Gamechanger: You can now buy a MacBook Air from Apple online for $599

This is a discussion on Gamechanger: You can now buy a MacBook Air from Apple online for $599 within the MacBook Air forums, part of the Macbook Forum category; Update (4/29 12:08pm): Looks like the $599 model is now sold out, but keep a close eye on 9to5Toys we’ll let you know when they ...

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    Gamechanger: You can now buy a MacBook Air from Apple online for $599



    Update (4/29 12:08pm): Looks like the $599 model is now sold out, but keep a close eye on 9to5Toys we’ll let you know when they are back!

    The release of updated MacBook Air models this morning has prompted Apple to drop the price of previous generation refurbished models down to unprecedented levels. The mid 2012 models now start at just $599 and include a 1-year warranty. These models feature dual-core Intel Core i5 processors and LED-backlit widescreen displays. There are currently three different models listed with storage capacities up to 256GB, but that can change at any moment since Apple refurbished inventory is generally extremely limited.

    To put this pricing in perspective, you can now get a MacBook Air for only $100 more than an entry-level iPad Air. Put another way, that’s $100 less than a Wi-Fi iPad Air with the same storage capacity.
    The 1-year limited warranty is the same that’s included on new condition products. All refurbished Macs are also eligible for AppleCare just like brand new Macs giving it the same three year support as a new model. Read more about the Apple refurbishment process here. You can order your refurbished Mac for home delivery or in-store pickup at your nearest Apple Store retail location.







    4-29-14

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    2014 MacBook Air benchmarks show slight performance boost from faster Intel chips



    The first of Apple's newly released MacBook Air units have already been put to the test, revealing a relatively minor boost to the thin-and-light notebook lineup's horsepower thanks to slightly faster Intel Haswell processors.

    The results of a handful of Geekbench stress tests are already available via Primate Labs' Geekbench Browser, showcasing the power of the ultra-low-voltage Intel Core i5-4260U chip powering both the new 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air models. Clocked at 1.4 gigahertz, the chip pushed the 32-bit Geekbench single-core score for the MacBook Air in one test to 2,532, while the multi-core score reached 4,781.

    In comparison, last year's MacBook Air was powered by the Intel Core i5-4250U clocked slightly slower, at 1.3 gigahertz. It earned a single-core 32-bit Geekbench score of 2,461 in one recent test, and a multi-core score of 4,615.

    The scores show that the minor megahertz bump found in the new MacBook Air models results in relatively small but still measurable gains for the 2014 refresh. The Geekbench scores show that multi-core performance in both integer and floating point tests were improved from last year, while single-core tests in those categories, as well as memory performance, are essentially the same from 2013 to 2014.

    Reflecting how minor the changes are, Primate Labs founder John Poole noted to AppleInsider that Apple did not update the model identifier for the new 2014 MacBook Airs.





    Beyond the base chip tested in these results, Apple does offer a build-to-order option for its latest MacBook Air models, bumping the CPU performance up to a 1.7-gigahertz Core i7 model. That upgrade carries a $150 premium.

    Both the 2013 and 2014 MacBook Air models are so similar because they both rely on chips utilizing Intel's Haswell architecture. The chipmaker's next-generation processors, known as Broadwell, were originally planned to arrive earlier this year, but recent rumors have suggested that computers featuring Broadwell chips may not arrive until early 2015.

    A more significant upgrade to the MacBook Air lineup is rumored to arrive later this year, with a newly designed 12-inch version featuring a high-resolution Retina display rumored to arrive in late 2014. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has said the new MacBook Air with Retina display will feature a fan-less design with fewer inputs and outputs, and a new click-less trackpad.





    4-30-14

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    SSD Speed Variations in 2014 MacBook Air Still Due to Drive Brand Mix, Not Broader Ch



    For many years, Apple has used different suppliers for the solid-state drives (SSDs) in its MacBook Air models, with drive performance varying among manufacturer brands. A recent study by Macworld demonstrated rather dramatic differences in SSD read and write speeds between tested 2013 and 2014 models, but at the time it was unclear whether the poorer performance for the 2014 models was still simply due to drive brand variances or if there was something specific to the 2014 machines causing an overall degradation in performance.

    Other World Computing (OWC) has now performed some apples-to-apples testing between 2013 and 2014 models with SanDisk SSDs, and has found that performance is nearly identical.

    In OWC's testing using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, the new MacBook Air model with a 128 GB SanDisk SSD reported read/write speeds of 705/315 MBps, while the 2013 version also with a 128 GB SanDisk drive scored similarly with read/write speeds of 711/316 MBps.

