MacBook Air gets price drop

Apple Macbook Air

Apple has updated its MacBook Air line-up and discounted prices by around £100. The MacBook Air is the lightest laptop Apple currently offers, with the price reduction no doubt aimed at convincing ever more Windows 8 PC owners to make the move to Apple.

Without the usual fanfare that greets each and every move Apple makes, the US company quietly updated its current range of MacBook Air laptops, while discounting entry-level models by £100. This means you can buy the standard 11-inch model for £749 and the 13-inch MacBook Air for £849.

Laptop reviews – find out if the MacBook Air is a Best Buy

MacBook Air – what’s included in this update?

To begin, this is only a minor update; so don’t expect radical changes from the norm. Each MacBook Air model now uses a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, up from the 1.3GHZ processors that were included in the previous versions.

The other significant difference is a boost in battery life. Previously, Apple claimed that the 11-inch model would last for 8 hours of video playback, but his has now been increased to 9 hours. The 13-inch model also receives a bump in battery life, from 10 hours up to 12 hours. However, we can’t confirm or deny Apple’s battery life claims until we get these new models into our labs for testing.

MacBook Air – what wasn’t included in the update?

The rumours of a 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display have been floating around for some time now but this latest update yielded no such thing.

It was previously expected that a Retina model of the MacBook Air would arrive at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference on 2 June, but the release of these new models just one month ahead of the event could suggest a slightly later launch for the higher-resolution model.

Are you tempted to make the move from your Windows laptop to Apple’s MacBook Air? Let us know in the comments section.

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6 replies

  1. I moved to the Mac two years ago after 20+ years with PCs and Microsoft.
    Loved Windows NT as opposed to the mass market version. Windows XP was good but killed off NT and pushed business use to geeks and administrators. Windows Vista was shockingly bad from a user point of view. Usual case of taking geeks out of University/College with no life experience than that taught by similar geeks and 3 or 4 years of socialising with like minded geeks. Where did common sense go? Windows 7 was a step back n the right direction but after my laptop became terminal when I had to run 32bit applications on a 64bit platform in the Middle East, I had to buy a cheap local laptop to download what I needed to reinstate my operating system and associated programmes on my work PC to get it operational again, I saw the light. Took me two days to get it back to scratch after initially setting up the cheap one as a fall back. I decided then that enough was enough and that I’d buy a Mac for my own use next. Had already bought a top of the line Dell XPX the year before and was less than excited by it. Bought a high spec MacBook Air 13″ and used Parallels Desktop to run PC applications on it if required and I’m converted. Add that shocking Windows 8 into the equation and you could see there was no management with any knowledge, calling the shots at Microsoft. Back to letting the geeks loose again with free rein. The MacBook Air was a revelation build wise. Beautiful and functional. Extremely well made. I found I could live with it easily and had bought Office for Mac along with it. No Access but it’s not essential to me currently. I run it more as a Mac than as a surrogate PC. Heaps of software bought. Then along came the iPad and the idea that you could seemlessly integrate the two which led to an iPhone joining the family. Had tried other tablets prior to the iPad and was prepared to be disappointed. Revelation! I’ve now moved to an iPad Air 128Gb and love it. The 64gb predecessor was a bit too limited memory wise for the volume of Apps I had. No such issues with the larger Air version. Also the ease of the switch between them amazed me.
    The future for me is Apple. Android smacks too much of the early PC DOS anarchy days. Pimply prats spending the day as developers and the night as cyber hero hackers. Little control.

  2. I’ve only twice spent more than £700 on home PCs. Round about 1987 I spent £1485 on an Olivetti PCS 286 so I could have a PC-compatible home computer and in about 1999 I spent about £900 on a Fujitsu Siemens Pentium 4 desktop, because I wanted a machine with a reasonably good gaming capability. I guess therefore if I needed an MacBook Air I could afford one but I not currently aware of anything that I could do on a Mac that I could not already do on a Windows or Linux PC.

    If I was running my own business, then I would expect to spend more on a PC for work than for home use. Spending £1000 on a computer to be used as a work tool is hardly unreasonable – the cost is equivalent to about £1 per day if you get 5 years solid use from it,

  3. Re the MacBook Air update…

    I’m considering the switch from Microsoft to Apple, so this is an interesting development.

    I’ve been using computers professionally since the mainframe and DOS days of the 1970s (I recall having to program a Ferranti Argus 500, inserting each 24-bit binary word of code, individually, by setting a row of 24 key-switches), so I have witnessed the full development path of Windows, in use.

    Since the first version of Windows which I used extensively (Windows 3.1), I have become more and more disillusioned with what appears to be Microsoft’s policy of using their customers as part of their development team. Only the need for my home computing environment to remain compatible with Microsoft-using employers has kept me locked-in to using Windows at home.

    Now that I have largely retired, the only things which have stopped me making the change away from Microsoft in recent years have been the cost, and concerns over the compatibility, with the Apple platform, of some very-complex EXCEL spreadsheets which I still need to use and develop.

    I quite liked Windows XP. Windows 7 was OK, though I found my laptop becoming very slow to boot, despite various clean-ups from time to time. Windows 8, though, seems more like a toy to me than an operating system. I have never really felt the need to embrace the touch-screen ‘phone / social media revolution, and I can read – really rather fluently – so I don’t feel the need to see an in-your-face graphical representation of everything I want to do. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I believe I can see much more information, much more quickly, in the text-based directory-tree types of interface used by the earlier versions of Windows.

