New MacBook Airs, Mac minis and Lion usher in age of Thunderbolt
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 11:46AM
Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla in Breaking news, Buyers Guide, Events and Launches, First Looks, Lifestyle, Mac Mini, MacBook Air, OS X Lion, Press release, Public service, Thunderbolt

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

It's been an Apple extravaganza with updated MacBook Airs (now with backlit screens, Intel Core i5 processors and Thunderbolt ports), spanking new Mac Minis (sans optical drive) but with more powerful processors and up to 8GB of RAM. Apple also released the world's first 27" inch Thunderbold display with a built in Facetime camera. It was also time to bid goodbye to the white  MacBook which has been discontinued for good.

New Airs

The new 11" inch and 13" inch MacBook Airs now receive the Thunderbolt treatment, the long awaited backlit keyboards and faster Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge processors. Thunderbolt is the new high speed optical I/O that facilitates video signals as well as increased data transfers.

With the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, the new MacBook Air is up to twice as fast as the previous generation and has all the power you need for editing photos and movies, making FaceTime calls, playing games, and working with documents and presentations. MacBook Air also features Intel HD Graphics 3000 and offers up to 4GB of faster 1333 MHz memory.

Thunderbolt I/O technology provides expansion possibilities never before available to MacBook Air users. Through a single cable, users can connect to high performance peripherals and the new Apple Thunderbolt Display, the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook. Thunderbolt can easily be adapted to support legacy connections such as FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet.

MacBook Air comes with a full size backlit keyboard and an innovative glass Multi-Touch trackpad. Designed for comfort and ease of typing, the backlit keyboard uses a sensor to automatically detect a change in ambient lighting and adjusts the keyboard brightness for any environment. The Multi-Touch trackpad supports Lion’s new Multi-Touch gestures such as momentum scrolling, tapping or pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, and swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps. The new MacBook Airs start at $999 and the 11" inch model has replaced the MacBook as the cheapest Mac notebook.

Mini goes Maxi

A bigger story is the diminuitive Mac mini which gets some serious performance upgrades but loses the optical drive (users can get a $80 external SuperDrive if they need it). The Mac Mini now has upgraded Core i5 processors ( 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz), Thunderbolt port and faster graphics. Starting at $600, Apple is hoping that users will get Mac Mini and Thunderbolt displays as a combo.

The new Mac mini remains the world’s most energy efficient desktop, meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold status.Mac mini has a highly recyclable aluminum enclosure, PVC-free components and cables, no brominated flame retardants and features material-efficient system and packaging designs.

A server version of the Mac mini can be configured with an Intel Core i7 Processor

Lion Revolution

The release that most current Mac users will be excited about is OS X Lion. This version costs $30.00 (cheapest ever) and is purchased via the Mac App Store. Early attempts to download the 4GB OS failed due to the large number of people downloading it.

Once we got it donwloaded (35 minutes), installation was a brisk 15 minutes and it was the easiest OS upgrade ever. Click one button, wait and the next you know you're on Lion. Stay tuned for our comprehensive review.

Lion introduces more than 250 new features to the Mac, including Multi-Touch gestures and system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control, an innovative view of everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store, the best place to find and explore great software; Launchpad, a new home for all your apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app.

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