back to article Apple rolls out two new MacBook Air models

"What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?", Steve Jobs asked his "Back to the Mac" audience today, and answered his own question with the release of two new versions of the MacBook Air, available today starting at $999. The new duo includes a 13.3-inch, 2.9-pound version, the same display size as the MacBook Air …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Big Fucking Whoop


    1. maclovinz
      Thumb Up


      Yet, you spend the time to (I hope) read the story...AND comment on it!

      Thumbs up...for being THAT guy.

  2. Bob 18


    A yes, the new smaller MacBook Air is Apple's long-awaited netbook. According to the iPad intro talk, such a devices is good for nothing.

    This was expected...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      How do you figure it's a netbook?

      Almost every computer manufacturer makes a distinction between netbooks and ultraportable laptops.

      Due to licensing restrictions from Intel and Microsoft, "netbooks" almost invariably have Atom CPUs, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drives, 10" low res screens, etc.

      The small MacBook air is clearly an ultraportable laptop and I think you will be hard pressed to find anybody calling it a netbook outside of a few uninformed haters.

  3. Smudge@mcr

    Lagacy already...

    Just had a look on the Apple site and supprised they have included USB 2.0 sockets on the new Air.

    Thought they might have put USB 3 on their 'new' 'magical' product.

    1. Bear Features


      Why are you surprised? It takes them forever to use what the rest of the world has. Then when they have it, fanbois think they're the first, bless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Surprised

        Just remind us who was the first company to make USB the only means of connecting periferals to their computers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not surprising

      Being as there is no chipset level support for USB3 for Intel CPUs yet. Apple would of had to include a third party USB controller which I'm guessing they'd be loathe to do.

  4. Symbarowski

    Now Fanbois can have netbooks too!

    "We're not tremendously worried. As we look at the netbook category, that's a nascent category. As best as we can tell, there's not a lot of them being sold."

    Um looks like a netbook to me steve.

    1. Volker Hett

      Let's see

      compared to my Asus EeePC 901:

      Single core Atom vs, C2D

      Intel GMA 950 vs. Nvidia 320

      1GB RAM vs 2 GB RAM

      optional 2GB RAM vs. optional 4GB RAM

      Slow 4GB and even slower 16GB SSD vs 64GB SSD

      1024x600 vs 1336x768

      300 Euros vs 1000 Euros

      But they have 5h battery life in common.

      I'd call that a subnotebook.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        What, compared to your two / three year old netbook?

        Times move on. My girlfriend's HP cost £280 vs £850 for the macbook.

        It has:

        1.3 GHZ C2D vs 1.4GHz C2D

        250GB 7200rpm HD vs 64GB of solid state storage (of unknown performance)

        Intel 4500 vs Nvidia (both do basic gaming, bluray accelerated playback)

        3GB vs 2GB

        optional 5GB vs optional 4GB

        1366x768 vs 1366x768

        £280 vs £850

        Both have 5hr battery lives

        I've spent £90 on a Sandforce 60GB SSD that will wipe the floor of whatever is in the air, so £370 vs £850.

        The worst thing about this announcement is memories of Saint Steve slagging off the Vaio TZ two years ago ... only to release a laptop two years later based on the exact same parts and screen size (but with a lower battery life, well done).

        1. Wibble

          HP = minger

          You forgot to add:

          Minging looks vs gorgeous modern design

          Plastic vs metal

          3cm thick vs 1.7 cm (appearing much thinner towards the front).

          Windows vs OSX

          Some people WANT to have nice things; others go for price.

          1. Chris Thomas Alpha
            Thumb Up

            @wibble: you forgot to add

            that in 6 months that 5 hour battery life on the HP will be about 45 minutes tops, just like the HP laptop and the dell laptop and every other PC based laptop.

            the battery in the apple on the other hand and 2 years from now will have 5 hours. Just like the staying power my macbook does (although my macbook has 3 hours, not 5)

            thats the difference between cheap battery design and expensive battery design

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Jobs Horns


              Tell that to my 18 month old 17 inch macbook, which is showing battery health of 45% and a run time of around 1.5 hours.

              Obviously, I know this is only an anecdote, but my last macbook was subject to a battery recall, so I'm a little sceptical of your statement about expensive battery design.

            2. jason 7

              Not really.

              Been pushing my 13" Dell 13Z with 8 cell 8 hour battery hard for the past 12 months and still getting around 7 hours.

              You doth protest too much.

            3. maclovinz
              Thumb Up


              And, it's also the difference between cheap people and ones that will gladly fork over the extra dosh for quality.

          2. John Hughes

            1.7cm thick?

            Yes, the macbook air is grotesquely thick and heavy.

            Have you ever seen a Sony Vaio X series? No feeble "tapering towards the front" to fool you about how "thin" it is.

