Apple unveils new, instant-on MacBook Air: 'MacBook meets iPad'

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said Wednesday he and his company asked themselves "What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?" The result: two new MacBook Airs with screen sizes of 11.6 inches and 13.3 inches and instant-on capabilities, starting at just $999, and now available.

The new MacBook Air has no optical drive and no hard drive, which allows instant-on capabilities. The MacBook Air has memory up to two times faster that is more reliable and 90 percent smaller and lighter, Jobs said.

Both models have a forward-facing FaceTime camera, an Core 2 Duo processor, and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics.

The new 13-inch model gets 7 hours of battery life (done with "more stringent tests"), with 30 days of standby time. The new MacBook Air has a full-size keyboard and a full-size glass trackpad as well. The 13.3-inch display is 1440-by-900 pixels, and the model weighs just 2.9 pounds.

The larger model starts at $1,299 for 128GB of storage with a 1.86GHZ processor. Doubling the storage to 256GB is $1,599.

The 11-inch model has a display resolution of 1366x768 pixels. It's just as thin, but is even lighter, at just 2.3 pounds.

The low-end model has a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 64GB of storage for $999. a higher-end model with 128GB inside costs $1,199.

Memory, rather than being enclosed in a solid state drive, are directly on the motherboard, allowing Apple to save space within the notebook. Jobs showed the inside of the MacBook Air, demonstrating that most of the space inside is used for the batteries.

"MacBook Air is the first of a new generation of notebooks that leaves behind mechanical rotating storage in favor of solid state flash storage," said Steve Jobs, Apple?s CEO. "We?ve taken what we have learned with the iPad?solid state storage, instant-on, amazing battery standby time, miniaturization and lightweight construction, to create the new MacBook Air. With its amazing responsiveness and mobility, it will change the way we think about notebooks."


The new MacBook Air measures an incredibly thin 0.11-inches at its thinnest point and 0.68-inches at its thickest, and weighs just 2.3 pounds for the 11-inch model and 2.9 pounds for the 13-inch. Like iPad, MacBook Air was designed from the ground up to use flash storage exclusively.

Apple?s custom-designed flash storage is 90 percent smaller and lighter than a conventional notebook hard drive, contributing to MacBook Air?s mobile, featherweight design. MacBook Air?s flash storage also provides faster data access and is more reliable than notebook hard drives due to its solid state design.

MacBook Air features a full-sized keyboard for typing comfort and productivity, as well as the highly acclaimed glass Multi-Touch trackpad found on Apple?s MacBook Pro, so you can scroll through web sites, flip through photos, and resize or rotate images all from the trackpad. The built-in FaceTime camera, mic and stereo speakers are perfect for video calls with iPhone 4, iPod touch and other Macs.


Flash storage combined with power-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo processors and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics delivers an ideal balance of mobility, battery life and performance.

MacBook Air features an 11.6-inch or 13.3-inch high-resolution LED-backlit display and Mini DisplayPort to connect your 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display, projector or HD TV. It also has 802.11n Wi-Fi networking.

MacBook Air includes Bluetooth 2.1+EDR for wireless peripherals and two USB ports. The 13-inch MacBook Air also includes an SD card slot.

Full specs:

Size and weight

Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)

Width: 11.8 inches (29.95 cm)

Depth: 7.56 inches (19.2 cm)

Weight: 2.3 pounds (1.06 kg)

Processor and memory

1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache; or optional 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache

800MHz frontside bus

2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM onboard (4GB maximum)





11.6-inch (diagonal) high-resolution LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors

Supported resolutions: 1366 by 768 (native), 1344 by 756, 1280 by 720, 1024 by 576 pixels at 16:9 aspect ratio; 1152 by 720, 1024 by 640, and 800 by 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 by 768, 800 by 600, and 640 by 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 by 480 pixels at 3:2 aspect ratio

Graphics and video support

Mini DisplayPort

Pure digital video output

DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (sold separately)

VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (sold separately)

Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately)

HDMI output using a third-party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (sold separately)

NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory

Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

FaceTime camera

Keyboard and trackpad

Full-size keyboard with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys (inverted ?T? arrangement)

Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities

Peripheral connections

USB 2.0

Mini DisplayPort


USB 2.0




Stereo speakers

Omnidirectional microphone

Headphone minijack

Support for Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic


AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking4 (based on IEEE 802.11n specification); IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible

Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology

Apple USB Ethernet Adapter (sold separately)

Battery and power

Built-in 35-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

45W MagSafe power adapter with cable management system

MagSafe power port


The MacBook Air is the latest Mac notebook to achieve EPEAT Gold status and meet Energy Star 5.0 requirements. Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.

Apple uses advanced chemistry and Adaptive Charging technology to create a MacBook Air battery that delivers up to seven hours of wireless productivity on a single charge and up to 1,000 recharges. The built-in battery design results in less waste, and depleted MacBook Air batteries can be replaced for $129, which includes installation and disposal of your old battery in an environmentally responsible manner.


Every Mac comes with Mac OS® X Snow Leopard and the new iLife 11. The updated software suite features iPhoto with full screen views for browsing, editing and sharing photos; iMovie with powerful easy-to-use tools to transform home videos into fun theatrical trailers; and GarageBand with new ways to improve your playing and create great sounding songs.

