Macworld2008: Apple launches MacBook Air

Steve Jobs' saved what many Mac fans believe was the best 'til last, the launch of a new laptop range during his keynote speech at this year's Macworld2008 expo in San Francisco.

The new device, which according to Steve Jobs' will go up against Sony's Vaio TZ series, will sit between the MacBook and the Macbook Pro.

"The thickest part of the MacBook Air will be thinner than the thinnest part of the Sony TZ series", said Jobs.

MacBook Air goes from 0.76 inches at its fattest section down to 0.16 inches at the thin end.

Exact dimensions for the new notebook, which is being paraded under the banner of "Thinnovation" by Apple are - height: 0.16-0.76 inches (0.4-1.94cm), width: 12.8 inches (32.5cm), depth: 8.94 inches (22.7cm) and weight: 3.0 pounds (1.36kg).

Fitting inside a envelope, the ultra-thin laptop is unlikely to disappoint those looking to shed some weight - however the device has lost the optical drive as a result.

The press, and Apple invited audience, actually audibly gasped when the new notebook was revealed live on stage.

"Apple makes the best notebooks on the planet", said Steve Jobs at the keynote speech.

The model will come with a 13.3-inch display, full sized keyboard and iSight built into the frame.

The keyboard will be complete with a backlight, feature a large touch pad and come with multi-gesture support as found in Apple's iPhone.

There will be an 80GB hard drive as standard with the option of a 64GB Solid State Drive and it will come with 2GB of memory as standard.

Processing speed will be provided by a Intel Core 2 Duo chip at 1.6GHz as standard with an upgrade option available taking you to 1.8GHz.

Apple stated that the ability to get the laptop slimmed down to the size that it is, is all due to a reduction in the size of the Intel chip to 60% of its previous dimensions.

The agreement comes just a week after Intel announced that it saw the future of the internet in "Mobile Internet Devices".

The unit will also come with Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR and wireless 802.11n connectivity while on the side of the new laptop can be found a one USB port, micro-DVI and a headphone socket.

There will also be a new software feature called "Remote Disk" that will work with both PC and Macs that allows you to "borrow" its hard drive or optical drive so you can load software, and share content to your Air.

Apple promises an impressive 5 hours of life on the non-replaceable lithium-polymer battery and revealed the pricing, for all the standard options, to be $1799 with the first units shipping in 2 week's time with pre-orders taken now.

Pocket-lint can reveal that the UK pricing for the new notebook will be from £1119 - but with the price jumping to £2028 for those who opt for the 64GB SSD drive.

The company has also for the first time, expressed the new laptops "green" credentials pressing on how the company is finally trying to improve its environmentally friendly approach.

Appearing pleased with the audience reaction to the Air, and recapping on the morning's launches, Steve Jobs ended his keynote with "all this in the first 2 weeks of 2008 - and we got 50 more weeks to go"...