The MacBook Air was announced in January of 2008. I've been using one day in and day out since February of that year. Amid rumors of an imminent update, I can't help but wonder whether Apple will address a few outstanding, albeit small, issues with an otherwise stellar design.
I've already stated, pretty much ad nauseam, that I like the Air. A lot. I've never used one design so consistently for so long. That, alone, is testimony to its eminent usability and close-to-perfect design. And I've used a lot of laptops over the years.
Heat: This is a given in any ultrathin design. And, let's be clear, neither Hewlett-Packard, nor Dell, nor anyone else has solved the problem. That said, there are technologies out there that can mitigate heat issues. And Apple, especially, with all of its design prowess, should be able to engineer a cooler ultrathin laptop. I have experienced times (admittedly pretty rare) where the Air is simply unusable because it gets too hot, slowing the system to a crawl.
Battery life: Again, a challenge for any ultraportable because the design, by definition, leaves little room for a big battery. Apple offered probably the best possible battery life for a sub-one-inch thick design when the MacBook Air was designed a few years ago (using a thin-and-wide battery enclosure). I get anywhere from 1.5 hours to four hours, depending on what I'm doing. But it's usually closer to a couple of hours than four hours. Apple opted to go with relatively high-performance, low-power processors. In other words, for the second-generation Air, Apple didn't use Intel's ULV (ultra-low voltage) but went with Intel's LV processors. Does this affect battery life? Yeah, that and Nvidia's graphics-centric chipset. The point: It's now about three years later, Apple can improve on both battery life and performance, as evidenced in the newer MacBook Pros.
Price: This is probably the biggest gripe I hear from others. Yes, it's an elite MacBook. I understand that. But most people don't. They marvel at the design but not the price. The next Air doesn't have to go as low as $699, but Apple could at least make the design more accessible to average MacBook consumers. Many see it simply as an expensive MacBook without an optical drive. A contradiction not easy to reconcile.