    Having bought a high-spec’ Windows 8 laptop, things really began to fall apart. Quite apart from what I consider to be a counter-intuitive user interface (being considerably older than 16), I found that various pieces of software which I had previously used under more than one version of Windows, some of it expensive professional software, won’t run under Windows 8 unless I spend many hundreds of pounds on upgrades. Microsoft’s own updates sometimes don’t even work – the “Installing Update 59 of 653” type of message will sometimes stay on the screen for hours, until I get fed up of waiting and crash the PC by turning it off.

    There are no available Windows 8 drivers for some of my peripheral hardware devices – for example, I have had to buy a new scanner, and it seems that I shall also have to buy a new photo printer, unless I keep using my previous Windows 7 machine for doing that job (though, to be fair, I could equally blame Canon for both those failings – I have resolved not to buy any more computer hardware from Canon, on the suspicion that they will again decide not to release drivers for the next operting system version).

    I cannot synchronise the Outlook calendars on my laptop and mobile ‘phones under Windows 8 – I did get it to work under the original Windows 8, by switching from Microsoft’s ActiveSync to some synchronisation software from my ‘phone manufacturer. However, there seems to be no version of that synchronisation software which will run under the Windows 8.1 upgrade, which I installed to get as far back towards the Windows 7 experience as I could.

    In my opinion, the availability of a free “downgrade” from Windows 8 to Windows 7, for professional Windows 8 buyers, tells us all we need to know. Having thus recognised that professional and business users don’t want a toy on their desktops, I think it is highly regrettable that Microsoft has not extended the same courtesy to those of us who, though we use Windows at home, are still “professional” users in all senses except getting paid for it. The only kind of social interaction carried out on my computers is e-mail, and almost all of what I do involves the use of installed software packages extra to those supplied with an operating system, many of which have to be paid for – this description woud define many truly professional users.

    Unfortunately, my version of Windows 8 is not the Pro version, so I looked into actually buying Windows 7 to do the “downgrade” myself, but my research indicates that I may have to go as far as replacing the BIOS on my laptop, and I’m not sure I can be bothered with all that. after all, it would only get me back to the operating system whose performance on my previous laptop led me to change to my Windows 8 laptop in the first place.

    I am heartily fed up with having even to consider all these things on a good, high-spec, laptop, which is only a few months old, due entirely to the presence of the Windows 8 operating system. My less-than-computer-literate wife is even more fed up of having repeatedly to un-learn and re-learn how to do the tasks for which she uses the computer, as I try to get back towards a system with which we were both familiar.

    So, I think it’s time for a visit to a confirmed mac-using friend of mine, armed with some very nasty EXCEL spreadhseets, to see if they will run error-free on his machine. If they will, I shall probably bite the bullet and buy a Mac. My friend will be pleased, as he has been tryng to convert me for years!

    1. I would be delighted to hear how you get on. I have just crashed my mac after three years intensive
      use in tropical conditions. Although difficult to interface with HR software packages and the ‘mainstream’ business world my mac has been a pleasure to use and the thought of returning to
      windows is very unpleasant – especially after reading this!

    2. Well, I took the plunge. I ditched the Windows 8 machine in favour of a Mac. I couldn’t quite get the power I needed from an Air, so I ended up with a MacBook Pro.

      After a couple of months, I’m still delighted with it. OK, it’s very expensive by laptop standards, but you really do seem to get what you pay for (and a friend tells me that it’ll probably still be worth several hundred pounds second-hand when I want to change it – apparently one updates Mac operating systems online, rather than just ditching the machine as is often the case with Windows). My version has a solid state “hard” drive, which no doubt helps with speed and power usage, but it boots up from powered-down in about seven seconds. My Windows machine took minutes, rather than seconds.

      The thing that impressed me most was that I bought the machine from an Apple store, took it home, removed the shrink-wrap from the packaging, unpacked it, and started to use it. It was not until ten hours later that it suggested that I might like to plug it into the mains to charge the battery. I could hardly believe it!

      One of the things which had previously made me nervous of making the swap to Mac was that I run some (poorly-designed!) EXCEL spreadsheets with over 50 worksheets and some really evil formulae (some of which contain horrors such as indirect addresses with targets which are, themselves, indirect addresses, and so on, and take many lines to list!) I doubted whether Excel for Mac would be sufficiently compatible to run these workbooks. But it is! I took one of them to the Apple Store on a memory stick and got them to let me try it out on the machine I was thinking of buying. No problem at all. I had to add Office for Mac to the price, of course.

      Another thing I discovered was that, because of the differences in the ways in which Windows PCs and Macs use their processors, the staff in the Apple Store suggested that I need not pay for a quad-core i7 processor (which I had needed in my Windows PCs for some of the stuff I do). They suggested that I would be OK with an i5 processor. It seems they were correct, so they saved me some money there.

      I have had a couple of occasions where the lack of a CD/DVD drive has been a little inconvenient, but I have manager to transfer the appropriate stuff in other ways (so the old Windows 8 laptop still has one use, at least) – and, in any case, the external DVD drive would “only” add about £65 to the price (I haven’t bought one yet, but £65 is a small percentage of the price of the machine). I also had to buy an external VGA adaptor (but that was quite cheap as I recall).

      Anyhow, overall I’m highly delighted with the Mac, and with the staff in the Apple Store.

      I am somewhat more tech-savvy than average, but I have had very few problems learning the ways of the Mac (never having previously used one). I have downloaded several software packages, published a book, done the cover design with its 15 graphics and text layers using a graphics editing package, developed two websites from buying the URLs to publication, done a load of HTML editing, and lots of other things – all without even having to start using the one year’s worth of personal technical support which I decided to pay for when I bought the Mac!

  4. I own a Macbook Air, and while I agree they quite speedy with good battery life, they have one major drawback for me or anyone wanting to record. They have no line in input, and the only way to record is with the built in mic.

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