I'm not sure whether or not these two new 'Air' products are representative of competing views, but each is staking a claim on how hardware and software will interact in coming years.
The most recent 'Air' product to the party, is Adobe Air, a software technology that promises:
"... an exciting new way to engage customers with innovative, branded desktop applications, without requiring changes to existing technology, people, or processes."
While the World Wide Web seems more and more to be a place where applications reside, Adobe Air is swimming against the tide in bringing apps back to the desktop. The technology allows a wide range of companies, to develop their own applications that can interact with remote data, without being embedded in a web browser. Will folks want to download Air to keep their 'favourite' apps offline? I'm not sure... I guess we'll have to see what compelling apps get developed.
The highest profile 'Air' product in recent weeks, has to be the MacBook Air. Although other manufacturers have since begun advertising computers in mailing envelopes, Apple is the first to forego what many believe to be essential computer guts in creating their lean machine.
While many scoffed at the iMacs lack of a floppy disk drive... the machine was ahead of it's time in recognizing that the media was changing to CDs and DVDs. Will the absence of a disk drive herald a broader change in the rest of the computing world? No doubt it will; but "How many years it will take before monster-memory thumb drives and wireless file access replace the need for CDs and DVDs?"
Who will be the heir? Will the strategy of remote computing trump local applications? Will developers using Adobe's new tool deliver 'must have' applications? Maybe both will err? Regardless, I'm glad to see creative thinking is alive and well... There is definitely change in the air!