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MacBook Air

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MacBook Air

A MacBook Air on display after the 2008 Macworld Keynote
Developer Apple Inc.
Type Laptop/Notebook
Release date January 29, 2008
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6 / 1.86 GHz
Web site Apple MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is a Macintosh notebook computer designed by Apple. It is positioned as the ultraportable in Apple's MacBook Family and was introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 15, 2008. Apple describes it as the "world's thinnest notebook".

Contents

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[edit] Overview

Steve Jobs with a MacBook Air at the Keynote 2008.

To reduce the computer's size and weight, Apple omitted certain features long standard on laptops. It is Apple's first notebook since the PowerBook 2400c without a built-in removable media drive.[1] Users may purchase an external USB SuperDrive, or use bundled Remote Disc software to access the optical drive of another computer.[2] It is the first subcompact laptop offered by Apple since the full-featured 12" PowerBook G4 was discontinued in 2006.

Similarly to the PowerBook Duo series which preceded it, it lacks many features of the larger MacBooks, including a security slot[3] and an Ethernet port,[4] (although a USB-to-Ethernet adapter may be purchased separately).[5] The MacBook Air has a single USB port. Like the entry-level MacBook, the MacBook Air lacks Cardbus and ExpressCard slots, and does not have a FireWire port.[6]

The Air is Apple's first laptop computer to be offered with an optional solid-state hard drive.[7] ArsTechnica found "moderate" performance improvements of the 64 GB[8] solid-state drive over the standard 80 GB hard drive in tests. On October 14, 2008, new models were announced boasting improved capacities of 128 GB (solid-state) and 120 GB (hard drive).[9] The Air comes with 2 GB[10] non-upgradable RAM as standard.[11]

The CPU on the original Air was a specially designed Intel Core 2 Duo chip, which reduced the chip's packaging size by 60 percent.[12] The processor found on the current Air is a low voltage, small form factor Core 2 Duo "Penryn" with 6MB of cache, running on a 1066 MHz bus.[13]

The laptop is constructed from an aluminum casing similar to the MacBook and MacBook Pro, however it lacks the visible magnetic latch system. The oversized trackpad offers iPhone-like Multi-Touch gestures, an improvement[citation needed] over previous MacBook trackpads. Among the gestures are pinching, swiping, and rotating.[14]

The MacBook Air is pre-loaded with Mac OS X v10.5 and iLife '09.

[edit] Remote Disc

The optional MacBook Air SuperDrive

The MacBook Air can wirelessly access the optical drive of another Mac or Windows PC that has the Remote Disc program installed, allowing the installation of applications from a CD or DVD.[15][16] It can also reinstall the system software from the included installation DVD.[17] Remote Disc supports netbooting, so the MacBook Air can boot from its installation DVD in another computer's drive.[18] This feature requires Remote Install Mac OS X to be running on the remote computer.

[edit] User-serviceability

Unlike the rest of the MacBook family, the MacBook Air has no directly user-replaceable parts. Its hard drive, memory, and battery are enclosed within the casing, with memory soldered directly to the motherboard. The MacBook Air's battery is enclosed within the case but unlike the iPod and iPhone only requires normal screwdrivers to replace[19] The hard drive is not soldered and can be replaced through a non-trivial disassembly procedure.[19] Solid-state drives (SSDs) are commercially available. As part of the out-of-warranty service, Apple offers to replace the battery for a fee.[20] It may be possible for the end user to replace the battery, though it is unclear whether this process would void the notebook's warranty.[21] Users looking to replace batteries through third-party vendors will need to wait until replacement batteries are made available for this model.[22]

[edit] Environmental considerations

Apple incorporated several features in the design of the MacBook Air intended to make it more friendly to the environment.[23][24] In response, Greenpeace stated, "We can say that Apple is getting greener, but it's still not green enough."[25]

[edit] Concerns about overheating and CPU-lockup

Several MacBook Air users[26] since the release of the first-generation product have complained of problems with severe overheating, causing CPU lockup. This effect appears to be correlated with temperature; however, the effect can be seen at CPU temperatures as low as 66 degrees Celsius. A software update released by Apple in early March 2008 attempted to fix the problem but had mixed results; the deactivation of 1 CPU core appears to have been corrected; however, the runaway kernel problem remains for at least some users.[27] The problem seems to appear during system-intensive tasks such as video playback, video chatting, or playing games.[28]

Turning the integrated fans to full speed by using third-party software or using USB-powered cool-pads does not cool down the notebook sufficiently to prevent core shutdowns however an application called Coolbook can be downloaded which regulates the voltage of each of the six processing speeds of the Air. It has been said by users that it has worked better than the Apple update for the heating issue although Apple has stated that these software are unsupported, should be removed and that users should rely on the update.

