Apple introduces MacBook Air

The all-new Macbook Air, which as Rumors has long predicted is a mid-range model between the entry-level Macbook and the Macbook Pro, sports Core 2 Duo (Merom) processors at 1.6 and 1.8GHz, respectively, with the standard 4MB of shared on-chip L2 cache on both.

Many of the other specs are fairly standard for a Core 2 Duo based laptop and are parallel with the other Macbooks: 800MHz front side bus, dual-channel DDR2-667 memory (2GB standard), 13.3-inch 16:10 widescreen display from the entry level Macbook with the same 1280×800 resolution, et cetera.

One of the main differences is of course the ultra-light, ultra-thin enclosure: the frame tapers from 0.16-0.76 inches thick (averaging less than 0.6 inches over the bulk of its horizontal depth/width) and weighs in at only 3 pounds(!).

Its width and depth are slightly less than that of the Macbook.

The Air sports virtually no ports: only the absolute necessities, a micro-DVI port, a USB2 port and a standard digital/analog Audio Out port. Audio-in can only be achieved via the USB2 bus, and obviously Macbook Air owners will be investing in a lot of USB2 hubs.

Lacking any wired Ethernet, the Air will undoubtedly bolster sales of the Airport Extreme (802.11n) Base Station as well as other 802.11n devices/access points. The choice to introduce the Time Capsule at the same time was a wise one, since the choice is between 80GB 1.8-inch hard disk or a 64GB solid-state drive for internal storage and Air owners will be looking for ways to leverage the full power of the 802.11n network.

Other standard features include Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, an internal Mono (!) speaker, built-in iSight with omnidirectional microphone, a 45w power supply, Intel GMA X3100 graphics (144MB of shared system memory, same as on the current Macbook) and a 37 watt-hour Li-Ion battery that delivers 5 hours of battery life during typical usage.

You may have noticed no mention of a built-in optical drive….that’s because, as Rumors has long predicted, there isn’t one. You can get an optional USB SuperDrive designed to complement the Macbook Air, but that will obviously not perform quite the same as an internal drive would — especially with the tremendous competition for the real-world ~250Mbps that USB2 really delivers out of its official/theoretical 480Mbps, which the single-port design will create.

All in all, this is a remarkable new Macintosh and will make a lot of people very very happy. We have many questions about its long-term durability under real-world conditions, we wonder just how many people will really want a Macbook Air that lacks so many features, starts at only 1.6GHz for $1799 and requires so many accessories to match what you get with a $1099 Macbook……but it will undoubtedly sell like hotcakes nonetheless, on pent-up demand alone.

Stay tuned to Rumors for all your up-to-the-nanosecond Macworld coverage and stick with us throughout the new year ahead for all the best dirt from the source that always breaks Apple rumors first!

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  • dan

    Where is the Wimax?

  • arlomedia

    Wow … first post.

    I was ready to buy an updated MacBook Pro, but my boss is going to love the Air.

  • Siemova

    I’d love an Apple Keyboard with the same black keys and ALS backlighting. Heard any rumbles about such a thing?

  • bongo

    anybody know if the “integrated” battery is really build in (i.e. not changable)?

  • Siemova

    Correct, the battery and the RAM are not user-replaceable. You can have Apple replace the battery for the same amount they currently charge for MBP batteries, though.

  • bongo

    So I can forget about transatlantic flights, not every carrieroffers power connectors on their seats.
    (And for the MBP one would need a stack of battery packs).