While it certainly wasn’t the biggest story out of WWDC, Apple’s new MacBook Air notebooks are garnering rave reviews.
On the surface, not much has changed with Apple’s line of ultraportables. The Air still sports the same display, ports and form factor. According to Macworld‘s benchmarking, the computer’s new Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics card brings a performance boost to GPU-intensive tasks.
The big change comes with battery life. Because the Intel Haswell processor is more energy-efficient, early reports seem to show that Apple was low-balling its claims of 11 hour battery life. The Verge claims that the 13-inch Air lasted more than 13 hours in their battery tests, and PC Magazine reports the 13-inch Air clocked in over 15 hours on a single charge.
However, heavy Photoshop users may not find the new Air quite to their liking, as the 1.3 GHz clock speed needed to save power means that the new model performs less well on CPU-intensive tests like applying filters in Photoshop.
That being said, it seems like the verdict is clear: if you’re a Mac user who values portability and battery life and you don’t mind a slightly slower processor, it might be time for a fresh Air.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.