Vinyl solution for MacBook Air

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 8:40 PM | 0 comments »

Most Mac fans laughed and cooed when Apple's showman CEO, Steve Jobs, revealed the MacBook Air for the first time by sliding it out of a manila envelope. Claire Evans started formulating a business plan.

Within minutes of Jobs presenting the super-thin laptop at Macworld this week, Evans and partner Jona Bechtolt were finalising plans to hand-make vinyl laptop sleeves mimicking the standard interoffice manila envelope.

Sold through their new website, manilamac.com, the "AirMail" MacBook Air accessory is lined with fleece and costs $US29.95 ($34). Evans promises to ship worldwide.

"As soon as we saw Steve Jobs holding that envelope, we looked at each other and knew what we wanted to do," Evans said in an interview, adding at least 100 orders had been received since the website launched a day ago.

"Then we saw a joke on a tech website about an Apple-branded normal envelope as a laptop sleeve, and we kicked our production into high gear. Above all else, we just really wanted these for our own MacBook Airs, and thought that other people would, too."

Jobs had used the envelope as a stunt to demonstrate the MacBook Air's diminutive dimensions. It is billed as "the world's thinnest laptop", measuring 1.9cm at its thickest point and 0.4cm at its thinnest.

The laptop, which weighs 1.36kg, is priced at $2499 for the base model but those looking to add all the bells and whistles, such as a faster, more durable "solid state" hard drive and a speedier processor, can expect to pay at least $4000.

Apple says it will start shipping the MacBook Air next month, around the same time Evans, a freelance journalist, promises to deliver on the AirMail orders. Evans and Bechtolt, a musician, have already enlisted the help of friends to ensure every order can be handmade.

"Funnily, we just moved to a very small town in the southwestern Texas desert - just for a couple months, as a kind of self-imposed art residency - and so the nearest fabric store was over 25 miles away," Evans said.

She said she drove out to the store, bought the only vinyl they had, and assembled a prototype. Once the website was complete, Evans sent out a mass email to all of the gadget blogs she could think of and went to bed, fingers crossed.

"This morning, we had hundreds of emails in our inboxes," she said. "The reaction has been completely overwhelming, thanks to the power of the internet."

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