A Refreshed MacBook Air - Now With Intel "Haswell"
While iOS 7 was the focus of Apple's WWDC 2013 offerings, the company also announced "Haswell" refreshes of its 11- and 13- inch MacBook Air line and also unveiled a radically redesigned Mac Pro. We focus on the MacBook Air first:-
Both the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs will be getting Intel's latest 4th generation ULT dual-core 'Haswell' Core i5 1.3GHz processors. As with the current batch of MacBook Air notebooks, Core i7 1.7GHz models will also be available. The new processors offer the Intel HD Graphics 5000 engine, which Apple says could produce a 40% boost in graphics speed, and should now produce performance on par with an entry-level discrete GPU. Well, from our previous testing of the Intel HD Graphics 4000 built-in GPU, we say Intel has already managed that and the newer graphics engine in the Haswell chips enable it to compete with more modern entry-level discrete graphics.
Battery life has also been improved, with Apple promising several hours more battery life than the current batch of Airs. The 11-inch MacBook Air goes from 5 hours of battery life to an all-day 9 hours, while the 13-inch goes from 7 hours to an incredible 12 hours. It's mind boggling to think that these new platforms are so power efficient that we're closer to reaching a state of not worrying about plugging the machine to a wall socket anymore and it could be a reality. We'll find out when we do test them.
Both models have also been upgraded with Wireless 802.11ac, the newest wireless standard, which offers up to three times the speed of the current Wireless 802.11n standard.
Storage has also been upped, with 128GB SSD now the standard storage space (up from 64GB), with the new top option boasting a 256GB SSD. Apple also claims that the new SSDs are 45% faster than the current generation MacBook Air notebooks.
Both models are available today from the online Apple store. The 11-inch MacBook Air, with Intel 4th-Generation hardware and 128GB SSD storage, starts at S$1348 and the 13-inch MacBook Air, also with a 4th-Generation processor and 128GB SSD storage, is available from S$1488.
Apple also revealed a sneak peak of its upcoming high-end Mac Pro redesign. The radical redesign features a tubular tower shape with a unique "unified thermal core that allows the desktop to efficiently share its entire thermal capacity across all the processors." It will be armed with a next generation Intel Xeon E5 processor, dual workstation AMD FirePro GPUs with support for up to three 4K displays, PCIe-based flash storage with up to 10 times faster performance than conventional desktop HDDs, and four-channel DDR3 1866MHz ECC RAM. External expansion will be available via six Thunderbolt 2 ports!
Despite its impressive specs, it is also surprisingly small, being several inches shorter and thinner than the previous Mac Pro tower. As a nice touch, it will also be assembled in America. The Mac Pro should be available late in 2013; expect it to be very, very expensive.