The arrival of Apple's 12-inch MacBook earlier last year marked the beginning of the end for its MacBook Air lineup. At least, that's what people said at the time.
The new MacBook is more portable, lighter, has a gorgeous high-resolution display and can go for almost as long as the Air on a single charge. Who would pick a machine stuck in the past over a laptop from the future?
As it turns out, the future's not all it's cracked up to be. The new MacBook's inconvenient USB Type-C port, controversial keyboard and moderately powerful Intel Core M chip have proved a compromise too many for some people.
Now that Apple has refreshed its 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air models with Intel's fifth-generation Broadwell processors, Intel HD Graphics 6000 and Thunderbolt 2, they're suddenly looking much more appealing, even if it's business as usual on the outside.
The latest MacBook Air may be nearing its second birthday at this point, but that hasn’t stopped it from netting a handful of unexpected improvements, albeit with some minor regressions to boot. For example, macOS Sierra has seen better days, as three recent examples of malware have been discovered.
The one that’s hot off the presses is a ransomware payload found in a piracy app called Patcher. Being the ransomware that it is, this program proceeds to encrypt all of your files should you click the “crack” button. In doing so, you’ll need to pay up $290 (£230 or AU$370) to win back those precious documents.
In brighter news, WWDC is happening from June 5 to 9, and while we probably won’t see a MacBook Air refresh, we can take solace in the likelihood of a macOS upgrade for 2017.
Speaking of which, the MacBook Air's design has now remained unchanged for five long years. If Apple didn't feel the need to tinker with it before, there's even less chance that it'll change any time soon now that the 12-inch MacBook is out there. Which is a shame, because the Air's classic design could really benefit from slimmer bezels and an overall reduction in footprint.
Forget the Dell XPS 13's physics-defying Infinity Display, which is lightyears ahead – even Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina, once seen as slightly tubby compared to the Air, has a smaller footprint and takes up slightly less space on your lap.
Still, the old "if it ain't broke" mantra applies – up to a point. The MacBook Air's aluminium unibody design, which supports the main enclosure and the display, is as durable as ever. Its lid can be easily raised with a single hand and doesn't droop in any position, and you have to press really hard to detect flex on the machine's base or lid.
It's also easy to clean with a damp cloth. If there's one drawback, it's that the aluminium body can scratch easily to leave permanent black marks, so you should consider buying a sleeve if you're going to sling it into a bag for transportation.