updated 09:20 am EDT, Mon October 18, 2010
MacBook Air revamp said expandable, longer lasting
Another rumor today provided possibly strong details of the next MacBook Air ahead of its anticipated launch on Wednesday. The design is now thought to be relatively upgradeable, as users could finally choose more RAM as well as larger capacity SSD. It's not evident from the Cult of Mac tip if these would be user-replaceable, although bare SSDs aren't easily bought aftermarket and may only be build-to-order options.
The design would largely be as shown with a more wedge-like shape (mocked up below) in both 11.6- and 13.3-inch forms. The reworking would be thinner and lighter but would also have much longer battery life, running up to eight to 10 hours through a 50 percent larger battery pack.
While Apple would still have to stick to Core 2 Duos to keep fast graphics, the configurations would leap in speed to 2.1GHz and 2.4GHz while also moving to better GeForce 320M video. The subjective speed, however, would be much faster: it's "unbelievable" how quickly it starts, the source said. Responsiveness was reportedly a personal goal of Steve Jobs after he said he wanted to get closer to the iPad's instant-on behavior.
More expansion is purportedly confirmed and would outfit the new Air with a second USB port and an SD card reader along with the existing Mini DisplayPort. Electronista has also heard the 13-inch model may have a 1440x900 display, but this hasn't been confirmed.
Whether or not the system would ship immediately isn't known, but the pricing would potentially overlap that of the plastic MacBook, possibly at $999 for the 11.6-inch model and $1,099. The costs have been cast into doubt as they would create a direct overlap and would cast the fate of the white MacBook itself into doubt. They also contradict Apple's philosophy of equating screen size to price if the white MacBook remains, and industry observers have suggested Apple may use the Air as a way to bridge the gap between the $699 64GB Wi-Fi iPad and the $999 MacBook.