The answer is: sorta. Details on my initial research on this after the jump…
Based on the SL tech specs,
it looks like the MacBook Air meets some requirements, including the
processor (Intel Core 2 Duo processor) and included RAM (2 gigs).
The problem starts with the operating system. The Air comes loaded with Leopard (OS X 10.5). The forums and blogs are reporting lots of problems
with how SL runs on the new OS. There are tweaks to your settings you
can do, but generally performance is sub-par in comparison with older
versions of OS X. And as usual, SL runs fastest on Windows. Sigh.
Another big question is the graphics card: an Intel GMA X3100. This is
the same card that comes with the recent iteration of MacBooks, which
SL Mac-users have been complaining about on
the forums. There are various workarounds that people are talking
about, including running Windows XP on the MacBook. The Intel GMA
graphics processor will likely work, but so far it is unsupported
officially by Linden Lab.
The other problem is the "air"-iness of the Air. The MacBook Air is
intended to be used on a wifi network and has no built-in ethernet
port. Second Life is not meant to be used on a wifi connection, even a
802.11n wifi connection. So to really rock in SL, you will need to
purchase an extra $30 dongle that connects the Air to a wired network.
So, in short, if you are looking for a portable, Mac solution for running SL, the MacBook Pro is still your best bet.
This of course is largely speculative since I haven’t had a chance to try Second Life on an actual Air. If any Apple representatives would like to send me a MacBook Air to test on, I would not refuse it. 😉