A lot of the components in the brand new MacBook Air are not actually new.
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Like the display—I have stared at some version of this Retina display for a long time now. But for true MacBook Air lovers, that won't matter. This is a machine that grew stale and cruised solely on its reputation for a long time. Now, it's ready for reinvention. Well, sort of. It's more accurate to say that it has caught up with the times. Plus, when you look at the old MacBook Air versus this new one, there are obvious physical differences.
The model is somehow thinner and lighter than the first MacBook Air, with a slightly shrunken footprint. It's the sushi knife of laptops, honed on one side and impeccably precise.
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The Air is still made of aluminum, but Apple has made a point to say that this new chassis is made of percent recycled aluminum—most of it culled from the shavings generated during the manufacture of other Apple products. It also now comes in three colors: The display on the new MacBook Air is what stands out most. The old laptop had an LED-backlit, Its silver bezels matched the rest of the wedge. The new Air has a It's not a touchscreen—Apple appears to believe putting a touchscreen on a laptop will summon the devil—but the display is so rich-looking that you kind of want to touch it anyway.
The more expensive MacBook Pro has a Retina display, too. There is a difference between the two screens: The keyboard on the new Air now matches the keyboard on the newest MacBook Pros, the ones released this summer. When I put the new Air side-by-side with my "old" MacBook Pro, there were obvious differences, including larger function keys. The keys on the Air are also quieter. This is due at least in part to a thin, silicone barrier that lives under each key. Apple's butterfly keyboard, which it first introduced in , has been plagued with issues; most famously, some keyboards have stopped working after specks of debris found their way into its workings.
Apple's only real acknowledgement of the problem has been to offer to repair broken keyboards for free, and to put this protective silicone barrier in its newer keyboards. As such, the Air has this third-generation butterfly keyboard.
So far, I haven't had any problems with the keyboard on the Air. I like that it's quieter. I don't miss the TouchBar, a touch-sensitive strip of shortcuts, emoji, and apps that floats above the keyboard on MacBook Pros.
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The new Air's trackpad is also larger than its previous incarnation, and is the recipient of Apple's unfortunately-named pressure-sensitive touch technology, Force Touch. It can also be unlocked with an Apple Watch. The fingerprint sensor is quick and responsive, and works well both with Apple apps and third-party apps like 1Password.
The Air doesn't include any kind of face-recognition technology , which many newer Windows laptops include. We're getting to the point where not having facial bio-authentication in tech products could lose you points; however, Windows Hello hasn't always worked for me, and the tech has been spoofed by security researchers in the past, so I'd rather use something secure than just check another log-in method off a list. This is a co-processor that operates separately from the laptop's main CPU, ensures a secure boot process, and handles encryption including on the TouchID fingerprint sensor.
This chip also includes a "hardware disconnect that ensures the microphone is disabled whenever the lid is closed," according to a paper Apple released about the chip.
The CPU in the Air is a 1. This is not the absolute latest processor—Intel announced its ninth-generation processors in early October—but it was the newest one available for this machine. As you might expect, the new Air's processor is an obvious improvement over the chip in the inch MacBook a 1. That's a lot of chip speak, but here's what it really means: If you're someone who builds graphics, edits 4K videos, or processes large photos for a living, the Air isn't going to cut it.
It will, however, handle 15 to 20 browser tabs at once, let you edit photos in Lightroom without any hiccups, and keep ten apps running smoothly at once. I know because I'm doing all of this right now as I type. The memory can also be configured up to 16GB, which gives it twice as much memory capacity as the previous MacBook Air.
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By now, we're supposed to be used to this cruel, port-less computing world. It's the future.
But I'm still allowed to miss ports. Of course, what you're gaining in power and memory you're losing in Sure they had to buy proprietary and expensive SSDs, but at least they could do it. Well, the MacBook Air 13 looks that bad if not worse. So, hopefully, Apple actually decides to copy what PC makers have been doing for sometime now with narrow bezels. One of founding fathers of hardcore tech reporting, Gordon has been covering PCs and components since Ultrabooks Chromebooks Laptop Accessories.
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