Apple unveils new 11.6" and 13.3" MacBook Air

Apple made waves when it unveiled its original MacBook Air.  The device was thin, light, and was the ultimate portable computer.  On Wednesday, Apple has finally refreshed the MacBook Air.

The 13.3-inch device will have an 'instant on' OS, SSD storage, 13.3 LED backlit display, 1440x900 display, Core 2 Duo CPU, Nvidia GForce 320M, full size keyboard, multi-touch trackpad, FaceTime camera, weighs 2.9 lbs, 802.11n, 7hr battery life while surfing the web or standby time of 30 days.  This model will price in at $1299 and $1599 with a 1.86 GHz CPU and 64 or 128 GB of storage respectively.

MacBook Air 13.3-inch:

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Apple also released the rumored 11.6in MacBook Air also and it sports an 'instant on' OS, Core 2 Duo CPU, Nvidia GForce 320M, full size keyboard, FaceTime camera, 1366x768 display, multi-touch trackpad, 5hr battery life while surfing the web and 30 days of standby time.  This model will come in at two price points $999 and $1199 with a 1.4 Ghz CPU and 64 or 128 GB storage respectively.

MacBook Air 11.6-inch:

Both machines will be on sale starting today.

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The pricing on these isn't bad, but it's not great. As mentioned these compare pretty favorably value wise to the DELL Adamo and other "fashion conscious" ultra-portable options.

The first thing people have to understand is this is NOT a netbook. It's an ultraportable. There's a big difference. Netbooks typically have Atom processors, and are meant to be cheap machines people use on the couch or at the coffee shop for web browsing and e-mail. Ultraportables have real CPUs, and while still designed for portability, are typically able to tackle more substantial tasks. I'm not dissing netbooks, but for those of you saying an Atom is as fast as a C2D, I want what some of you are smoking. Atom's may appear "quick" but they bog down quickly with multitasking or anything remotely intensive. A ULV C2D, even with integrated graphics, will be able to multitask freely, tackle video, handle serious office apps, and so forth. This machine also has a FULL SIZE keyboard, which is a key (and important) difference from a typical netbook.

That said, if you want a machine like this, but don't want to pay as much, I recommend the DELL Vostro V13. I got one - the 1.3GHz C2D one with Win7 - and it's a great machine. It runs everything short of games pretty well. DELL offers it right now for $619. It's battery life is poor compared to these new MBAs, and the graphics card is integrated (though I seriously wonder what you'd use a GPU for on this type of machine anyway...) but otherwise, it compares fairly well. It is even encased in metal. But it's not quite as fashionable as a MBA or an Adamo.

Lets compair against the M11x.

Alienware: $949 (999 if I upgrade to 4GB to RAM)
Core i5 1.06GHz - 1.86 auto clocking
2GB DDR3
160GB HDD
nvidia 335 and intel GPU
11.6in 1366x768
Back lit keyboard
5-6hrs(actual testing)
User removable and upgradeable Drive and Memory

Apple: $999
Core2Duo 1.4GHz
2GB DDR3
64GB SSD
nvidia 320
11.6 1366x768
5hrs(claimed)
Looks to be a proprietary SSD so non-replaceable, not sure on memory

I did not compair weight because if weight is a factor for you on an item this small you should see a doctor. I know many kids that lug 15+ in laptops around college campus with their books and don't complain

Epic0range said,
Lets compair against the M11x.

Alienware: $949 (999 if I upgrade to 4GB to RAM)
Core i5 1.06GHz - 1.86 auto clocking
2GB DDR3
160GB HDD
nvidia 335 and intel GPU
11.6in 1366x768
Back lit keyboard
5-6hrs(actual testing)
User removable and upgradeable Drive and Memory

Apple: $999
Core2Duo 1.4GHz
2GB DDR3
64GB SSD
nvidia 320
11.6 1366x768
5hrs(claimed)
Looks to be a proprietary SSD so non-replaceable, not sure on memory

I did not compair weight because if weight is a factor for you on an item this small you should see a doctor. I know many kids that lug 15+ in laptops around college campus with their books and don't complain

The M11X is pretty awesome. But it is a niche product. First, it weighs close to 5lbs. A bit less than a 15" MBP and a bit more than a 13" MBP. It is also very thick. Basically, it resembles a textbook - fat, dense, and heavy. If you are looking to game at LAN parties or while traveling, it is still a fantastic option - compared to the 8-10 pound monsters that typically qualify as gaming "notebooks," it is a highly portable option.

