Unboxing the new 13-inch Apple MacBook Air

Published Date
15 - Jun - 2012
| Last Updated
15 - Jun - 2012
 
Unboxing the new 13-inch Apple MacBook Air

The entire MacBook lineup got a round of upgrades on Monday when Apple announced everything from the Retina display-equipped MacBook Pro to the upcoming Mountain Lion update of OS X. Those new MacBook Pros may change some ideas about laptops, but those of us who keep a close eye on ultrabo

The entire MacBook lineup got a round of upgrades on Monday when Apple announced everything from the Retina display-equipped MacBook Pro to the upcoming Mountain Lion update of OS X. Those new MacBook Pros may change some ideas about laptops, but those of us who keep a close eye on ultrabooks know that the MacBook Air has already done that, leading ahead of the slim-bodied laptops by years. Once we heard about the updates to the MacBook Air, we waited patiently for it to find its way into the PC Labs.

On the outside, the MacBook Air looks nearly identical to the previous iteration, and with good reason. Apple's designs have a lot of cachet among buyers and tech enthusiasts alike, and maintaining the sleek look and slim dimensions of the Air help the product to stand out in the crowded ultrabook category. Even among the dozen or so slim-bodied laptops—many of which ape Apple's designs with slavish attention to detail—the MacBook Air is quintessentially Apple. As a result, the only visible changes to the Air are a tweaked MagSafe power connector and a few shifted icons.

Inside, however, the Air has gotten a big boost. Intel's third-generation Core i5 2.8-GHz processor promises a bump up in performance and battery life, while the 128GB flash storage should only enhance the performance further. Intel's integrated graphics (Intel HD Graphics 4000) have already proven superior to the previous generation in terms of both aiding productive tasks and rendering low and mid-tier games.

Among the other enhancements and changes are a 720p Facetime HD camera, two USB 3.0 ports, and a Thunderbolt port. Those USB 3.0 ports are nice change, offering faster speeds even for those who can't or won't be shelling out the extra money for one of the few Thunderbolt-equipped accessories on the market, which retain all of the USB 2.0 compatibility of before. The black-keyed backlit chiclet keyboard and clickpad appear to be unchanged, but that's not a bad thing—both are among the best in the category.

Apple sells this configuration for $1,199 with free shipping through the Apple website. This is a drop in price from the previous iteration, which sold for $1,299. Also available is a $1,499 configuration, featuring an Intel Core i7 processor and larger 256GB SSD. 

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inchWhere to buy 63520 (Mid 2012): Box
The stark white packaging says Apple, but the razor-thin profile picture on the front is all MacBook Air.

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Open Box
Open the box and you're greeted by the silky smooth bare aluminum lid of the MacBook Air.

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Box Contents

Dig further into the box and you'll find power connectors, a quick start guide, and product information leaflet.

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inchWhere to buy 63520 (Mid 2012): Lid

The lid of the Air is unchanged, with bare aluminum and the Apple logo in the center.
 

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inchWhere to buy 63520 (Mid 2012): Ports Left

On the left of the Air, you'll find the new MagSafe connection, USB 3.0 port, and headphone jack.

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inchWhere to buy 63520 (Mid 2012): Ports Right
On the right, you've got an SD card reader, another USB 3.0 port, and a Thunderbolt port.
 
Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Open
Open it up, and you'll see that the black tile keyboard remains the same, as does Apple's best-in-breed glass-surfaced trackpad.
 
Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Profile
The dimensions of the Air appear to remain the same, so it's just as portable as ever.
 
Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Port Comparison (Right)
Compared to the previous iteration of the MacBook Air (top), the new Air keeps the same basic layout: card reader, USB, Thunderbolt. The USB port has been updated to USB 3.0, but you'll also see that the port identifier icons are placed to the left of the ports, rather than the right.

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Port Comparison (Left)
On the other side of the laptop, you'll see an similar sight, but you'll note that in addition to the icons on the right, the new MacBook Air (bottom) has a longer, narrower MagSafe connection along with USB 3.0. The headphone jack appears unchanged.

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Side by Side (Closed)
Placed side by side the new MacBook Air (right) appears to have an identical thickness to the previous version (left).

Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Side by Side (Open)
Opening the two MacBooks side by side, they still look identical.
 
Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2012): Webcam
You might not be able to tell just by looking at it, but the Air has gotten the new FaceTime HD webcam, which has 720p image quality.
 

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