Explainer: Light as MacBook Air

  • The 13.3-inch MacBook Air, fundamentally unchanged since it was introduced in 2008, got a refresh Wednesday from Apple and a "younger brother," as Steve Jobs called the new 11.6-inch model. Both are unibody construction, which adds to their lightness. The 11.6-inch MacBook Air weighs 2.3 pounds; the 13.3-inch is 2.9 pounds.

  • Me and Mini Me

    Wilson Rothman /

    With the 11.6-inch MacBookAir on the "lap" of its bigger sibling, the 13.3-inch model looks practically ginormous in comparison. But the footprint of both is pretty compact. The larger MacBookAir is 12.8 inches wide, only 1 inch wider than the smaller model. The 13.3-inch MBA is 8.94 inches deep; the 11.6-inch model is 7.56 inches deep. It costs $999 or $1,199, depending on which configuration you get; the 13.3-inch model, also in two configurations, is $1,299 or $1,599.

  • SD card reader on 13.3-inch model

    Wilson Rothman /

    One feature the 13.3-inch MacBook Air has on its right side that the 11.6-inch model does not is a slot for smart cards, far left in this photo, from devices such as cameras. To the right is a USB port and MiniDisplay Port.

  • Right side ports on 11.6-inch MacBook Air

    Wilson Rothman /

    The 11.6-inch MacBook Air has a USB port on its right side and MiniDisplay Port, which can connect the laptop to a projector, larger computer display or TV for a bigger-screen viewing.

  • Left side ports

    Wilson Rothman /

    The left side of both models have the same features, from left, MagSafe power port, USB, headphone jack and microphone.

  • It's all flash

    Wilson Rothman /

    Apple's use of solid-state flash drives in all MacBook Airs also makes the laptop easier to pick up like this, in one hand, with flash drives weighing less than hard drives. Flash drives are also less prone to damage when dropped (although don't try it at home or anywhere, for that matter). Apple had been offering a version of the MacBook Air with a hard drive, but no more.

  • Flat-out smooth

    Wilson Rothman /

    The MacBook Air just about melds into the table with its low, flat profile. Both models are between 0.11 and 0.68 of an inch thick when folded flat. "We think it’s the future of notebooks … it’s like nothing we’ve ever created before, and it’s really stunning and it’s really small. It’s amazingly thin," said Jobs.


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