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Notes from Apple on the MacBook Air: issues, caveats

updated 03:35 pm EST, Thu January 31, 2008

MacBook Air

The Mac OS X install disc that ships with the MacBook Air can only be used with that model, Apple has revealed in a Knowledge Base document. The installer has a mechanism that prevents this software from being installed on other Macs. Also, Apple says that other Mac OS X 10.5 installation media (presumably including the retail, store-bought copy of Leopard) should not be used when restoring the system software on your MacBook Air. Meanwhile, Apple makes several notes on wireless functionality. For instance, if you MacBook Air is near an external display, you may notice a reduction of throughput for wireless networks that use the 2.4 GHz band.

Installation of Windows XP into Boot Camp requires the use of a USB optical drive -- it cannot be installed via the Remote Disc function. In addition, some discs, such as DVD movies and game discs, may be copy-protected and therefore unusable through DVD or CD Sharing. The function also cannot be used to playback movies or audio CDs. Finally, pressing the eject key on a Windows system will automatically eject a disc that is being used by Remote Disc.

Some third-party headphones may not plug into the MacBook Air headphone jack because part of the connector does not fit within the port hatch. Apple says "In some instances, it may appear to fit, but the audio quality is intermittent or poor when used with MacBook Air." This issue can be solved by using a third-party headphone adapter to extend the audio connection outside of the port hatch.

Regarding system migration, Apple recommends use of a wired network (using a USB-to-Ethernet adapter). "This should be much faster that using a wireless connection. For the best experience, be sure to attach your source and target computers to the wired network before you start." You should also avoid letting your source computer go to sleep while you are attempting to migrate.

The Apple Hardware Test is included on the MacBook Air's startup drive. You can access it by holding down the "D" key during startup. If that method doesn't work, you can use another computer and Remote Install Mac OS X to run Apple Hardware Test. Make sure to install Remote Install Mac OS X on the other computer.

Another document notes that your MacBook Air may shut down when a USB device is plugged in if the device is defective or the USB port has shorted out. This is to protect itself if there is an 'over-current' on the USB bus. The solution is to remove the offending USB device.

With regard to usage, a document outlines (with pictures) how to use the trackpad gestures on the MacBook Air. For instance, two-finger pinching lets you zoom in or out on PDFs, images, photos, and more.

by MacNN Staff



  1. brass2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More misinformation

    As was pointed out in comments to your first article on the install disk issue, it is the case that ALL system restore CDs Apple ship are rolled ONLY for the systems they're bundled with. Further, it's no surprise that a version of the operating system that was released before the machine doesn't boot on that machine.

    Your failure to disclose both of these, despite the yelling in the comments in the other article, must be intentional misinformation. I find it hard to believe that the author of this article is that incompetent.

    Please publish a correction and an apology.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You actually want an apology? You must be kidding, right? You feel so wronged by these actions that you want an apology to make you feel better?

    And it's not true that the disks only work for the systems provided. They have a small check to make sure, but that's it. Otherwise, they're exactly the same software as all the other install disks (except some extra c*** for the new machine). I created a start-up disk from my G5's disk that booted my iBook without issue.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what junk

    the macbook air, is junk.

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