2010 13.3 and 11.6 inch MacBook Airs – Taken Apart, at Amazon, Flash

In addition to being in Apple Stores now, the new 13.3-inch and 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Airs have started showing up at Amazon and Amazon UK for pre-order. They are listed for November 1, but will probably be available before then, along with physical retail locations. The 11.6-inch models start at $999 and has a 1.4GHz CULV Core 2 Duo from Intel US while the 13.3-inch model starts at $1299 US and comes with a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo CPU. They both have NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics. All come with 2GB, with 4GB optional.

Amazon.com listings:
Apple MacBook Air MC505LL/A 11.6-Inch – 64GB SSD, $999
Apple MacBook Air MC506LL/A 11.6-Inch – 128GB SSD
Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch – 128GB SSD, $1299
Apple MacBook Air MC504LL/A 13.3-Inch – 256GB SSD

Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom)
Apple MacBook Air MC505B/A 11.6-inch – 64GB SSD, £849.00
Apple MacBook Air MC506B/A 11.6-inch – 128GB SSD
Apple MacBook Air MC503B/A 13.3-inch – 128GB SSD, £1,099.00
Apple MacBook Air MC504B/A 13.3-inch – 256GB SSD

Software Reinstall Drive
The MacBook Air now comes with a small USB-based “Software Reinstall Drive” or “recovery key” as I’d call it (pictured to the right). This is a first for Apple – in the past, if you needed to reinstall Mac OS X on a MacBook Air, you had to mount the DVD on another Mac or a USB-based external optical drive, since the MBA doesn’t have an internal optical drive. Now you can reinstall directly from what amounts to a USB key. If it’s anything like the optical version, you’ll be about mount the system, check everything, etc. No idea on whether this will become standard on other Macs, since all other Macs have optical drives (for now).

iFixit has posted their teardown of the 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 64GB SSD, complete with comprehensive photos. If you have the right tools, it looks like it’s fairly easy to remove the bottom and go from there. Their teardown shows six separate lithium-polymer batteries, which combined account for 35 watt-hours. It is a very tiny system, and by having separate batteries, they are able to have more internal space dedicated to the batteries, increasing the battery life. You can get a really good idea of the 64GB of flash storage that makes up the “hard drive” on this MBA. It’s not the traditional 1.8-inch or 2.5-inch form factor. Given how small the actual chips are, there would be a lot of waste space in a 2.5-inch container. You can also see the Ultra-Low Voltage CPU Apple uses, along with the NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics GPU.

On an interesting note, Engadget is reporting that the new MacBook Airs are shipping without Flash. This isn’t that much of a problem – it’s easily installed and as Engadget points out, there are plenty of PCs that ship without it installed. It’s just interesting in light of the Flash on the iPad/iPhone “disagreements” between Apple and Adobe. Some have wondered if the long battery life of the new MacBook Airs in Apple’s tests involving web browsing took into account running into Flash-heavy websites.