Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Apple has world's thinnest laptop,
but you can't slide in a movie
or change the battery

The latest stunning design from Apple is the super-sleek $1799 MacBook Air, shown Tuesday at Macworld.

The thinness of MacBook Air is almost disturbing -- you can slide it into a manila envelope. It's a full-functioning laptop encased in 0.16 to 0.76 inch of sleek, sturdy anodized aluminum, weighing just 3 pounds.

The glossy 13.3-inch, widescreen LED backlit display has the same viewable size as the screen on the heavier, now-old-fashioned MacBook. According to Apple, "the 1280-by-800 resolution gives you vibrant images and rich colors at full brightness the moment you open MacBook Air." The mercury- and arsenic-free display is also more power efficient, which translates to longer battery life.

The keyboard is full-size with crisp keys just like the ones on MacBook. But MacBook Air goes further by adding backlit key illumination, making it easy to work in low-light settings such as airplanes, conference halls, and motel rooms while others are sleeping. A built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts keyboard and display brightness for optimal visibility.

MacBook Air includes an oversize trackpad with multi-touch technology. You can pinch, swipe, or rotate to zoom in on text, advance through a photo album, or adjust an image. This gesture-based input so successful on iPhone and iPod touch now comes to MacBook.

A now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t port hatch flips down to reveal (and closes to hide) all the ports you really need: a USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and a micro-DVI port that supports DVI, VGA, composite, and S-video output. Even the power connection has been slimmed to fit MacBook Air.

MacBook Air comes with 2GB of RAM built in. The 80GB hard drive provides plenty of storage space, and you have the option to upgrade to a 64GB solid-state drive, which has no moving parts for enhanced durability.

MacBook Air includes a built-in iSight camera, and iChat software make video chatting easy anywhere there’s a wireless network.

The MacBook Air battery is Apple's thinnest ever, and Apple says it will allow you to access the web wirelessly for five hours.

If it doesn't, you better have an AC outlet nearby, because you can't swap a freshy-charged battery pack for a dead one. You also can't slide in a disc to watch a movie or load software. For that, you'll need an optional $99 USB drive, or do a wireless transfer from another computer.
This is a preview, not a review.

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