In July 2011, Apple refreshed its popular MacBook Air lineup while also discontinuing the standard white MacBook. The MacBook Air had been competing with the MacBook ever since the former’s release, and well, the competition is now over and the MacBook Air has won.
The 2011 edition of the MacBook Air is available with the same two screen sizes as the previous generation – 11.6″ and 13.3″. The MacBook Air 11 inch sports a 1366 x 768 (16:9) screen resolution while the MacBook Air 13 inch has 1440 x 900 (16:9) pixel screen. In other words, they both have more pixels than the newest MacBook Pro 13 (released February 2011).
The similarities to the MacBook Pro lineup don’t stop there. The MacBook Air 11 inch features a dual-core Intel i5 processor running at 1.6GHz – the same i5 processor as the entry level MacBook Pro 13. And the MacBook Air 13 has the i5 running at 1.7GHz. Both MacBook Air models use the Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics processor, which (surprise!) is the same graphics card used in the 2011 MacBook Pro 13.
You’re probably wondering where the hardware differences start between the MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Air. Well, the entry level MacBook Air 11 only has 2GB of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM. However, the rest of the MacBook Air line has 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM – the same standard RAM size and speed configuration of every 2011 MacBook Pro model.
The battery and storage is where we finally start to see some drop-offs from the MacBook Pro family. The battery for the MacBook Air 11 inch is rated at five hours of wireless web usage and the MacBook Air 13 inch can eke out seven hours – still plenty of time to get most folks through a cross country flight or long cafe work session. And while the MacBook Pro offers a minimum 320GB of storage space, the MacBook Air ranges from 64GB to 256GB depending on the model. But these smaller hard disks are solid state drives, so there are definite speed benefits compared to the 5400RPM hard drives you can find in the MacBook Pro 13.
The MacBook Air comes with two USB ports, a Thunderbolt port, one headphone jack, and an SD card (13 inch model only). It also features a full-size backlit keyboard. Each MacBook Air comes with OS X Lion preinstalled, iLife ’11 (iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iDVD, and iWeb), the Mac App Store, and FaceTime for Mac.
The MacBook Air 11 inch models are priced at $999 and $1199 while the MacBook Air 13 inch comes in at $1299 and $1599. Although at Apple Sliced, you don’t ever have to worry about paying the retail price – you can expect to save up to a couple hundred dollars on each model while still getting the same Apple warranty and Genius Bar tech support.
See all the pricing options for the MacBook Air family.