Thin is In: The New MacBook Air


At Macworld 2008 today, Steve Jobs unveiled a brand new notebook called the MacBook Air. There is no shortage of information about it, including the official site, Engadget and Macworld.com. This 0.78″ wedge-shaped computer – billed as the “world’s thinnest notebook” – indicates a new approach to computing from Apple.

First, the main specs:

  • 1.6 Ghz or 1.8 Ghz Core 2 Processor
  • 13.3″ LED lit glossy widescreen display
  • 80 GB hard drive standard, with optional 64 GB SSD (in exchange for your first born)
  • 2 GB memory standard
  • No optical drive
  • Multi-touch trackpad
  • 0.76″ thick at one end, going down to 0.16″
  • 1 USB2 port, 1 Micro-DVI and 1 headphone jack
  • Backlit full-size keyboard

If you check the photos of this thing on the Apple website, you’ll know it looks pretty sweet. It’s made of the same aluminum as a MacBook Pro, and has the same keyboard as the MacBooks. The backlit keyboard is a nice touch, as it makes typing at night much more convenient, not to mention making your neighbour’s computer look ancient.

At first glance I was definitely impressed by the amount of computer Apple was able to shove into this thing. Reading further into it, I noticed that the compromises Apple had to make to keep the weight down makes it much less attractive. For one, it has no optical drive, instead relying on a $99 external drive or a new piece of software called Remote Disc that turns a neighbouring computer’s optical drive into a local one. This means that to watch any new movies you need to be in range of another computer.

Also, there is no ethernet port, only 1 USB port, and no FireWire port. The ethernet port becomes available with a $29 USB add on, but that locks up that single USB port from other devices. You can forget about editing MiniDV footage with this thing, too, because it does not include any FireWire ports – essential for importing footage from the majority of cameras available today.

Basically, this computer is a road warrior’s machine. Though, it should be said that the battery cannot be replaced easily – it must be taken to Apple, who will charge you $129 for the privilege. It also offers less value than the MacBook Pro, so pick your purchase carefully.

Other notable announcements today:

  • Time Capsule – wirelessly back up multiple computers to a single device
  • Movie rentals from the iTunes Store
  • New software for iPod Touch and iPhone that gives enhanced map functions and other applications
  • TV Take 2 – upgraded TV that finally offers 5.1 sound and the purchase of movies from the couch

[tags]MacBook, Apple, MacBook Air, ultraportable[/tags]

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  1. […] wesg wrote an interesting post today on Thin is In: The New MacBook AirHere’s a quick excerptAt Macworld 2008 today, Steve Jobs unveiled a brand new notebook called the MacBook Air….There is no shortage of information about it, including the official site, Engadget and Macworld. com…. […]