But for people who are NOT looking to game on their portable, this MBA is a better offering. It is quite a bit lighter and quite a bit thinner. You are right it's not impossible to carry around a heavy laptop - but when you are running around an airport, the weight makes a big difference in terms of overall comfort. Plus, thickness is key as well - something like a Vostro V13 or MBA will slide easily into any bag while something like the M11X is fatter and demands far more space. Finally, the fact is, the MBA looks professional while the M11X does not.

The M11X is a stellar product and a great accomplishment engineering wise in my mind. But it's frankly a totally different market from what the MBA is aiming at.

sexypeperodri said,
I love Apple. I bought a MacBook Pro several days ago but I'll happily spend $1300 on a new MacBook Air.

You forgot the sarcasm tag lol

Stetson said,
Here's the Dell Adamo 13"

$999:

1.4Ghz Core 2 Duo (Same as $999 Macbook Air 11", slower than $1299 13")

2GB Ram Standard (Same)

Integrated Intel Graphics (Both MBAs include NVidia 320M)

128GB SSD standard (same as $1299 13" MBA)

1366x768 13" screen (same res as 11" MBA, lower res than 13" MBA)

"More than 5 hours of battery" (13" MBA claims 7+ hours)


So it's pretty similar. The 13" Adamo is cheaper than the 13" Air, but the Air includes a bit more battery life, a faster processor, a much higher resolution screen, and a much faster graphics processor.

The Adamo also weighs 3.97lbs, whereas the Air only weighs 2.9lbs.

For what you are getting and the price they are asking for a 11.6" Macbook air.
The $999 is too high .. it should be more on the line around $699.

They are selling a netbook at a notebook price. This is another reason I would never
purchase a laptop or desktop from Apple. They use out dated components and charge
way too much for ram and SSD upgrades.

Ci7 said,
Core 2s is obsolete by now

way to go apple

meh!

The other choice is to go with an i-series processor, but then you're stuck with Intel's world-famous integrated graphics.

Stetson said,

The other choice is to go with an i-series processor, but then you're stuck with Intel's world-famous integrated graphics.

how so ?

it automatically turn-off when you have dedicated graphic card

Ci7 said,

how so ?

it automatically turn-off when you have dedicated graphic card

Which requires room on the board and heat dissapation to include both a dedicated GPU and a switching chip (this is what Apple does on the 15" and 17" Macbook Pro).

That's more expensive, uses more battery, takes more space, and creates more heat than using a combo chipset/GPU like the NVidia 320M. Intel's newer licensing policies mean that NVidia can't make that sort of chipset for the i-series processors.

Apple's least capable Mac did not make waves the first time and isn't that much better this time around. A slight decrease in weight/width does not compensate for such a lack of capability. There's more to a notebook computer than whether or not it fits in an inter-office envelope. They are a long way off the 'ultimate'.

If you chose the MacBook PRO 13" you would:
-Save at least $100
-Get at least twice the RAM
-Get a faster processor
-Get a longer-lasting battery
-Enjoy a backlit keyboard
-Have a Firewire port
-Have an optical drive to read/write CDs and DVDs

What do you lose choosing the Pro over the Air?
-Slightly lower resolution (1280x800 vs. 1440x900)
-About a quarter of an inch thicker when closed (oh my God!)
-About 3.3 pounds heavier (As if you would know the difference)

Gee that's a real hard decision isn't it?

C_Guy said,

-About 3.3 pounds heavier (As if you would know the difference)

Gee that's a real hard decision isn't it?

Depends on what you use it for. If you use it around the house, or take it to work, leave it on your desk all day, and then take it home, no you probably won't notice.

