With money to spend: MacBook ±Air?

A year ago I wanted to buy an iMac. Long story short: I changed my mind. Primarily because I became frustrated with using a Windows computer at uni and wanted a notebook to replace both my home and work machines. Towards that end, I’ve got big (enough) displays in both locations that I’m okay with the ergonomics situation. Disk space is also fine as long as my music is kept on an external hard drive.

Now the MacBook has been recently updated, and today brings the announcement of Apple’s new ‘MacBook Air’. This marks the beginning of the end for the current form-factor MacBook; it’s only a matter of time before it’s replaced by its svelte brother. So it’s time to buy; my 867MHz PowerBook is so flaky these days to be largely unusable for anything serious. I don’t want a MacBook Pro because (a) they’re expensive, and (b) they’re large; if I’m lugging the thing on my half hour walk to and from uni every day, the smaller the better. So the MacBook Air looks like a good idea from that respect. And it’s small. I like small! (To throw in an empirical point of argument.)

The only problem is the performance/price trade-off. For approximately AU$400 less, I can buy a MacBook. And the processor will be about half as fast again over the ’Air, all else being about equal. But even my uni computer is only a 2.4GHz Pentium 4. The two cores and greater efficiency of the Core 2 Duo means I won’t be down-trading much at all on the performance I need to run Matlab and Mathematica.

So I’m leaning greatly towards the MacBook Air. I’ll give it a day of deliberation before I make my decision.

P.S. Why is it ‘MacBook Air’ but ‘iPod touch’? (Note the capitalisation of the qualifier.)