2014 MacBook Air Release Review, New Benchmarks and WWDC 2014 Update

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By Precious Silva | May 8, 2014 8:12 AM EST

Apple surprised everyone by releasing a MacBook Air update and for a cheaper price. Improvements included a $100-discount and 1000MHz more processor power. The faster processing speed offers a good deal for users but there are some areas that the new MacBook Airs may still have to work on. According to recent information, the laptop's flash storage did not perform up to expectations. With the new benchmark results for the Air, are people going to get a good deal? 


Apple admits the new 13in MacBook Pro has a problematic keyboard and trackpad. (Reuters)

Similar to last year's offering Apple released two versions of the 2014 MacBook Air: 11-inch and 13-inch models. All the models feature a Haswell Intel 1.4GHz dual-core Core i5 processor. The latest processors are a step up from the Haswell 1.3GHz Core i5 processors used in the mid-2013 Airs. Other specifications include:

  • 4GB DDR3 memory
  • Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics
  • 128GB or 256GB of PCIe-connected flash storage capacity

Apple offers the 11-inch MacBook air for $899 for a 128GB flash storage. The 11-inch 256GB variant starts at $1099. The 13-inch model, on other hand, starts at $999 for 128GB flash storage and $1199 for 256GB flash storage. Macworld explains the benchmark tests performed on the devices: 

"To see how the new MacBook Air performed in comparison to its predecessor, we turned to our overall system performance benchmark suite, Speedmark 9. We tested the $899 11-inch MacBook Air with 128GB of storage and the new $1199 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of storage, and our results show that the new laptops were 2 to 5 percent faster than the mid-2013 MacBook Air in tests involving Photoshop, iTunes, Handbrake, Cinebench CPU, Aperture, and PCMark 8's Office application test (running in Parallels)." 

What is interesting is that the MacBook air posted slower test results for storage performance tests compared to the mid-2013 version. Transferring 6GB worth of files lasted for 28 seconds for the 2013 model but it took 54 seconds for the 2014 model to copy everything. MacWorld also noted that the latest Macbook air took longer to compress and unzip the 6B folder compared to the 2013 11-inch MacBook air. Macworld added: 

"We simplified the 6GB data set we use in our copy, compress and uncompress tests to use fewer but larger files (1765 versus 8797) and ran the trials again. Both the 2013 and 2014 vintages of MacBook Airs were faster at manipulating this data set." 

Apple will also be holding its annual Worldwide Developers Conference starting this June 2. According to a report by Mashable, Apple will be redesigning the OS X 10.10 to look more like the the iOS 6 and the iOS 7.

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Apple admits the new 13in MacBook Pro has a problematic keyboard and trackpad. (Reuters)
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