back to article Apple kills MacBook, soups up MacBook Air

Apple the specced up the new MacBook Air line - and killed off the plastic MacBook. The new Airs do indeed gain Core i5 processors: 1.6GHz for the 11-incher, 1.7GHz for the 13.3in Air, and 1.8GHz Core i7 as a build-to-order option for both. They get backlit keyboards too, absent from their predecessors. Apple MacBook Air 2011 …


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  1. envmod


    No more standard MacBooks? I was hoping for a Core i3/i5 line.... I love the white MacBooks! Well, I for one am sad about this and will hug my own MacBook later and maybe cry a little tear.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      But what was the point, last generation?

      Doing the most basic upgrades necessary on the MBook, they did cost more than the basic MBPro that had them preinstalled! Which were better finished and had a backlit keyboard.

      Who on earth bought a macbook last year or so??

      I was hoping they'd re-label the old MBP to the "new" MB.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    BlueTooth crap

    Bluetooth is crap, why anyone would include that instead of USB 3.0 is beyond me. I've spent waaaay to much time trying to link devices together than it ever should require. The time it takes could have been spent transferring the data via USB 2.0.

    Apple dropped the ball on that one.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Is it Apple's implementation you have a problem with

      or bluetooth in general? I have few problems with my bluetooth kit (under Linux and Windows)

    2. farizzle

      other peripherals

      like maybe a nice mouse that doesn't take up a precious USB port? Or even faster iPhone tethering....

    3. A. Nervosa

      MacBook Ground

      802.11n wireless is crap, why anyone would include that instead of gigabit ethernet is beyond me. I've spent waaaay to much time trying to join networks than it ever should require. The time it takes could have been spent transferring the data via crossover Cat-5 cables.

      Think you might be missing the point of the "Air" bit.

    4. Hugh McIntyre

      Re Bluetooth versus USB

      USB is all very well, but sometimes you have a device with no USB port. For example (ahem) my phone. Faced with the choice of special-ordering a custom USB interface cable for $$ or pairing the device over Bluetooth, Bluetooth becomes a more attractive option.

  3. Greg J Preece

    No MacBook?

    Wasn't that the only model available in black? Slap an Android sticker over the Apple logo and no-one ever spots it's an Apple machine.

    1. JaimieV

      Hasn't been a blackbook

      for about four years. They were a very shortlived offering.

    2. Greg J Preece


      ...why so many downvotes? Have I desecrated a holy relic of the church?

  4. Leo Rampen

    Not interested in the back to school market then?

    Every year, lots of people turn up at University with a Macbook. When they cost £700, it was a bit of a premium over other alternatives. Now they're £1000, I can see Apple losing a big proportion of that market. Why would anyone, faced an already huge chunk of debt, pay £1000 for a laptop when they can buy a nice windows alternative for £400+? I'm sure there'll still be lots of people buying macs simply because they're the kind of people that define themselves with them, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a significant drop in sales.

    Does Apple not want that market anymore?

    1. horse of a different colour

      You can't put a price on ...

      ... being able to ponce around in coffee shops and 'working' on your MacBook Air.

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Given Apple's attitude to Java

      that is no surprise, at least as far as computer science students or any others that need to use Java code (bioinformatics anyone?).

      1. adam roberts


        Download java and install it, they ain't stopping anyone from using it.

        Remember its not built into windows also.

    3. farizzle

      Higher Education Discount

      means you can still show up at uni with a base-spec MacBook Air for approx £725 i believe...

    4. Spiracle
      Thumb Down


      Eldest son starts at a Mac standardised A-level college in September. I was considering getting him a basic MacBook (dependent on a summer of good behaviour, of course). He'll have to stick with his eBay ThinkPad and Ubuntu now.

    5. aBloke FromEarth

      That won't change.

      Remember: (1) Macs look pretty and (2) people are stupid.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Not interested in the back to school market

      "Does Apple not want that market anymore?"

