Apple Unleashes Mac OS X Lion, Revs Up MacBook Air
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Apple unveiled a host of updated products, including an updated MacBook Air and Mac mini, and released Mac OS X Lion, the eighth major edition of the company's operating system with more than 250 new features, which is available as a download from the Mac App Store for $29.99. The updated Air, available in 11-inch and 13-inch models sports next generation processors, Thunderbolt I/O technology, a backlit keyboard and Lion.
The Air's Thunderbolt I/O technology provides expansion possibilities through a single cable, where users can connect to high performance peripherals and the new Apple Thunderbolt Display. Thunderbolt can also be adapted to support legacy connections such as FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet. The 1.6 GHz 11-inch Air is available in two models, one with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage for $999, and one with 4GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage for $1,199. The 1.7 GHz 13-inch Air comes in two configurations, one with 4GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage for $1,299, and one with 4GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage for $1,599.
The notebook comes with a full size backlit keyboard and a glass Multi-Touch trackpad. 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 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 Air also includes Bluetooth for wireless peripherals and two USB ports for connectivity. The 11-inch model weighs 2.38 pounds and provides up to 5 hours of battery life, while the 13-inch weighs 2.96 pounds and provides up to 7 hours of battery life, and the Air's aluminum unibody enclosure measures a thin 0.11-inches at its thinnest point and 0.68-inches at its thickest.
Some of the features in Lion include new Multi-Touch gestures, system-wide support for full screen apps, Mission Control, a view of everything running on a Mac, the Mac App Store built right into the OS, Launchpad, a new home for all a user s apps and a completely redesigned Mail application. The company noted Lion requires an Intel-based Mac with a Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor and 2GB of RAM.