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New MacBook Air still stymies repairs, upgrades

Gregg Keizer | June 14, 2013
Price cuts of 14% since early June 2012 narrow the difference between notebooks and tablets, may be Apple's attempt to slow cannibalization.

"I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us," said Cook during a January conference call with Wall Street. "One, our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it, and so we never fear it. We know that iPad will cannibalize some Macs [so] that doesn't worry us."

But by again pushing down MacBook Air prices and reducing the difference between laptop and tablet, Apple may be trying to stymie some of the cannibalization.

iFixit's tear-down confirmed reports that the new Airs rely on a PCIe flash drive, which Apple boasted boosted performance 45% over previous SATA III flash-based models. Apple sourced the faster SSD components, including the controller and the flash memory, from long-time supplier Samsung, said iFixit.

The tear-down specialists also revealed that some of longer batter life Apple's claimed for the MacBook Air -- a jump from 5 hours to 9 for the 11-in., and from 7 hours to 12 for the 13-in. -- came from a more powerful battery.

iFixit found that the new 13-in. MacBook Air uses a 7.6-volt, 7150 mAh (milliamps hour) battery, compared to 2012's 7.3-volt, 6700 mAh battery, for a 6% increase in milliamp hour, an indicator of how long a battery will run between recharges.

The refreshed MacBook Air went on sale Monday on Apple's online store, throughout its retail chain, and at some resellers, including Amazon.com. As of Thursday, Apple's online store claimed orders shipped within 24 hours.

The 2013 MacBook Air's solid-state drive (top) is smaller than the one in last year's nearly-identical notebook. (Image: iFixit.)

 

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