As with the first generation MacBook Air, both the current 11″ and 13″ variants of the MacBook Air come with a form of 802.11 wireless networking integrated. If you want to connect it to a wired network, you would need to purchase a USB Ethernet adapter from Apple or a compatible third-party. At first, this might sound like another nickel-and-dime attempt by Apple or form triumphing over function.
Well, the latter may be true as Apple wanted to nip and tuck the MacBook Air even more and there is no easy way to put in an Ethernet port into something that slim. It was kind of bad enough with the first-gen MacBook Air when Apple decided to use a pop-down door to provide USB, micro-DVI and headphone ports.
When I was looking at purchasing a MacBook Air, I was at a crossroads when it came to use the device on my (then) relatively slow wireless network or use up a precious USB port and use it wired. I took the safe route and included a USB Ethernet adapter with the order. Once the laptop arrived, I decided to wire up so that I could download updates and applications. Since then, I have only wired up three or four more times due to poor or no wireless access.
With 802.11g and getting decent signal strength, doing larger file transfers was rather painful but I slogged through it. After adding a 802.11n access point on the 5GHz band, it was faster and more convenient to go wireless than wired. Not to mention, one less wire to deal with when on the recliner, couch or at work is a very good thing.
Now, if only Apple would have done a little bit better with the SD slot. I dislike having an SD card that sticks out along the edge of the laptop when inserted. I’m fine with that on an SD reader, but not when I’m jostling the laptop around and making sure I don’t end up breaking the SD card in half. Not sure if this is also the case with other MacBook products.
BTW, Incase continues to make great cases, covers and sleeves for various Apple products; and, they haven’t disappointed me with their Neoprene Sleeve for the MacBook Air. It fits snugly and I really like the lining used. If you want one, you’ll probably have to head down to an Apple store as trying to find one available online is a bit… difficult.