I am the kind of computer gearhead who’s not afraid to gut her Pismo to replace a broken screen, or gut her iBook to put in a bigger drive…. and believe you me, it’s a gutting. When there are more parts on the table than still attached to the machine, then you’ve successfully gutted the laptop.
But I also regularly troubleshoot computers for friends, family, co-workers, clients, just about anyone who finds out I have a Mac. And I don’t want these people, who obviously aren’t computer gearheads, worrying about how to replace their hard drive. And I sure as hell don’t want them asking me to do it, because if I mess it up, it costs everyone money. Let Apple take that chance, or their authorized tech people.
In the meantime, the Macbook Air, for the people interested in a computer for doing work looks like a very capable machine. The whole lack of an optical drive is still kind of weird, but on the other hand, so was the lack of a floppy drive when the iMac came out, and we all got over it. I’m willing to bet it’ll work out… and if it doesn’t work out for you, you gearhead you, don’t buy it.
change is bad. we fear change.
There are good reasons to have the battery and hard drive easily replaceable: most of the rest of the computer has a decent chance of still being in working condition a hundred years from now, but the hard drive and battery will probably wear out within the decade. You should NOT have to take your laptop to pieces when the drive wears out in a few years. On my laptop, you remove two screws and the hard drive slides right out. Apple has elegant designs, but they have a tendency not to plan for things breaking.
but how many people actually keep laptops longer than a few years now anyway? With the dropping costs and increased hardware requirements for the new OSs, people would probably buy new rather than upgrade. we had a dell laptop a few years ago that died and they wanted to charge me $500 to diagnose the problem. it would have cost us almost as much to fix it as it would cost to buy a new one. thus, we bought our macbook two months later.