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High-quality photos and notes on Apple's new MacBook Air

post #1 of 107
Thread Starter 
Apple at the Macworld Expo on Tuesday had several dozen of its new MacBook Air notebooks laid out on a sprawling matte black showroom table for show-goers to test drive, in addition several non-functional units suspended in mid-air for photographers.

Some initial notes
The MacBook Air is so thin that it's difficult for our digital SLR to auto focus on the side profile of the unit.Apple staffers on the show floor appear to be somewhat clueless about which specific Intel Core 2 Duo chip the MacBook Air employs, but we're still working on nailing this down. Apple lists the specs as Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB on-chip shared L2 cache running at full processor speed.Like Apple's other MacBooks, the system bus speed is 800MHz.It runs on Mac OS X 10.5.1 build 9B2324Weight is exactly 3.0 pounds (1.36 kg).Height is 0.16-0.76 inch (0.4-1.94 cm).Width is 12.8 inches (32.5 cm).Depth is 8.94 inches (22.7 cm).The 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM is soldered to the motherboard. So no memory upgrades available.The multi-touch trackpad works with ease and better than you would expect, at least in the applications Apple is using for demos.The battery is a integrated, non-replacable 37-watt-hour lithium-polymer.Model identifier is MacBook Air1,1Boot ROM Version is MBA11.00BB.B00SMC Version is 1.23f7A Sudden Motion Sensor is enabled.In addition to the $99 MacBook Air external SuperDrive, Apple is also offering a $29 USB Ethernet Adapter, $49 MagSafe Airline Adapter, and $19 Apple Micro-DVI to Video Adapter.


























































For more photos, continue on to page 2 of this report.

























post #2 of 107
Pretty!!!!!!!!!!!
post #3 of 107
No removable/replaceable battery?
post #4 of 107
Sexy
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post #5 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimUrban View Post

No removable/replaceable battery?

Not surprising at this thickness, also no replaceable hard drive or memory (user replaceable).

Seriously, they have dealt with thinness and not upgradability, and for this kind of laptop, that is the right thing to do.

I am sure the hdd and the battery can be replaced, but not without taking the thing apart. Just like with iPods.
post #6 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimUrban View Post

No removable/replaceable battery?

Sorry no removable battery. I suspect this is mainly because of size constraints, the battery looked like it took up half of the interior space and everything was right up against it.

I suppose apple will have some program for battery replacement or you can attempt it yourself.
post #7 of 107
where can i get a magsafe adapter like that for my MBP! that would make my Power Support stand much nicer, and clear up some clutter.
post #8 of 107
... like a Frisbee?
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post #9 of 107
Pretty. Thin.
post #10 of 107
Looks pretty nice. It would also be nice if the photographer can ease up a bit on the depth of field there. Maybe it's a bit much to ask if it's really as dark in there as those pictures make it look.
post #11 of 107
Looks very 'iPod-like'. I'm sure that's not accidental.


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post #12 of 107
Since it lacks a removable battery does that mean we'll have problems bringing it on an airplane?
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post #13 of 107
1. Clean your fingernails.

2. For focusing on the side of the Air...two words...MANUAL focus.
post #14 of 107
Man, look at the beefy strain relief on the magsafe connector, not to mention the metal pin enclosure.

Looks like Apple has taken the durability problems with the current magsafe to heart. Bet the next iteration of the MacBook Pro will feature a variation on this design.
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post #15 of 107
why do they keep forgetting such a basic thing? memory card reader is really helpful nowadays.
post #16 of 107
There are a lot of things to not like about this computer. I think most people would be better off with a MacBook. If you travel a lot, this would be nice and light, but that's the only real advantage I see.
post #17 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Looks pretty nice. It would also be nice if the photographer can ease up a bit on the depth of field there. Maybe it's a bit much to ask if it's really as dark in there as those pictures make it look.

The monkey who is taking those photos needs a few lessons on photography. I've noticed the exact same crap being thrown at the AI readers on every article featuring "up-close" photos. You can see fine details in a narrow area and everything else is blurred. Amateur.
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post #18 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by IHateScreenNames View Post

Since it lacks a removable battery does that mean we'll have problems bringing it on an airplane?

