With a sharper screen, faster processors, a thinner profile and lighter weight, Apple has given its MacBook Air a new lease of life – and nudges it back into the heartland of the business travellers who made the original model such a staggering success.
Over a decade since Steve Jobs famously launched the first super-skinny MacBook Air in January 2008 by pulling it out out of a manila envelope, Apple's leanest laptop has been overhauled in almost every dimension.
About all that stays the same is the screen size, which remains at the 13-inches sweet spot – but it's now the same higher-resolution Retina display as its MacBook Pro siblings, and framed by a much thinner bezel which slightly shrinks the device’s overall footprint.
From the outside, MacBook Air's tapered 'flying wedge' profile – which measures just 1.56cm at its thickest point – and two USB-C ports makes it more clearly a member of the modern MacBook Pro family, although at a bantam-weight 1.25kg it's easily the most travel-friendly.
Inside is a solid tech spec-set built around Intel's latest 8th-gen Core i5 processor, faster RAM (to 16GB) and a zippier solid state drive (to a capacious 1.5TB).
Battery life remains pegged at 12 hours, although Apple has yet to adopt fast-charge technology which could add a few hours to the tank after just 15-30 minutes drinking deeply from the nearest AC socket.
The new MacBook Pro-style keyboard now incorporates a Touch ID fingerprint scanner for security log-in, with an over-sized trackpad up front and beefier speakers beneath.
It's worth reflecting that the MacBook Air redefined the 'thin and light' laptop into a machine for the mainstream, leading a movement away from CD/DVD slots and mechanical hard drives and sparking a competing wave of Windows 'ultrabooks' which have now become the norm.
Apple's overdue revamp has once again made the MacBook Air a serious contender and could swing some buyers away from the entry-level 13 inch MacBook Pro when the 2018 MacBook Air his the streets this week with a starting price of $1,849.