Latest Upgrade Keeps Apple MacBook Air Speedy, Ultraslim

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-03-16
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Latest Upgrade Keeps Apple MacBook Air Speedy, Ultraslim
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    Latest Upgrade Keeps Apple MacBook Air Speedy, Ultraslim

    By Don Reisinger
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    There is No Design Change This Time Around
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    There is No Design Change This Time Around

    Apple has decided not to change the MacBook Air's design. The notebook remains exceedingly thin at just 0.11 inches at its thinnest spot. At its thickest, the computer is just 0.68 inches. That will provide customers with the same mobility as previous models but add in some better functionality, thanks to improved components.
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    MacBook Air Competes With MacBook on Mobility
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    MacBook Air Competes With MacBook on Mobility

    One of the key factors in choosing between the MacBook Air and MacBook is mobility. The MacBook Air is technically thinner at its thinnest point, but the MacBook is the thinnest product all around, at just 0.52 inches at its thickest. In addition, the MacBook weighs just 2 pounds, compared with the MacBook Air's 2.4 to 2.96 pounds, depending on screen size. So while the MacBook Air was once easily the most portable Apple computer, it no longer is, thanks to the new MacBook.
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    MacBook Air Bookends the MacBook
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    MacBook Air Bookends the MacBook

    The MacBook is bookended by the MacBook Air. While the MacBook has a 12-inch screen, those who want choice should pick the MacBook Air. Apple's Air has an 11-inch screen and a 13-inch screen, giving customers the options they don't get in the standard MacBook. It's a nice option for those seeking more choices.
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    Battery Life Varies, Depending on the Option
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    Battery Life Varies, Depending on the Option

    The battery life built into the MacBook Air is still solid. According to Apple, the 11-inch model comes in at 9 hours of battery life on a single charge. The 13-inch model has a 12-hour battery life. That's no small feat, considering the new MacBook Air comes with improved specs that might use up more power.
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    Fifth-Generation Intel Core Processor
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    Fifth-Generation Intel Core Processor

    The biggest update to the MacBook Air is the fifth-generation Intel Core processor. Both models come with a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, but can be configured up to a 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 for an additional price. Both processors deliver solid performance and should handle most resource-intensive tasks.
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    Thunderbolt 2 Connectors Deliver Faster Data Transfers
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    Thunderbolt 2 Connectors Deliver Faster Data Transfers

    Apple has bundled Thunderbolt 2 in the MacBook Air. That's an important addition. While the original Thunderbolt port was fine for data transfer and handling video displays, Thunderbolt 2 is twice as fast. The computer also comes with USB 3 for added connectivity. Thunderbolt 2's addition will mean faster data transfer, better connectivity with displays, and more.
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    Flash Storage Is Twice as Fast, Apple Says
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    Flash Storage Is Twice as Fast, Apple Says

    The flash storage built into the MacBook Air is twice as fast as the previous generation, according to Apple. The technology behind flash storage allows it to be 17 times faster than a standard 5,400rpm notebook hard drive. Both versions come with 128GB to 256GB of storage, and the price varies, depending on the choice. Both models can be configured with up to 512GB of on-board storage.
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    MacBook Air Will Be Primed for Yosemite's Update
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    MacBook Air Will Be Primed for Yosemite's Update

    Each year, Apple launches a new update to OS X. This year, Apple is working on yet another update that will replace Yosemite. By going with the MacBook Air, customers will guarantee that their computers will work perfectly fine with the upcoming operating system. Look for OS X Yosemite's replacement to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference and launched in the fall.
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    The Experience Won't Be All That Different
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    The Experience Won't Be All That Different

    Those who own a MacBook Air that they've bought in the last year or two will not see too much of a difference between the new Apple lightweight notebook and the older model. Apple's new MacBook Air is certainly faster than its competitor, but that benefit will be seen most on resource-intensive tasks. For regular Web surfing, email and other standard activities, the experience won't be so different.
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    It's Hard to Beat the Price
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    It's Hard to Beat the Price

    It's hard to beat the price on Apple's MacBook Air. The cheapest 11-inch model starts at just $899 and rises to $1,099 for those who want 256GB of storage instead of 128GB. The 13-inch model, meanwhile, starts at $999 and goes up $200 to $1,199 for 256GB. Compared with other Macs, it's hard to beat the MacBook Air's price. The 13-inch MacBook Pro, for instance, starts at $1,299. Apple's new MacBook also starts at $1,299. Those looking to get into the Apple ecosystem on a notebook will find that it's much cheaper to do so with the MacBook Air.
 

Amid all the talk of Apple Watch and new MacBooks at Apple's March 9 press briefing, some might have missed the announcement that the company was delivering an updated MacBook Air. Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of marketing, announced that Apple had enhanced the MacBook Air's internal hardware specifications so it would remain competitive with the latest slim notebooks. Better yet, Schiller said that the computer would be available for purchase immediately so customers wouldn't need to wait to get their hands on the new models. Apple is not changing the notebook's external appearance. But the device remains one of the slimmest notebook designs on the market, at just 0.11 inches thick at its thinnest spot and 0.68 inches at its thickest. Internal enhancements will allow the MacBook Air to run faster with more efficient data storage retrieval. This eWEEK slide show provides more details about what prospective buyers will find in this latest MacBook Air update and why it's likely to remain one of the most popular ultra-lightweight notebooks on the market.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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