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TMO at MWSF - Apple Debuts MacBook Air: Ultra-Thin Laptop With Multi-Touch Trackpad

by , 1:50 PM EST, January 15th, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO -- Reaching into a large yellow envelope, Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday introduced the thinnest laptop his company has ever produced: MacBook Air, which is a mere 0.16 inches thick at its thinnest point. Despite its small size, the new computer features a full-size keyboard with an ambient light sensor, a 13-inch display with LED backlighting, a built-in iSight camera, and a multi-touch trackpad that allows users to, for example, use the iPhone's pinch gesture to enlarge and shrink images.


MacBook Air

"We've built the world's thinnest notebook—without sacrificing a full-size keyboard or a full-size 13-inch display," Mr. Jobs said in a press release. "When you first see MacBook Air, it's hard to believe it's a high-performance notebook with a full-size keyboard and display. But it is."

MacBook Air runs on a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, with a 1.8GHz version also available. It uses the same 80GB 1.8-inch hard drive included in the iPod classic, with 64GB of solid state storage available as a build-to-order option. It also features 2GB of RAM, 802.11n wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, a MagSafe power adapter, and USB 2.0, Micro-DVI, and headphone ports.

While the new laptop doesn't include an optical drive, it does come with a new feature called Remote Disc, which allows the computer to wirelessly borrow the CD or DVD drive of a nearby Mac or Windows computer. Users can also opt for MacBook Air SuperDrive, a US$99 companion optical drive that's powered by the laptop's USB port. And if they need to transfer files, applications, and preferences from an old Mac to their new laptop, Apple's Migration Assistant now includes wireless capability, so there's no need for a FireWire cable.

Apple touts up to five hours of battery life in the MacBook Air, and Mr. Jobs noted during his keynote that the laptop features the company's first mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free glass, PVC-free internal cables, and an all-aluminum enclosure for easier recycling. Even its packaging is 56 percent smaller than previous MacBook packaging.

The MacBook Air comes with Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard pre-installed, as well as the iLife 08 suite of applications, which includes the latest versions of iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand, and iTunes. The laptop will be available in two weeks, with a $1,799 price tag.

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