Apple Announces MacBook Air

As rumored, Apple announced a new line of portable computers during Steve Jobs' keynote speech at MacWorld San Fransisco today, the MacBook Air. The new line is a complement to the existing MacBook and MacBook Pro lines.

Features of the new portable include being "the world's thinnest notebook," at 0.16" to 0.76" - thinner than the the thinnest part of a Sony TZ series laptop. Screen size is an LED backlit 13.3" widescreen with a magnetic latch. The MacBook Air keyboard is MacBook-like, but with an ambient light sensor. The new machines feature a multi-touch trackpad, allowing the user to double-tap and move. Rotate a photo by pivoting your index finger around your thumb, as well as pinch & zoom.

Additionally there's a 45 Watt MagSafe power adapter, a Micro-DVI out as well as Audio Out, 802.11n + Bluetooth 2.1/EDR. There's a 1.8" hard drive for storage - either 80GB standard, or a 64GB SSD as an option. Intel shrunk the size of the Core 2 Duo chip by 60% to fit in the new machine.

Battery life is approximately 5 hours. No optical drive is on the MacBook Air, but a SuperDrive accessory is available for $99. There's also new software being released that allows the portable to "borrow" a Mac or PC's optical drive. All models feature 2GB of memory standard.

The case is fully aluminum (good for recycling), the first fully mercury and lead free display, circuit boards are BFR free, and retail packaging are 56% less volume than a MacBook.

The new MacBook Air starts at $1799 is available for pre-order today, and is expected to be shipping in two weeks.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Neutral)

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