      As long as Apple offers discounts via a HE Store and an Education Store, then I’m guessing yes.

      If you buy via the HE Store (which you’re entitled to do if you’re studying university and other educational establishments, e.g. some academies, or work at them – with the latter, you don’t need to have a job that involves students or research ), you get a decent discount and a free three-year parts and labour warranty.

      The exact discount varies between educational establishments, but generally they’re between 14-18% and for the entry-model MacBook Air, you would looking at a little over £730. Also, the discounts on Apple software are massive and, unlike the States, it’s the full version, not an academic version.

      If someone is at school, then they or a guardian/parent can use the Education Store (and most people seem to be able to get a this discount via the physical stores). The discount isn’t as big, but £50 saved is £50 saved.

      Also, Apple always does a ‘Back to School’ offer each year – in 2011, it’s £65 credit at the App/iTunes Store.

    7. 404

      Probably get burned at the stake... but

      Why doesn't somebody put iOS on an inexpensive, yet more powerful, ex-Windows laptop/desktop? Seems to be essentially the same hardware - just a licensing thing or what?

      Not that I am interested in doing so, currently in a Windows 7, Android 3.1, and BlackBerry merry-go-round phase atm, but just seems to me if you wanted an iOS desktop 'experience' on better, less expensive hardware, why not?

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Apple gave up on Education ages ago.

      They used Education to keep them alive during the leaner years.

      Now that they are in the business of selling shiny trendy baubles to the well-financed trendies, education doesn't matter.

      Remember the girl who emailed Steve Jobs for advice on a dissertation. A curt email "Leave me alone." was sent in reply. Seems to be the Apple attitude to academia.

    9. ThomH

      You're not allowing for the separate educational store

      "University and college students or students accepted to university or college" qualify, and educational pricing for the MacBook Air is "from £730" (though I'm not sure exactly what you get for being in the student category, as you can't access the store other than from your campus network).

      The original MacBook also lives on for bulk educational purchasers, much as they had exclusive access to the eMac for quite a few years back in the early-to-mid 2000s.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    The MacBook ain't quite dead yet

    Looks like Apple are still happy to offer it on the HE partner store...with a starting price of over £900, no less. Just in case you were in doubt about their desire to sell anyone cheap computing devices.

    1. Euchrid
      Thumb Down

      re: The MacBook ain't quite dead yet

      "Looks like Apple are still happy to offer it on the HE partner store...with a starting price of over £900, no less."

      Not there.

  6. ratfox


    I would say this was completely justified, if the MacBook Air had had a DVD reader...

    The idea that you need a "pro" model to watch a DVD is a bit surprising to me (though I admit I have been buying "pro" models for a while already, so it does not affect me anyway).

    1. Bob H


      What is a DVD? Is it like a vinyl record?

  7. Kristian Walsh Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Bluetooth 4.0...

    it's a more power-efficient air interface for Bluetooth 3, so you get better battery life, or greater range for the same power consumption. The chips are supposed to be simpler too, so there's a cost saving.

    For a user, there's really not much to notice over BT3, which gave better transfer speeds, NFC pairing, higher-quality audio streaming and other goodies.

    Good to see Apple keeping up BT support. They have always had a pretty solid Bluetooth implementation on their computers - it's only the iOS devices that removed the useful stuff: It's far easier for me to send files to my Nokia than to an iPhone, using my Mac.

    Interoperabiliy FTW...

  8. Dropper


    So they're not interested in the school, business or home markets anymore? Maybe someone should drop them a note and let them know a few people still use media. The Macbook Pro was a very decent computer, I was going to get one, not any more.

  9. OffBeatMammal


    not that I'm pining for parallel ports or anything but ...what use (today and probably for the next couple of years) is a thunderbolt connector vs (say) an ethernet one?

    if there was an equivalent to the Dynadock that worked with Thunderbolt, or if Thunderbolt had gone the smart way and gone with a combined USB3.0/TB connector I could understand it but this just baffles me

  10. andymcp

    £700-ish student laptop?

