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MacBook: Is there revolution in the Air?

Apple announced the new MacBook Air today, bringing truth to recent rumors about the release of an ultra-portable from Cupertino. At 3 pounds it’s not quite the featherweight match of its PC competitors, such as Lenovo’s 2.3 pound U110, but it certainly does have the Apple family’s good looks. So is this a case of evolution, or is there revolution in the Air?

Similar to the existing MacBook range, the Air has a 13.3 inch screen with built-in iSight camera. The Air ships with a 1.6 or 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, making it the slowest laptop in Apple’s current line-up by clock speed. An 80 GB hard drive and 2 GB of RAM are also standard, with the top end model getting a 64 GB SSD.

The dimensions of the Air are almost identical to the existing MacBook, except that the latter is 1.06 inches thin whereas the thickest point on the Air is 0.76 inches. The optical drive costs an extra $99 and the graphics implementation is identical to the current MacBook.

Specs of course are not really the point. The MacBook Air is all about showcasing design, showing that Apple can go ultra-portable, and for those with the money to spare, showing off. The design itself looks like a stunner and the lack of optical drive is overcome by Apple’s new Remote Disc software, which allows a PC or Mac to share its optical drives with the MacBook Air for installing new software. The pricing is actually fairly competitive alongside PC laptops of similar weight.

Overall it seems more like evolution than revolution. But we know by now that Apple does not need a revolution to sell bucketloads of these awesome machines to willing customers. Will I be one of those rushing to turn in my MacBook for a dose of Air? Not quite yet, but stay tuned for a hands-on review soon…

Neil Berman

The 1.6 GHz, 80 GB MacBook Air costs $1,799
The 1.8 GHz, 64 GB SSD MacBook Air costs $3,098


Jan 15, 2008 - Posted by | Analysis, Apple, Computing, Hardware, Mobile | , , ,

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