If the first MacBook Air was a revolutionary take on the Apple laptop line, this is an evolutionary step -- which is exactly what you'd expect from a second-generation release. Aesthetically, the two generations are virtually the same; technologically, the new one offers a speed boost and better storage options at a better price than when the Air debuted.
Having said that, if you don't think you need the ultimate in thinness and style -- and to my eye, this really is the ultimate in the looks department -- do yourself a favor and check out the new MacBook while you're comparison-shopping. Sure, it's chunkier -- compared with the Air, just about everything is -- and heavier at 4.5 lb. But it's faster, offers more storage and is more expandable. Oh, and it's cheaper.
But if only the thinnest will do (you know who you are, road warriors) and you held off last winter when the first MacBook Air appeared, now may be the time to buy. Now you get a faster laptop with more storage that's every bit as attractive and lightweight as the first one. And the top-end model is substantially cheaper than it was in January.
This MacBook Air will no doubt show up on a lot of holiday wish lists.
Computerworld is an InfoWorld affiliate.