A closer look at the new Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air

Earlier today Apple announced the new MacBook Air, the world’s thinnest notebook according to them, at Macworld 2008. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll find in it.

The MacBook Air is amazingly thin, measuring no more than 0.16-inch at its slimmest and 0.76-inch at its thickest. Built around a glossy 13.3-inch, widescreen LED backlit display ( resolution: 1280 by 800), the notebook measures 12.8 by 8.94 inches ( 32.5 x 22.7 cm). With its anodized aluminium chassis, it weighs about three pounds. It has a full size backlit keyboard with a built-in ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts keyboard and display brightness for optimal visibility. The oversized trackpad supports multi-touch technology (like the iPhone and iPod touch).

It comes with a USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and a micro-DVI port that supports DVI, VGA, composite, and S-video output. These hide behind a port hatch when not needed. Even the MagSafe power connection has been slimmed down. It also features a built-in iSight camera.

The MacBook Air comes with 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. It does not come with an integrated optical drive but Apple has released a new feature called Remote Disc which lets you wirelessly use or “borrow” the optical drive of a Mac or PC in the vicinity when one is needed. There is an optional MacBook Air SuperDrive as well.

Under the hood, you have a choice of either a 1.6GHz or 1.8Ghz Intel Core 2 processor. It comes with 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM and an 800MHz frontside bus, an 80GB 4200-rpm Parallel ATA hard disk drive (with a 64GB SSD option at a hefty premium), and Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB of shared main memory.

Apple rates the integrated 37-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery at about 5 hours.

Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard and iLife ’08 are preinstalled.

Not everything is perfect about the MacBook Air. On the downside, the battery is sealed up and is not user-replaceable. And 2GB of RAM better be enough for you as there is no option to increase that later. You also only get one USB port. You may find yourself plugging and unplugging peripherals quite a bit. Lastly, what about that USD$999 premium for the SSD option?

And Apple’s claim that it’s the thinnest notebook ever is debatable. The ill-fated Pedion developed by Mitsubishi and Hewlett-Packard back in 1997 was 18.4mm (0.7244-inch) thick.

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