updated 02:55 pm EDT, Wed October 20, 2010
Apple debuts 11-inch, new 13-inch MacBook Air
Apple today as anticipated launched the new MacBook Air, its first major redesign of the ultraportable since 2008. It now occupies an even thinner wedge-like shape, at 0.68 inches, but still finds room for a second USB port and an SD card reader. The 13.3-inch model is lighter at 2.9 pounds, but a brand-new 11.6-inch model (without the SD card slot) weighs just 2.3 pounds.
Both move exclusively to SSDs for storage, as Apple is aiming for the same instant-on, skipproof design as the iPad. They also pack high levels of pixel density, with the 11.6-inch Air getting a 16:9 ratio 1366x768 display and the 13.3-inch model now having a 1440x900 screen, the same as on a 15-inch MacBook Pro. The smaller model now uses a ULV Core 2 Duo (instead of the 13.3-inch model's Core 2 Duo S) but gets a faster GeForce 320M for graphics.
Battery life has extended at up to seven hours of wireless use on the 13.3-inch model, while the 11.6-inch model matches the old model at five hours.
The lineup is also now much less expensive than before and starts at $999 for a 11.6-inch model with a basic 64GB SSD, a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 2GB of RAM. An $1,199 configuration moves up to a 128GB SSD for $1,199. 13-inch models start at $1,299 for a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, while a $1,599 model goes to a 256GB SSD. Users can pick up to a 1.6GHz processor on the 11.6-inch system or 2.13GHz on the 13.3-inch. Either can be upgraded to 4GB of RAM and have a new option for a Mini DP to HDMI adapter.
All models are available today on the online Apple Store.