The keyboard is a backlit chiclet style and with a very shallow depth and relatively silent. As a Canadian, it is refreshing NOT to have to endure another mandatory Canadian bilingual keyboard and the touch pad is a totally new experience. Its multi-touch abilities are very simple to grasp, yet there was no right mouse button that we had grown so used to.
I swear that there was a point a few years back when I considered patenting my idea of a rubber gasket around the inside of laptop lids to prevent damage to the screen as well as wear over time from the material on the lid resting on the keyboard. To this day, I haven’t a laptop or Ultra yet that hasn’t suffered some type of cosmetic or screen damage from contact between the lid and body.
Apple must have been reading my mind because, if you look closely in the picture above, there is a small rubber gasket set into the lid that surrounds it completely. When the system is closed, the rubber is all that is in contact which becomes very beneficial should there be any shock to the unit.
Before we speak of the screen, we would like to explain a bit about a utility found in the MBA called Boot Camp Assistant (Launchpad/Utilities). Boot Camp enables the installation and use of Windows 7 on the same system and the user can then select between either Windows 7 or OS X Lion. Actually, it is a bit more intensive but truly as simple as a normal software installation and only requires a copy of Windows 7 for installation.
Once started, Boot Camp confirms that you have a valid .iso of Windows 7 available to the system on a DVD or, in the case of the MacBook Air, on a USB flash drive that is created. From there, it will offer you a choice of how you want to partition your system as both operating systems need their own partitions. We simply chose a 50/50 split. Boot Camp then needs access to the internet and downloads all appropriate drivers, many being Apple variants created for just this purpose, and installs them on your media device which, in our case, was a USB flash drive. From there, Windows 7 is installed along with the normal Windows 7 drivers and the user must then find and install appropriate drivers, wi-fi being the most important to get us live again.
On rebooting, simply hold down the ‘Option’ key for a few seconds and you will arrive at this screen. Select your wi-fi source and either the Macintosh HD for OSX or Windows. Once selected, the system will start on the OS you have chosen and all that is required is a quick restart while depressing the ‘Option’ key once again to switch OS environments.