Apple released their new MacBook Air models on 20 July 2011, available in 11 inch and 13 inch screen sizes. The big news about these models is that they include a much faster processor (or CPU) than the previous MacBook Airs, which for some operations are twice as fast.
The name “MacBook Air” are sometimes abbreviated to “MBA” on the Net. The new models are referred to “mid-2011 MacBook Air” or “July 2011 MacBook Air”, “Summer 2011 MacBook Air” or simply “2011 MacBook Air”. The previous model is known as the “late-2010 MacBook Air” by Apple.
The previous processors were two year old technology, so the MacBook Air sometimes felt slow compared to modern, full size laptops. For example, web pages could be seen coming together on the screen, rather than just springing up suddenly as they would on a MacBook Pro.
The new CPUs are modern Intel i5 or i7 dual core CPUs. The fastest CPU, the i7 is only only available through the Apple online store. (Apple’s marketing literature shows the i7 as only being available for the 13 inch model, but the i7 can be ordered as an option at the online Apple Store for the 11 inch model.) For information on the new MacBook Air’s performance versus the last model, and whether the i7 upgrade is worth the $100 to $150 cost, see MacBook Air 2011 i5 vs i7.
The battery life for the 11″ model is about 5 hours, and for the 13″ model about 7 hours.
There are other upgrades too. The backlit keyboard is great for typing in low light. The Thunderbolt I/O port will be great for connecting next generation peripherals, like high speeds disks and perhaps video cameras (if they do support it).
There’s also a new graphics processor that does video encoding and decoding on chip. Using the graphics chip to handle video uses less power than using the CPU. For applications that take advantages of the chip, like iTunes playing movies or FaceTime calling, will use less battery life.
More information soon.