Apple Introduces New Ultra-Thin Notebook

SAN FRANCISCO — At the Macworld trade show in San Francisco today, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air, an ultra-thin laptop computer that measures less than .2 inches thick at its thinnest point.

The new notebook comes equipped with a 13.3-inch screen, full size keyboard, 80GB hard drive and 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB L2 cache. Its wireless system utilizes 802.11n Wi-Fi technology and Bluetooth 2.1 — but not 3G.

One handy feature of the new notebook’s keyboard, especially for writers needing to work in low-light situations, is the backlit key illumination feature. According to Apple, a built-in ambient light sensor “automatically adjusts the keyboard and display brightness for optimal visibility.”

The Air also features a built-in ‘iSight’ video camera for video conferencing, and a large trackpad with multi-touch gesture support, a function that allows users to “pinch, rotate and swipe” on-screen elements, according to Apple

One feature that the new skinny new MacBook lacks is built-in optical drive for reading DVDs and CDs; Jobs claimed that consumers will not miss having the drive, because they will be able to download movies and music over the Internet, and access optical drives on other computers as needed to install new software. (There also will be an external drive available for the Air, which will retail at $99).

Known for his flare for showmanship, Jobs made the most of the Air’s signature slimness. Jobs took the stage with a regular manila envelope in hand, from which he then slid out the slender new Air.

Jobs said that the MacBook Air will hit shelves in two weeks, with a sticker price of just under $1799. For more information, visit the MacBook Air page on Apple’s website.

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