Mac rumor sites had been talking about it for weeks. Fans expected it. Yet the new MacBook Air didn't fail to amaze when Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced it during his Macworld keynote in San Francisco this morning. Looking at the machine itself, it's not hard to understand why:
The MacBook Air is just 0.76" (19 mm) thick at its thickest point and only 0.16" (4 mm) toward the front, and it weighs only three pounds (1.36 kg). Nevertheless, Apple was able to outfit the machine with an LED-backlit 13.3" 1280 x 800 display, a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor (1.8GHz available as an option), 2GB of RAM, either an 80GB hard drive or 64GB solid-state drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an iSight camera, a full-sized backlit keyboard, and a five-hour battery.
Apple has also tossed in some extras, such as a track pad with support for some of the same multi-touch gestures popularized by the iPhone, keyboard backlighting, and a Micro-DVI connector to hook up an external display or TV. There's no DVD drive, but Apple offers an external $99 optical drive as an option, and it has pre-loaded the MacBook Air with a new application called Remote Disc that can connect to a properly configured Mac or PC and "borrow" its optical drive.
The MacBook Air is available for purchase on the Apple Store at a starting price of $1,799—not outrageous for an ultraportable with that kind of hardware and form factor. Apple plans to ship the machine in two weeks.