No, because most notebook batteries aren't big enough to cause problems under the new regulations. The battery here is 25% lower Wh capacity than the MBP.
post #19 of 107
Is that a piece of clear tape over the "MacBook Air" name or is MacBook Air written on that peice of clear tape and attached to the computer, if so, looks kinda cheesy.

How constructionally sound is that little drop down door for the headphone jack, usb port, etc., I would hate to hear of that getting "bent" or snap off or what ever, like some people had done with there iPod shuffle clips attached to their belt and then went to sit down bending it out of shape.

Other than those observations, nicely done Apple. Can't wait to see it in person at the Apple Store for closer inspection.

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post #20 of 107
When is Apple going to figure out that elegant design does not need to take up so much real estate?

In order for this laptop to be adopted by a broad base of business users, the form factor should be about 1" smaller in both length and width. (A true sub laptop should be not much larger than a stack of 8 1/2 x 11 paper.) Should that mean shrinking the screen by half an inch, so be it, although I note that there is plenty of metal framing both the screen and the keyboard that looks wasted to me.

I don't get it: Apple was apparently happy to sacrifice all sorts of arguably important features (a real Ethernet receptacle, for instance, for those benighted countries and small towns in the world which do not have wireless broadband for the taking; i.e., most of them) in order to squeeze in a full size screen and a video camera. What is this supposed to be, a functional computer for traveling, or a really, really light, underpowered desktop replacement?

Seriously, folks, notwithstanding the nifty bells and whistles on this computer, it would simply hog too much space in my briefcase for me to replace my trusty old 12" PowerBook. The form factor is important enough to me that I will continue to lug my old brick around until Apple figures out that not all of its customers willing to pay top dollar are tech geeks, filmmakers, or design professionals.
post #21 of 107
Now that the MacBook Air is released, it's the next MacBook Pro that will REALLY get me excited. Imagine what could be updated:

New, larger touchpad with gestures.
New keyboard to update with all other products.
New video card?
45nm processors?
Larger hard drives with SSD option?
Maybe even the option to ditch the optical drive for a 2nd HD? (Remote disk really proves we don't use DVD drives often anyway)
Blu-ray drives?


I can't sell my current 2nd gen MBP until they announce something new, so I'm itching for new MBPs!!!

*note: what I've said is a wishlist of what a new MBP would have, not a rumor or inklings of what is too come. Don't get your hopes up too high!*
post #22 of 107
Thanks for the photos, but you need some basic work on DoF with your camera.

Use a higher aperture/longer exposure time and you'll get better DoF, especially on some of those close-up keyboard shots.
post #23 of 107
Is anyone else seeing Pismo cues? Rounded Foot pads, curved LCD casing, Two toned Keys, Center Cut-away for the "lid latch." I think it's good to see Apple warming up the product. This will be the direction the MacBook Pro takes when it gets a new skin. I really approve of the black keys.
post #24 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by frlarsen View Post

Seriously, folks, notwithstanding the nifty bells and whistles on this computer, it would simply hog too much space in my briefcase for me to replace my trusty old 12" PowerBook. The form factor is important enough to me that I will continue to lug my old brick around until Apple figures out that not all of its customers willing to pay top dollar are tech geeks, filmmakers, or design professionals.

By volume, this new thing is a lot smaller than your 12", maybe half the volume, so you should be able to pack more into your briefcase with the new replacement.
post #25 of 107
What will be interesting is for someone to get the hands on one, take it home and then open it up. The screws seem to be well placed, so it may be possible to open it up and replace the battery, even if it is not officiall tagged 'user servicable'. This is not an iPod style design, where you have to work out what magic is needed to open up the case.
post #26 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by frlarsen View Post

When is Apple going to figure out that elegant design does not need to take up so much real estate?

In order for this laptop to be adopted by a broad base of business users, the form factor should be about 1" smaller in both length and width. (A true sub laptop should be not much larger than a stack of 8 1/2 x 11 paper.) Should that mean shrinking the screen by half an inch, so be it, although I note that there is plenty of metal framing both the screen and the keyboard that looks wasted to me.