[edit] Poorly designed hinges

Users of the first revision are encountering issues where the plastic holding the right hinge cracks under normal use, making the notebook nearly unuseable.[29]

[edit] Faint lines on display

Very subtle lines are appearing on the Displays of rev. B machines, causing a source of annoyance for users who are experiencing them.[30]

[edit] Criticism

The MacBook Air has been criticized for its high price compared to other notebooks of similar or better specification, with Engadget suggesting that a premium is being paid for its form factor.[31] The MacBook Air has also been criticized for the difficulty in accessing the headphone and USB port, which are embedded in a small flip-down hatch. Because of tight clearance, some devices, including some headphone plugs and 3G USB cellular modems, will not fit, requiring users to purchase either a powered USB hub or an extension cable.[32][33]

Due to its lack of FireWire, the MacBook Air does not support Target Disk Mode, which would have enabled it to be used as an external hard drive for quick data transfers or operating system repairs. [34]

[edit] Specifications

Discontinued Current
Model Early 2008[35] Late 2008[36]
Display 13.3-inch glossy LED backlight TFT LCD widescreen display, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB[10] of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory nVidia GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB[10] of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
Storage 80GB[8] ATA 1.8" 4200-rpm HDD or 64GB SSD 120GB[8] Serial ATA 1.8" 4200-rpm HDD or 128GB SSD
Front side bus 800MHz 1066MHz
Processor 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Merom,[37][38] 1.6GHz or 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Penryn[13] (SL9300/9400)
Memory 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM soldered to the logicboard 2GB[10] of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM soldered to the logicboard
Wireless networking Integrated AirPort Extreme supports 802.11a/b/g and draft-n
Wired Ethernet none, Optional USB Ethernet Adapter
Optical storage none, Optional External USB SuperDrive

4x DVD+/-R DL writes, 8x DVD+/-R read/write, 8x DVD+RW writes, 6x DVD-RW writes, 24x CD-R writes, and 16x CD-RW recording, 8x DVD read, 24x CD read

Camera Built-in iSight, 640×480 pixel resolution
Battery 37 W-Hr Lithium-ion polymer battery
Physical dimensions 22.7 cm D × 32.5 cm  W × 0.4–1.94 cm H
8.94 in D × 12.8 in W × 0.16–0.76 in H
3.0 lb (1.36 kg)
Bluetooth Built-in (2.1+Enhanced Data Rate)
Port connections USB 2.0
Micro-DVI video port (adapters are included for VGA or DVI monitors up to 1920 by 1200 pixels)
1× Headphone jack (3.5 mm)
USB 2.0
Mini DisplayPort video port with HDCP[39](adapters are optional for VGA or DVI monitors up to 2560 by 1600 pixels)
1× Headphone jack (3.5 mm)
Audio Built-in microphone and mono speaker
Stereo headphone output jack
Keyboard Backlit full-size keyboard with ambient light sensor
Trackpad Multi-Touch gestures like the iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBook, and MacBook Pro
K-slot None

[edit] Advertising

The MacBook Air launch was accompanied by a television commercial emphasizing its PC like qualities. In the commercial a hand unthreads a manila envelope and slides out a MacBook Air, then opens it to wake it from sleep. The music playing is "New Soul" by Yael Naïm.[40] This advertisement has often been parodied and comically reproduced, often depicting much thicker models being pulled out of manila envelopes in the same fashion, sometimes with difficulty. One such parody, purportedly from market rival Lenovo, depicts a failed attempt to return a MacBook Air to its envelope with a variety of accessories, before removing that manufacturer's ThinkPad X300 notebook from a similar envelope.[41]

