Apple debuts new MacBook Air with Intel Core i5 & i7, Thunderbolt I/O & backlit keyboard

Apple today updated the MacBook Air with next generation processors, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology, a backlit keyboard and Mac OS® X Lion, the world’s most advanced operating system. With up to twice the performance of the previous generation, flash storage for instant-on responsiveness and a compact design so portable you can take it everywhere, the MacBook Air starts at US$999 and is available for order today and in stores tomorrow.

“Portable, affordable and powerful, MacBook Air is the ultimate everyday notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in the press release. “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.”

Advertisement: OS X Lion. The world’s most advanced desktop OS advances even further. Just $29.99 at Mac App Store.

MacBook Air is available in 11-inch and 13-inch models that easily slip into a briefcase, purse or bag. The MacBook Air’s durable aluminum unibody enclosure measures an incredibly thin 0.11-inches at its thinnest point and 0.68-inches at its thickest. Flash storage allows MacBook Air to turn on instantly and deliver 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.

With the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, the new MacBook Air is up to twice as fast as the previous generation and has all the power you need for editing photos and movies, making FaceTime® calls, playing games, and working with documents and presentations. MacBook Air also features Intel HD Graphics 3000 and offers up to 4GB of faster 1333 MHz memory.

MacBook Air

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, the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook. 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 an innovative glass Multi-Touch™ trackpad. Designed for comfort and ease of typing, the backlit keyboard uses a sensor to automatically detect a change in ambient lighting and adjusts the keyboard brightness for any environment. 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 brilliant, high resolution LED backlit display that is amazingly thin yet has the resolution of a much larger, bulkier screen. With ultra-fast Wi-Fi, you can wirelessly download apps from the Mac App Store, get music and movies from iTunes®, back up data to Time Capsule and quickly and easily share files using AirDrop. MacBook Air includes Bluetooth for wireless peripherals and two USB ports for easy connectivity for the wired and wireless devices you use every day.

Apple makes the industry’s greenest notebook lineup and the new MacBook Air 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.

Every new MacBook Air comes with Mac OS X Lion, the eighth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system, and iLife apps for creating and sharing great photos, movies and music. Lion introduces more than 250 new features to the Mac, including Multi-Touch gestures; system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control, an innovative view of everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store, the best place to find and explore great software, built right into the OS; Launchpad, a new home for all your apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app.

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, and one with 4GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage for $1,199. 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, and one with 4GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage for $1,599. 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.

More info here.

Source: Apple Inc.

Related articles:
Apple’s Mac OS X Lion now available via Mac App Store; thumb drive version coming in August – July 20, 2011
Apple updates Mac mini with Intel Core i5 & i7 processors, Thunderbolt I/O, discrete graphics, and more – July 20, 2011
27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display unveiled; world’s first Thunderbolt display – July 20, 2011
Apple discontinues MacBook – July 20, 2011


  1. Oh what a day! I just ordered my very first Mac Boook Air. I choosed the 13″, 256 GB model. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get it. I am so happy, thanks Steve and all the folks at Apple! I paid it from the rise of my shares which of course I will not sell.

      1. No, he didn’t go into a store with 3 shares of Apple stock in his hand and buy a MBA.

        However the gain in share value did free up money from another source that was used to buy a MBA.

        Same thing in my world.

        1. And if his shares drop 20% tomorrow then what paid for his shares. Real profits are realized. Paying for things with floating profits as justification is a terrible mindset.

    1. Yeah right. Intel Integrated Graphics 3000, enough to processes the games application programs. Somebody had to setting the resolution and the frame rate. But many high-demanding the games can be played.
      Take a look my review about the Dell Inspiron R: Maybe just because its OS thus games that can be played on a MacBook Air 13 is quite limited. I also have a review about the MacBook Air 13 at here: if anyone is interested more about this Apple MacBook Air.

    1. I doubt it Apple usually mounts the SSD chips in MBA on a poprietary custom board to achieve the thin form factor. One option is an external SSD drive either a thunderbolt interface.

  2. I ordered one with the 1.8 GHz i7 option and the email confirmation said “Processor 065-0599 1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5”. I called and rep said I should cancel and reorder. Did that, and the new confirmation has the same i5 error. Must be a configuration typo…

      1. I also Ordered a Mac Air i7 and recieving i5 on the confirmation email, contacting Support, they are trying to inquire the manager to see what the problem seems to be

  3. Hmmm Since they did not up the standard SSD to 128 and the memory to 4g on the 11.6, my current 11.6 1.4 4gRAM 64SSD does not feel nearly as obsolete as I was expecting. In fact the only thing I really envy on the new model is the backlit keyboard.

  4. Intel graphics is already known to be crappy .
    If only apple has gone with the new AMD fusion platform, it can play the latest games with decent frame rates and yet still have smooth multitasking!!
    Apple need to diversify their CPU offering to what works best.
    I agree that most people
    Think ultraportables are not game machines but the AMD fusion chips disproved that .

  5. I have the 13″ pro with the intel HD3000. The graphics performace is fine. I am able to play Modern Combat out of the app store, as well as Spore and other games just fine. The HD3000 has been getting a bad rap with Windows based games because windows does not have proper drivers for it. From my experience any game that is OS X native plays fine. Go figure 🙂

    1. Spore hasn’t worked properly since 10.5 for me. I tried all of EA’s manual patches and it’s still just crashes on launch. Tell me your secret to making it work.

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