New MacBook Air Gives Nimble Photographers More Horsepower

Today Apple announced two new models of the MacBook Air. The larger of the two, 13.3", could be the mobile device that nimble photographers have been waiting for.

Macbook Air Dimensions

The specs are impressive:

  • 13.3" LED backlit display at 1440 x 900 pixels
  • Core 2 Duo processor (1.86 GHz) with NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics
  • Full size keyboard and multi-touch trackpad
  • Up to 256 GB of Flash memory (no traditional hard drive)

Since the device weighs less than 3 pounds, has instant-on, 7 hours of working time, 30 days of standby time, plus you have USB input to Mac OS X, you get many of the benefits or a traditional laptop combined with the portability of an iPad.

This will most likely become the desired computer for photographers on the go. Given that the top-of-the-line model is priced at $1,599, I think many shooters will make the move right away. More to report soon.

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Let's see how well it runs Aperture. It might be a good thing.

I hope to be able to test Aperture 3 on the new MacBook Air next week. Stay tuned.

It should also be noted, that when you order the 13", you have a couple additional options: 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo for the processor, and 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM for the RAM. Each of these upgrades will cost you an additional $100.

Aperture 3 is already usable on my current-gen MacBook Air with an SSD drive - not everything flies, but most stuff works just fine.

I'm curious to see how big a difference the NVidia 320M makes. That appears to be the main difference between the existing SSD Airs and these new machines.

Hi Travis,

Thanks for chiming in on this. I think your experience provides good perspective moving forward with the new machines. I'm curious too about the graphics card in the new Air.

Also, are you running 4 GBs of Ram in your current Air?

Nope, when I got mine you had a choice: 2GB or 2GB. :-) So I missed that - having the option to get 4GB is a plus as well.

So then I think that having 4 GBs of RAM should increase the new Air's usability as a portable photographer's workstation. Keep in mind that the current iPad has 256 MBs of RAM...

Yeah, 4GB of RAM will make the new Air quite a nice machine!

And just think of the possibilities if it can run the new iMovie shot with a lightweight M4/3s camera. Talk about the nimble photographer. One may not be able to do a "full" video but just think of the possibilities but for quick teasers while on the road I think it would be great.


I saw your video of a bag that perfectly carries an iPad. I'm looking for something just as slick for a pro DSLR, 70-200, 16-35, flash and the new 13" Macbook Air. I already have two backpacks with a laptop sleeve and laptop sleeves tend to push the camera weight too far from the body to be comfortable. I'd really rather just have a pocket. Can you offer a suggestion?