Is the MacBook Air i7 really only available online?

Can you really only buy a MacBook Air i7 from Apple’s online store? What if you don’t want to wait 2 to 4 days – perhaps longer – for your MacBook Air i7 to arrive? What if you want to take an i7 MacBook Air home today?

Mac Crazy investigates whether its possible to buy a MacBook Air i7 2011 / 2012 model over the counter today.

How to Buy a MacBook Air i7 – What Apple Says

MacBook Air 13 inch mid-2011 photo taken from raised position in front

The MacBook Air i7 - Do you want one today?

The MacBook Air’s technical specifications on Apple’s website say the new MacBook Air i7 is only available at Apple’s online shop:

$1199 model configurable to dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 with 4MB shared L3 cache, only at the Apple Online Store.

Is this true?

Benefits of Buying a MacBook Air in the Apple Store

If you can buy a MacBook Air in store, you can save the time waiting for it to be delivered. You take it home (or to work) now.

Another advantage to buying a MacBook Pro at a physical Apple Store is business pricing. If you have a business, the Apple Store business team also give you special business pricing.

Emeryshores, a Mac Crazy reader in Tennessee, says he can save 9.25% off a MacBook Air by buying it from an Apple Store on a tax free weekend.

Does the Apple Store carry stock of the MacBook Air i7?

I checked the stocks of MacBook Air available at my local Apple Store. That’s an official Apple-owned store, not a Mac reseller.

What I found is that my local Apple Store carried stock of the MacBook Air (MBA) with the fast, new Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processor. They had the i7 MacBook Air in both the 11 inch and 13 inch sizes.

(By the way, if you’d like to more information about whether to buy an i5 or i7 MacBook Air model, see “i7 vs i5 MacBook Air – is the upgrade worth it?”.)

This matches my experience with buying a MacBook Pro i7 15 inch in late 2010. The high resolution antiglare display was officially only available from Apple online. I dropped into the Apple Store at Bondi, and they had an i7 MacBook Pro 15″ with an antiglare display in stock. This saved me the two to three week wait at that time for MacBook Pro with a custom configuration.

The Apple staff member explained that they don’t make any changes to the MacBook Air configuration at the Apple Store. This means, you get the size of flash storage (SSD) that’s preinstalled – you can’t downgrade or upgrade it at the store.

Stock of the i7 MacBook Air at Apple Stores in Different Countries

The Apple Store I checked is in Sydney, Australia. I asked the salesperson whether other Apple Store’s would also carry stock of the MacBook Air i7, particularly the U.S. He said that other Apple Stores have “got what we’ve got”.

At present we’ve confirmed the i7 MacBook Air has been available at Apple Stores in:

  1. Sydney CBD, Sydney, Australia
  2. Montreal, Canada
  3. Pioneer Square, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
  4. Pasadena, California, U.S.A.
  5. Chadstone, Melbourne Australia
  6. Bridgewater, New Jersey, U.S.A.
  7. Natick, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Thanks very much to readers who have commented on availability at their store!

I’m interested to hear whether your local Apple Store has stock of the MacBook Air i7. Please leave a comment here about what you find, if you can.

Conclusion

So it’s likely that your local Apple Store has stock of the 11″ & 13″ MacBook Air i7 right now.

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33 Responses to Is the MacBook Air i7 really only available online?

  1. Emeryshores says:

    Thanks for the info! I thought I had read somewhere last week that you could go into an Apple store and buy the upgraded 11 MBA but I wasn’t 100% sure. I know that you can’t go into another retailer, such as Best Buy or an Authorized Mac dealer and buy the upgraded model though.

    My closest Apple store is an hour away, so I’m planning to call that store when they open next Saturday and make sure they have the upgraded 11 MBA before I leave. Woohoo for Tax Free Weekend!

  2. Cameron Sullivan says:

    I called Apple because I have a tax free weekend in a week myself. Just to be safe, I called twice and got two different reps. Both told me if I called back during my tax free weekend and shipped to a valid address I could still get tax free over the phone. So, it may not be necessary to go to an Apple Store.

  3. Emeryshores says:

    Yeah I ended up calling too. I was told that if you order online during the tax free weekend, as long as you mail to an address within the tax free state, they waive the tax for online orders as well. Man, I love Apple.

