Apple CEO Steve Jobs talked about a lot of cool stuff today. The company has breathed new life into iLife, brought FaceTime to the Mac and launched an App Store for Macs. However, there was just 'one more thing,' and it was the thing everyone was waiting for. Apple today uncovered two brand new, super-skinny MacBook Airs.
Available today in 13.3-inch and 11.6-inch variations, Apple is describing these MacBook Airs as a mash-up between the MacBook and the iPad. Jobs said they wanted to take the battery life, instant on, and portability of the iPad and bring that to the MacBook Air. The result is a laptop that measures 0.68 inches at its thickest point and then tapers down to 0.11 inches at the front. It packs a 13.3-inch LED backlit display (1440x900 resolution), Core 2 Duo CPU, GeForce 320M graphics, a full sized keyboard, up to 256GB of SSD storage, 2GB of RAM and a multitouch glass trackpad. There's no optical drive and no HDD. The specs for the 11.6-inch version of much the same, except the storage limit is half the size: users have a choice of either 64GB or 128GB. The Battery for the 13.3-inch is 7 hours, while the smaller 11.6-inch model is 5 hours. Both have a standby period of 30 hours.
Probably the biggest disappointment is the omission of Intel's Core i-series processors. While it seems completely short-sighted to have not included them, there's a few likely reasons for their absence. First is heat, and second is battery life. Another reason could have been space. Apple simply may not have had room for the Intel chipset as well as the Nvidia GPU. By opting for Core 2 Duo, Apple can make better use of space because they can fit in a chipset with an integrated GPU, something that is currently not available for the Core i-series due to licensing issues between Intel and Nvidia. This was the reason Steve Jobs gave for the 13-inch MacBook Pro's lower power processor, and while it's a hard excuse to swallow in that instance, the amount of batteries in the MacBook Air would make for a very plausible excuse.
Pricing for the device is surprisingly low. It starts at $999 for the 64GB 11.6-inch model and goes up to $1599 for the 256GB 13.3-inch model. One wonders if Apple is worried that the low price of the base model will impact sales of the $999 white MacBook. Still, those are the new MacBook Airs. As we mentioned earlier, this are already available. If you want to read more about OS X Lion, iLife and FaceTime for Mac, check out our handy-dandy live blog here.