Apple Announces A Long-Waited Update to the MacBook Air and more at its Special Event today at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House
After the live stream event, Apple also provided a demo room for journalists at Skylight One Hanson, providing a dramatic and gorgeous setting.
In Part 1, we cover the new MacBook Air. Apple also released an updated iOS 12.1 for iPhones and iPads. See our coverage here. The new MacBook Air is available for purchase today at Apple starting at $1,199. It will be available in Apple retail stores and via Apple Authorized Resellers by Wednesday, November 7. Tech specifications, configuration options and accessories are available here.
Newly Redesigned MacBook Air
Apple revealed a long-awaited update to the MacBook Air, beloved among existing Apple users for its powerful functionality and lightness that Steve Jobs famously demonstrated in 2008, by pulling the thin laptop out of an envelope. The laptop has been surpassed over the years by the MacBook Pro and the newer MacBook, both of which had additional functionality and high resolution Retina displays. Today’s event brought the MacBook Air to the forefront with its first redesign in eight years, by adding a high-resolution Retina display, Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) and Touch ID, while still being smaller and lighter than MacBook Pros.
The new MacBook Air is thinner and lighter than prior models, but still maintains its distinctive wedge-shaped design, while adding up to four times the prior resolution in prior models with the addition of a new Retina display. Aluminum bezels around the old display have also been removed, offering a closer edge-to-edge display. With a third-generation butterfly keyboard that is quieter and presumably more dust-resistant than prior laptop models, and precision build quality with a 10 percent recycled aluminum, the MacBook Pro is the greenest computer available today. The custom aluminum alloy used helps decrease MacBook Air’s carbon footprint by almost 50 percent.
You can open the lid with just one finger and use the large touchpad (20 percent larger than prior models) that has Force Touch. The new 13-inch MacBook Air is available in three finishes — gold, space gray and silver. The newer version also sports faster SSDs, wide stereo sound, the Apple T2 Security Chip and Thunderbolt 3, while running Apple’s latest software system, macOS Mojave. The newer MacBook Air has lost a few of its old ports, replacing them with a pair of Thunderbolt ports on the left side and a solo headphone jack on the right side. Still compact and portable, the new MacBook Air delivers up to 12 hours of battery life. The latest model also is thinner and lighter, taking up 17 percent less volume while being 10 percent thinner, measuring only .61 inches at its thickest point, and weighing 2.75 pounds - up to a quarter pound lighter than the previous model.
By adding Retina display to the MacBook Air, Apple brings the thin laptop up to par with its other high end model, MacBook Pro to provide high fidelity image processing and access to higher quality screen resolution. The new MacBook Air has a gorgeous 13.3-inch Retina display with 4 million pixels of resolution for stunning imagery and video displays via macOS Mojave and with 48 percent more color than prior versions.
The 13.3-inch Retina display comes with a native resolution of 2560 x 1600, and scaled resolutions of 1680 x 1050, 1440 x 900, and 1024 x 640. Using the Intel UHD Graphics 617, The new MacBook Air can support an external display with 5120 x 2880 resolution up to 60Hz or can support two external displays with 4096 x 2304 resolution at up to 60Hz via Thunderbolt 3.
The new MacBook Air has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, enabling you to charge your laptop, transfer data via USB and Thunderbolt, output video in three formats and connect to a variety of devices ranging from external storage, 4K and 5K displays, docks for ports and eGPUS for fast graphics processing.
This is further enhanced by the addition of the 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel UHD Graphics and quick 2133 MHz up to 16GB in the MacBook Air that features SSDs up to 1.5TB in capacity. The MacBook Air has faster and more powerful processing for daily activities that include editing photos and videos.
The new MacBook Air has a built-in FaceTime HD camera, allowing you to do Group FaceTime calls for up to 32 people via iOS 12.1 and benefits from the new laptop’s better sound quality via the microphone and Siri’s enhanced voice recognition.
Enhanced Security via Touch ID and Apple’s T2 Security Chip
The new MacBook Air now has Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor built right into the keyboard. This enables you to quickly unlock your MacBook Air, authenticate your identity and purchase items online securely with Apple Pay.
MacBook Air comes with a new Apple T2 Security Chip to protect your Touch ID information and to ensure that software loaded during the boot process is not been tampered with. The T2 has an SSD controller with data encryption for everything stored on the SSD, thus making the MacBook Air have a secure boot process and the most secure storage of any laptop. T2 also has a processor that enables Hey Siri features for quick requests like finding files and opening apps.
The new T2 Security Chip also proactively prevents hacking via MacBook Air microphones via a mechanism that terminates the laptop’s microphone from functioning when the lid is closed. This in effect means that no malware installed on the laptop will be able to listen to your conversations after you close the computer via any software hacks and tricks. In new documentation about Apple’s T2 Security Chip, Apple explains, “All Mac portables with the Apple T2 Security Chip feature a hardware disconnect that ensures that the microphone is disabled whenever the lid is closed. This disconnect is implemented in hardware alone, and therefore prevents any software, even with root or kernel privileges in macOS, and even the software on the T2 chip, from engaging the microphone when the lid is closed."
Better Audio Quality
The new MacBook Air also improves upon prior model’s microphone audio quality. The latest model features advanced speakers and better audio processing technology for better stereo playback, louder speakers (25 percent more) with greater bass, dynamic range and fuller sound for a fuller and more immersive audio experience.