. Word launches in 2 seconds. And wake from Sleep is instant, like an iPad.
If you've seen the advertisement, you know the 11.6" MBA is small and light--and it is. At 2.3 lbs, it's a breeze to carry with you everywhere. Library, Starbucks, conferences. And BONUS, the airport TSA doesn't require you to remove it from your carryon like other laptops.
More in a couple of days.
More in a couple of days.