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MacBook Air refresh announced, new 11-inch model


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macbookair2010-300x300.jpgSteve Jobs unveiled at the tail end of the "Back to the Mac" keynote an all-new line-up of MacBook Airs, featuring a familiar 13" model, and a new smaller borderline-netbook 11" model - the smallest Apple notebook ever produced.

 

The new MacBook Air models feature an even slimmer, lighter design, measuring just 0.68 inches (17mm) at its thickest point, and an incredible 0.11 inches (3mm) at its thinnest point. The 13" model weighs in at 2.9 pounds (1.32kg) and the 11" at just 2.3 pounds (1.06kg).

 

One of the major new features of the new MacBook Airs which Apple is hinting at doing across its entire MacBook range is the SSD implementation - gone is the standard 1.8" hard drive bay, and in place is an SSD solution that connects directly to the motherboard, saving valuable space. In fact, most of the space in the new MacBook Air is occupied by the battery components, which deliver 7 hours of "wireless productivity" (a new battery benchmark phrase coined by Apple to give realistic battery times) on the 13" model, and 5 hours of "wireless productivity" on the 11" model, and an impressive 30 days of standby time.

 

New to the MacBook Air is the nVidia GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM which is shared with the main system memory. RAM is now standard at 2GB, with an optional upgrade to 4GB. Frontside bus remains at 1066MHz for the 13", and the new 11" model has an 800MHz bus.

 

Ports remain largely the same with a minimalistic approach, albeit with 2 USB ports now as opposed to the previous solitary port. The headphone jack also supports the microphone on the Apple iPhone earphones, which may be handy for those of you that use Skype, iChat, etc.

 

The 13" screen is still LED but now sports a higher resolution of 1440x900, and the smaller 11" packs a still impressive resolution of 1366x768 which is a 16:9 aspect ratio, inline with the new 27" cinema display and current range of iMacs.

 

Sadly, the reduced size does mean that the backlit keyboard has been omitted from the new MacBook Air.

 

Pricing starts at just $999 for the base 11" MacBook Air which certainly makes it a more affordable option than its predecessor, and are available to order from the Apple Store now.

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Bizarre upgrade option restriction if you want the faster CPU option for both the 13" & 11" you have to take the more expensive versions with the larger flash drives. The CPU upgrade does not show for 11" 64GB or 13" 128GB models.

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