Apple Unveils New Laptop: The MacBook Air

Apple released a redesigned line of laptops at a news conference at its Cupertino, California, headquarters. The MacBook Air laptops will be available to buy in 11- ($999) and 13-inch ($1,299) editions.  The computers are lighter, at 2.3 to 2.9 pounds, and thinner, measuring at just over two-thirds of an inch at the widest edge.

Neither edition includes a hard drive or DVD player.  Instead, the MacBook Air uses “flash storage,” a more efficient yet more expensive technology that Apple uses in many of their other portable products.

This flash memory helps the new MacBook Air achieve between five and seven hours of battery life when surfing the Web, and also allows the computer to turn on almost instantly.

Instead of using DVDs, software will be installed through a new App Store, similar to the digital stores on Apple’s iPhone and iPad. This digital store can be downloaded to Macs running the newest version of OS X Snow Leopard sometime in the next 90 days, according to Apple‘s chief executive, Steve Jobs.

“We really see these as the next generation of MacBooks,” Jobs said at the event. “We think all notebooks will be like these someday.”

Also during the presentation, Apple said it would release a Mac version of FaceTime, the video chat program for iPhone and iPod Touch, on its website.

A new version of the iLife software, which includes apps such as iPhoto, GarageBand and iMovie, was also unveiled, costing $49. It’s included with new Apple computers.

The new MacBook Air, too, borrows things from Apple’s hand-held products. “What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?” Jobs joked. “This is the result.”

Computers made up a third of Apple’s revenue last year, Tim Cook, CEO, said during the news conference.

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