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MacBook Air breaths life back into PC sector

Apple did more than any other company to seal the fate of the personal computer. There are people who argue that thanks to the iPad we now live in the post-PC era.

Or perhaps, thanks to laptops like the new MacBook Air, we don’t.

Apple's marketing says the 13-inch model of the company's slender new laptop can run for up to 12 hours on a single battery charge.

That’s a whole working day.

Going by Apple’s past performance, that’s not a dubious claim. While other computer makers have a tendency to bend the truth about battery life, Apple’s earlier promises have been close to reality.

It’s the breakthrough many of us have been waiting for.

Apple's 2013 MacBook Air ahead of the trend

Of course what Apple does today, other PC makers will do, or attempt to do, in the coming months.

The power-sipping fourth generation Intel Haswell processors in the MacBook Air are not an Apple exclusive. Although it is possible the Air will keep something of an edge over rival devices.

When it comes to battery life, Haswell processors are a significant improvement over what went before. The chips are a few per cent faster than the previous generation Ivy Bridge processors, but power consumption is to to 25 per cent lower.

Apple’s NZ prices are sharp. NZ$1450 buys an 11-inch screen, 128GB of flash storage, an i5 processor and ten hours battery life. NZ$1900 gets the full monty: 13-inch screen, 256GB flash storage and that whopping 12 hours battery life.

So can the MacBook Air save the PC?

Probably not, but the computer and any soon-to-arrive Windows MacBook Air lookalikes will rekindle the flame.