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How to convert MacBook Air to an iMac?

In this post, I will discuss about how to use MacBook Air as a desktop at home. There is no doubt that if you step into an Apple store the most attractive piece of hardware will be their desktop called iMac with 27” gorgeous display running Lion OS. It integrates the CPU and an optical drive into the 27” LED backlit IPS (in plane switching) LCD screen. It is so tempting that you like to get one for your living room and is ready to forget Windows and re learn an altogether new OS, Lion. But soon you realize that iMac is not portable, you need to have another system while travelling, either an iPad or a laptop.

As we have seen already in the last week article there is nothing better than MacBook Air as a companion for Travel if you are seriously into content creation otherwise iPad should satisfies all your needs. But MacBook Air lacks a large display, large storage space and some of the interfacing ports (Firewire, HDMI) which you may like to have if you want it to use it as a desktop at home. Thankfully Apple has offered us a solution for this by launching 27” Wide Screen thunderbolt display.

For converting MacBook Air into a powerful desktop you need the following.
  1. Apple 27” Thunderbolt Wide Display (resolution 2560 X 1440)
  2. 2TB /3TB Mac Companion Hard Disk (ex: iOmega) or equivalent.
  3. Mac SuperDrive (Optional)

Apple 27” Thunderbolt Display comes with 3 powered USB port, 1 Gig Ethernet port, 1 FireWire 800 port, a Thunderbolt port with a cable which can connect your Thunderbolt port of your MacBook Air as well as MagSafe port for powering it. You can keep the MagSafe cable which comes with MacBook Air in the travelling bag.

You can get a 2TB external hard drive (ex: iOmega Mac Companion) which perfectly fits into the base of the monitor. Mac Companion has 2 FireWire 800 ports for connecting to the Thunderbolt display’s FireWire port and it also act as USB 2.0 HUB where you can even charge your iPad. So this is a neat solution where you can connect MacBook Air to the large screen display and storage to get all the requirements for a powerful desktop.

With this arrangement you can use your MACBook Air as a desktop at home and take it with you wherever you travel. If you want to have all the files, you can disconnect and carry the same hard disk too which can be connected to the MacBook Air using its USB port, with a reduced speed compared to the FireWire 800. If you like to have an optical drive add an external SuperDrive from Apple ($79/-) . As an option add an Apple keyboard and Magic Touch Pad. So in a way it satisfies all the need of a powerful desktop and a very light portable laptop. For those who needs still higher performance can look at adding a thunderbolt storage which is available in the market but costly.

Unibody Construction

Apple uses unibody construction for all their recent products which gives many advantages over others. Unibody construction process is being implemented in Aero and Auto industry for long time and Apple borrowed these ideas into computer industry with 2008 release of MacBook Air. It uses lightweight aluminum to give a rigid shell to fix the rest of the electronics. A look into the following Mac Mini gives an idea about unibody construction.