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Apple releases new MacBook Airs with Thunderbolt, backlit keyboards

Apple on Wednesday launched a refresh to it thin-and-light MacBook Air lineup, equipping the ultraportables with Thunderbolt ports, backlit keyboards and Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors offering up to twice the performance of their predecessors.

Like the previous generation models, the new MacBook Airs start at $999 for the entry-level model. They are available for order today and will be in stores on Thursday.

"Portable, affordable and powerful, MacBook Air is the ultimate everyday notebook," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "MacBook Air features our most advanced technology and is an ideal match for Lion, especially with its new Multi-Touch gestures, full-screen apps, Mission Control and Mac App Store."

MacBook Air is available in 11-inch and 13-inch models that Apple boasts easily slip into a briefcase, purse or bag. The MacBook Air's durable aluminum unibody enclosure measures 0.11 inches at its thinnest point and 0.68 inches at its thickest.

The notebooks all feature flash for instant-on and fast data access, improved reliability and incredible energy efficiency. The 11-inch model weighs 2.38 pounds and provides up to 5 hours of battery life, while the 13-inch weighs 2.96 pounds and provides up to 7 hours of battery life.

MacBook Air


With the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, the new MacBook Air is said to be up to twice as fast as the previous generation. The new notebooks also also feature Intel HD Graphics 3000 and offer up to 4GB of faster 1333 MHz memory.

Thunderbolt I/O technology provides expansion possibilities never before available to MacBook Air users. Through a single cable, users can connect to high performance peripherals and the new Apple Thunderbolt Display. Thunderbolt can easily be adapted to support legacy connections such as FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet.

MacBook Air comes with a full size backlit keyboard and a glass Multi-Touch trackpad. The backlit keyboard uses a sensor to automatically detect a change in ambient lighting and adjusts the keyboard brightness for any environment. AppleInsider was first to report the new notebooks would bring back the backlit keyboard earlier this month

MacBook Air


The Multi-Touch trackpad supports Lion’s new Multi-Touch gestures such as momentum scrolling, tapping or pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, and swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps.

MacBook Air also features a high resolution LED backlit display. MacBook Air also includes Bluetooth for wireless peripherals and two USB ports for wired and wireless devices.

The new MacBook Air also meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold status Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.

MacBook Air


Every new MacBook Air comes with Mac OS X Lion, along with the iLife suite. Lion features more than 250 new features to the Mac, including Multi-Touch gestures; system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control for a view of everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store,; Launchpad, iPad-like home screen for apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app.

Tech Specs
    Size and Weight
    • 11.6-inch:
      • Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
      • Width: 11.8 inches (30 cm)
      • Depth: 7.56 inches (19.2 cm)
      • Weight: 2.38 pounds (1.08 kg)

    • 13.3-inch:
      • Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
      • Width: 12.8 inches (32.5 cm)
      • Depth: 8.94 inches (22.7 cm)
      • Weight: 2.96 pounds (1.35 kg)

    Storage
    • All flash, available in capacities of 64GB or 128GB in the 11.6-inch model, and 128GB or 256GB in the 13.3-inch model

    Processor
    • 11.6-inch: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache
      • $1199 model configurable to dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 with 4MB shared L3 cache, only at the Apple Online Store.

    • 13.3-inch: 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache
      • $1599 model configurable to dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 with 4MB shared L3 cache, only at the Apple Online Store.

    Memory
    • 11.6-inch: 2GB ($999 model) or 4GB ($1199 model) of 1333MHz DDR3 onboard memory, $999 model configurable to 4GB, only at the Apple Online Store.
    • 13.3-inch: 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 onboard memory

    Graphics
    • 11.6-inch: Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with 256MB or 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
    • 13.3-inch: Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory

    Video Support and Camera
    • FaceTime camera
    • Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

    Connections and Expansion
    • Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
    • Thunderbolt port
    • SD Card slot on 13.3-inch

    Battery and Power
    • 11.6-inch
      • Wireless web: Up to 5 hours
      • Standby time: Up to 30 days
      • 35-watt-hour; 45W MagSafe Power Adapter with cable management system; MagSafe power port

    • 13.3-inch
      • Wireless web: Up to 7 hours
      • Standby time: Up to 30 days
      • 50-watt-hour; 45W MagSafe Power Adapter with cable management system; MagSafe power port

