Gadgets: Airborne notebook

If all you need from a notebook is a display, keyboard and a WiFi interface, then Apple's new MacBook Air is for you.

mac logo 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
mac logo 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After introducing us to high-end gadgets such as the iPod and iPhone, Apple is once again leaving us with our mouths open by releasing a revolutionarily designed notebook meant to impress people on the move. Well, at least some of them. If all you need from a notebook is a display, keyboard and a WiFi interface, and you don't mind paying a ridiculously high price for style, then Apple's new MacBook Air is for you. Looking thinner than The Jerusalem Post's Friday edition, the MacBook Air is the world's thinnest laptop, measuring only 1.94 cm. thick at its thickest part, a length of 32 cm., a width of 22.7 cm. and weighing 1.36 kg. It's so small and light you'll never wonder whether you should take it with you because there's really no reason not to. The casing is made of aluminum with a 13.3 inch LED backlit display that works with an ambient light sensor to adjust the screen brightness in response to the light in the room. The MacBook Air includes a built-in iSight camera and mike, an iPhone-like large trackpad with multitouch gesture capability, and a battery life good for five hours of actively surfing the Internet. You get a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (upgradable to 1.8GHz) which has been reduced to 60 percent from its original size to fit inside the machine, 2GB of RAM, an 80GB 1.8-inch hard drive, Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth. Anything missing? Oh yes. Actually a few: Ethernet, FireWire, replaceable battery, some common ports you might need when hooking your machine up to external displays or devices and an optical drive. But fear not - the Air has a new Remote Disk feature that enables you to wirelessly "borrow" a nearby computer's optical drive - even a PC. If not yet convinced, then an extra $100 will buy you a matching MacBook Air SuperDrive. The new MacBook Air will definitely impress your friends, but before you open your wallet, make sure you understand that though it is a complete computer, it just isn't designed to be the center of a complex computer system. The series of Apple's innovative design decisions limits the audience for this state-of-the-art notebook, but for those potential buyers who aren't turned off by these choices, the Air is the best machine on the market. The starting price for the basic MacBook Air with 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor 80GB is $1,799, and the 1.8GHz version with the same processor and a 64GB solid drive goes up to $3,098.