    That would be the education pricing then. Without getting access to the better-discounted uni store, the entry level new Air is £798 for a school student. Last time I checked, there was about another 5% on Uni agreements (and they get 3-year warranty instead of the standard one). So I guess it will work out somewhere around £750 for the new 'cheap' mac laptop.

    Having said that, why would anyone spend £750 on a laptop like that with no income and debts piling up all around them? Cue 'when I were a lad...' examples of notepads, pencils and sharpeners, living in cardboard boxes, etc etc... Oh, and the entry level specs kinda suck...

  11. Craig Vaughton

    BlueTooth crap?

    I don't have problems linking Apple mice, keyboards or phones to my iMac, or MacBook Air, or Apple mouse to Linux box for that matter.

    Which is more than can be said for my work Lenovo laptop and MS mouse. Go to a meeting, stay longer than an hour, come back and the only way to get the BT mouse working again is a reboot.

    I've tried a few other "wireless" mice over the years, all with Windows PCs and they've all not lasted that long before I reverted to a wired one.

    Omit USB 3.0 because you think Thunderbolt is better; now that's dropping the ball when a cable for Thunderbolt is £50 and there are virtually no devices available yet to use it anyway. How much to use USB 3.0 chips instead of 2.0? Come on.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Bluetooth is crap?

    No it's not. There are crap bluetooth devices, crap bluetooth drivers in laptops and crap users who can't work out what the problem is. Bluetooth generally does what it says on the tin for me.

    Bluetooth 4.0 is the new lower power version of BT as expounded upon here in El Reg's own article which I presume the author of this piece hasn't read;). I expect the next iPhone will have it and there'll be a lot more BT 4.0 low power devices along real soon now as they say.

  13. mark l 2 Silver badge


    I notice how its $999 in the US but us Brits get screwed by charging £850 for the same thing. They are all built in the same factory so why are we paying the equivalent of over $1300 just because we aren't in the US?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No USB3? WTF?

    All new computers are coming with USB3's sooo much faster. Why the heck did apple decide to make everyone wait for another year before they give USB3 on their laptops? That's just stupid. Especially since a lot of their machines no longer come with optical drives. Frankly, Windows 7 offers more bang for the buck, and at 1/3 the cost you can get a similar machine.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yes, WTF?

      "and at 1/3 the cost you can get a similar machine." quality the same is it?

      No, thought not!

  15. ES

    £100 Apple Rip off for us Brits

    This is shocking even by Apple standards: ( 999$ = 619£ ) * 1.2 = 742 != 849

  16. Terry Kiely

    back to black

    My Black macbook is one of the best computers I have owned and that is quite a lot of machines of all shapes and sizes. Sorry to see the demize of an under rated classic. The build quality is excellent and even with only 2gb ram, its core2d in that classy, tough bodyshell runs like the wind even after 3 years and looks different enough to raise eyebrows on the train.....especially when the owners see it running windows 7 and really fast too!

    My 17" MacBook pro used to be jealous of his lesser sibling but now he is happy. He runs windows even faster

  17. Alan Edwards
    Thumb Up

    Bluetooth is crap?

    Yep, I'd agree. It all depends how well behaved the device and the stack on the PC are. I use a Logitech V470 and Bluetooth MX700 mice all the time with no major issues. I also have an HP-branded Logitech I use with the PowerMac, which has aggressive power saving with a delay in waking up after being still for a few seconds that is just long enough to be annoying.

    The Blue Soleil stack was (is?) an abomination. The stock Windows XP one just about works, the Windows 7 one is better but seems to go out of it's way to hide the file transfer stuff. There was one stack that was just about perfect, but I forget it's name now. The biggest pain was tying adapters to one particular stack, so you can't use your favourite stack with any adapter.

    The Mac with a Bluetooth mouse is a laugh. OSX goes into panic mode when it starts because it can't see a mouse, until the Bluetooth starts and a mouse suddenly appears.

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