    Wireless
    • 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking;5 IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible
    • Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology

    Audio
    • Stereo speakers
    • Omnidirectional microphone
    • Headphone port
    • Support for Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic

    Electrical and Operating Requirements
    • Line voltage: 100-240V AC
    • Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz
    • Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
    • Storage temperature: -13° to 113° F (-24° to 45° C)
    • Relative humidity: 0% to 90% noncondensing
    • Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet
    • Maximum storage altitude: 15,000 feet
    • Maximum shipping altitude: 35,000 feet

    In the Box
    • MacBook Air
    • 45W MagSafe Power Adapter, AC wall plug, and power cord
    • Printed and electronic documentation

Pricing & Availability
  • The 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air are available for order on the Apple Store today and in Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers starting July 21.
  • The 1.6 GHz 11-inch MacBook Air is available in two models, one with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage for a suggested retail price of $999 (US), and one with 4GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage for $1,199 (US).
  • The 1.7 GHz 13-inch MacBook Air comes in two configurations, one with 4GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage for a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US), and one with 4GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage for $1,599 (US).
  • Configure-to-order options and accessories include a 1.8 GHz Core i7 processor, additional flash storage, MacBook Air SuperDrive and a USB Ethernet Adapter.


Save when buying

The new MacBook Airs began making their way to Apple stores and authorized resellers on Thursday. Readers in the market for one of the notebooks can check out AppleInsider's Mac Pricing Guide (also below), where MacMall is already offering readers an additional 3% discount off its already reduced MacBook Air (and MacBook Pro) prices. The discount is instant when using the links below but available only when placing orders on line — you do not need to call MacMall to place a pre-order. Orders placed online will ship as soon as the reseller receives stock from Apple.

MacBook Air
11-inch MacBook Airs
Amazon MacMall B&H Photo & Video OnSale.com Adorama
Discount
11" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/128GB) $829.99 $839.99* $829.99+ $854.99 $839.00! $69.01
11" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/128GB) n/a $979.99* $979.00+ n/a $979.00! $48.41
11" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/256GB) $1,079.00 $1,043.99* $999.99+ $1,044.99 on order! $99.01
11" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/256GB) n/a on order* $1,199.00+ n/a $1,179.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,379.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,479.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/128GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,029.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/256GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,229.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,529.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/128GB) n/a on order* $1,149.00+ n/a $1,129.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/256GB) n/a $1,349.99* $1,349.00+ n/a $1,329.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/512GB) n/a $1,629.99* $1,629.00+ n/a $1,629.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.30GHz/4GB/128GB) $823.00 sold out sold out sold out $176.00
11" Air (1.30GHz/4GB/256GB) $939.99 sold out $899.00+ sold out $300.00
MacBook Pro
13-inch MacBook Airs
Amazon MacMall B&H Photo & Video OnSale.com Adorama
Discount
13" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/128GB) $989.00 $899.99* $889.00+ $899.99 $899.00 $110.00
13" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/128GB) n/a $1,059.99* $1,079.00+ n/a $1,079.00! $39.01
13" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/256GB) $1,184.99 $1,139.99* $1,069.00+ $1,139.99 $1,099.00! $130.00
13" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/256GB) n/a $1,249.99* $1,299.00+ n/a $1,279.00! $49.01
13" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a on order* $20.00
13" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/512GB) n/a $1,569.99* $1,599.00+ n/a $1,579.00! $50.00
13" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/128GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,129.00! $20.00
13" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/256GB) n/a on order* $1,349.00+ n/a $1,329.00! $20.00
13" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,629.00! $20.00
13" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/128GB) n/a $1,219.99* $1,249.00+ n/a $1,229.00! $29.01
13" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/256GB) n/a $1,399.99* $1,349.00+ n/a $1,429.00! $100.00
13" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/512GB) n/a $1,699.99* $1,749.00+ n/a $1,729.00! $49.01
13" Air (1.30GHz/4GB/128GB) $935.00 sold out sold out sold out $164.00
13" Air (1.30GHz/4GB/256GB) $1,099.00 sold out $999.00+ sold out $300.51
Show 2013 MacBook Air clearance models