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Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

MacBook Airs ship; Psystar plans Mac notebook, Blu-ray desktop

Apple is making good on a promise to have its new MacBook Airs in the hands of customers early next week. Meanwhile, unofficial Mac clone maker Psystar has announced a Blu-ray-enabled Mac desktop and says its also working on a Mac notebook.

MacBook Air ships

Readers in the market for one of Apple's new NVIDIA-powered MacBook Airs should expect broad availability of the ultra-thin systems shortly.

Overnight, several readers reported that their online order status for the new notebooks now indicates that those orders are either being prepared for shipment, or have already shipped.

"I received an invoice last night for the expedited shipping charge for my new MacBook Air. I ordered the 128GB SSD version on the day of the launch," said one reader. "The status on the Apple Store now shows "Prepared for Shipment" but still gives the same Ship Nov 5, Deliver by Nov 6."

However, several other readers reported that their MacBook Airs are already in transit to the United States and should arrive no later than Monday, November 3rd.

In addition to gaining NVIDIA's new GeForce 9400M integrated graphics system and industry standard Mini DisplayPort, the new MacBook Airs also run on a new version of Intel's special-run 'small form factor' mobile processors introduced in August.

The new 45-nanometer chips run at nearly the same clock speeds as the processors used in the first-generation MacBook Air, but support a faster 1.06GHz system bus (up from 800MHz) and a larger 6MB Level 2 onboard memory cache.

Psystar shipping Blu-ray Mac

While Apple and Psystar may have entered into mediation over their legal dispute (1, 2, 3), that hasn't stopped the unauthorized Mac clone maker from pressing forth with plans to become "the leading manufacturer of OS X-compatible PCs."

On Tuesday, the Florida-based company announced in a press release that it has begun shipping a Mac clone with Blu-ray optical disc drives and the NVIDIA 9800GT graphics card.

Psystar president Rudy Pedraza used the release to publicly criticize Apple for delaying support for Blu-ray, noting that chief executive Steve Jobs recently categorized the technology as "a bag of hurt" for consumers.

"Blu-ray has already won the format war. Not only is there fully functional and mature support for Blu-ray in other operating systems but you can now rent Blu-ray discs from almost any rental chain," he said. "Blu-ray has become pervasive technology that is being widely adopted by consumers everywhere," says Pedraza."

That said, Psystar clearly notes in a frequently asked questions document that a lack of Blu-ray software support from Apple means that its Blu-ray Mac clones will only support reading and writing data to and from discs formatted in the high-definition format, but cannot play back Blu-ray video.

Psystar plans Mac notebook

Separately, a spokesperson for Psystar told one AppleInsider reader in an email that the company is hard at work on its first Mac notebook clone, which it plans to price aggressively. A copy of the email follows:
Thank you for your interest in Open Computing. Although there is no mobile open computer at the moment, I can tell you that it is something that is in development. Once we release a final product, it will be posted on our website along with an automatic notification for all Open Computing newsletter subscribers.

No release day or price has been set for any potential mobile product line. However I can assure you that at release it will be very competitively priced.

Thank you for your inquiry.