MacBook Air has issues, says Apple

Support docs detail wireless glitches, Remote Disc work-arounds, headphone trouble

MacBook Air users might need to move their new ultra-thin laptops to keep bits moving to and fro, Apple said in a note on its support site, just one of several problems posted now that the new portable has started shipping.

Among the documents that populate the support section Apple unveiled this week for its newest Mac was one that outlined an issue between the Air and some external monitors. "If your MacBook Air is closed and an external display is your only display, you may notice a reduction of throughput for wireless networks that use the 2.4GHz band," Apple said in a document published on the newly-opened MacBook Air section of the company's online support site.

To fix the problem and get throughput back on track, Apple recommends that users try another channel on the wireless access point, switch frequency ranges, or move the MacBook Air closer to the base station.

Other MacBook Air wireless issues, according to Apple, involve slow speeds when connected to multiple Bluetooth devices and balky routers that refuse to work the Remote Disc magic. For the latter, Apple suggested that users update the firmware of their non-Apple 802.11n wireless routers to get disc-sharing operational.

Apple also confirmed that MacBook Air users who want to install Windows XP or Vista in a Boot Camp partition must have an external USB optical drive, like the US$99 SuperDrive the company sells. Windows can't be installed using the Remote Disc CD/DVD-sharing software bundled with the MacBook Air, said Apple. "Be sure to connect your external USB optical drive to your MacBook Air before starting the Boot Camp Assistant," the company warned.

Other FYIs from the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer and consumer electronics maker included a note that some headphones won't properly jack into the MacBook Air because of the notebook's nearly-hidden audio-out port. "Some third-party audio products, such as headphones, may not plug into the MacBook Air headphone jack because part of the connector does not fit within the port hatch," Apple admitted. "Use a third-party headphone adapter to extend the audio connection outside of the port hatch. Adapters are available at the Apple Store."

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