Why my iPad can't replace my laptop: It's the trackpad

I'll let you in on a little secret: I haven't been thrilled with any iPad keyboard case solution, despite testing and reviewing about half a dozen of them.

Sure, some of them are excellent products. Still, I don't find them essential. This is why I don't use my iPad during mission-critical trips to trade shows and live-blogged events. This is why I don't use my iPad as a laptop replacement. Not entirely. Not yet.

I agree with a lot of what Harry McCracken refers to in his experience with his iPad and the ZaggFolio keyboard case. Ideally, having such an ultraportable, flexible device with a long battery life would be a perfect travel tool. For me, however, that perfect tool hasn't materialized yet.

I'd love to have some sort of evolved hybrid of an iPad and a MacBook Air. I've been dreaming of it for a while, actually. Apple's clearly leaning toward a fusion of sorts between iOS and Mac OS X. Lion was the first step. iOS gets a bit more advanced every year, taking baby steps toward being a true operating system for hard-core computing tasks.

There are several reasons it won't work right now, and the biggest by far is the good old-fashioned trackpad--or lack of it.… Read more

Apple OS woes: The Lion ate my laptop

When a new Apple OS locks up the laptop of a CNET writer, it's in the United Nations charter that he or she must document the problem and relay the story.

Last week, the new Apple OS X Lion stopped my Macbook Pro in its formerly reliable tracks, so it was time to do a bit of first-person reporting.

I turned to Lion in my 2009 Macbook Pro exactly one week ago and experienced no complications during the download and install process. I was a few days into learning the ins and outs of the new OS when I … Read more

Digital City 135: Diving into the new MacBooks

This week: there's plenty to see as we talk about getting hands-on with the latest MacBook Air laptops and Mac Mini desktop. Following a quick tutorial on fixing some of the gestural quirks in OS X Lion, the gang gets quizzed on the most popular Web sites of 1996 and wins a few prizes for the chatroom audience (reminder: hop into the live chatroom every week for a chance to win rare video game promo items and other cool stuff).

Bonus: Download the show's jaunty theme song as a free MP3 here.

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How to fix the single most annoying thing in OSX Lion: Bring back tap-to-drag

The new gesture controls in Apple's OS X Lion operating system update can take a little getting used to on a MacBook (such as the new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs). The reverse "natural" scrolling, for example, has its fans and detractors, and we've previously shown you how to roll back that particular change.

Potentially more annoying is the change from the tap-to-drag trackpad gesture to a new three-finger-drag gesture. In fact, it's probably the single most annoying Lion feature we've found so far.

Traditionally, one could could do a double tap, then hold … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1515: There's something Buzzing in the Digital City (Podcast)

The NYC takeover of BOL continues, as the hardware heads from the Digital City talk about Day One problems with Apple's new Lion OSX update, the death of Google Labs, and who's getting hacked next.

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Hands-on with new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air

[Update: We've added First Look videos for both MacBooks. The 13-inch MacBook Air video is above, the 11-inch MacBook Air video is just below. ]

As with most Apple products, the MacBook Air has moved into an annual update cycle, taking it from the original niche product version to its new perch as Apple's mainstream laptop. And make no mistake about it, with the quiet discontinuation of the basic $999 white MacBook, the 11-inch Air (and to a lesser extent, the more expensive 13-inch version) is now considered the entry point for potential Apple laptop buyers.

We've gotten our hands on both the new Read more

Can the MacBook Air replace the White MacBook? Maybe it's not trying to.

Is the MacBook Air the new mainstream MacBook?

The White MacBook is dead. The cheaper, plastic $999 legacy to iBooks and PowerBooks of old has finally been removed from the spectrum of Apple laptops, and suddenly the decision spectrum has narrowed to two choices: the MacBook Pro, and the thinner MacBook Air, updated this morning with a faster processor and preinstalled with OSX Lion.

The MacBook Air has walked an interesting path since 2008, first as a high-end executive plaything, then a more attainable but still specialty interest ultraportable. Last year's MacBook Airs debuted in October, well after back-to-school shopping.

This year, however, the new Airs have emerged in late July, perfectly timed for students planning their computer purchases. The MacBook Pro, meanwhile, last saw an update back in February.

Related links • First impressions: Apple's new Mac Mini • Mac OS X Lion review: A worthy upgrade for the price • Apple unveils first Thunderbolt display for $999 • Apple quietly discontinues white MacBook • Apple updates MacBook Air, Mac Mini

A $999 MacBook still remains; the 11-inch Air's base model costs the same as that older white MacBook. Its 1.6GHz Core i5 processor feels far zippier than last year's Air, but its limited storage (64GB of flash memory) presents a limit to hold-everything-on-your-hard-drive people. On first boot-up, 48GB of drive space was free to use, which limits what you'd permanently keep on your computer. That 64GB of storage can be expanded up to 256GB at the time of purchase, but that drives the price up, too, by several hundred dollars.

Or, does that matter anymore?… Read more

Apple updates MacBook Air, Mac Mini

Following months of fervent speculation, Apple has updated its MacBook Air laptop with new Intel Sandy Bridge CPU options, a data port for high-speed Thunderbolt peripherals, and a backlit keyboard (which was present in the original MacBook Air, but absent from the 2010 version). Not included, however, were other rumored changes, such as a black-colored chassis or a mobile broadband antenna.

Also new are updated versions of the Mac Mini, which gets a Thunderbolt port (while retaining HDMI output) as well as faster CPUs. However, the built-in DVD drive is now gone from the entire Mac Mini line.

The timing … Read more

Synology to release Lion-friendly NAS firmware, add features

Mac users with a NAS server should probably wait a bit before upgrading to OS X 10.7 Lion, due for release later this month.

According to Synology, maker of the highest-rated NAS servers on the market, its DiskStation servers will not work well with Lion, or at least the support for the Time Machine. This is because with Lion, Apple has changed the way Mac file service works, and it uses the new version of Netatalk for Time Machine. This means most, if not all, NAS servers that currently support Mac 10.6 will not be fully compatible with … Read more

Digital City 133: MacBook Air updates, Facebook games grow up, and explaining Google+

This week: The new MacBook Air, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini are coming soon, allegedly right alongside OSX Lion. We handicap the chances of seeing those this week or next.

Then it's time to show off some social media games. Scott demos Tiny Tower for iPad and Dan plays Civ World on Facebook. Finally, turntable.fm is the hottest invite-only ticket on the Web right now, so we throw it up on the screen to check it out live.

Bonus: Download the show's jaunty theme song as a free MP3 here.

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