Apple has launched what it claims is the world's thinnest laptop at the MacWorld Expo.
The MacBook Air, announced during Steve Jobs' keynote, is 0.76 to 0.16 inches thick, back to front. It's so thin, it fits inside a manila envelope, and Jobs provided a demonstration to prove so.
The laptop, which is priced starting at $1,799 (£900) in the and will ship in the US two weeks, was the final, and flashiest, of the product roll-outs and upgrades that Jobs touted in a 90-minute keynote at Macworld, which opened on Monday in San Francisco. But he also talked up a new wireless backup device, the Time Capsule; spelled out changes to the iPhone that will be delivered soon via a firmware update; and re-launched Apple TV by dropping its price and offering movie rentals via iTunes.
None of the announcements could have come as a shock to Apple fans who had followed the rumourp mill during the past few weeks, and as several analysts noted last Friday, the MacBook Air was the biggest of the bunch.
When developing the MacBook Air, Jobs said Apple looked at the thinnest laptops currently on the market - mentioning the Sony TZ - but decided they made unacceptable compromises on power, size and usability.
The MacBook Air, however, offers full-size keys, a 13.1in LED backlit keyboard, an built-in iSight camera and a large trackpad.
Additional specs include support for 802.11n, a 1.8in drive (with 80GB the standard capacity plus the option of a 64GB solid-state disk) and a 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip.
Intel boss Paul Otellini said: "About a year ago you challenged us to get the world's best microprocessor into this machine. When we started, we didn't think it was possible... It's about the width of a dime, as thick as a nickel and with 400m power-efficient transistors. At the end of the day, we did what we do best together and that's innovate."
Additional features include a flip down door revealing USB 2, Micro-DVI, and headphone jack; support for Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR; but not optical drive. Apple said US users will be able to buy a $99 USB2 add-on drive. "But we don't think most people will miss it."
And Apple hopes to win the green vote too - the MacBook Air has a fully recyclable aluminum case and the first mercury-free display with arsenic-free glass, according to Jobs. Furthermore, all the circuit boards are BFR-free and PVC-free. And the retail packaging is 56 percent less volume than MacBook packaging - a move that's designed to help with energy for transporting and disposing of materials. "We continue to make progress on all of these environmental fronts and we'll keep you posted."
Apple's online store, which began taking pre-orders for the MacBook Air within minutes of the end of Jobs' spiel, appeared overwhelmed. PC Advisor was not able to access the ordering pages for the notebook even after repeated attempts.
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