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Richard Kane


2014 MacBook Air Offers Better Performance for $100 Less

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While the just-released new models of the MacBook Air don’t boast changes along the lines of dramatic battery life improvements of last year’s models (see “Apple Releases Longer-lasting MacBook Air, Faster AirPort,” 10 June 2013), or much-desired Retina displays, they do feature small performance improvements and a $100 price drop across the board.

Both the 11- and 13-inch models have replaced last year’s 1.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor with a 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5 (which jumps to 2.7 GHz via Turbo Boost). As far as we can tell, that’s the only functional change.

Interestingly, Apple now rates the 11-inch MacBook Air as being capable of up to 9 hours of iTunes movie playback (up from 8), and the 13-inch model as having up to 12 hours (from 10). Those numbers are higher than in last year’s models despite the battery technology remaining the same; the change is likely due to how Mavericks offloads more video processing to the graphics processing unit (see “Apple Previews OS X 10.9 Mavericks,” 10 June 2013)

Optional improvements remain the same as before, so the MacBook Air models can be configured with more storage (512 GB for $300 — available only for 256 GB base models), a faster 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor (for $150, and Turbo Boost can kick it up to 3.3 GHz), and 4 GB more RAM to bring the total to 8 GB (for $100). Also remaining the same as last year’s models are the form factor, connectors, and Intel HD Graphics 5000 graphics processors.

But prices have dropped by $100, so the 11-inch MacBook Air now starts at $899 for 128 GB of flash storage and $1,099 for 256 GB of storage, while the 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $999 for 128 GB and goes to $1,199 for 256 GB.


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Comments about 2014 MacBook Air Offers Better Performance for $100 Less
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Marius Vaarkamp  2014-05-05 17:26
Anybody have a guess when a similar "update" may happen to the MacBook Pro (I've lost track of the update cycle)?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2014-05-06 07:57
The MacBook Pro is a little random, with the recent releases in October 2013, February 2013, and June 2012, from what I'm seeing. So I'd expect an update either in the next month or two (the June timeframe) or in the fall (the October timeframe). But that's a total guess.