    Macworld's testing of four machines (various combinations of 2013/2014 models at 11 and 13 inches) had included drives of two different capacities from three different manufacturers, making it difficult to determine the exact cause of the performance differences.

    This variability in brand performance was noticed years ago, when Apple started using both Toshiba and Samsung SSDs in its MacBook Air models. Apple continues to use drives from different manufacturers in its 2014 models, including units from Samsung, Toshiba and SanDisk. How various batches of drives from the different manufacturers are assigned to various machines is unknown, and consumers are unable determine which brand of SSD is in their MacBook Air without opening the box and either booting the machine to examine system profile information or physically opening the machine.

    Apple's new MacBook Airs are available from Apple's website beginning at $899, while the 2013 models are being sold at significant discounts through a number of retailers.





    5-6-14

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    Apple MacBook Air (mid 2014)




    There’s not much new about Apple’s updated MacBook Air lineup. Fortunately, the Air was already a top-notch portable computer. The subtle increase in processor speeds, along with a respectable decrease in price, are obvious positive steps for consumers. And while the faster processor did help the new MacBook Air in our application tests, the flash storage didn’t always perform as well as we’ve come to expect.

    The latest MacBook Air models are available in four standard configurations, two with 11.6in screens, and two with 13.3in screens. All four configurations have the same Intel 1.4GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, which is 100MHz faster than the 1.3GHz dual-core Core i5 processor found in the mid-2013 MacBook Air.

    Everything else about new MacBook Air is the same as last year’s model: 4GB of DDR3 memory, Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics, and either 128GB or 256GB of PCIe-connected flash storage.

    Prices start at $1099 for the 11in MacBook Air with 128GB of flash storage. For $1299, you get the same 11in system but with 256GB of flash storage. The 13in MacBook Air with 128GB of flash storage is $1199, and its 256GB counterpart is $1399. Across the line, except the low-end 11in model, the mid-2014 MacBook Air is priced $50 lower than the corresponding configurations from mid-2013.

    You can increase the RAM from 4GB to 8GB for an extra $120. Like last year’s model, RAM is not user upgradable, so if you think you might need more than 4GB, be sure to order your MacBook Air with the additional memory. You can also opt for 512GB of flash storage, a $350 upgrade to the 256GB models. The processor can also be upgraded to a 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 for $180 – the same processor upgrade offered last year.

    Externally identical to their mid-2013 predecessors, the MacBook Air still weighs in at 1.08kg (11in) and 1.35kg (13in). They also have the same number and types of connections: two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt port (not Thunderbolt 2), a MagSafe 2 power port and an audio in/out combo jack. The 13in model still includes a SDXC Card slot that the 11in model continues to lack. The 11.6in and 13.3in displays keep their same resolutions, 1366-by-768 and 1440-by-900, respectively – the new MacBook Air does not include a Retina display like some analysts had predicted.

    We used our overall system performance benchmark suite, Speedmark 9, to compare two models of the new MacBook Air to the previous models. In our tests, the new $1099 11in MacBook Air with 128GB of storage and the $1399 13in MacBook Air with 256GB of storage outperformed the previous systems in most tests, if only by a few seconds. The new 1.4GHz models were between 2 and 5 percent faster in tests such as Photoshop, iTunes, Handbrake, Cinebench CPU test, Aperture and PCMark 8’s Office application test running on a virtual machine in Parallels. Storage performance tests, on the other hand, showed the flash storage in these new systems to be slower than last year’s. Slow enough to drag down the overall Speedmark score, despite the faster processors found in this year’s models.





    If you’re looking for a more powerful portable, the $1849 13in Retina MacBook Pro with 256GB flash storage, 8GB of RAM and 2.4GHz dual-core Haswell processor was 22 percent faster overall than the new 13in 256GB MacBook Air. The 13in MacBook Pro also has the benefit of a high-resolution Retina display, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and faster Intel Iris graphics.





    Our battery tests showed that the new MacBook Air was able to maintain its superior battery life. We looped a movie file in iTunes at 200 CD/m2 brightness, with Wi-Fi off and the keyboard dimmed. The 11in MacBook Air lasted 9 hours and 39 minutes, 20 minutes longer than last year’s 11in. The new 13in MacBook Air lasted 12 hours and 13 minutes, 23 minutes longer than our previous 13in MacBook Air. The 13in MacBook Pro with Retina display lasted 9 hours and 48 minutes.


    Bottom line

    The MacBook Air is a great portable system. Thin and light with long battery life, the MacBook Air’s inclusion of Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports also allow them to work respectably as a desktop system when at the office. The 128GB flash storage isn’t as fast as larger capacities, so we’d recommend going with one of the models outfitted with 256GB.





    5-11-14

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