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.
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.
Dig further into the box and you'll find power connectors, a quick start guide, and product information leaflet.
The lid of the Air is unchanged, with bare aluminum and the Apple logo in the center.
On the left of the Air, you'll find the new MagSafe connection, USB 3.0 port, and headphone jack.