In many ways the story of the MacBook Air is the story of a series of compromises, all made in order to fit an entire Mac in a 1.3kg package that's 4mm thick at its thinnest point.

Limited options

During the MacBook Air's introduction at Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs showed a photograph of the MacBook Air's interior and compared the length of its motherboard to the length of a pencil. All that miniaturisation comes at a price, however - in terms of a lack of options and a limited set of features for many of the MacBook Air's basic technologies.

Take the hard drive. Its storage capacity is 80GB. Space is at such a premium in the MacBook Air that even the 120GB drive once used by the iPod is too thick to fit. As a result, 80GB is currently the only size of hard drive available for the Air.

There is a similar lack of options when it comes to the MacBook Air's RAM. It ships with 2GB, an excellent allotment, but the MacBook Air's RAM is built in to the computer, inaccessible and non-upgradeable.

Fortunately, 2GB is a good amount. Any less, and Apple would have risked crippling the MacBook Air into irrelevance.

In terms of the onboard Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Apple gives MacBook Air buyers two speed options: the standard 1.6GHz version for £1,199 and an 1.8GHz option for £1,389. Both speeds fall short of what's available on the MacBook (2.0GHz, 2.2GHz) and MacBook Pro (2.2GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.6Ghz) lines.

What it all boils down to is that one of the less obvious compromises built into the MacBook Air, at least for now, is a lack of customisability and serviceability.

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