13-inch MacBook Air unboxing and first impression

Here it is, the new Haswell-based MacBook Air. We're talking 1.7GHz dual core i7 proc with Intel HD 5000 graphics 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. The ports are the same as last year's -- 2x USB 3 and 1x Thunderbolt. Sadly, it's Thunderbolt 1 and not the new, fancy Thunderbolt 2, which kind of puts the damper on Retina Thunderbolt display support, and makes it standard size pixels all around. The only new addition is the second mic, which should hopefully help with sound input quality.

That's fine. The MacBook Air with it's claimed 12-hours of battery life isn't being aimed at the performance market. It's being aimed squarely at the heart of the persistence market. This is the MacBook for people who want to leave the house with nothing but a chuckling backward glance at their power supply, still plugged in next to their desk, as they leave the house for the day. This is for the airplane travelers and live bloggers, for coffee-shop hopping entrepreneurs and class-changing students.

It's not the MacBook for anyone even remotely needing a Pro. Hence the difference in names. The battery life is supposed to be great, and the solid state storage, blazingly fast. The screen... not Retina. The 11-inch has nowhere nearly enough pixels for Safari, Coda, Photoshop, or Final Cut Pro X -- or any pro app, really -- but 13 is fine. It's much the same as the iPad mini. You can have screen density, lightness, or battery life, and you only get 2 out of the three. This is the compromise for people who want lightness and long battery life, and that'll be the perfect compromise for many, many people...

...at least for now.

  • $999 and up - 11-inch MacBook Air (2013) - Buy now
  • $1099 and up - 13-inch MacBook Air (2013) - Buy now
Anthony Casella