Apple is having trouble keeping some secrets secret. Days before the announcement of new MacBook Air models, images of internal components floated around the internet.
What Apple actually introduced is what was expected. Almost. The two new MacBook Air models are ultra thin, ultra light, yet have a full-sized keyboard, a full-sized screen, and a lower than expected price tag.
Thin On The Outside, Big On The Inside
The late 2010 versions of MacBook Air feature two models—an 11-inch screen, and a 13-inch screen. Each model features longer battery life, an LED backlit display, and an ultra thin design.
How thin is thin? Less than 3/4 of an inch in the back, and just over 1/10th of an inch in the front.
How light is light? 2.6 pounds for the 13-inch model, and 2.3 pounds for the 11-inch model.
How good is the battery? The larger model can go for seven hours. The smaller model goes for five hours. Both models have up to 30 days of standby time. That’s 30 days.
Apple is pulling some of the technology present in the iPhone and iPad right into the new line of Macs.
Flash storage is one. Flash isn’t new on Macs, but Apple dispensed with the typical flash storage casing and place flash storage right on the logic board. Thinner. Lighter.
New Mac Touches
The Multi-Touch Trackpad is enhanced, too. Two finger scroll. Pinch to open and close. Rotate. Three finger Swipe to navigate, and Three finger drag. Also built in is a FaceTime camera. No, not an iSight camera. A FaceTime camera.
It’s another way to connect your Mac to iPhones and iPod touch (and, I’m betting a future iPad with a FaceTime camera).
Indeed, FaceTime is now a Mac app, taking on the challenge of video calling from Apple’s iDevices to Macs using the FaceTime standard.
Other MacBook Air goodies include stereo speakers, a 16:9 LED screen (11-inch model), and some powerful built-in graphics with the NVIDIA GeForce 320M, which is also used in the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Both models have 802.11n Wi-Fi, a USB port, a mini DisplayPort, a MagSafe power connector, microphone, headphone jack, and lots of pixels on the screens. There’s an SD card slot on the 13-inch model.
There’s no Ethernet connector. MacBook Air is air as in Wi-Fi over the air.
There are a few gotchas, too. Each model comes with 64 gigs of flash storage with a 128 gig option.
Each model comes with an anemic two-gigabytes of RAM, which can be upgraded to four gigs via the build-to-order BTO option in Apple’s online store. A faster CPU can also be ordered.
Lest you think the $999 entry level price is a bargain, there is a price for light and mobile. Add up the options in CPU, memory, storage, and other connectors, and the MacBook Air is priced higher than a lowly MacBook Pro.
If light weight and long battery life are your requirements, both MacBook Air models will delight and increase your credit card balance comparably. Cheap? Nah. Cheaper.