New MacBook Air Borrows Tech from iPad [Update]

| Product News

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a new version of the MacBook Air during the company’s “Back to the Mac” media event on Wednesday. The redesigned ultra-light laptop sports unibody construction, offers instant-on, and solid state storage instead of a built-in hard drive.

“MacBook Air is the first of a new generation of notebooks that leaves behind mechanical rotating storage in favor of solid state flash storage,” Mr. Jobs said. “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.”

The new MacBook Air family

The new MacBook Air is available with a 13.3- or 11.6-inch LED backlit display, a 1.4 GHz Core 2 Due processor, glass trackpad, built-in FaceTime camera, built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, 64 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics with 2 GB RAM, two USB ports, weighs less than three pounds, and offers up to seven hours use time or 30 days of standby time. The 13.3-inch model also sports an SD card slot for uploading photos from your digital camera.

Unlike netbooks, both MacBook Air models include full-size keyboards and a full-size multitouch trackpad. They measure .68-inches at their thickest point.

Like Apple’s other laptop models, the MacBook Air includes a MagSafe charger, Mini DisplayPort

The 11.6-inch model is priced starting at US$999 with a 1.4 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM and 64 GB storage, or $1,299 with 128 GB storage. The 13.3-inch model costs $1,299 with a 1.86 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, or $1,599 with 256 GB storage. A 4 GB RAM build-to-order option is available, too.

Both models are available today.

[This article has been updated with additional information about the new MacBook Air models.]

Comments

Lee Dronick

Well I wasn’t far off when I joked about naming it the MBA 7”

I am anxious to take a look at these. I will pick up a copy of iLife ‘11 after I try the new Air at the Apple Store.

Lancashire-Witch

64GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad….. or ...... 11.6” 64GB MBA

Only $170 difference in price. That’s an interesting choice!

Lee Dronick

@Lancashire-Witch

That is a good point.

jfbiii

I’m not really the audience for these, but it IS interesting that the bigger one is basically the specs of my 2-1/2 year old Macbook Pro.

Lee Dronick

I?m not really the audience for these, but it IS interesting that the bigger one is basically the specs of my 2-1/2 year old Macbook Pro.

It might be that they are cramming 10 lbs into a 2.6 lb bag.

My ancient iBook croaked earlier this year so this summer I bought a new MacBook Pro 15”. Then this late summer my wife’s newer, but still old iBook began acting up so she also got a new MacBook Pro 15”. She is back in college and schlepping the MacBook Pro between home, work, and school so carrying the weight is a concern for her. She didn’t like the feel of the MacBook Air so she opted for the heavier MacBook Pro.

Sidebar - I have the antiglare screen on my MacBook, my wife doesn’t and that has not been a problem for her. I think the next time around I may not bother with the antiglare option and put the money into more RAM or something.

Ro Boat

The MacBook is dead. How many years before there is only the Air and the Pro? Two? Three? Less?

Lee Dronick

he MacBook is dead. How many years before there is only the Air and the Pro? Two? Three? Less?

Look at the prices between the MacBook and the MacBook Air. With the MacBook you get an optical drive, but what else? I wouldn’t be surprised if this this the last MacBook.

daemon

You know if there is one thing you can count on, it’s that Jobs will lie outright about any unannounced future products he intends on selling.

BurmaYank

The MacBook is dead. How many years before there is only the Air and the Pro? Two? Three? Less?

One or less.

And that next MacBookPro will also only have a Flashdrive with its DVDburner also only an external SuperDrive option.

gslusher

“Look at the prices between the MacBook and the MacBook Air. With the MacBook you get an optical drive, but what else? I wouldn?t be surprised if this this the last MacBook.”

There are a few minor differences, if you mean the white MacBook vs the 11” MacBook Air. They both come with 2GB RAM & can take up to 4GB.

1. CPU: 11” MBA = 1.4 gHz; 13” MB = 2.4 gHz

2. Storage: MBA = 64 GB; MB = 250 GB

3. Ports: MBA = 2 USB, headphone; MB = 2 USB, Ethernet, audio in, audio out (both have the same display port)

4. Display: MBA = 1366 x 768; MB = 1280 x 800 (2.5% difference)

So the MacBook has a much faster CPU, almost four times the storage, Ethernet in addition to WiFi, and a SLIGHTLY smaller display, plus the optical drive—at the same price.

Compare the basic 13” MBA to the basic 13” MBP, which is $100 cheaper ($1199 vs $1299):

1. CPU: MBA = 1.8 gHz; MBP 2.4 gHz

2. RAM: MBA = 2 GB, up to 4; MBP = 4 GB, up to 8

3. Storage: MBA = 128 GB; MBP = 250 GB

4. Ports: MBA = 2 USB, headphone; MBP = 2 USB, FW800, Gigabit Ethernet, audio line in, audio line out

5. Display: MBA 13”= 1440 x 900; MBP 13” - 1280 x 800

So, for $100 LESS, the 13” MBP gives a faster CPU, double the RAM, almost double the storage, plus FireWire 800 & ethernet and better audio ports, plus the optical drive, but less screen resolution.

For most pro photographers, for example, the FW800 port is very useful. Try downloading a full 16GB high-speed UDMA Compact Flash card over USB 2. Better go eat dinner while you’re at it. Even a FW400 reader will download significantly faster than USB. Most pro and many prosumer DSLRs use CF cards rather than SDHC cards because they can be bigger, faster, and more reliable.

Also, FW external HDs are much faster and have other advantages. I have a LaCie 500 GB FireWire 400/USB 2 bus-powered drive. It needs TWO USB ports to run bus powered, but only one FireWire port. It’s also faster at file transfers on FireWire vs USB.

The optical drive is useful, as well, especially for archiving photos & burning disks to give to people. (Last year, I took over 15,000 photos at horse shows. I gave CDs/DVDs to the subjects. In some cases, they got over 8 GB during the year.)

MacRider

We have become so used to such limited choice as Mac users there are those who feel compelled to compare. There is no comparison. They are different machines, for different users, with different needs.

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