MacLife

Review: MacBook Air (mid-2014)

The MacBook Air has really come into its own with later revisions and price cuts, which is why, despite being an amazing computer, it’s mildly disappointing that the mid-2014 model is a very minor refresh, with just two significant changes. The processors are a mere 0.1GHz faster: now 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPUs are used throughout the range, replacing the 1.3GHz chips inside the mid-2013 models.

Perhaps more significantly, the prices are down by $100 across the range, including both the entry-level 11-inch and 13-inch models, and the high-end versions that boast 256GB of storage. Everything else about them is the same, but since they were already outstanding, and the price drop brings the entire range below $1,200, this is hardly an indictment.

Macbookair2014 620

As you’d expect, benchmark results are barely changed from last year. Testing the higher-end models in each of the screen sizes, we found our Cinebench rendering tests crept ahead by a few points and battery life was 20-35 minutes longer. Whatever the model, you can still use an Air all day on a single charge.

While the current MacBook Air is undoubtedly excellent, rumor has it a new Retina version is coming soon. Could it make more sense to wait for that, even though it’s likely to be more expensive? Or maybe look for a clearance model from the 2013 range, which is likely to be even cheaper than the price-dropped 2014 line, and only marginally slower? Whichever you buy, you’re getting an incredible machine.

The bottom line. The MacBook Air gives amazing portability and all-day battery without compromising on power.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

MacBook Air (mid-2014)

Company: 

Apple, Inc.

Contact: 

Price: 

$1099 (11-inch), $1199 (13-inch)

Positives: 

Outstanding battery life. Extremely portable. This 2014 release gets a price cut.

Negatives: 

Is a Retina model coming soon that could render this one obsolete?


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Morning Report: iPhone 6 Could Improve Apple Logo, iTunes 11.3.1 Update

Iphone 6 Apple Logo Liquidmetal 620px

The so-called iPhone 6 is back in the news today, thanks to some lovingly detailed photo leaks from a luxury device supplier more than happy to show off just a few of the changes Apple may have in store for us next month. Readers can also kick off the weekend with a big App Store sale on productivity titles, along with a minor iTunes update that stomps out a few podcast bugs — it's all in this edition of the MacLife.com Morning Report!

Latest iPhone 6 Leak Reveals Scratch-Resistant Apple Logo

With Apple's next media event widely expected only a month from now, the iPhone 6 leaks appear to be ramping up once again. MacRumors reported Thursday that luxury iPhone vendor Feld & Volk have gotten their hands on what appears to be a completed rear shell for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, revealing recessed volume buttons and a curious improvement to the Apple logo embedded on the back of the device.

Feld & Volk claims this year's iPhone will feature an Apple logo made of "very extraordinary" metal reportedly far more resistant to scratches. The report immediately raises the possibility of the logo being made from Liquidmetal, an alloy Apple has been toying with, but has yet to implement in Cupertino's mobile devices.

Also on display from Feld & Volk is the device's external camera ring, a 6.66 mm diameter circle that protrudes slightly, rather than lying flush with the exterior shell as previous models. The larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 has been widely believed to feature just such a camera ring, but this marks the first time it's appeared on the 4.7-inch model.

Apple Squashes Podcast Bugs with iTunes 11.3.1 Update

Have you noticed iTunes 11.3 failing to update subscribed podcasts with new episodes, or worse yet, freeze up entirely when browsing lists of podcast episodes? If so, you'll want to run, not walk, to the Mac App Store and download iTunes 11.3.1, a minor update released Thursday that aims to squash those very bugs, in addition to all the goodies included with iTunes 11.3, such as iTunes Extras for HD movies.

"iTunes 11.3.1 addresses a problem where subscribed podcasts may stop updating with new episodes and resolves an issue where iTunes may become unresponsive while browsing your podcasts episodes in a list," Apple's release notes read. (The update is also available direct from Apple's website.)

App Store Launches Big Sale on Popular Productivity Apps

We'd all like to stay productive, but it gets expensive buying all of the apps necessary to make that dream a reality. If you've been waiting for a sale on popular apps such as Fantastical 2, Clear, Scanbot, PDF Expert 5, iTranslate Voice, or Launch Center Pro, now is your chance, thanks to Apple's "Amazing Productivity Apps" sale on the App Store, with prices as low as 99 cents and topping out at $6.99. Writer Pro receives one of the most steep discounts, from $19.99 to $4.99, but most of the others are at least 50 percent off, but only for a limited time. (At least one developer has confirmed the sale ends August 14th, but Apple isn't saying for sure.)

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of MacRumors and Feld & Volk)

 


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