If you're like me and have it in your backpack as you walk around all day, or if you constantly carry it from meeting to meeting or flight to flight, then 3 pounds here and there makes a big difference.

Stetson said,

Depends on what you use it for. If you use it around the house, or take it to work, leave it on your desk all day, and then take it home, no you probably won't notice.

If you're like me and have it in your backpack as you walk around all day, or if you constantly carry it from meeting to meeting or flight to flight, then 3 pounds here and there makes a big difference.

You must be pretty weak.

este said,
I dont like the Core 2 Duo. Could have done better?

Would you have preferred an Apple A4 or something?
Core i3/i5/i7 are about on par with the last generation Core 2 Duos. The Core 2 Duo makes a lot more sense for this product. I dare say had they gone with Atom/ION they could have squeezed a _lot_ more battery life out of the 11" model.

Ricardo Dawkins said,
Slow Core 2 Duo in 2011. and for those prices!

I'm not sure you'll complain about slowness with these SSD's.

The CPU is usually not the bottleneck, at least not on these kind of notebooks that are supposed to run lighter applications.

I don't like some of the lack of customization options, for instance you can't get a 13" version with a 64GB SSD and you can't get the 2.13Ghz C2D without upgrading to the 256GB SSD on the 13".

What I'd like is a 13" 2.13Ghz, 4GB of ram with 64GB SSD, which should be somewhere around $1399, but the cheapest you can get the 2.13Ghz processor and 4GB of ram is $1799 because of the 256GB SSD.

They aren't horrifically bad values, SSDs are expensive, but forcing you to pay for a bigger SSD when you don't want/need it is a bit rough.

Looks good to me, and I bet they will be fantastic to use.
People need to realise that specs aren't everything, functionality is the key.

Hopefully they drop the white MacBook, and just focus on the Pros and Airs.

acnpt said,
Looks good to me, and I bet they will be fantastic to use.
People need to realise that specs aren't everything, functionality is the key.

Hopefully they drop the white MacBook, and just focus on the Pros and Airs.


its not the question whether they will have good functionality but how they compare to other laptops with the exact same components with a lower price.

guess its harder when they cant build all their own components such as the Iphone and Ipad cause you can actually compare these products side by side.

Lachlan said,

its not the question whether they will have good functionality but how they compare to other laptops with the exact same components with a lower price.

guess its harder when they cant build all their own components such as the Iphone and Ipad cause you can actually compare these products side by side.

Is there another PC notebook with similar specs? 1.8Ghz C2D or equivalent, 2GB ram, 128GB SSD, 1440x900 pixels, 7+ hours battery for $1299? The Vaio Z is nice and starts with a 128GB SSD standard, but it also has some more expensive components and starts at $1799.

Here's the Dell Adamo 13"

$999:

1.4Ghz Core 2 Duo (Same as $999 Macbook Air 11", slower than $1299 13")

2GB Ram Standard (Same)

Integrated Intel Graphics (Both MBAs include NVidia 320M)

128GB SSD standard (same as $1299 13" MBA)

1366x768 13" screen (same res as 11" MBA, lower res than 13" MBA)

"More than 5 hours of battery" (13" MBA claims 7+ hours)


So it's pretty similar. The 13" Adamo is cheaper than the 13" Air, but the Air includes a bit more battery life, a faster processor, a much higher resolution screen, and a much faster graphics processor.

The Adamo also weighs 3.97lbs, whereas the Air only weighs 2.9lbs.

I don't get the logic behind how they released this. In the keynote Steve said it was the result of breeding a Macbook and an iPad. Thing is, when they released the iPad, they said it was the result of breeding a Macbook and an iPhone - which was the space typically filled by the netbook, which Apple slated as not being viable. So what is this 11.6" low power, instant-on, flash-based storage, optical-drive lacking laptop if it isn't a netbook?

what said,
So what is this 11.6" low power, instant-on, flash-based storage, optical-drive lacking laptop if it isn't a netbook?

