The bottom of the notebook also looks very surprising. The thing is that despite all traditions, it has no sections that can be opened. It means that you cannot replace any components in your MacBook Air without losing the warranty, and also cannot use any interchangeable batteries. In other words, Apple ideologists tried to make their solution not only extremely mobile, but also as close as possible to a consumer electronics device that cannot be upgraded or fixed at home. Therefore, even if your battery dies, you will only be able to replace it in the specialized service center.
As for the power supply connector, it is located on the left side of MacBook Air. They use MagSafe magnetic connector that we have already seen on MacBook Pro.
The power supply unit looks quite common, but is smaller and lighter than that of a MacBook Pro. No wonder, since its capacity is only 45W.
Now that we have checked out this notebook from the outside, let’s open the top cover that holds with a very light magnetic clip. 13-inch TFT matrix of MacBook Air makes extremely favorable impression even despite the flashing glossy coating. The screen supports typical resolution for its size of 1280x800 and features LED backlighting that proved extremely efficient in MacBook Pro family thanks to high image contract level. The display in the new notebook is even brighter, it remains bright even under direct sunlight. However despite that, the LED backlighting retained its main advantage – extreme economy. Moreover, it is the LED backlighting used instead of cold cathode fluorescent lamps that allowed Apple to make the top cover impressively thin.
The eye of the iSight web-cam is right above the display. It transmits the video with standard 540x480 resolution. On the right there is a built-in microphone. The lighting sensor is on the left, hidden behind the similar grid. It controls automatic screen brightness and keyboard highlighting.
Although MacBook Air is an ultra-portable solution, Apple managed to save its full-size keyboard. The secret is that this mobile system has a little fewer keys: there are only 79 of them, while Wintel notebooks have 88-key keyboards. They removed some of the rarely used keys, so in reality you will hardly notice they are missing when working with this notebook.
So, MacBook Air keyboard looks good from both standpoints: ergonomic as well as aesthetical. Large black keys made of warm plastic travel very softly and sink deep enough to ensure comfortable tactile experience. They get highlighted white in case of poor lighting conditions.
The touchpad is even more impressive. Its size is certainly impressive: the diagonal of the work surface measures 12cm. However, it is not just the size of it that stands out. A much more interesting fact is that MacBook Air touchpad recognizes gestures like those one uses on iPhone, for instance. Different finger combinations allow scrolling documents, changing text and image sizes, turning pages forth and back and even rotating images in a very simple way. Of course, this remarkably convenient feature makes Apple touchpad a much more advanced tool putting it way above the manipulators of common mobile devices from other manufacturers. Even the fact that it only has one button doesn’t spoil the impression. The pressing of the second button is emulated perfectly fine with the help of the same “sign language”.
In conclusion to our discussion of the airy notebook exterior design I would like to point out one more thing. It hardly has any of the conventional LED indicators. The only white LED hidden in the front edge of the notebook lights up when the system goes into sleep mode. Moreover, miniature green LEDs indicating the corresponding activity are installed into the Caps Lock key, PSU connector and next to iSight camera. As for all other indication, Apple engineers rely on the operating system to do it.
Well, it is really hard to tell if Apple MacBook Air is a good or a bad solution judging by its exterior design. It is very ambiguous, and the only thing we can say with all certainty at this point, is that it changes completely the traditional perception of an ultra-portable system. Newcomer from Apple invites you to give up a lot of things you are used to for the sake of “airy” thinness and lightness. So, each of you will have to make their own conclusions here basing on what you are ready to sacrifice for extra mobility and style. As for us, we are going to share our opinion about more definite things, such as hardware configuration.