Apple Updates the MacBook Air

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Apple announced today that it is breathing new life into the MacBook Air—and that new life means extra battery power and extra processing chops for consumers who are on the fence about buying a new MacBook Air. Not enough incentive? Apple also announced a $100 price drop, as well.

The processor on the base model of the 11.6" and 13.3" MacBook Air has been upgraded to a 4th-generation 1.4GHz Intel® Core™ i5 Haswell processor with a 3MB shared L3 cache. These can be clocked, with Turbo Boost, to 2.7GHz. The base models can also be configured up to a 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 model with a 4MB shared cache, which can be over-clocked to 3.3GHz.

The new Haswell processors bring extended battery life to the fresh Air. Apple claims that the 11.6" MacBook Air will see 9 hours of battery life and 30 days of standby time, and the 13.3" MacBook air will see a prodigious 12 hours of battery life and 30 days of standby time. Actual times may vary according to individual usage, software configuration, and other factors but, even so, the improved battery life points to an all-day notebook, and all day from a power source is a significant advantage for business travelers and power users.

Both the 11.6" and 13.3" MacBook Air will be available in storage configurations of 128GB, 256GB or a custom-configurable 512GB of PCI-e flash-based storage.

Stock models will also include 4GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory, but can be configured with up to 8GB.

Why the slight boost in processor power? Industry analysts say that prices on similarly configured notebooks from other manufacturers are edging into the market and dipping into Apple’s MacBook Air marketshare. Also on the horizon are new Intel Broadwell chips, which use a 14nm architecture, as opposed to the current Haswell 22nm architecture, and that means improved processing and even greater battery life—but it’s rumored they won’t be available until sometime in 2015.

11.6" MacBook Air 13.3" MacBook Air
DISPLAY
11.6-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors
SUPPORTED RESOLUTIONS
1366 x 768 (native), 1344 x 756, and 1280 x 720 pixels at 16:9 aspect ratio; 1152 x 720 and 1024 x 640 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 x 768 and 800 x 600 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio 1440 x 900 (native), 1280 x 800, 1152 x 720, and 1024 x 640 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio and 1024 x 768 and 800 x 600 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio
STORAGE
128GB PCIe-based flash storage
256GB PCIe-based flash storage
512GB PCIe-based flash storage
PROCESSOR
1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
Configurable to 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) with 4MB shared L3 cache.
MEMORY
4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory  
Configurable to 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory  
BATTERY & POWER
Up to 9 hours wireless web Up to 12 hours wireless web
Up to 9 hours iTunes movie playback Up to 12 hours iTunes movie playback
Up to 30 days standby time Up to 30 days standby time
Built‑in 38‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery Built-in 54‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery
45W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter with cable management; MagSafe 2 power port 45W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter with cable management; MagSafe 2 power port
DIMENSIONS
Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm) Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
Width: 11.8 inches (30 cm) Width: 12.8 inches (32.5 cm)
Depth: 7.56 inches (19.2 cm) Depth: 8.94 inches (22.7 cm)
Weight: 2.38 pounds (1.08 kg) Weight: 2.96 pounds (1.35 kg)
GRAPHICS
Intel HD Graphics 5000
VIDEO SUPPORT
Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors
Thunderbolt digital video output
CAMERA
720p FaceTime HD camera
PORTS
Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps) Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps) Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
MagSafe 2 power port MagSafe 2 power port
  SDXC card slot
WIRELESS
802.11ac Wi-Fi networking
IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology
AUDIO
Stereo speakers
Dual microphones
Headphone port
Support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone
KEYBOARD & TRACKPAD
Full-size backlit keyboard with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys (inverted “T” arrangement) with ambient light sensor
Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three‑finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities
ELECTRICAL & OPERATING REQUIREMENTS
Line voltage: 100-240V AC
Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz
Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
Storage temperature: -13° to 113° F (-25° to 45° C)
Relative humidity: 0% to 90% noncondensing
Operating altitude: tested up to 10,000 feet
Maximum storage altitude: 15,000 feet
Maximum shipping altitude: 35,000 feet
OPERATING SYSTEMS
OS X Mavericks
IN THE BOX
Power adapter
AC wall plug
Power cord