In an interview with Gizmodo, Sonys senior vice president of VAIO product marketing Mike Abary gives Apple credit for getting a machine like the Macbook Air so small and thin, but thinks the concessions necessary to do so make the device unwanted by consumers. In his view consumers just don’t care that much about the ultra thinness factor, making the price premium to design and sell a laptop of this sort more than consumers are willing to pay, and he may be right but only to a point. There remains a significant market for the Macbook Air even if it isn’t for everyone.
Mr. Abarys animosity may have something to do with the fact that Sony tried to go down this path in 2004 with a concept model called the X505, which would have been slightly thicker than the Macbook Air and made of carbon fiber. Consumers didn’t like the X505 at the time, in part because the optical drive was definitely necessary at the time and may even be necessary for many users today. That plan was scrapped but the development process eventually turned out the series Jobs hates so much: the Sony TZ.
In his view, Abary thinks the one feature missing from the Macbook Air is 3G wireless, though we have to believe that this may have only made potential customers even more unhappy with Apple since it would likely be impossible to support all common wireless networks, the same problem potential iPhone customers face now. Given the relative ubiquity of Wi-Fi networks and the fact that any laptop can be tethered to a cell phone for internet access, we don’t think integrated wireless is such a huge strike against the Macbook Air in 2008.