It is cute how it is said, "Apple was able to keep entry level prices for its 13-inch MacBooks to $1,199" You've got to be kidding. They have more money than some European countries and the US treasury. Does this mean they were able to find a new way to exploint Chinese workers?
Only hobbyist companies have ported any EDA tools to Mac because of the small market share.
I was surprised to see NO 17" MacBook Pro because I've been using a 17" laptop for 9 years now and would never downsize to the 15" display, big mistake on Apple's part.
Daniel, 15" is the max for me because of travel. I get around that for engineering work or personal online activity with a second surface (monitor) when not on the road. The retinal display on the NextGen MBP should rock.
There's a good article on laptopmag.com that outlines "7 Ways Ultrabooks Beat the New MacBook Air"
The Macbook Air is no longer the thinnest, lightest, or most powerful in it's class. My personal favorites (at least based on specs) are the recently launched ASUS Zenbook Primes which are roughly the same size but have 1920 x 1080 screens that are about 50% brighter than the macbook air - not to mention the discrete graphics cards.
At this point, Macbook Airs do not have a substantial hardware/design advantage anymore, the main challenges that ultrabooks must overcome are:
(1) Superior Marketing - Ultrabook manufacturers are competing more with each other than Apple. And let's face it, Intel's recent ultrabook campaign is absolutely terrible.
(2) Cool Factor/Status Symbol of Apple products
(3) Easy, Centralized buying experience - Apple Stores are much better than Windows Stores + Best Buys + Office Depot/Max
(4) Mac OS - This advantage may be smaller when Windows 8 is released, too early to tell
The PC industry has steadfastly refused to make cool stuff. Most of the pc boxes I have had to put up with over the years sucked in form fit and function. I for one run Macs in our offices and add windows as required.
Is apple the ONLY computer company that makes good looking stuff? Seems like it to me.
My company can not afford computer down time and windows really dropped the ball in that department.
Yeas ago in the early iMac days, Intel actually staged a PC fashion show to try to get PC makers into industrial design.
I think folks like Asus and HP do an OK job these days, but it has taken years for them to get there.