At the Apple keynote address in October this year, Steve Jobs jokingly asked the audience, “What would happen if a Macbook and an iPad hooked up?” But he wasn’t kidding then as he later unveiled the new range of Macbook Air laptops – they truly are the ‘next generation of Macbooks’. With the addition of 11 and 13-inch notebooks to the Macbook Air range, Apple is clearly sending a message - that the future of laptops are devices which are ultra light, ultra portable and ultra performers – all without the help of an optical drive. We tell you why the Air might be a worth considering – whether you swear by Macs or PCs.
For the Macbook user
If you’re an Apple loyalist, you’ll love it, though you might think that the Air would be a downgrade from the Pro. The folks at Cupertino have a different take on the subject though – they feel that the Air is the notebook of the future. The Pro has been marketed as a complete solution – a notebook to take care of your work and personal needs. So let’s see how the Air matches up to it. We got hands-on with the 11.6-inch version.
When you first lay your eyes on the Air, you’ll wonder if it can really pack in everything that the thicker and larger Pro has to offer. The 11.6-inch Air weighs just 2.3 pounds, and we found it really easy to carry around. It’s also incredibly thin - measuring just 0.68 inches at its thickest point and 0.11-inches at its thinnest. Its 13.3-inch big brother isn’t so big either – weighing just 2.9 pounds and measuring the same in thickness.
We’re used to the sturdy build of the Pro, so we naturally wondered about the Air being flimsy. But the Air too is constructed from a single piece of aluminium, just like the Pro, and is equally resistant to bumps and falls.
If you’re used to the Pro, you may think that a 11.6-inch notebook might be a compromise on functionality, but we found that the Air incorporates a full size keyboard and trackpad. The trackpad supports a variety of multi-touch gestures, which we explored in detail in our Apple Magic Trackpad review.
Inside, the software isn’t very different from what you get on a Pro. It’s powered by a 1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics. The 13-inch is slightly more powerful, with a 1.86 GHz processor. We had multiple windows open – a few Safari browser tabs, iPhoto, iTunes, TextEdit and QuickTime, and all the applications ran smoothly.
The screen is LED backlit, and at 1366x768 pixels, its high def. Apple promises 5 hours of battery life, and the Air didn’t let us down when it came to that.
Other features that the Air has to offer is a FaceTime camera and the new suite of iLife applications.