  5. Ammaross Danan

    Just wait

    Just wait until the MLC flash has a chip-level error or the like. Sucks that you won't be able to replace the "drive" (or upgrade the capacity for that matter). These look like fairly nice machines for the semi-premium however. If I ever need a laptop-that-feels-like-a-clipboard, might be a consideration. Perhaps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Any chip can fail

      Hard drives are built to handle some bad sectors and SSD controllers can handle flash cell failures. It will suck if anything breaks in one of these new MacBook AIrs breaks since they are so integrated but that's the price you pay for something with these dimensions and specifications.

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      Planned obsolescence

      Heh, there's the battery too.

      They want you to buy a new machine in 2 years, perhaps

      But... frankly.... don't we all kind of long to change our machines every 2 or so years anyhow?

      1. jubtastic1

        ~$120 for a new battery.

        Or less if you can wield a screwdriver and are happy with aftermarket replacements.

      2. flameresistant

        You need to read about Apple's battery technology

        The batteries in Apple's latest notebooks are good for 1,000 full cycles unlike the ~300 of their predecessors and those found in most Windows machines. This is because of the sophisticated charging circuitry and the specially developed battery chemistry. After nearly a year of daily use, my cycle count is ~190 cycles. So if it was an old style battery, you would be right. I would need a new one next year but, the way its going, I reckon I'll get four years out of it easily.

        In any case, you don't need to buy a new machine if the battery fails, you can get it replaced by Apple or as someone else said do it yourself. I know people who have had their older style battery replaced under AppleCare within 3 years of owning one because it didn't achieve the predicted 300 or so cycles.

        I don't think Apple are worse than other manufacturers with regard to obsolescence. If anything they are better. My previous Mac lasted me over five years and several major OS upgrades. The Windows box I had five years ago wouldn't have a prayer of running Windows 7 effectively and was creaking at the seams with XP.

        1. Chris Thomas Alpha

          mine gets....

          about 2.5 to 3 hours of use out of it, it's 437 cycles in it's recharge history, has stated capacity of about 80% and it's 1.5 years old.

          yeah macbooks are more expensive, but you are paying for something that cheap HP can't give you. Thats why I became a "fan" but not "fanboi"

    3. jubtastic1


      It's clear from the video that the Flash is on a plug in daughter-card, hence different capacities offered.

    4. Volker Hett


      In one picture one could clearly see the board they use for their SSD, it has a connector like the one I have in my EeePC 901.

  6. Ian Ferguson

    Lovely, but...

    1. No 3G? I barely use my laptop for anything but net browsing, and most of that through 3G. Why no built in 3G modem?

    2. $999 for a netbook? Hahahahahaha*plonk*

    1. Scott Mckenzie

      Hahahahaha indeed.

      I mean, all those netbooks with OS X, Core 2 Duo processors, nVidia 320M graphics etc... i agree, we're so spoilt for choice it's untrue.

      As for built in 3G modem... it's called tethering, Apple want people to have iPhones tethered, tariffs are usually the same as a dedicated 3G card too so makes a lot of sense if you ask me. I junked my Vodafone datacard when i could tether using my iPhone - i always have the phone with me (unlike the datacard) and the tariff is £12 a month cheaper.....

      1. O

        re: ahahahha indeed

        C2D processors in these things are within weeks of being 2 generations out of date, 320M graphics are nothing to write home about, HDDs & batteries can't be removed without costly and lengthy RTMs .... oh, and there's still no fecking ethernet port.

        My sister has one of these. They're total and utter crap.

        1. Volker Hett

          320M ist better then Intels offerings

          at least it can play 1080p Videl :)

        2. Scott Mckenzie


          But a C2D may be nearly 2 generations out, but it's still significantly faster and far better at multi tasking than any Atom processor currently out there... I even forgot to mention the SSD hard drive, another hugely prevalent feature in every Netbook i've owned.

          As for HDD and battery, you've clearly not used one - my Macbook lasts well over 6 hours still... it's nearly 12 months old and still lasts as well as did when brand new, no other machine i've owned as done that well.

          Ethernet... wow, clutching a little now? I don't plug an ethernet cable in with the Macbook either, unless you're constantly moving massive files around a network - which would need to be Gigabit anyway - then Wireless-N 5GHz is way more than ample. Most people browse the web, download music, play films etc... for which a Wireless connection is way more than adequate. If you're in an environment when full speed of file movement across a LAN is necessary, maybe buy a different machine?

          Being a fanbois that I am though, i'm clearly blinkered in my views. Though i won't be buying an Air. There is no space for it in my requirements... they're already filled by the iMac, Mac Mini, Macbook Pro, iPhone 4 (x2) and iPad that myself and girlfriend own between us. (I forgot to mention the Dell Mini 9 as that isn't used anymore since getting the iPad, not even when Hackintoshed and upgraded with a 32Gb SSD was it redeemed)

      2. John Hughes

        Apple want...

        "As for built in 3G modem... it's called tethering, Apple want people to have iPhones tethered,"

        And we always do what Apple want, don't we.

    2. Dan 92

      just get the sony X series

      Thinner, lighter, longer batter life, larger drive and has 3G built in. Only downside is that it's slower and costs more.

    3. Philippe

      Re: Lovely but


      Please point me in the direction of those other "netbook" with 64 SSD, Core 2 Duo (no atom), 1,336-by-768 pixels and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics processor costing less than $999.



      thought so.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Ian - it's not an Asus Eee PC.