  4. beetleguise says:

    Called a store ahead about the 11inch i7 and they said they had it (didn’t specify which if it was the128 or 256 gig model. According to the apple store guy, the apple retail stores only stock the 11 inch mba i7 in the 256 gig models. I had called 3 different stores before this asking about if they had the 11inch i7 mba and no apple salesperson asked if I wanted the 128 or 256 gig model. I would interpret all of this to mean that the stores only stock the 256gig 11 inch mba i7 model. Hopefully this saves someone else an unnecessary trip.

  5. Mike Klein says:

    Montreal has i7 in both sizes (with 256 ssds, only).

  6. Loftkilla says:

    No…that is not true. I bought my Core i7 MBA in the Apple Store in Pioneer Square in Portland, OR.

  7. Dear Apple says:

    I am going to get 13″ Air, just read that i7 easily overheats and fans are too noisy. So what do you think – i5 or i7?

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Dear Apple,

      Thanks for your question!
      (Nice blog by the way. :-) )

      I don’t have enough solid data to answer this yet.
      I’ve just had someone contact me via Mac Crazy on Facebook, and he says that just streaming video online with his 13 inch i5 MacBook Air at a room temp of 75 to 78F (24 to 25C) is enough to have his fans going at 5000 to 6000rpm. CPU is 15 to 30%.

      So heat and fans may be a problem for both the i5 & i7 MacBook Air. Don’t know if the lower clocked i5 in the 11 inch avoids this issue. (If it does, it would probably be worth sacrificing 25% compute performance for a cool, quiet laptop.)

      I’ve asked the person with the hot MacBook Air to send me a video.

      I can’t say anything conclusive yet – too little data.
      I’ll let you know when I’ve got a solid picture of this issue.

      In the meantime, if you need a cool, quiet laptop, I can confirm the late 2010 MacBook Air is excellent, has slightly superior video performance, albeit lackluster CPU performance, and is probably now available on special. :-D

      Hope this helps,
      -Taz.
      I can’t say

  8. MavsFan says:

    I just got the 11.6 i7 with 256SSD at my apple store in NJ (BW). Looks like only the 256G is only one they keep in stock. Do as the article recommends, ask someone to look in back, preferably the manager.

  9. Howard says:

    Walked into Pasadena, California Apple store and walked out with the i7 13 inches mac air today! They have it in stock and ready !

  10. nope says:

    I spoke to the Official Apple Store in Chadstone, Melbourne, Australia and they have 11″ i7 w/ 256GB SSD in stock.

  11. confirmed says:

    Great site, found you on Google when trying to figure out how to view my available HD space on Lion. I bought a 1.8 Ghz i7 13″ 250gb MBA at my local Apple store in Natick, MA just last week and I LOVE it!

  12. Philip says:

    In 4 shops in southern England (including the London flagship) they had the 11″ i7 in stock – but like others have found, only with 256gb flash.

  13. Alex says:

    Hello Tasman Hayes, do you know shops in New York city, where i can buy Macbook Air 11.6 i7 4gb 128gb or 256 SSD in Stock? Any store and without waiting.

  14. Tasman Hayes says:

    Alex,

    I’d expect the Apple Store Fifth Avenue to have the MacBook Air i7 11″ 256GB SSD in stock.

    Please call them to check before you go in.

    Their address and phone number is 767 Fifth Ave. New York City, NY 10153 (212) 336-1440.

    There’s also the AppleStore’s in SoHo, Upper West Side, and West 14th Street if that suits you better.

    If you can spare a moment Alex, please post a comment to let us know if they’ve got stock.

    -Taz.

  15. Steve Tinter says:

    I bought my i7 Air at the Hong Kong Apple Store – they had/have lots of stock.

  16. gav says:

    Hi guys,
    I am going soon to Cleveland, do you know if they have in store the 13″ i7?

    Thanks

  17. Bwesigye Don Binyina says:

    I am fascinated by a MacBook Air, never used it before but desirous of acquiring one in the new year, interested in the latest model, quite, sophiscated, black in colour 13 or 15 Inch. Whats your recommendation and where can secure one in Perth city- Western Australia.

    Cheers!

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