BROOKLYN, New York (CITYNEWS) – Ten years ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs pulled an ultra-thin laptop out of a manila envelope on stage, introducing us to one of the thinnest laptops the world had ever seen. Not only was it incredibly thin, but the MacBook Air was also a laptop full of firsts. It was the first Apple laptop to ditch the CD/DVD drive. It was the first laptop in Apple’s line-up to remove some of the commonly-used ports. It was also the first laptop to sport a multi-touch trackpad.
Over the next few years, Apple continued to modestly improve on the original design, but then the updates stopped. Sure, there were slight incremental spec bumps but no major design overhaul since 2010, making the MacBook Air line feel stale and dated. On Friday, that will change. The new MacBook Air has been updated with a number of new features, previously only seen on Apple’s high-end laptops.
Here’s a look at the top 5 reasons why you may want to consider revisiting the MacBook Air.
1. Retina display
If you placed an older model MacBook Air next to the 2018 model, your jaw will drop at the difference in the screen. Gone are the thick silver bezels surrounding the out-dated display. They are now 50 per cent thinner, giving the laptop an elegant look, much like the modern MacBook Pro.
The screen itself has gone from low-resolution to a high-resolution Retina display, boasting four times as many pixels as a high definition television. The human eye can’t distinguish individual pixels. Text is crisp, with makes it easier to read, and the colours are much more vibrant. This is a feature fans have been asking for for years. It’s a huge leap forward and finally makes the MacBook Air feel modern again.
2. Touch ID
This is another feature borrowed from not only the MacBook Pro lineup. Touch ID places a small laser-cut sapphire crystal on the top right corner of the keyboard, which doubles as the power button. Sensors inside can detect your fingerprint, allowing you to unlock your MacBook Air without typing in a password. It also lets you make secure credit card purchases through the App Store and online via Apple Pay. Just make sure your finger is clean!
3. Force Touch trackpad
The MacBook Air may have been the first MacBook with a multi-touch trackpad, but sadly the trackpad hasn’t been updated since. Apple is now making it 20 per cent larger and adding Force Touch. Instead of the traditional “diving board” mechanism, the new Force Touch trackpad is pressure sensitive and can be used in a number of different ways.
If you are doodling in a drawing program, you just have to press down harder and the line you are drawing will become darker. If you Force click an address in an email or website, it will open up Maps to show you the location. The firmer you press the trackpad while using iMovie or Quicktime, the faster the video will rewind or fast forward. There are many uses, you just have to learn what they are and remind yourself to use them.
4. All-day battery life
The MacBook Air has always been known for its long battery life, and the latest model is no different. Apple claims it will give you 12 hours of use on a single charge with 30 hours of standby. After using the latest MacBook Air for almost a week now, I can say I never once ran into a situation where I had to find an outlet and top up the power.
It’s important to note, the popular MagSafe 2 port used for charging has been removed. Apple appears to be shying away from the adapter, which clicked into place using strong magnets. Now the MacBook Air is charged via a USB-C cable. Some may be disappointed by the removal of MagSafe, but it appears this is a trend for all MacBooks moving forward.
I find this one of the most intriguing features of the latest MacBook Air. It happens to be the greenest Mac ever. The enclosure is made from an aluminum alloy, created with 100 per cent recycled aluminum from Apple products. Apple says the recycled shavings were re-engineered at an atomic level to ensure strength and durability, and to give it the same look and feel of traditional Apple MacBooks. It claims no new materials were mined from the earth for the MacBook Air’s outer case, which is pretty cool when you think about it.
On top of the five features mentioned, I love the fact that Apple is making it easy to choose between the two new models. Traditionally you have to decide between processors, screen size and storage. This time there are only two models available and the ONLY difference is the storage. You choose between a 128GB or 256GB SSD. Everything else remains the same.
Yes, Apple has finally breathed new life into the MacBook Air. This is the update many have been clamouring for. Unfortunately, new features bring with it a new price point. A higher price point. While the MacBook Air is still the most affordable MacBook, the minimum price has gone up by $300. It now starts at $1,499 CDN. This makes it slightly less affordable for students, who have always loved the value the MacBook Air has offered. As of right now, Apple seems to be keeping the more modest 2017 model available at the lower price point. We’ll see if that option disappears in the near future.