Apple's got a new MacBook Air heading our way soon - Stuff

Apple’s got a new MacBook Air heading our way soon

Apple’s got a new MacBook Air heading our way soon

100 Million. That’s how many people are using Mac devices worldwide and that’s just one figure of many from Apple’s presentation in Brooklyn, New York, today. But we’re far more interested in the new MacBook Air models heading to market soon.

Apple took the wraps off some freshened-up skinny notebooks at their late-2018 presentation, with Tim Cook introducing an all-new device with Retina display, security and audio enhancements, an improved keyboard and Touch ID. Here’s what you need to know.

In your Face(time)

Apple’s new MacBook Air contains a brand new Retina display (with a 4-million pixel count and improved colour reproduction), and bezels that have been trimmed down by 50%. It does this by chucking out older aluminium bezels in favour of glass to the edge, something that we’ve seen before in the MacBook Pro line. They’ve managed to retain the FaceTime HD camera in the revamped screen, too.

At your fingertips

The screen isn’t the only place where things have been improved. The keyboard has been improved in general but Touch ID has been added as well, as a sensor that lives where you are used to seeing the power button. Touch ID will be used to unlock the notebook but also for accessing apps like OnePassword or even paying for items online using Apple Pay (if you happen to be in a country where that works).

The keyboard has been backlit, using individual LEDs for each key, and Apple’s also increased the size of the trackpad. Which is now a Force Touch pad, by the way. The old clicky trackpad is gone from the Air.

Chips on the inside

The new MacBook Air totes new 8th-gen Intel processors, starting from a dual-core 1.6GHz Core i5. The company has increased available RAM up to 16GB and storage will see users snagging up to 1.5TB of SSD storage, though we expect to see you pay through the nose for that model. 128GB Of storage is where the Air will start, which should prove a little more affordable.

Despite the system spec increases (including that improved screen), Apple’s still claiming an all-day battery, which should see you get 12 hours if you’re browsing the web (trying to read it all, apparently) and 13 hours if you decide to just sit and watch video on iTunes. We could marathon an entire series without resorting to the charger, by the sound of things.

Security has been given a boost as well, with a new T2 security chip coming standard. The chip checks on the machines boot-up, ensuring that no files have been mucked with. It also keeps an eye on system encryption, handles video and audio and the FaceTime camera too.

The new MacBook Air contains three microphones, which should result in clear audio when FaceTiming and also when summoning Siri — which the T2 chip also handles. As far as ports go, there’s a headphone jack (no courageous move there, then), and two Thunderbolt 3 ports — which look like plain old USB-C to us. Still, there are more options for peripherals before you have to resort to a dock of sorts, plus you can now power your notebook while using an external monitor. Yay.

Light as Air

Oh, and the Air wouldn’t be the Air if it wasn’t smaller. It’s gone 17% smaller than the last Air by volume and measures just 15.6mm, shaving off about 1.5mm from the last model. And it weighs just 1.25kg, which is also lighter than ever. Apple has gone environmentally friendly for their new notebook, used more recycled and recyclable materials than ever before, including a unibody that uses a new aluminium alloy, developed in Apple’s labs. Yeah, that’s 100% recycled. Apple’s taking this ‘going green’ thing seriously.

Want one? Apple’s new MacBook Air is available for pre-orders today (overseas), and will be available next week on 7 November (also overseas). That’s… about what we expected in terms of timelines. Locally, we’re waiting for updates on availability and pricing but overseas pricing starts at $1,200 (about R17,500).

Stuff South Africa's online editor and print assistant editor, Brett Venter has churned out more words on more titles than most journalists will in a career. He's kind of shy.

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