Come Fly With Me

The Apple MacBook Air
by: Jerry Liao

MacBook AirApple unveiled MacBook Air, the world’s thinnest notebook. MacBook Air measures an unprecedented 0.16-inches at its thinnest point, while its maximum height of 0.76-inches is less than the thinnest point on competing notebooks. MacBook Air has a stunning 13.3-inch LED-backlit widescreen display, a full-size and backlit keyboard, a built-in iSight® video camera for video conferencing, and a spacious trackpad with multi-touch gesture support so users can pinch, rotate and swipe. MacBook Air is powered by a 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB L2 cache, and includes as standard features 2GB of memory, an 80GB 1.8-inch hard drive, and the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi technology and Bluetooth 2.1.

“We’ve built the world’s thinnest notebook—without sacrificing a full-size keyboard or a full-size 13-inch display,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “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 has a vibrant 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display that is energy efficient, and its spacious trackpad offers multi-touch gesture support for pinch, rotate and swipe, making it more intuitive than ever to browse and rotate photos or zoom into web pages in Safari™. MacBook Air features a full-size keyboard design in a sleek and durable aluminum enclosure. The backlit keyboard makes it ideal for dimly lit environments such as airplanes, studios or conference halls, and a built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the keys as well as the display brightness for optimal visibility.

MacBook Air delivers up to five hours of battery life for wireless productivity and includes AirPort Extreme® 802.11n Wi-Fi networking, which delivers up to five times the performance and twice the range of 802.11g*. Apple’s Migration Assistant software now enables users to quickly transfer files, applications and preferences from your old Mac® to MacBook Air right over your wireless network.

MacBook Air users can buy the companion MacBook Air SuperDrive, a compact external drive designed for MacBook Air, for just $99. The MacBook Air SuperDrive® is powered by MacBook Air’s USB port, eliminating the need to carry a separate power adapter. Many MacBook Air users will not find a need for an optical drive now that they can wirelessly rent movies from the iTunes® Store, wirelessly backup files with Time Capsule and access the optical drives on remote PCs or Macs to wirelessly install software applications on MacBook Air.

MacBook Air is powered by Intel Core 2 Duo processors running at 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz, and includes as standard 2GB of memory and an 80GB 1.8-inch hard drive. An optional 64GB solid state drive contains no moving parts for added durability. Every MacBook Air includes a micro-DVI port so users can connect to Apple’s gorgeous 20-inch or 23-inch Cinema Displays to extend their desktop or connect to projectors and other displays via DVI, VGA, Composite and S-video adapters. MacBook Air includes USB 2.0 for plugging in peripherals or charging an iPod® or iPhone™, a headphone jack and Apple’s acclaimed MagSafe® Power Adapter designed especially for mobile users.

Every MacBook Air comes with iLife® ‘08, the most significant update ever to Apple’s award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications, featuring a major new version of iPhoto® and a completely reinvented iMovie®, both seamlessly integrated with the new .Mac Web Gallery for online photo and video sharing. The new MacBook Air also comes with Leopard™, the sixth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system. Leopard introduces Time Machine™, an effortless way to automatically back up everything on a Mac; a redesigned Finder that lets users quickly browse and share files between multiple Macs; Quick Look, a new way to instantly see files without opening an application; Spaces, an intuitive new feature used to create groups of applications and instantly switch between them; a brand new desktop with Stacks, a new way to easily access files from the Dock; and major enhancements to Mail and iChat®. .Mac members can use the new Back to My Mac feature to browse and access files on their home computer from a MacBook Air over the Internet while out on the road.

The new MacBook Air embodies Apple’s continuing environmental progress with its aluminum enclosure, a material highly desired by recyclers; Apple’s first mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free glass; and brominated flame retardant-free material for the majority of circuit boards as well as PVC-free internal cables. In addition, MacBook Air consumes the least amount of power of any Mac, and its retail box, made primarily from 100 percent post-consumer recycled material, is 56 percent smaller by volume than the previously smallest MacBook packaging.

Features:

* 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with 1280×800 resolution;
* 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB L2 cache;
* 800 MHz front-side bus;
* 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM;
* 80GB hard disk drive with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100;
* Micro-DVI port (includes Micro-DVI to VGA and Micro-DVI to DVI Adapters);
* built-in iSight video camera;
* built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* one USB 2.0 port;
* one headphone port;
* multi-touch TrackPad with support for advanced multi-touch gestures including tap, scroll, pinch, rotate and swipe; and
* 45 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

Some things I noticed missing on the Macbook Air is the absence of a Firewire communication Port. I also find the storage capacity a bit low and at 4,200 rpm, the hard drive is slow. And of course the hefty price of US$1,799, it makes it less attractive for the price concious users.

Apple launches the MacBook Air as its entry into the ultraportable notebook market where Sony, Lenovo, Asus, Intel, Fujitsu and others are the current players. And if we’re going to take away the sleekness angle, with the price the MacBook Air has, features wise – it fell short to comparison with its counterparts.

But hey, the MacBook Air has something that the other players don’t have, and that is – Steve Jobs. I think Steve will add more functionality into the MacBook Air and will lower down the price eventually. Let’s wait and see.

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