I was thinking the exact same thing the first time I saw it. Apple goes through all the trouble and expense to make it the thinnest thing around, but then they go and put a bezel around the screen's that's pretty wide and takes up too much room. Whaaa?

Sure, the laptop's only .76" thick, but the 12.8" x 9" footprint isn't all that small. In fact, the footprint's a hair larger than the REGULAR MacBook's footprint!

regular MacBook: 1.08 x 12.78 x 8.92 inches
MacBook Air: 0.16 to 0.76 x 12.8 x 8.94 inches


That said, I still like the MBA (ooh, nifty new acronym). And it's so very Apple... brilliant in some ways, but with the mandatory head-scratching design choice/flaw or two.

The price is a bit better than I expected though, at least for the hard drive model. It'll sell. Though, with that footprint, is it really a true subnotebook, or is it something else?

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post #27 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Sure, the laptop's only .76" thick, but the 12.8" x 9" footprint isn't all that small. In fact, the footprint's a hair larger than the REGULAR MacBook's footprint!

regular MacBook: 1.08 x 12.78 x 8.92 inches
MacBook Air: 0.16 to 0.76 x 12.8 x 8.94 inches

I was right about MBAir being half the volume -

PowerBook G4 - 1.18" H x 10.9" W x 8.6" ~ 111 in^3
MB - 103 in^3
MBAir - 53 in^2
post #28 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I was right about MBAir being half the volume -

PowerBook G4 - 1.18" H x 10.9" W x 8.6" ~ 111 in^3
MB - 103 in^3
MBAir - 53 in^2


I think ppl are fine with the volume. It's the footprint that may be disappointing to some, who were hoping for a true subnotebook. \

It's kind of like the RAZR cellphone, when it first came out back in 2004... everyone cooed about how thin it was, kind of overlooking the fact that it was actually pretty wide and tall.

I myself don't care too much... I think the MBA looks cool.

.
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post #29 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

By volume, this new thing is a lot smaller than your 12", maybe half the volume, so you should be able to pack more into your briefcase with the new replacement.

And you won't even need a dedicated laptop case for it
post #30 of 107
I work in television... I agree that this could be great for traveling but my serious drawbacks are:

-HD 80GB is bare minimum and could pass but 5400rpm? Ugh... Slow!
-Only 1 USB port / no mini firewire
-processor sounds unimpressive (but ill wait on the tests)

I know a lot of people could use an SD slot but I carry a USB with me everywhere anyway.

I really wanted a redesign on the Pros that would make them lighter and smaller so they're even more portable. I'll need to make a descision within the next couple months so NO LUCK for me! lol
post #31 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

I think ppl are fine with the volume. It's the footprint that may be disappointing to some, who were hoping for a true subnotebook. \

It's kind of like the RAZR cellphone, when it first came out back in 2004... everyone cooed about how thin it was, kind of overlooking the fact that it was actually pretty wide and tall.

I myself don't care too much... I think the MBA looks cool.

I think it's a fine trade-off though, in both cases, I think it makes it more useable by keeping it a little more comfortable to use and with the RAZR, more comfortable to fit into a pocket, MBAir, easier to slip into a case, easier to carry, etc.
post #32 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by allmypeople View Post

I work in television... I agree that this could be great for traveling but my serious drawbacks are:

-HD 80GB is bare minimum and could pass but 5400rpm? Ugh... Slow!
-Only 1 USB port / no mini firewire
-processor sounds unimpressive (but ill wait on the tests)

I know a lot of people could use an SD slot but I carry a USB with me everywhere anyway.

I really wanted a redesign on the Pros that would make them lighter and smaller so they're even more portable. I'll need to make a descision within the next couple months so NO LUCK for me! lol

This is not really targeted to the same market as the MacBook Pros. Its also more of a second computer, than a main computer. This works in an environment where you do your main work at home and then you take the portable with you to do lightweight work and maybe even a presentation or two. Think of this as the bare essentials for doing work on the move.

The SSD is likely to be faster than the HD, but it is a compromise for those who want it.

