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Hands-on with an Apple Mac netbook

We stick Mac OS X on an MSI Wind

There's no doubt that netbooks are the current hot trend. However, Apple hasn't yet produced one. The web maybe awash with rumours of the possibility of a Mac netbook, but we can't wait to see if one appears. Instead we created on our own, in a bid to imagine what an Apple netbook might feel like.

The MSI Wind also made me appreciate my MacBook Air's trackpad more. The Wind's trackpad button is mushy and hard to click, and there's no support for the multi-finger gestures that I've come to rely on (most especially two-finger scrolling, which I use all the time) on my Mac.

Then there's the raw speed of the thing. The Wind's 1.6GHz Atom processor is a low-power chip that only offers a single processing core and just can't measure up to the performance of Intel's Core Duo line. And the Wind's 1GB of RAM doesn't help matters any.

When I started using the MacBook Air as my main system, an avalanche of people insisted that it was never intended to be used in that fashion. I strongly disagree with that statement - Apple has refused to make any Mac with features so limited that it can only be used as a sidekick to other systems.

But the Wind is most definitely a system that isn't intended for heavy use. It could be an appealing second (or third, or fourth) computer in a household, the kind of computer you keep under the couch so that you can pull it out and look up some actor's name on IMDb . It's the computer you buy for your kids with little fear of what they'll do to it. If all you're doing is reading email, surfing the web, and maybe writing some basic documents (such as this story), you'll probably never notice.

But if you try to do more, you'll probably regret it. Which gets me back to the fact that Apple has, thus far, refused to make any Mac that isn't a complete computer that can be plausibly used with the full range of Mac software, including iLife and iWork. If Apple made a netbook like the Wind, that philosophy would have to be hauled to the trash can. I just can't see it happening.

Laptop buying advice

NEXT PAGE: So what if it were made by Apple?

  1. We convert an MSI Wind to get an idea
  2. MacBook Mini from Earth-U100
  3. You get what you pay for
  4. Why we can't live without Apple's trackpad
  5. So what if it were made by Apple?
  6. Why Apple won't do it


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