In October of 2008, Apple announced the second generation of the MacBook Air. It was released at not even one year distance of the first generation of MacBook Air. Apple hurried with the second model because it knew that the first generation had its days numbered. The first MacBook model was too expensive, lacked too many features and eventually, after the attribute “new” got old, the sales were about to flop. Unfortunately a good piece of hardware (and software) like the MacBook Air was simply understood as being a “must” for those who don’t really know how money are earned (here we can include spoiled teens and young adults).
The new MacBook Air is basically identical to the old model. The only visible change is the Mini Display Port connector that replaces the micro DVI connector (Apple did this in order to ensure for the new MacBook Air the possibility of being connected to the new 24 inches LED Cinema Displays). Apple developed the Mini Display Port from a standard Display Port. By doing so, Apple became the only hardware company to offer a Mini Display Port. The most consistent feature of the new MacBook Air is probably the embedded NVIDIA 9400M chipset (the same found on the MacBook and the MacBook Pro line).
The 2009 MacBook Air suffered a drop price. By doing so, Apple is trying to add to its list of Air customers, people that actually buy for objective reasons this device. Apple offers two configurations. The first one starts from $1.499 and offer an Intel Core 2 Duo processor 1,86 GHz with 1066 MHz front side bus, 2GB RAM DDR 3, 120 GB SATA hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics. The second configuration available for the Air brings an Intel Core 2 Duo processor 2,13 GHz with 1066 MHz front side bus, 2 GB RAM DDR 3 memory (6 MB of L2 cache), 128 GB solid state drive and the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics at a price listing of $1.799.
Compared directly to the old model, the new Air has upgraded its RAM memory from the 667 MHz DDR 2 to the new 1.066 MHz DDR 3. The new 120 GB serial ATA hard drive is a boost from the rather small 80 GB parallel ATA hard drive from the 2008 Air. Also improved were: the L2 cache – from 4 MB to nearly 6MB, a faster front side bus – from 800 MHz to 1.066 MHz. also improved is the graphic chipset, from the integrated GMA X3100 to the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M. Even if MacBook Air is the thinnest notebook from its range, it still has good competitors (and less expensive).
The most important manufacturer that rivals the Apple Air is Sony with TP3XP, Vaio TZ and the Vaio TT. Sony, however, has a common feature that lacks completely from both new and old Air models, a built in disc drive. The MacBook Air design is flawless. The brushed aluminum chassis is a true work of art. The new MacBook Air also benefits from the new aluminum unibody design. The benefit from this design is the durability. The revolutionary unibody design replaces many parts with just one and results in a clean, seamless appearance. The dimensions of this notebook are incredible. With a height of 0.4 – 1.94 cm, wide of 32.5 cm, deep of 22.7 cm, Air only weights 1.36 kg. Even if it is an extremely small notebook, MacBook Air sports a glossy 13.3 inches LED backlit display with up to 16.7 million colors. LED technology makes the Air more power efficient; therefore the battery will last longer. Also this display is mercury free and has arsenic free glass.
The display supports various resolutions with a native 1280 x 800 pixels with 16:10 aspect ratio. MacBook Air also features a pretty good keyboard, with good features like backlit keys. Also it has a built in ambient light sensor that will automatically adjust keyboard illumination and display brightness for optimal visibility. The track pad sports the multi touch technology.
Because of the Mac operating system you can successfully use all multi touch features. The connectivity is ensured by Wi-Fi wireless networking based on 802.11n specification (but it is also compatible with 802.11 a/b/g) and built in Bluetooth 2.1 plus enhanced data rate. A huge drawback for this great device is the lack of peripheral connections. Therefore the MacBook Air only sports the Mini Display Port, 1 x USB 2.0 port and the audio out 3.5 mm jack. Don’t think you are going to have a great music experience with the Air because you can’t, it only has a built in mono speaker. Therefore the Air must be connected to good speakers in order to enjoy music. These bad features are saved by the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphic processor with 256 MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory.
The MacBook Air battery is a lithium polymer with only 40 Wh; therefore a not so great standby time is expected. However Apple appreciates that the Macbook Air is capable of up to 5 hours wireless activity. With prices from $1,499 to $1,799 (without any other customized features) the MacBook Air is shipped with a 45W Mag Safe Power Adapter, AC wall plug, and power cord, USB Ethernet adapter (for your only USB port), Install and Restore DVD, display polishing cloth and mandatory printed and electronic documentation. Overall this is an excellent notebook, but not for everyone, it is in some way exclusivist. But even so don’t get fouled. If you buy this MacBook only because it is expensive and you want to make a statement, then you are wasting your money. This MacBook is only for people who need the maximum portability from a light weighted notebook.