The rumors have been a few weeks off, but our predictions were right. About ten months after Apple took a second, far more successful swing at the MacBook Air ($999-$1,599), it has followed it up with an impressively improved new lineup—changes that aren’t groundbreaking, but all very much welcome, and considerably improving the horsepower of Apple’s new base model MacBook. That’s right—the MacBook’s gone, so long live MacBook Air.
Not surprisingly, both the 11” and 13” MacBook Air models stuck around. The base version of the smaller model still only has 2GB of RAM and 64GB of Flash memory, but it’s been updated with a new 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor—a major upgrade that should really boost performance. There’s also a beefed-up version with the same processor but double the memory and storage space, and a “best” model with a 1.8GHz Core i7 and 256GB of storage. The 13-incher is sporting similar specs, with a 1.7GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and between 128 and 256GB of storage, upgradable to 1.8GHz. Not too shabby. To keep up with the rest of the family, Apple has replaced the Mini DisplayPort with Thunderbolt, the whole line has Intel HD Graphics 3000 cards, and the keyboard is backlit. The FaceTime camera isn’t HD like on all of the other machines, but the MacBook Air does have something no other Mac has—Bluetooth 4.0. All in all, it’s a great machine, and a worthy final nail in the coffin of the now-defunct MacBook.