The Haswell processor has allowed Apple to do some pretty amazing things with its MacBook Air computers. Usually we see incremental improvements in specs but this time around we are seeing game-changing spec bumps.
Most amazing is Apple’s claims of battery life that is almost double from the previous MacBook Airs (and which will be further enhanced by Mavericks). The MacBook Air goes from 5 hours to 9 hours while the 13-inch model goes from 7 hours to 12 hours. Also helping is the 7150mAh battery where the previous 13-inch model was 6700mAh. As we know real world is often less than what manufactures deliver as the 3 hour battery in my Retina MacBook Pro can attest.
Engadget’s test gave it 12 hours and 51 minutes of life vs. last year’s model which came in at just 6:30. Laptop Mag clocked 10 hours and Forbes wasn’t quite so generous giving an estimated 7 to 9 hours of real battery life. Geek.com, PCMag and TechRadar didn’t run battery tests.
Another big area of improvement we’ve seen is in PCIe SSD which allows speeds (via MacBidouille and AnandTech) approaching 800GB/second which amazingly is the fastest disk speed you can now get on any Mac (outside of RAID/Fiber Channel 3rd party solutions). That’s over a 50% improvement over last year’s machines and some of the fastest results we’ve seen in laptops of any kind. Reviews seemed to confirm these speeds with Engadget noting a boot time of 12 seconds down from the higher clocked previous version clocked at 18 seconds. Laptop Mag somehow measured a quicker 10 second boot time.
CPU and GPU’s also showed marginal to moderate improvements (on the low end machines tested) even with the amazing power drops. Prices also dropped on some of the configurations, while specs (like SSD doubling on the base model) were in many cases bumped, so it really is a no lose situation here.
As noted in the 9to5Mac Products Pages: For US consumers a number of third party options have sprung up including Amazon, MacMall, Best Buy, B&H and MacConnection which often offer tax advantages over the Apple Store. MacMall, which charges Tax in just 4 states, also offers build to order models and a small $5 discount.