As a long time Mac user, I've found that critics of many of the newer products simply weren't in the target audience to begin with. Of course if you weren't the target, you're not going to like it. However, to sum this laptop up as just a flashy gadget would be just as misplaced as some of the criticisms and I find those people know very little about the actual Apple product line. Want an optical drive? Want the ethernet port? Want firewire? Need more screen real estate? Get a Macbook or Macbook Pro.
This new laptop is no desktop replacement by a long shot. If you're an on the go user in search of something light that didn't take a significant processor hit, get a shrunken keyboard, or reduced screen size as many other ultralight portables have in the past, then take a look at the Air. There has been a screaming demand for an ultra light mac portable for a while now in certain circles. If you didn't need one before, you likely won't want want now.
I quickly glanced at the photos and just to show my attention to detail, I'll point out I was pleasantly surprised that they went out of their way to squeeze in not one, but two command keys, a mistake they made on the original Powerbooks. The multitouch trackpad is quite fascinating. If you really really needed ethernet, there is a $29 USB adapter. My only major complaint is that the battery is built in. Other than that, I think Steve-o made a lot of good decisions. I'm still left wondering what came of the "docking" patent design shaped like a shelled out iMac stand the rumor sites were discussing.