Apple's smallest notebook is the MacBook Air, and all signs are pointing to this being the best-selling Mac this holiday season, so we had to include it in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. The 11-inch MacBook Air packs in speedy flash memory that is soldered directly onto the motherboard, resulting is lightning-fast performance. It also means no moving parts, so you get five hours of battery life from the tiny little wonder, and it even sports a full-sized keyboard, which we feel is a must (and is one of our main complaints with other netbooks.) The price starts at $999 from Apple, but hey, if you go with Amazon then its $994 with free shipping, and MacMall has them starting at $799--a full $200 off! Not bad for the most portable Mac out there.
Apple is set to discount some of its most popular products for Black Friday 2011. No word yet on if the stores are opening early, but you can get all the deals online as well as in-store, which is nice. Discounts on items like the iPad 2, iMac, MacBook Air, and iPod touch are just the tip of the iceberg, as Apple is also discounting a bunch of third-party accessories, including the Jawbone Up. We've got the best of the sale listed after the break, along with links to take you directly to the products!
The next featured gadget in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide is the Twelve South PlugBug. It's a device that's so simple that it's hard to believe no one has come up with this until now. The PlugBug snaps onto your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air wall charger, giving you a powered USB port in the process. The results? You can then charge both your Apple notebook, and a USB device (like an iPhone or iPad) at the same time, using just one outlet. Genuis! This means that when you're on the go, you can carry one less charger, and you'll have one less outlet to try and find. You can get the PlugBug on Amazon for $34.
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We give you a look at Apple's new Thunderbolt Display in this episode. The Thunderbolt Display allows you to connect a host of peripherals to it, and then run them all to your MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac mini using a single Thunderbolt cable. We show all the Thunderbolt I/O inputs and explain how the monitor works in this episode. You can pick up the Thunderbolt Display for $999 from Apple.
Big thank you to GoToMeeting and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like.
Microsoft released its Windows 8 Developer Preview and free developer tools to the public for download last night. It's intended to help developers start building apps for the forthcoming newest version of Microsoft's operating system. But that won't stop hordes of regular users from installing it anyway, just to get a sneak peek.
We got our hands on a copy of the software and figured that the most compelling system to install it on was a Apple MacBook Air 13-inch running Boot Camp. For the most part, the Windows 8 Developer Preview installed and ran smoothly on the Air despite being the first public build. It's stable enough that I didn't encounter heat issues, the infamous blue-screen of death (yet), or even a single application crash.
There are some key MacBook Air components that Windows 8 didn't recognize, however. These included the speakers, SD card reader, webcam, and Bluetooth, although a sophisticated user could probably tinker with current Windows drivers and get some of them to work. The good news is that the essential ones, such as Wi-Fi, the keyboard, trackpad, and USB ports, worked perfectly.
MacRumors is reporting that Apple is in late stage testing of a new ultra-thin 15-inch Macbook. It's unsure if this'll be a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, but if the release of the new Mac mini is any indication, we wouldn't be surprised to see the MacBook Pro line do away with the optical drive. It makes sense that Apple would take design cues from the MacBook Air and bring them over to the Pro line, and adding SSD into the more powerful MacBook Pro would make that thing fly. Apple did just refresh the MacBook Pro back in February, so we wouldn't expect to see these new notebooks until 4th quarter of this year.
Yes, we know that the big excitement of the day is the release of Mac OS X Lion, but if you're more of a hardware person, you should know that Apple has released a refreshed MacBook Air this morning. The 13- and 11-inch notebooks now sport Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors, backlit keyboards, Thunderbolt ports (replacing the old Mini DisplayPort,) and ship with Mac OS X Lion installed.
Pricing starts at $999 for the 11.6-inch model, which gives you 64 GB SSD, 2 GB RAM, and a Core i5 1.6 GHz processor. For $1199, you get the 11.6-incher with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD. Both models offer five hours of battery life. Moving on to the 13-inch model, that starts at $1,299 and hits you with a 128 GB SSD, 4 GB RAM, and a 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5 processor. Step it up to $1,599, and you get a 256 GB SSD instead, and the 13-inchers give you 7 hours of battery life. Everything else remains the same (which means the FaceTime cameras haven't been upgraded to HD) here, and they're available now on the Apple Store.
9to5 Mac first noticed the change at BestBuy.com and believes this is "indicative of a product refresh." Best Buy now only offers the MacBook Air in a limited number of stores, apart from the 13.3-inch version, which is only available online.
A Best Buy salesperson said the MacBook Air's SKU was still active but that Apple had stopped shipping the notebooks to its online stores.
If you're thinking about buying an Apple MacBook Air, you may wanna wait, as an updated model will likely be released shortly.
Apple has reportedly placed an order with its Asian manufacturers for 380,000 next-generation MacBook Airs, equipped with Intel's newest Sandy Bridge processors, Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note obtained by AppleInsider.
Kuo said 55 percent of these new models will be 11.6-inch versions, and the rest will be 13.3-inch models. In addition, Kuo said Apple has scaled back production of current models, announced back in October 2010, to 80,000.
Kuo has been saying since April that Apple will launch its next MacBook Air in June or July. At the same time, he said he expected the popular notebook would be equipped with Sandy Bridge processors and high-speed Thunderbolt transfer technology. In early May, Taiwanese newspaper DigiTimes cited sources who said the same thing. By late May, a Japanese blog reported that Apple was testing MacBook Airs with an A5 chip inside, the same chip used in the iPad 2 (though Steve Jobs has said once that Apple has no interest in building a netbook).
Best Buy is holding a huge Mac sale today, offering discounts up to $260 off of MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac Pro - and that includes free shipping:
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