Well is not really a netbook.
Netbook = Atom CPU, 2 - 4 hours of battery life and it takes forever to boot.

Euphoria said,

Well is not really a netbook.
Netbook = Atom CPU, 2 - 4 hours of battery life and it takes forever to boot.

only a small number of atom netbooks get 2-4 hours of battery.. "surfing the web" the better toshiba and sony's can get around 8-10 hours

but to be fair these laptops have graphics cards even though they are not that great.

Euphoria said,

Well is not really a netbook.
Netbook = Atom CPU, 2 - 4 hours of battery life and it takes forever to boot.

your netbook must really suck if it only last that long and takes forever to boot. i get 12+ from mine and its up in less than a minute

Jme621 said,

your netbook must really suck if it only last that long and takes forever to boot. i get 12+ from mine and its up in less than a minute


What netbook have you got?, didn't think any could give 12+ hours of battery life.

Jme621 said,

your netbook must really suck if it only last that long and takes forever to boot. i get 12+ from mine and its up in less than a minute


NO I dont have a netbook but was playing with few when searching for a new laptop for my girlfriend. They had sub-par performance, and looked cheap. I shutdown and booted the Acer One and it took forever... Anyhow.. you are comparing here apples and oranges. Atom CPUs and Core 2 Duo CPUs belong to two separate markets.

Euphoria said,

Netbook = Atom CPU, 2 - 4 hours of battery life and it takes forever to boot.

My netbook doesnt take forever to boot and I get over 6hrs of usage from it. Netbooks are not like the used to be when they first came out.

That happens because they are OEMed crapped. I have mine and it boots faster than my Core2Duo. Not joking, 15 seconds and the whole Windows is on it's desktop loading the startups. Battery life goes over 9 hours when you are on Power Saver and are using Windows Classic. (6 cells) and using Flash + Browsing, playing a semi HD video will get you at 5 hours (High Performance).

Note, to play HD 720p videos you must use Game Booster and WMP12 or your computer will die. XD (And is not played that good)

LOL.. love the "facetime camera"... you mean a webcam?.. They just have to rebrand everything. Its not a high resolution screen its is a retina display.. also only 5 hours of battery for the 11.6 inch version? Seems to be a bit different from their older priorities.

Microsoft has to get better at rebranding old products.. Instead of a keyboard it should be a mutlibutton input device, instead of headphones they could come out with ear subwoofers, instead of LED backlight they could maybe do Solar Flare Brightness Technology.

hate the diifferent names for the same old thing.

Lachlan said,
also only 5 hours of battery for the 11.6 inch version? Seems to be a bit different from their older priorities.

For that weight and size, it's pretty good. Can't say I can find same size and battery life from other companies on the market.
Will I buy it though... probably not, but it might cater to some people looking for mobility.

Euphoria said,

For that weight and size, it's pretty good. Can't say I can find same size and battery life from other companies on the market.
Will I buy it though... probably not, but it might cater to some people looking for mobility.


My 11.6 inch acer timeline runs a good 6 to 8 hours without a SSD but does not have a graphics card. But my latop with a LED backlight and everything was 499 which is half the price of the MBA. But also notice the article says "5hr battery life while surfing the web" which is pretty weak.. so does it go down to 3 or 4 hours when you open a game or a more intense program.

Lachlan said,

My 11.6 inch acer timeline runs a good 6 to 8 hours without a SSD but does not have a graphics card.

Yeah my coworker has it and he gets up to 6 hours max out of it... but the Air is half the weight, with dedicated GPU, aluminum casing and better keyboard, although the keyboard preference is a relative thing...

Lachlan said,
instead of LED backlight they could maybe do Solar Flare Brightness Technology.

Now that is a cool name for a monitor technology...

Lachlan said,
LOL.. love the "facetime camera"... you mean a webcam?.. They just have to rebrand everything. Its not a high resolution screen its is a retina display..

It's called marketing. Something Apple does very well.

