Late last year, I purchased a MacBook Air, the 2½-pound laptop computer from Apple. I love it. The machine quickly became my traveling companion; I take it on all trips, even on shorter trips of only a few hours. It is lightweight and thin, so it is easy to take most anywhere. That, plus a Sprint 4G/3G air card, provides wireless Internet connections most anyplace within range of a Sprint cell phone tower.
Today, Apple announced a new and improved MacBook Air.
Starting at $999 for the U.S. market and at £849 in the U.K., the new MacBook Air is an evolution, not a revolution. It is quite similar to the previous model, but with several nice additions:
- The new Mac OS X Lion operating system is pre-installed.
- The buyer can choose either a 128 gigabyte or a 256 gigabyte solid-state hard drive. Both are very fast, much faster than traditional hard drives.
- 2 or 4 gigabytes of RAM memory.
- 5 hours of battery life.
- A faster Intel HD Graphics 3000 video card.
- Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors.
- Thunderbolt I/O technology.
- LED backlit display.
- Glass multi-touch trackpad.
- Backlit keyboard (the previous keyboard is difficult to see in dim light).
- Ultra-fast wireless-n networking.
The new MacBook remains available with a choice of an 11-inch or 13-inch screen, the same as the previous model.
Apple is also aggressively marketing the new MacBook Air to students with big discounts, according to information at http://goo.gl/qZAhx.
In my mind, the MacBook Air is the perfect laptop: small, slim and very light, along with battery power to last all day and powerful technology to rival the majority of other up-to-date laptops. Mac users rarely encounter viruses. Unlike the so-called "netbooks," the lightweight MacBook Air has a screen that is easy to read and a full-sized keyboard suitable for touch typists.
The major downside of the MacBook Air is the price: much higher than equivalent Windows systems. Of course, it is also much easier to use than the current version of the Windows operating system. Most MacBook Air owners will agree that it is worth the price.
More information about the new version of the MacBook Air may be found at http://www.apple.com/macbookair/.
The new improvements are nice but not so much of a change as to entice me to upgrade. I will happily keep my old MacBook Air with its 11-inch screen and the (optional) 4 gigabytes of memory.
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