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Wednesday, December 08, 2010, 06:40 pm PT (09:40 pm ET)

Apple updates MacBook Air firmware to address display issue

Apple issued a MacBook Air EMI firmware update Wednesday, resolving an issue where the ultra-thin laptop boots or wakes to a black screen or becomes unresponsive.

MacBook Air EFI firmware update 2.0 is recommended for all 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air (late 2010) models and requires Mac OS X 10.6.5. The update addresses a "rare issue" where the MacBook Air is unresponsive or displays just a black screen after booting or waking.

Apple launched the redesigned MacBook Air in October at its "Back to the Mac event." As predicted by AppleInsider the Mac maker released an 11.6-inch version of the ultra-portable notebook and abandoned mechanical hard disk drives in favor of custom solid state storage.

Apple chief Steve Jobs described the product's design approach as an attempt to build the result of a MacBook and iPad hook-up.

"We’ve taken what we have learned with the iPad—solid state storage, instant-on, amazing battery standby time, miniaturization and lightweight construction, to create the new MacBook Air. With its amazing responsiveness and mobility, it will change the way we think about notebooks," said Jobs.

On the day of the revamped MacBook Air's unveiling, Apple released a software update for the product, resolving a problem where the MacBook Air became unresponsive after waking from sleep when an external display was connected.

Shortly after the release of the MacBook Air, reports emerged that users were experiencing problems ranging from faulty logic boards to display issues. One issue, detailed on an Apple support thread, involved a flickering or frozen screen. It is not clear whether Apple's EFI firmware update specifically addresses this issue.

Despite scattered reports of issues with the MacBook Air, the laptop has continued to sell well, especially the 11-inch model. The $999 11.6 MacBook Air's ship times slipped from within 24 hours to 1-3 business days in the first week after its release.

One analyst predicted in October that Apple will sell 700,000 units of the MacBook Air over the holiday quarter.

Analysts tracking retail activity on Black Friday found that the 11-inch MacBook Air was "flying off the shelves" and a "customer favorite."