Everyone was expecting Apple to release an ultra-portable
notebook at this year's Macworld 2008 expo, and Steve Jobs didn't disappoint.
Jobs revealed the aluminum-bodied MacBook Air is
0.16" at its thinnest point, 0.76" at its thickest point and
weighs just 3.0 pounds. Jobs played up the fact that the MacBook Air is thin
enough to fit within a standard manila envelope and new Mac TV ads will center on
“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,”
The MacBook Air features Intel Core 2 Duo power (1.6GHz
standard, 1.8GHz optional), 2GB of memory (soldered on and not upgradeable), Intel GMA X3100 graphics, a
13.3" LED-backlit display and an 80GB, 1.8" HDD for storage duties. A
64GB solid-state disk (SSD) is optional on the MacBook Air -- Steve Jobs notes
that "They're pricy, but they're fast."
To keep its thin form-factor, the MacBook Air makes do with
one USB 2.0 port, a micro-DVI port and an audio-out jack. Other features
include the requisite iSight camera and full-size, backlit keyboard. Apple
includes 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1, but there is no WiMAX, EV-DO or HSDPA in the package
despite the "Air" moniker.
There is no Ethernet port due to space/size restrictions and
there is also no built-in optical drive although Apple will gladly sell you an
external SuperDrive for $99.
Perhaps the feature that will be most talked about --
besides its thin, aluminum frame -- is the Multi-touch trackpad. MacBook Air
owners can use the same gestures that iPhone and iPod touch users have grown
accustomed to (tap, scroll, pinch, rotate and swipe) to manipulate windows,
picture and other items on the screen within OS X.
Apple claims that the MacBook Air can operate for up to 5 hours
on its standard battery which is quite good for an ultra-portable notebook that
is so thin. By the way, the battery is not user replaceable. You'll have to ship your notebook off to Apple if your battery dies.
Pricing for the MacBook Air starts at $1,799 USD. It can be
pre-order from the Apple Store today, but units won't begin shipping until two
weeks from today.