    I'm assuming you Hahahahahaha*plonk* at people in BMWs and Mercedes for spending so much on a car?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Down

      I do...

      Why on earth would anyone buy a beemer or merc is quite beyond me...

      If I had THAT much money to waste, I'd waste it on something better.

    2. Neill Mitchell


      The inevitable meaningless car analogy on the first page!

      Well done. It wouldn't be an Apple discussion without one.

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Lovely, but.

    > No 3G?

    Then you need a cell phone provider and a contract.

    Apple don't want to confuse potential iPhone / iPad buyers (ie they make more profit off you buying an iPhone/iPad)

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Except that...

      In the UK at least, tethering is banned by all the major providers.

      1. Jonathan White

        what title?

        Well done for putting up the most wrong post on ElReg today.

  9. Magnus Ramage

    UK pricing

    At £849 for the bottom-end model (I use the phrase comparatively - hardly bottom-end by other standards) with 64GB flash drive + 11.6 inch screen, going up to £1349 for the 13in screen with 256GB flash drive. Hardly netbook prices. Looks pretty nice, but a totally different market.

  10. Richard Scratcher
    Jobs Halo

    Six shooters?

    1) "Big Fucking Whoop"

    2) "Netbook"

    3) "Lagacy [sic] already"

    4) "Now Fanbois can have netbooks too!"

    5) "Just wait"

    6) "Lovely, but..."

    Yeah! What are Apple thinking? These new Macs will never sell! I mean who'd be mad enough to buy one?

    Dear Santa....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      who'd be mad enough to buy one?

      the iDiots

  11. John A Blackley


    all the way to the bank. Sneer all you like but the company makes a lot of money.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Big silence

    When Jobs revealed the prices, the audience was utterly silent. He had told them that it ewas aggressively priced, then POW! $999 for starters. SILENCE until a drone started the clapping. I'll stick with my 3 year old Macbook Steve. Thanks but no thanks.

  13. Piloti
    Jobs Horns


    .... for a netbook?

    Get an EEE machine, drop on kubuntu [KDE is fabulous right now....] and pocket the $600 difference on anything at all!!!


  14. xj25vm


    In all fairness, the screen size and lack of optical drive might make it similar to a netbook - but the CPU clearly doesn't. Any portable machine with a Core 2 Duo processor can't be a true netbook by any stretch of imagination.

    On the other hand:

    1. What's with the battery size and life - specially on the 11" machine? Samsung have had on the market for a while now netbooks stretching to a (theoretical) 13.5 hours battery life. Couldn't Apple muster something a bit further North? Maybe closer to 10 hours?

    2. What's with these Core 2 Duo processors in a brand new design? And not only at Apple. I am under the impression that the new ultra low power processors from Intel are i3 ULV and i5 ULV (all ending in 'UM'). Why am I not seeing any laptops with these in? They were launched in May. Any particular reason for this delay?

    See here for press release details:

    1. aThingOrTwo

      Intel licensing

      You can't use the Nvidia graphics with the intel i3 because of licensing restrictions.

      And the intel graphics are slower than the 9400M in the old MacBook Air, let alone the 320M. I'm also pretty sure (but not 100%) that intel's graphics don't support Open CL. Which is a problem for Apple.

      So Apple has two choices:

      [1] 10% drop in CPU for 2-3x graphics performance

      [2] 2-3x drop in graphics performance for a 10% CPU boost

      Technically they had a third choice which was to change the form factor of the Air to fit a discrete GPU. On balance it is probably still the right choice.


    2. flameresistant

      Battery Life

      "What's with the battery size and life - specially on the 11" machine?"

      Jobs referred to new. more realistic measurements of battery life so that you can expect to enjoy the figures they quote. Forget the precise terminology he used to describe them now.

      The 11" enclosure has less room in for battery cells than the 13" that's why there is a difference.

      I bet you would easily get a day's real world use out of both of them.

  15. uhuznaa


    compared to similar offerings from Dell, Sony, Acer etc. this thing is not especially expensive. Note that this is not an Atom-"powered" Netbook at all. It's a subnotebook and these never were really cheap.

    Still, I think the 13.3" version is a luxury compared to a 13" MBP. It's a bit lighter, a bit thinner and more expensive.

    The 11.6 Version is only about as expensive as a white plastic MB (the cheapest portable Mac) and I'm pretty sure that people will like it. Decent power, full-size keyboard, decent screen, *very* light, small and thin. I've been lugging around my MB quite a bit lately and cutting the weight in half surely would be tempting.

  16. jonathanb Silver badge

    Not a netbook

    With a core 2 duo and Nvidia graphics of some description this is an ultra portable rather than a netbook.

    Something like the Lenovo Ideapad U160 is a closer comparison, £549 for an i3 (faster) and Intel GMA graphics (much slower) or the Thinkpad X201 (12" screen so slightly bigger) i7 (much faster) Intel HD graphics (much slower) £1729.08.


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