One of the ways that the MacBook Air achieves its svelte thinness is from changes that Intel did for the Core 2 Duo processor inside that package. Apple asked Intel to reduce the physical size of the processor, and Intel obliged, reducing the size by about 60% while also reducing power draw from about 35 watts to about 20 watts. That’s a big size reduction, but there is a less obvious side effect – smaller processors with lower power draw typically generate less heat and therefore can get by with a smaller thermal solution (fan or heatsink). This too would help that unnatural thinness. And the lower power draw will also help to extend battery life, the bane of any mobile device.
On the good side, Intel doesn’t just develop processors for the fun of it; they want to make money. So, those lovely small footprint Core 2 Duo’s from the MacBook Air will soon be showing up in other laptops that probably won’t be quite as flashy, but may have some mundane benefits like a user replaceable battery and a wired LAN connector. Or one can hope.