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New MacBook Air Offers All-Day Battery Power

SAN FRANCISCO — At the start of Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference on Monday, I was among a throng of journalists racing for the limited rows of seats with power strips. Try explaining to an editor that you ran out of juice in the middle of CEO Tim Cook’s presentation.

A less frenzied but no less important chase for the few available power outlets is a common ritual at airports, lest you board a cross-country plane with no options for plugging in.

Suffice to say, battery power is a precious resource that we all can relate to, whether using a laptop in a boardroom, classroom or at 35,000 feet. Those of us who use tablet computers when we travel are generally spoiled; we’re accustomed to battery-life ranges that go from quite decent to excellent. We can’t usually say the same for our laptops.

So Apple’s promise of an “all-day battery” on the new MacBook Air models introduced at WWDC gets your hopes up. The bolstered battery is the main reason to consider upgrading from an older Air or a rival computer; most other changes — while welcome — are relatively modest.

In my quick but harsh battery test in a San Francisco hotel room — I’ve only had a test computer for a day or so — the Air indeed proved to have very good stamina, if falling short of the 12-hour battery max that Apple achieved under somewhat less stringent testing conditions.

Design-wise, the latest Airs look nearly identical to their predecessors: sleek aluminum unibody construction, smooth and large multitouch trackpads, inviting backlit keyboards. These are good-looking premium laptops.

As before, versions come in two basic sizes: models with an 11.6-inch LED-backlit display and models with a 13.3-inch screen. (My test model was the larger one.) And as before the machines don’t come cheap: $999 or $1,199 for the 11-inch model, depending on storage options, and $1,099 and $1,299 on the larger version.

Apple now starts users off with 128 gigabytes of flash storage, more generous than on the prior generation, but still cramped compared to the storage you’d get on the less reliable hard drives that are now passé on Mac laptops. If I had my druthers, there’d be more capacity on the computer itself, even with the push these days to cloud storage. But flash is expensive. You can boost the storage capacity on the Air to as high as 512GB on certain models.

Read More:Edward C. Baig,


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