While other manufacturers are making great strides to duplicate the success of
the MacBook Air, they still have a long way to go. Your sentiments about
Ultrabooks being the next set of devices to topple Apple, you may want to see
what happened with netbooks, windows phones, android tablets, palm os
devices, prior ultrabook attempts (Dell Adamo) all of which were heralded as the
successors to Apple's throne.
I'm sure I sound like an Apple evangelist but we do have a mixed computing
environment in our school. We have around 60 Windows laptops and 150 Apple
laptops. Our Windows laptops are all under a year old yet we have spent nearly
90% of our time repairing them, despite them costing $200 more per machine
and being built specifically for rough handling. In contrast, we have not needed
to use Applecare once this year and are actually planning on not purchasing it in
the future because the failure rate is so low.
Apart from the hardware issues, it is a near weekly occurrence that we have a
software issue on our Windows machines. We often have to resort to re-imaging
to solve seemingly trivial issues. We have three generations of Apple computers
in our building and we have one image that works for all of them. I don not miss
the days of finding, installing and imaging for multiple machines.
Another thing to take note of with the Asus is that it ships with windows 7 home
premium. Do you plan on joining the machines to your domain? Add the $89 to
upgrade to Professional. Do you plan to keep your machines updated as far as
OS upgrades go (Windows 8)? The current upgrade price to go from Vista to 7
Professional is $199 per computer. To upgrade from OS X 10.6 to 10.7 is $30, or
$15 for education in volume.
Don't forget to install virus protection on them too. I won't make the claim that
Macs will always be exempt from this, they currently do not have the level of
vulnerability that Windows machines have.
While Ultrabooks look attractive in the short term, the cost to maintain them far
outweighs the up front cost to purchase them. If somehow you work in an
environment where you only expect a machine to be kept for a couple of years,
then they may be more attractive. Unfortunately, most of us need to maintain
our technology for 5 years and sometimes longer.