Today Apple released the long-awaited updates to its MacBook Air lineup. While the CPUs stayed the same, Apple managed to make the notebooks thinner than ever, helped in part by soldering flash memory directly to the motherboard. As part of the update, the computer giant also introduced a new 11.6-inch model.
The new MacBook Air comes in four choices, direct from the Apple store. Thanks to the decreased size of the 11.6-inch model, the MBA refresh also introduces the first MacBook Air model that’s come in with a sub-$1,000 price.
11.6-inch MacBook Air Specifications:
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 1.4GHz or 1.6GHz (800MHz FSB, 3MB L2 cache)
- Memory: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM @ 1066MHz (upgradeable to 4GB max)
- Hard drive: 64GB or 128GB flash memory (soldered directly to motherboard)
- Optical drive: none
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 320M with 256MB of DDR3
- Display: 11.6 inches, LED-backlit
- Resolution: 1366×768
- Networking: none
- Wireless networking: 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
The base configuration of the 11.6-inch MacBook Air runs $999. Optional upgrades include a 1.6GHz CPU ($100 and available only in conjunction with the 128GB disk), 4GB of system memory ($100), 128GB of flash storage ($200) an external MacBook Air SuperDrive that runs over USB ($79) and a USB-to-Ethernet adapter ($29).
Apple’s smaller MacBook Air retains the same thickness as its bigger brother – 0.68 inches on the rear side, which tapers down to just 0.11 inches in the front. The whole unit only weighs 2.3 pounds, which is just a bit more than an iPad.
In addition to a built-in microphone, stereo speakers and what Apple now calls a “FaceTime camera”, whether to capitalize on its new FaceTime desktop software, qualify the distinction from a higher-quality iSight webcam or both, there are two USB 2.0 ports, a mini-DisplayPort output and a headphone mini-jack. Interestingly, the mini-jack does support headphones with Apple’s built-in microphone and remote control capabilities.
Thanks in part to a non-user serviceable 35Wh battery, the 11.6-inch MacBook Air is rated for 5 hours of runtime, including continuous Wi-Fi access. Apple made a big deal about using a more-rigorous-than-is-standard battery test to gauge the usability of the Air during their presentation earlier today. As part of the MacBook Air’s new “instant-on” capabilities, it’s basically expected to be either in use or asleep – not fully powered down. Apple therefore gives a new battery metric – standby time – usually reserved for mobile phones. In this case, both MacBook Air models are rated for 30 days of standby time.
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