Apple's new "Back to the Mac" event in California this week may have
been largely focused on software, but Steve Jobs just couldn't leave the
stage without talking about some hardware as well. The big news at the
event was the MacBook Air, but it's more than you think. Not only was
the 13.3" MacBook
refreshed in a big way, but an entirely new class of
machine has joined Apple's lineup.
Steve Jobs has previously stated that Apple
had no intentions of
competing in the netbook space, but they just did in a way. The new
11.6" MacBook Air is the same size as most new netbooks, and it lacks an
optical drive. Basically, it's an Apple netbook
. But Apple can get away
with calling it something else due to the price. With a starting MSRP
of $999, it's definitely not in the same class as a netbook. The
hardware isn't too impressive based on modern-day notebook standards,
but with an enclosure this tiny, anything newer would have probably
caused too much excess heat to be emitted.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The 13.3" version has a 1440x900
screen resolution, SSD storage options, Core 2 Duo CPU options (1.86GHz
or 2.13GHz) and 2GB of RAM. The battery life is also improved, with up
to 7 hours of usage in most common scenarios. It also includes Bluetooth
2.1+EDR, a LED-backlit panel, 802.11n Wi-Fi, a Mini DisplayPort output,
two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card slot. The prices are as follows: $1299
for the 128GB base model and $1599 for the 256GB model.
Now, the 11.6" version. Most of the specifications are the same, but
there's no SD card slot on the little one, no backlit keyboard and a
screen resolution of 1366x768. It ships with a 1.4GHz dual-core Core 2
Duo (with a 1.6GHz as an option), and it starts at $999 with a 64GB SSD.
The 128GB SSD model goes for $1199. Both of the units ship with
NVIDIA's GeForce 320M graphics card, but the 11.6" version has just 5
hours of battery life.
They're also extremely light and thin. Apple claims that it measures an
0.11-inches at its thinnest point and
0.68-inches at its thickest, and weighs just 2.3 pounds for the 11.6"
model and 2.9 pounds for the 13.3". Each one also has a multi-gesture
trackpad and built-in FaceTime webcams. The pair is on sale immediately,
but it's pretty obvious these are still niche devices. With price tags
this high, you'll really need to value portability...particularly with
CPUs as aged as the Core 2 Duo line.
Apple Reinvents Notebooks With New MacBook Air
CUPERTINO, California—October 20, 2010—Apple® today unveiled an all new MacBook Air®, the first of a next generation of notebooks which will replace mechanical hard disks and optical drives with Internet services and solid state flash storage. These next generation notebooks are:
* faster—solid state flash storage is up to twice as fast as hard drive storage
* more reliable—hard drive crashes are eliminated
* 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 iPad™ to deliver instant-on responsiveness, up to seven hours of battery life and up to 30 days of standby time.* Starting at $999, the affordable MacBook Air defines the next generation of MacBooks.
“MacBook Air is the first of a new generation of notebooks that leaves behind mechanical rotating storage in favor of solid state flash storage,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “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 precision aluminum unibody enclosure, the new MacBook Air measures an incredibly thin 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 iPad, MacBook Air was designed from the ground up to use flash storage exclusively. Apple’s custom-designed flash storage is 90 percent smaller and lighter than a conventional notebook hard drive, contributing to MacBook Air’s mobile, featherweight design. MacBook Air’s flash storage also provides faster data access and is more reliable than notebook hard drives due to its solid state design.
MacBook Air features a full-sized keyboard for typing comfort and productivity, as well as the highly acclaimed glass 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 perfect for video calls with iPhone® 4, iPod touch®** and other Macs.
Flash storage combined with power-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo processors and NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics delivers an ideal balance of mobility, battery life and performance. MacBook Air features an 11.6-inch or 13.3-inch high-resolution LED-backlit display and Mini DisplayPort to connect your 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display, projector or HD TV. Ultra-fast 802.11n Wi-Fi networking allows you to download music and movies from iTunes®, back up data to Time Capsule® and store or share files with MobileMe? and iDisk®. MacBook Air includes Bluetooth 2.1+EDR for wireless peripherals and two USB ports making it easy to sync and charge an iPad, iPhone or iPod® while using another device. The 13-inch MacBook Air also includes an SD card slot.
Apple makes the industry’s greenest notebooks and 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. 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.**** The built-in battery design results in less waste, and depleted MacBook Air batteries can be replaced for $129, which includes installation and disposal of your old battery in an environmentally responsible manner.
Every Mac comes with Mac OS® X Snow Leopard®, the world’s most advanced operating system, and iLife®, Apple’s innovative suite of applications for creating and sharing great photos, movies and music. Snow Leopard builds on more than a decade of innovation and includes multiple features for portable computing such as Multi-Touch navigation, advanced wireless networking, easy file sharing, automated data backup and intelligent power management. The new iLife ’11 features iPhoto® with stunning full screen views for browsing, editing and sharing photos; iMovie® with powerful easy-to-use tools to transform home videos into fun theatrical trailers; and GarageBand® with new ways to improve your playing and create great sounding songs.
Pricing & Availability
The 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air are immediately available through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 1.4 GHz 11-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $999 (US) with a 128GB model for $1,199 (US). 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 (US) with a 256GB model for $1,599 (US). 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.
*Battery life and standby time vary by use and configuration. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information.