Timeline of the MacBook family


[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Apple Macintosh 2400c/180 specs, EveryMac, retrieved January 2008.
  2. ^ MacBook wireless specifications,Apple Inc. retrieved Jan2008
  3. ^ Frakes, Dan (2008-01-16). "MacBook Air's Tradeoffs". Macworld. http://www.macworld.com/article/131624/2008/01/macbook_air_tradeoffs.html?t=204. Retrieved on 2008-01-18. 
  4. ^ MacBook Air specifications, Apple Inc., retrieved Jan2008
  5. ^ Apple USB Ethernet Adapter, Apple Inc., retrieved Feb2008
  6. ^ Mossberg, Walt (2008-01-24). "Apple's MacBook Air Is Beautiful and Thin, But Omits Features". Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120113632301711881.html?mod=rss_Gadgets. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  7. ^ Choney, Suzanne (2008-01-24). "Lighter laptops move to flash-based drives". Newsweek. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22805558. Retrieved on 2008-01-24. 
  8. ^ a b c In this article, the conventional prefixes for computer storage denote base-10 values whereby “kilobyte” (KB) = 103 bytes , “megabyte” (MB) = 106 bytes and “gigabyte” (GB) = 109 bytes.
  9. ^ http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook_air?mco=MTIyMDI
  10. ^ a b c d In this article, the conventional prefixes for computer RAM denote base-2 values whereby “kilobyte” (KB) = 210 bytes , “megabyte” (MB) = 220 bytes and “gigabyte” (GB) = 230 bytes.
  11. ^ What does $1,300 extra really get you?, Jacqui Cheng ArsTechnica, 5 Feb 2008
  12. ^ Cohen, Peter (2008-01-15). "Apple introduces MacBook Air". Macworld. http://www.macworld.com/article/131583/2008/01/macbookair.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-21. 
  13. ^ a b CNET. "Intel comments on chips in new MacBook". http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10065878-64.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20. Retrieved on 2008-10-15. 
  14. ^ MacBook Air features, Apple Inc., retrieved January 2008.
  15. ^ Yager, Tom. "MacBook Air, a detailed preview". Infoworld. http://weblog.infoworld.com/enterprisemac/archives/2008/01/macbook_air_a_d.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-18. 
  16. ^ "MacBook Air". Apple Inc.. http://www.apple.com/macbookair/wireless.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-15. 
  17. ^ "MacBook Air - Guided Tour". Apple Inc.. http://www.apple.com/macbookair/guidedtour/index.html?size=small. Retrieved on 2008-01-15. 
  18. ^ Gruber, John (2008-01-15). = 2008-01-15 "The MacBook Air". Daring Fireball. http://daringfireball.net/2008/01/macbook_airaccessdate = 2008-01-15. 
  19. ^ a b "First Look at the MacBook Air". iFixIt. 2008-02-01. http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/First-Look/Mac/MacBook-Air. Retrieved on 2008-02-01. 
  20. ^ "MacBook Air Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Program". Apple Inc.. http://www.apple.com/support/macbookair/service/battery/. Retrieved on 2008-01-15. 
  21. ^ "Sources: MacBook Air battery replacements take only minutes". AppleInsider. 2008-01-18. http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/01/18/sources_macbook_air_battery_replacements_take_only_minutes.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-19. 
  22. ^ "MacBook Air Battery Easy to Replace". Wired. 2008-01-22. http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/01/macbook-air-bat.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-23. 
  23. ^ "Apple Introduces MacBook Air—The World’s Thinnest Notebook". http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2008/01/15mbair.html?sr=hotnews. Retrieved on 2008-01-16. 
  24. ^ A Greener Apple, Steve Jobs, Apple.
  25. ^ "Apple Unveils Green Ultrathin Laptop". 2008-01-15. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=apple-unveils-green-ultra. Retrieved on 2008-02-01. 
  26. ^ The MacBook Air: when cool becomes [ouch! Hot!] Bleeding Edge blog, 13 March 2008.
  27. ^ Apple’s MacBook (hot) Air problem, Philip Elmer-DeWitt, CNN Fortune Apple 2.0 blog, 13 March 2008.
  28. ^ Apple fans burned by hot Airs, Asher Moses, The Age, 13 March 2008.
  29. ^ MacBook Air hinge defect not covered by Apple's warranty?
  30. ^ TidBITS Problem Solving: Grey Lines Mar MacBook Air Displays
  31. ^ MacBook Air review
  32. ^ Adding insult to injury: USB 3G modems and even some thumb drive and mp3 players will not fit in the MacBook Air flip down USB port
  33. ^ Thin is in: Ars Technica reviews the MacBook Air: Page 2
  34. ^ Macworld | Editors' Notes | MacBook Air: Holding my breath
  35. ^ MacBook Air - Technical Specifications, Apple Inc., http://support.apple.com/kb/SP8, retrieved on 2009-03-03 
  36. ^ MacBook Air (Late 2008) - Technical Specifications, Apple Inc., http://support.apple.com/kb/SP501, retrieved on 2009-03-03 
  37. ^ Lal Shimpi, Anand (2008-01-15). "Apple's MacBook Air: Uncovering Intel's Custom CPU for Apple". AnandTech. http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3201. Retrieved on 2008-01-15. 
  38. ^ Anand Lal Shimpi (2008-01-17). "The MacBook Air CPU Mystery: More Details Revealed". Anandtech.com. http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3203. Retrieved on 2008-01-19. 
  39. ^ Apple Incorporates HDCP (Copy Protection) in New Laptops MacRumors.com November 18, 2008
  40. ^ Hey, Let's Write A Song Called "Steve Jobs Is Dreamy" 100 And Single, Idolator. Accessed 12 February 2008
  41. ^ Not funny, Lenovo, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, Daniel Lyons, 29 April 2008.

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