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Who designed the MacBook Air?
Apple's industrial design for many years has been performed entirely in-house by Apple's Industrial Design Group, led by Jonathan Ive.
The original, "Late 2008" and "Mid-2009" MacBook Air models are 0.16 inches (0.4 cm) at its thinnest point and 0.76 inches at its thickest point (1.94 cm), 12.8 inches wide (32.5 cm), and 8.94 inches (22.7 cm) deep. These models weigh 3.0 pounds (1.36 kg).
All subsequent MacBook Air models are 0.11 inches (0.3 cm) at the thinnest point and 0.68 inches (1.7 cm) at the thinnest point. The 11-Inch models are 11.8 inches wide (29.95 cm) and 7.56 inches deep (19.2 cm). The 13-Inch models are the same 12.8 inches wide (32.5 cm) and 8.94 inches (22.7 cm) deep as the earlier MacBook Air models.
The 11-Inch and 13-Inch "Late 2010" models weigh 2.3 pounds (1.06 kg) and 2.9 pounds (1.32 kg), respectively. The "Mid-2011" and subsequent models are slightly heavier -- 2.38 pounds (1.08 kg) and 2.96 pounds (1.35 kg), respectively.
It depends largely on your definition of "world's thinnest". The company press release for the original MacBook Air states in its headline that the MacBook Air was the "world's thinnest notebook" and in the copy that "its maximum height of 0.76-inches is less than the thinnest point on competing notebooks".
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (Original MacBook Air)
However, as noted by Wired and C|Net, the Mitsubishi Pedion released in 1998 was 0.7244 inches thick (1.84 cm) and the Sharp Muramasas released in 2003 was a mere 0.54 inches thick (1.3716 cm), both smaller than the thickest point on the MacBook Air.
The Pedion and Muramasas were uniformly thick rather than tapered like the MacBook Air, however, so some might note that the average thickness of the MacBook Air is smaller or that these systems that were released many years prior were not "competing notebooks" so the point is moot regardless.
In any event, the original, "Late 2008" and "Mid-2009" MacBook Air models are quite thin (and use the same case design), but whether or not the MacBook Air truly was the "world's thinnest" notebook when unveiled largely is up to interpretation. All subsequent MacBook Air models are even thinner, a razor thin 0.11 of an inch at the thinnest point and 0.68 of an inch at the thickest point. The "Retina" MacBook, first introduced on March 9, 2015, is thinner still.
In the US, you may purchase a MacBook Air directly from Apple, but doing so often will require you to pay sales tax, which easily can exceed US$100.
Those interested in getting the best deal would be best served by purchasing a new MacBook Air from an Apple Authorized Reseller that does not charge sales tax, like site sponsor PowerMax.
PowerMax also has a wide variety of used MacBook Air models available for sale free of sales tax.