Apple's "one more thing" today was the company's new MacBook Air 2010 models, 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch slices of unibody aluminum promising up to 5hrs and 7hrs respectively of wireless browsing time. We've just gone hands-on with the pair, and they're slick, beautiful machines that will likely persuade many Apple Store shoppers just from a quick play in-store.
"What would happen if a MacBook met an iPad?" Steve Jobs asked, with the instant-on, solid-state storage, amazing battery and standby time and thin & light build from the tablet crossing over to an ultraportable. The result is the new MacBook Air, "one of the most amazing things we've ever created" according to Jobs: an ultraportable measuring 0.68-inches at its thickest and 0.11-inches at its thinnest. Like the existing Air it has a 13.3-inch LED backlit display, this time running at 1440 x 900.
The line between a netbook and a notebook used to be pretty straightforward, but with Intel's increasingly powerful Atom processors and NVIDIA's ambitious Ion-powered Optimus graphics, the distinction is more blurred. Typifying this new breed of netbook is ASUS' Eee PC 1215N, a 12.1-inch Seashell-series machine that could well be considered a true ultraportable despite its roughly $500 price tag. Check out the full SlashGear review after the cut.
More anonymous sources have come forward with MacBook Air refresh information, corroborating leaks over the weekend about what Apple are tipped to be announcing at their "Back to the Mac" event this coming Wednesday. According to Cult of Mac's "well-placed source", Apple is indeed readying two versions of the new MacBook Air, a direct 13.3-inch replacement to the current model and a smaller, 11.6-inch "netbook" version.
Apple's "Back to the Mac" event next week is expected to see a new MacBook Air take center stage, but the latest batch of leaks can't seem to decide on what exact form the next-gen ultraportable might take. Engadget's anonymous tipster sent them a shot of what's said to be the guts of the new machine, with extra battery room, a 13.3-inch display (with unibody MacBook-style hinge) and no space for a regular hard-drive or SSD. The last part chimes with AppleInsider's sources, who reckon Apple is using an "SSD Card" which packs solid-state storage into something more akin to a stick of RAM. However, they also claim that it's "certain" that Apple has switched to a smaller display size, just 11.6-inches, and that such machines have been running off production lines for a week already.
At least one analyst is predicting a new, smaller MacBook Air taking center stage at Apple's "Back to the Mac" event next Wednesday, together with a potential preview of multitouch desktop computing. Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu told investors he had been tracking a smaller MacBook Air for the past nine months through component supply chain leaks, reports AppleInsider, which fits in with previous rumors of an 11.6-inch machine.
There was a time when an ultraportable notebook would invariably cost well in excess of $1,000 and offer performance suited to little more than emailing. Now Acer's Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-68U118 drops onto the scene, a sub-$900 11.6-inch ultraportable packing an Intel Core i7 processor and a claimed battery life of up to eight hours. Too good to be true? Check out the full SlashGear review after the cut.
Friday's news that open-source tinkerers had managed to get Ubuntu 10.10 up and running on Toshiba's hitherto-Android AC100 smartbook raised a few eyebrows, but the usability of the hack was significantly scuppered by the fact it wouldn't load past the boot screen. That's been ironed out over the weekend, and Carrypad now has video of the AC100 doing its Ubuntu thing.
Toshiba's AC100 is certainly an interesting notebook on the face of it: Tegra 2 processor, full QWERTY and plenty of battery life, but the Android OS does mean it's definitely a companion device and not your sole ultraportable. That could all change, however, now a hack for loading Ubuntu onto the AC100 has been developed; Carrypad pulled together the instructions and files from tosh-ac100.wetpaint.org, ac100.gudinna.com and the official Toshiba forums and managed to get his AC100 up and running with Ubuntu 10.10.
Panasonic has outed its latest ultraportable, and while it may be netbook-sized it's far from netbook-powered. The Panasonic Let'snote J9 has a silly name but it also packs Intel's 2.53GHz Core i5-460M processor, 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD (in "high performance" CF-J9L configuration) along with its 1366 x 768 10.1-inch display.