At the “Back to the Mac” event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs asked what would you get if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up? The answer: the new MacBook Air, which Apple’s head honcho described as the “future of laptops.”
The new MacBook Air replaces mechanical hard disks and optical drives with Internet services and solid state flash storage. Jobs says this means it’s faster (solid state flash storage is up to twice as fast as hard drive storage), more reliable (hard drive crashes are eliminated), and lighter and smaller (solid state flash storage is up to 90 percent smaller and lighter than hard drives).
Available in 11-inch and 13-inch models and weighing as little as 2.3 pounds, the new MacBook Air is Apple’s lightest and most portable notebook ever. MacBook Air uses the same solid state storage technology as the iPad to deliver instant-on responsiveness, up to seven hours of battery life and up to 30 days of standby time. Prices start at US$999.
“MacBook Air is the first of a new generation of notebooks that leaves behind mechanical rotating storage in favor of solid state flash storage,” says Jobs. “We’ve taken what we have learned with the iPad — solid state storage, instant-on, amazing battery standby time, miniaturization and lightweight construction, to create the new MacBook Air. With its amazing responsiveness and mobility, it will change the way we think about notebooks.”
With its aluminum unibody enclosure, the new MacBook Air measures 0.11 inches at its thinnest point and 0.68 inches at its thickest, and weighs just 2.3 pounds for the 11-inch model and 2.9 pounds for the 13-inch. Like the iPad, MacBook Air was designed from the ground up to use flash storage exclusively. Apple’s custom-designed flash storage is 90% smaller and lighter than a conventional notebook hard drive, contributing to MacBook Air’s mobile, featherweight design, says Jobs. MacBook Air’s flash storage also provides faster data access and is more reliable than notebook hard drives due to its solid state design, he says.
The MacBook Air — available today — features a full-sized keyboard, as well as the Multi-Touch trackpad found on Apple’s MacBook Pro, so you can scroll through web sites, flip through photos, and resize or rotate images all from the trackpad. The built-in FaceTime camera, mic and stereo speakers are designed for video calls with the iPhone 4, iPod touch and other Macs.
The MacBook Air sports Intel Core 2 Duo processors, NVidia GeForce 320M graphics, 802.11n Wi-Fi networking and a Mini DisplayPort to connect a 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display, projector or HD TV. It includes Bluetooth 2.1+EDR for wireless peripherals and two USB ports.
The MacBook Air is the latest Mac notebook to achieve EPEAT Gold status and meet Energy Star 5.0 requirements. Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass, says Jobs. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.
Apple uses advanced chemistry and Adaptive Charging technology to create a MacBook Air battery that delivers up to seven hours of wireless productivity on a single charge and up to 1,000 recharges, Jobs says (the 11-inch models has five hours of wireless productivity as its battery is smaller). It has a built-in battery; depleted MacBook Air batteries can be replaced for $129, which includes installation and disposal of your old battery in an environmentally responsible manner.
The 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air are immediately available through the Apple Store (http://www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 1.4GHz 11-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $999 with a 128GB model for $1,199. The 1.86 GHz 13-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $1,299 with a 256GB model for $1,599. Configure-to-order options and accessories include faster processors, 4GB of memory, MacBook Air SuperDrive and a USB Ethernet Adapter. Additional technical specifications and configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/macbookair .
— Dennis Sellers