MacBook Air gets $100 price cut, 100MHz speed boost

Apple's line of proto-ultrabooks has just gotten a little better. While Apple has shied away from major hardware and design updates, the company has slashed the prices of the 11.6" and 13.3" MacBook Air by $100—and it's given CPU clock speeds a 100MHz bump, to boot.

The 11.6" MacBook Air now starts at $899, and its dual-core Core i5 processor now runs at 1.4GHz with a 2.7GHz Turbo speed. Other specs are the same as before: you get a 1366x768 display, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB solid-state drive, and a nine-hour battery.

Apple's larger, 13.3" MacBook Air now starts at $999. It features the same CPU as its 11.6" sibling, and its specs are similar except for the screen resolution, which is 1440x900, and the battery, which Apple rates for 12 hours of run time.

The lower prices could give stagnating Mac sales a needed nudge. That said, I wish Apple had cranked up display resolutions as well as clock speeds—even if only a little. OS X has excellent support for high-PPI screens, as do many Mac apps released since the launch of the first Retina MacBook Pro. Apple doesn't need to match that system's pixel density in the Air lineup, but a 1080p (or 1920x1200) display really shouldn't be too much to ask from a thousand-dollar machine.

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