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Apple: 2010 MacBook Air 11.6-inch is the ultra-slim geting better and more desirable

The brand-new MacBook Air range retains its slim size with the premium features, but takes out most of the limitations from the older iteration


So finally, the rumors and assumptions have come to an end, and the rumor-mills have surely won. Yes, the “Back to the Mac” event held by the Cupertino Company with a fruit name on the October 20th saw something else apart from what the event was actually supposed to be-the launch of a vastly refreshed line-up of the MacBook Air. The event, which Apple officials had announced pointing to a new Mac OS X version, witnessed the introduction of a new 11.6-inch version of the ultra-slim notebook apart from a fresh replacement for the previous generation 13.3-inch model.

The 11.6.6-inch vs the 13.3-inch Air

The Apple MacBook Air range now gets major hardware upgrades, some of which we will detail now:

As we mentioned, the newer model gets an 11.6-inch screen which maxes out at a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. This was a pleasant surprise because most people would have been waiting for the replacement model of the original MacBook Air 13.3-inch model released along with and has a maximum resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels part from featuring a 16:10 aspect ratio, unlike the 11.6-inch one which gets a 16:9 one.

Talking of the powerhouse, both models are propelled by Intel Core 2 Duo processors, which for many might sound as a disappointment. You get to choose amongst 1.4GHz or 1.6GHz options for the 11.6.6-inch Air and options of 1.86GHz or 2.13GHz CPUs for the 13-inch model. Apple is sticking to NVIDIA’s GeForce 320M for discrete graphics, which is as outdated as the CPUs. In addition, the Air line-up gets 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 RAM as standard, and another $100 can fetch you 2GB more. Storage is provided courtesy a 64GB or 128GB enhanced NAND flash option for the smaller model and 128GB or 256GB for the larger one. What’s more, Apple claims a good 7 hours of battery life for the larger model and 5 hours for the smaller one even with your Wi-Fi on.


You get the same old streamlined aluminum unibody with both the models, but as is with Apple machines, these ones scream quality too. A full unibody aluminum casing is what you get to lay your hands on with measurements of 11.8 x 7.56 inches for the 11.6-inch model, and 12.8 x 8.94 inches for the bigger sibling. Both models are equally thick, measuring 0.11-0.68 inches with the device slimming down from the rear to the front. You get a full-sized keyboard for both the Air models, although a function key row is added to the 13-inch model. Sadly, backlighting still doesn’t find a place in this Apple notebook. But yes, you do get a multitouch trackpad on both models, which is a pleasure to use with the Mac OS X’s multi-touch gestures.


After facing a lot of criticism for the addition of an inadequate number of ports in the first generation model, Apple seems to have got it right this time by loading the MacBook Air with loads of them. Both models get a MagSafe power port, USB 2.0 port, headphone jack and microphone on the left and a USB 2.0 and Mini DisplayPort on the right. However, the elder sibling also gets an SD card reader in addition to all this. A “FaceTime camera”, which is Apple’s proprietary webcam, is also integrated to the display and comes standard to both models.

Although, the MacBook Air gets WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR as standard, an integrated 3G module is not even provided as an option - probably one of the biggest letdowns on the device. Moreover, keeping in mind the ultra-slim size restrictions, Apple had to manufacture the Air in a way that it will be tough to upgrade the hardware.

Nonetheless, the Apple MacBook Air now packs in more punch than its previous-generation model and is even more desirable. With prices starting from upwards of $999, the 2010 MacBook Air range is surely beautiful and is a classy piece of art; but is definitely solid too.


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2010-10-27 (Update: 2012-05-26)