After releasing the iPhone 4, the iPad and, just last week, the newest generation of the MacBook Air, Apple is having a whopper of a year. The Air models aren’t for everyone, since the processors are still far slower than the MacBook Pro and some other laptops, but it is useful for on-the-go writers who want a little bit more substance than what the iPad offers. For one, the MacBook Air now comes smaller with an 11.6 inch display; the perfect traveling buddy. Plus, Apple added an extra USB 2.0 port to the line and an SD card slot to the 13.3 inch model. Here are some other changes you’ll see on the 2010 machines compared to the 2008 models.
It’s lighter. The display housing is crafted from a single piece of highly recyclable aluminum with all the structural elements machined directly into it. In addition, the MacBook Air gets rid of the bulky flash storage enclosure that most laptops have under the hood and uses only the actual flash chips. These elements make the new MacBook Air exceptionally thin and light, yet durable. At a height of .68 inches tapering to .11 inches, the new Air is even thinner than its predecessor, which tapered from .76 inches to .16 inches.
Faster storage. Solid state flash storage is up to twice as fast as hard drive storage and it allows the computer to remain in standby mode for up to 30 days so you can access data in seconds; whether five minutes pass or a month passes.
Less expensive. Probably the most important difference is that the new 2010 MacBook Air is cheaper. The MacBook Air with a 13.3 inch display retailed for a price of $1,799 (US) in 2008, while this years version will sell at $1,299 for the 1.86 GHz model with 128GB of flash storage and $1,599 for 256GB. It is also available with an 11.6 inch display starting at $999 dollars for the 1.4 GHz, 64GB model and $1,199 for 128GB.
Better battery life. You can also thank the solid state flash storage for the extra long standby time. Flash storage make the MacBook Air lighter, because it frees up about 90% more space than typical hard drives, which means more room for more battery. You get up to 5 hours of battery life on the 11-inch MacBook Air and up to 7 hours on the 13-inch model. Apple claimed that the older 13-inch generation Air had a 5 hour battery life, but that has been tested untrue by reviewers on several occasions. It’s possible that the new battery life may also not last as long as Apple claims.
Tell us what you think: So, now that you know what changes have been made, do you plan to dump your PC and get a MacBook Air? Or, do you plan to upgrade from the MacBook Pro or from the older version of the MacBook Air?