3 Ways Apple Improved The MacBook Air

Apple updated its MacBook Air family on Tuesday, but let’s cut to the chase—we all want to know what’s actually different.

Here are the three key ways Apple has updated the MacBook Air:

It’s Cheaper

Apple basically took the four major configurations of the 2013 MacBook Air and reduced each of their prices by $100. The most basic MacBook Air, with an 11-inch display and 128 GB of flash storage, costs $899, while the high-end configuration with a 13-inch display and 256 GB of storage costs $1,199. With additional customization options for the Intel processor, flash and RAM chips, a maxed-out version of the new MacBook Air will set you back about $1,749.

(Slightly) More Powerful

Thanks to some slightly improved Intel chipsets, every model of the new MacBook Air is more robust than its respective predecessor. All new MacBook Air models now feature 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processors with a 2.7 GHz Turbo Boost, whereas the previous models were powered by 1.3 GHz i5 chips with 2.6 GHz Turbo Boost. For $150 more, customers can upgrade to an Intel i7 processor—for those undecided, Anand Shimpi offers a useful guide to help you determine if the beefier Intel processor is worth your money.

Longer Battery Life

Apple advertised extended battery life as a key feature in last year’s MacBook Air models. In this update, all models feature the same average battery life, but Apple said it has added “up to two hours of playbook time.” In other words, whereas the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBooks enjoyed 10 and 12 hours of movie playback, respectively, the 2014 models should feature 12 and 14 hours of video playback, respectively.

Every new MacBook Air will ship running OS X Mavericks, the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system, plus free versions of the company’s iLife and iWork software suites, which include Garageband, iMovie, iPhoto, Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple is shipping its new MacBook Air models starting today.

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