Fairly low spec with a whopping price tag... just because it's thin? I guess that would be fine if you have money to burn.
How exactly is this "iPad meets MacBook"? Looks like a small refresh to me.

hotdog963al said,
Fairly low spec with a whopping price tag... just because it's thin? I guess that would be fine if you have money to burn.
How exactly is this "iPad meets MacBook"? Looks like a small refresh to me.

Yeah, its nothing like an iPad at all. If it was an actual tablet, with a touch screen I probably would have gotten it. But right now it's just completely overpriced. A Macbook is better.

StevoFC said,

Yeah, its nothing like an iPad at all. If it was an actual tablet, with a touch screen I probably would have gotten it. But right now it's just completely overpriced. A Macbook is better.

If you want an actual tablet... you've been able to get HP tablets with pressure sensitive & multi touch screens, and a similar spec (apart from a SSD) for a year now... and a much lower price.

n3verm0re said,
Out of curiosity, what is 2 GB of RAM not enough for? In other words, what do you think is the target market for this system?

They got me at "instant on", and the mac app store, no more installing, just 1 click, download and run it, obviously a smart move, developers are now used to work with iOS enviroment having to create an app for a more robust and capable device shouldn't be much of a problem, if MS get on board of this kind of vision (I bet win7 can be made to instant turn on ) this can truly be the future of notebooks.

Meconio said,

They got me at "instant on", and the mac app store, no more installing, just 1 click, download and run it, obviously a smart move, developers are now used to work with iOS enviroment having to create an app for a more robust and capable device shouldn't be much of a problem, if MS get on board of this kind of vision (I bet win7 can be made to instant turn on ) this can truly be the future of notebooks.

I want to see Photoshop CS6 installed through the App Store...

Meconio said,

I bet win7 can be made to instant turn on

try putting windows 7 in sleep mode which locking the iphone orturning this new macbook air "off" is and you will notice it's basically instant on...

n3verm0re said,
Out of curiosity, what is 2 GB of RAM not enough for? In other words, what do you think is the target market for this system?

Is not enough if you plan on doing some Adobeing at the same time while browsing. Believe me.

sviola said,

I want to see Photoshop CS6 installed through the App Store...


Most likely it would be an streamed down version of PS if it ever comes to the mac app store, they didn't tell that from now on everything will have to be get through that channel its just a nice addition for getting programs and obviously they don't want to waste the hype that app store has on the iOS environment.

Simply put, they want to open a different way to get money from you...which is basically the goal of every enterprise, the point is whether you get what you want for your money, at the end is just a matter of personal choice.

Jose_49 said,

Is not enough if you plan on doing some Adobeing at the same time while browsing. Believe me.
I don't think thats the market for the Macbook Air...thats more the Macbook Pro's domain if not having an actual desktop over a notebook entirely.

The Air is a low power, low cost system designed for portability, not to be a work horse.

Impressed with 256 GB of Flash storage? Unless I'm mistaken, the only options are 64 and 128. As for a 256 GB SSD, they've been available for quite some time. Several are on sale at Newegg for under $600 USD.

n3verm0re said,
Impressed with 256 GB of Flash storage? Unless I'm mistaken, the only options are 64 and 128. As for a 256 GB SSD, they've been available for quite some time. Several are on sale at Newegg for under $600 USD.

The 13" version has 256GB option. The 11.6" version only has 64 and 128GB.

n3verm0re said,
Impressed with 256 GB of Flash storage? Unless I'm mistaken, the only options are 64 and 128. As for a 256 GB SSD, they've been available for quite some time. Several are on sale at Newegg for under $600 USD.

Ya i know.. $1299 for a 64gb SSD version of the 13 inch. A 64Gb SSD are sold retail for like 120 bucks. They get them for probably around 70 or 80 dollars

Lachlan said,

Ya i know.. $1299 for a 64gb SSD version of the 13 inch. A 64Gb SSD are sold retail for like 120 bucks. They get them for probably around 70 or 80 dollars

$1299 is for the 128gb version of the 13".

Im impressed with the 256gbs of Flash Storage. Wish a 256 SSD would be up for sale. But the price of one would be as much as the price of a 13.3inch macbook air with 256gbs of storage.