As for the screen, I believe this is probably a compromise between small and easily viewable. Also, what's the point of a smaller screen if your essential hardware is still occuping the same area?

It is also possible that the experience that Apple has gained in developing this portable may make its way into the next generation of MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Of course, the addition of good video cards, processors and other stuff people want in "portable desktops" just aren't easy to get into a small package.
post #33 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think it's a fine trade-off though, in both cases, I think it makes it more useable by keeping it a little more comfortable to use and with the RAZR, more comfortable to fit into a pocket, MBAir, easier to slip into a case, easier to carry, etc.


I would disagree in the case of the RAZR. It's wide enough that its actually difficult to use to one-handed for a lot of ppl.

The MBA... who knows. It doesn't seem to be a true subnotebook, more like a really cool, forward-looking MacBook (a next-gen MB, kinda sorta). Even so, it'd be nice if it had a skinnier bezel and smaller footprint.

I would like to see the styling cues move to the rest of the lineup, though. "Iz nize".

.
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post #34 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

This is not really targeted to the same market as the MacBook Pros. Its also more of a second computer, than a main computer. This works in an environment where you do your main work at home and then you take the portable with you to do lightweight work and maybe even a presentation or two. Think of this as the bare essentials for doing work on the move.

I understand it's a different market...It's the bare essentials of doing work on the move if you only use MSWord. I guess I'm just disappointed that: a) it doesn't have more juice and b) no PRO update

Historically, does anyone know when Apple has released new laptops? Is it usually only at Macworld?
post #35 of 107
I agree TBaggins, Apples designs seem to start with one product, then move out to the rest of their products as time goes. To bad it's not a great big ol iPhone though. Just kidding...
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post #36 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

The monkey who is taking those photos needs a few lessons on photography. I've noticed the exact same crap being thrown at the AI readers on every article featuring "up-close" photos. You can see fine details in a narrow area and everything else is blurred. Amateur.

You got to cut him some slack. It is not like he had it at home or in a place with people. He would have to pull out a tripod for a shot like that and in that kinda place with people all around... good luck.

http://images.appleinsider.com/kindle-unbox-11.jpg

The lighting could use some work but hey, I haven't built my macro photo light box yet. So not on "every" article.
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post #37 of 107
Apple also provides both an ethernet adapter and a modem adapter that connects to a usb port. These sell for $29 and $49 respectively. Might be a great option for those few times that you may need to "plug in"

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...1TiS5CH/2.?p=0
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post #38 of 107
Will it work with the standard Magsafe power adapter used in other Macbooks?

Is the hard drive 1.8 in. or 2.5?

Did Apple really have to create yet another proprietary variation of a DVI connector?
post #39 of 107
There can be no doubt that the MacBook Air is a gorgeous and desirable addition to the Mac range. While I welcome its technical innovation, clever packaging and attractive design, I was very disappointed that the rest of the Mac laptop range was not updated. I am not convinced the the MBA can be an everyday laptop, although I will willingly eat my words once I've played with it and discovered that it has as much functionality as a regular MacBook.

The MacBook Pros as they are remain very good-looking superior machines, but the technology to slim them down and cut excess weight has existed for some time. Personally, I was hoping to see a 15" MBP with DVD drive weighing in at about 4 and a bit pounds to make an appearance. Looks like I may have to wait a bit longer. In the meantime, is the MBA a viable alternative to the black polycarbonate MB? Quite possibly. I'll have to see it in the flesh before passing any kind of real judgement.
post #40 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

The monkey who is taking those photos needs a few lessons on photography. I've noticed the exact same crap being thrown at the AI readers on every article featuring "up-close" photos. You can see fine details in a narrow area and everything else is blurred. Amateur.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TranceMist View Post

Thanks for the photos, but you need some basic work on DoF with your camera.

Use a higher aperture/longer exposure time and you'll get better DoF, especially on some of those close-up keyboard shots.

Two things to think about:

1.) Maybe shallow DOF was used because it looks cool.

2.) Maybe using smaller aperture and longer exposure would require a tripod and getting one of those out in the middle of a crowded floor at MacWorld isn't an option.
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