If you were harboring faint hope that OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard might run on the new revision MacBook Airs so that you’ll still have access to legacy applications containing Power PC code, it’s an official no-go. A new Apple Knowledge Base article says that if you try to install a version of OS X (Snow Leopard or Lion) that was released before the new Mid-2011 MacBook Air, the following symptoms may manifest:
• The computer begins to start up normally to a gray screen with the Apple logo, then switches to display a progress indicator (a spinning gear) for a few seconds. Then the built-in display changes to black and the LCD backlight remains lit. This symptom usually appears when you attempt to start up with a version of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or earlier.
• A prohibitory sign (a circle with a line through it) appears on the screen. The computer then powers off after about a minute. This may occur if you install a version of Lion other than the version originally installed on your MacBook Air.
• MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2011)
• MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2011)
To resolve the problem, reinstall the proper operating system build by restarting the computer while pressing and holding the Command and “R” keys. The right revision of Mac OS X for this computer should be available for installation through the Mac OS X Utilities pane that opens.
You can verify if the wrong version of Lion is installed (as in the second symptom) by starting the computer in verbose mode:
• Shut down the computer.
• Restart the computer while you press and hold the Command and “V” keys.
• The text on the display should say, “This version of Mac OS X is not supported on this platform!”.
• Exit verbose mode by pressing and holding the power button until the computer shuts down.
Not the happiest news for Mac veterans, but Apple appears bound and determined to push us into OS X 10.7 Lion and soon iCloud as well. Of note, however, is that the Knowledge Base article makes no mention of a similar issue on the new Core “i” Mac mini models released last week, but we would reccommend getting clarification abou that before proceeding with an atempted Snow Leopard install on one of them as well.
For additional information about how to reinstall OS X Lion, refer to the Users Guide included with the computer or About Lion Recovery.
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