The 11in MacBook Air is achingly pretty and eminently strokable; but like all aluminium Airs and Pros it attracts scratches and even dings if you're not extremely careful. Last year I equipped my 13in MacBook Pro with a see-through Speck plastic case and thought no more about it. A couple of weeks later a cable dragged the computer off a coffee table and it fell about two feet onto a hard tiled floor. There was absolutely no damage to computer nor, as far as I could see, any scratching on the Speck case.
You'll probably think it sacrilege to consider a similar hard-shell case for the 11in Air. After all, it looks so good in naked form. A case is practical, though, and I decided to try the new thinner, lighter and more tactile Speck offering. I got the satin (black) opaque kit from my local Apple Store (which I see as an endorsement of the product) and had it clipped to the Air in a few seconds. The case comes in two pieces – bottom section for the main body of the computer and a lid for the back of the screen. Tiny plastic clips secure the pieces to the computer and, as with my 13in Pro, the fit is excellent.
Unlike the earlier Speck cases, the new Air covering has a slightly rubbery, tactile feel which is pleasant and helps prevent slipping when carrying the computer in one hand. Although it is black and looks very much like the case of the old polycarbonate MacBook, the Apple logo shines through when the computer is in use.
The close fit makes the case feel like an integral part of the computer and most times you really don't feel you have a case attached. On the downside, removing the Speck cases requires patience and a bit of strength to free the plastic clips. With luck, though, you'll be happy to leave it attached permanently.
Unlike the earliest 13-in MacBook Air, which overheated at the merest hint of Flash or external backup, the 11in newbie runs super cool. I checked the heat figures (using the iStat Pro widget) before and after fitting the case and there was no discernible difference in readings for CPU, SSD or enclosure. So far so good, but I shall keep an eye on the stats.
I'd strongly recommend this case ($49.95, £39.95) for peace of mind. The 11in Air is so portable and just wants to be carried everywhere. The Speck case reduces the risk of one day suffering damage and certainly promotes peace of mind.