Apple Refreshes MacBook Air with New CPUs, Larger SSDs

At the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple unveiled its 2012 update for the MacBook Air, hooking up the ultraportable laptop with newer processors, more storage space, better RAM as well as some additional connectivity.

It should be met with some disappointment that the MacBook Air didn’t get the Retina displays that many fans have been hoping for. The 11-inch model keeps its 1366 x 768 screen, while the 13-incher retains its 1400 x 900 display.

However, these laptops now enjoy updated internal components. The most important of these are the new Ivy Bridge CPUs by Intel. The 11-inch MacBook Air will come standard with a 1.7GHz dual-core third-generation Core i5 processor, while the 13-inch version ships with a 1.8GHz dual-core Core i5 CPU. Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3L RAM – a boost from the previous models’ HD Graphics 3000 and 1333MHz RAM – are standard.

Both models also come stock with 720p FaceTime cameras, ultra-speed USB 3.0 ports and Thunderbolt. For the 11-inch MacBook Air, prices start at $999 for the 64GB version, while the 128GB model starts at $1,099. Meanwhile, the 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,199 for 128GB – $100 cheaper than the 2011 model – and the 256GB version will cost $1,499.

Buyers looking for some more power will be able to configure either MacBook Air with a Core i7 CPU clocked at 2.0GHz, up to 8GB RAM and 512GB of solid-state drive space. Predictably, there’s a significant price premium involved here, with the resulting top-spec MacBook Airs costing $2,149 for the 11-inch model and $2199 for the 13-inch model.