I really want to replace my four year old MacBook Pro. The battery loses its charge in under forty minutes, it definitely struggles to run the latest OS X, and I find that it completely freezes at least twice a week. I have backed up every file to an external drive, and into Box/Dropbox just to be prepared for the inevitable complete crash of my once trusty, and loyal laptop. When I do ultimately have to replace my MBP, it will most certainly be with a MacBook Air, but I am holding out for the Retina Display version (just in case you’re reading this Tim Cook). While contemplating the demise of my laptop, I began searching for cheaper alternatives. The Chromebook line of computers popped out at me. They are inexpensive laptops, with some selling for only $250. The cost of the devices is kept low because they don’t have a ton of components under the hood. There isn’t very much local storage, and it doesn’t run a local OS, instead everything runs through the Chrome browser. You can use Google Docs for word processing, spreadsheets, and slideshows. Use Box, Dropbox, and Gdrive for storing your files. Every purchase of a Chromebook comes with 100GB free on Google Drive for two years. Increasingly people are streaming all of their media from sites such as Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, etc making local storage essentially superfluous. For the majority of people, I suspect a Chromebook would meet all of their computing needs. But for people who want to code, use torrents, create presentations using Keynote, run spreadsheets on Excel, the Chromebook comes up short…for now. I imagine in the not so distant future, all of those tasks will be able to be reproduced in a browser based environment- that is what everything is moving towards. A Chromebook would be perfect for people like my parents, who simply use their computers for email, shopping, online bill pay, reading the news, Facebook, and YouTube. Just like most people. I think for many people it makes sense to go with an inexpensive Chromebook, rather than a $1000+ Apple laptop. If I were Apple, I would definitely be looking at the Chromebook with some interest. The Chromebook doesn’t directly compete with the iPad, but it might replace the MacBook for an overwhelming number of customers.