Apple has fixed keyboard problems with the new MacBook Air. That doesn’t mean that this is the right option for a dedicated Airhead.
The laughter of an Apple store clerk still echoes through my bones.
He was amused, you see, by the fact that my still relatively new MacBook Air was cursed by a defective Butterfly keyboard. This prompted me to buy the new MacBook Air as soon as it was revealed by Apple in March.
The Apple store employee replied, “So you purchased an Air that was a piece of crap and you didn’t bother getting the keyboard replaced?”
This was followed by, “HAHAHAHAHAHA.”
It was the first time I ever bought a gadget before I could even see it. I was so scared. And, I confess, I’m a little bit of an Airhead.
The MacBook Air has been my only writing companion since Steve Jobs first unveiled it. In general, it was an unfailingly successful computer. It’s light, durable, and every new iteration was that little bit better than the previous one. Before the butterfly floated at the end of 2018.
I’ve had the latest MacBook Air 2020 for just over a month now. It’s fair, I suppose, to give it an Airhead rating.
Let’s continue with the most important element here. It’s a joy to type on. At first, I was shocked that I had to raise my fingers a little further, because the (supposedly Magic) keys are higher than the Butterfly’s. Now, the sure-handed springiness of the keys provides assurance that the previous Air was unable to do so.
Of course, I’ve already been able to drop the croissant crumbs on the keyboard. It’s as if my fresh Breeze had brushed them off too far. The previous Air keyboard had a reputation for allowing crumbs inside, which made the keyboard behave as if it were Novocained.
I was a happy writer for the first few weeks, then. The 2020 Air was performing perfectly well. But I don’t really pay attention to the specifics until they reach me. I was there, typing away one day, when I suddenly realized that my battery had very little charge left.
If you’re a daily laptop user, you’ll get used to how much juice you can get out of your computer. Without even looking up, you’ll know if there’s fifty percent of the charge left or 20.
The Butterfly Air had the longest battery life of any Air I owned. This 2020 Air has fallen back to a long time gone by. I just can’t go half a morning without a bit of warning. It feels like this battery is about 20% less powerful than the previous one.
It’s an annoyance, because battery life is something you don’t want to worry about.
Still, if I had to adjust the capacity of the letters I selected on the keyboard to actually show on the computer for less battery power, I would still have preferred the former.
But then there was another echo of the passage of Airtimes.
It was later in the evening, when all of a sudden, my new Air fans began moaning. I haven’t been able to remember my Airs doing anything like this for a couple of years. I haven’t changed my habits of use at all. Yet here was a fan-whine, much more subdued than a fan-whine of old, but still shockingly abrupt.
It’s strange, though, that as Apple has gone back to an older keyboard design — even if it’s rebranded its change as, oh, Magic — two old-time issues have reemerged.
But then, looking to my left, I noticed a new problem. The so-called Thunderbolt 3 power adapter has already been impaired. Squished, you might say that. The end of the plug is twisted, too.