Pricing & Availability

The 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air are immediately available through the Apple Store at, Apple?s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The 1.4 GHz 11-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $999 (US) with a 128GB model for $1,199 (US).

The 1.86 GHz 13-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US) with a 256GB model for $1,599 (US).

Configure-to-order options and accessories include faster processors, 4GB of memory, MacBook Air SuperDrive and a USB Ethernet Adapter.


  • Reply 1 of 359
    Looks slick for those who whine about an iPad being limited.

    I'll take the regular MacBook Pro.
  • Reply 2 of 359

    (Underpowered, little memory, low battery life.....)
  • Reply 3 of 359
    lacking a touch screen for one....
  • Reply 4 of 359
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    (Underpowered, little memory, low battery life.....)

    you forgot 'flash' ;-)
  • Reply 5 of 359
    irelandireland Posts: 17,798member
    I was right about it being more about standby-time than startup time.
  • Reply 6 of 359
    strobestrobe Posts: 369member
    You forgot more than twice as spendy as everyone else's
  • Reply 7 of 359
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    True to my word, I will pull the trigger on a sub-notebook with normal size keyboard from Apple. The 11.6" looks like a winner.
  • Reply 8 of 359
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    Totally F'ing WANT...

    The only thing i wish they would address, is the ability to sync or at least view files (Primarily via iTunes) back to your primary device. Like a home networking iTunes. I would really like to see something like this in the next iTunes release that would, even more, enhance the experience of a mobile device. Because this MBA is not really meant to be the primary device, just an accessory to your home network, IMO.

    The other issue i'm having with the Mac App store is that it's not available for PC, and it doesn't seem to sync with Apps you have one your phone/pad/touch??? Anyone know if this is just not available or is it something they haven't mentioned due to limited demo time for the Keynote?
  • Reply 9 of 359
    I'm mad. No SQUID interface.
  • Reply 10 of 359
    Can the RAM be upgraded? needs 4GB atleast. Willing to pay.
  • Reply 11 of 359
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    The "SSD" on these things is actually integrated into the motherboard.

    So that means in 6-9 months when the new fabs, for the die shrink on flash chips, are in full production, and you get twice the SSD storage for the same price you are paying today, you can't upgrade this machine. It is another case of Apple being more concerned about making something thinner without regard to the practical disadvantages that result.

    They look great but I can't see buying one with such limited upgrade options for storage down the road.

  • Reply 12 of 359
    This is probably the lamest thing I ve said but I am finally going to retire my pbook 12 and (that's the lame bit)...

    I think I m in love with this new air.

    How long till the UK store shows these products as available.
  • Reply 13 of 359
    Wait... did I misunderstand, or does it now top out at 1.86 GHz? What happened to the existing 2.13? They made it *slower*?!

    I was really hoping for a ULV i5 or i7, but that was probably too much to hope, given the Intel / NVIDIA fiasco.
  • Reply 14 of 359
    hattighattig Posts: 860member
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    (Underpowered, little memory, low battery life.....)

    It's clearly an ultra-portable. A 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo makes an Atom cry out of shame.

    The 2GB thing though, that's a pity.

    2USB, SD, headphone, mini DP, MagSafe - at least the ports are reasonable this time.
  • Reply 15 of 359
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,757member
    Looks nice, but I agree with mdriftmeyer, my next Mac will be another MBP....or an iMac if my wife gets her way.
  • Reply 16 of 359
    Undeniable ... freaking beautiful design, technically and aesthetically.

    Aggressive pricing but most people are going to opt for more storage and so they probably won't sell many at the low entry point pricing.

    Funny part is that I'll probably still opt for a new MacBook Pro on my next laptop, since I want the extra power/options.
  • Reply 17 of 359
    OMG ... the new MacBook Air .. is thinner than a piece of PAPER!!

    How in the world ... !!

    What will they do next ??

    What CAN they do next ??

    What is LEFT to do ??

  • Reply 18 of 359
    well, macbook air is not my taste, and lack of power I need. so it was a long time ago I've never interested in it. so whatever they announced today, it's not for me. but it looks even thinner than previous model. beautiful. nowadays, what do you with 64, 128GB HDD? no optical drive nothing? totally useless.

    by the way, it's very funny that Steve Jobs was never interested in producing netbook kind of thing. now, they made it. why? I think ipad is enough. why did they made 11.6 inch macbook air? why? I don't get it. as you know, the price is still expensive with that spec. I pass it. no interest.
  • Reply 19 of 359
    Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

    The 2GB thing though, that's a pity.

    2GB, where are you getting that? That was the other problem with the current Air.
  • Reply 20 of 359
    Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post doesn't seem to sync with Apps you have one your phone/pad/touch??? Anyone know if this is just not available or is it something they haven't mentioned due to limited demo time for the Keynote?

    iOS and OS/X aren't compatible (yet). So iOS apps won't run on OS/X. And they expose a touch interface, not a mouse interface. While it should be technically possible to accomplish by the time Lion comes out (you can run iOS apps in the development simulator after all), I don't see how it will work well.
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