Back in June at the WWDC, Apple set the release of Mac OS X Lion for July. Today the latest version of the operating system is available and it has brought hardware refreshes with it for the Mac Mini and the Macbook Air.
There are over 250 new features of Mac OS X Lion which includes Multi-Touch gestures, Mission Control, full-screen apps, and Launchpad. You can upgrade to OS X Lion for $29.99 from the Mac App Store if your Mac has an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor and the latest version of Snow Leopard (10.6.8).
The hardware announced today comes preloaded with Lion on them.
The cheapest MacBook Air costs $999 and has a 1.6GHz Core i5 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB SSD, 5 hours of battery life, and an 11 inch display. On the other end of the spectrum, for $1599, you get a 1.7GHz Core i5, 4GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD, 7 hours of battery life, and a 13 inch display. The MacBook Air includes its backlit keyboard from earlier generations. With the MacBook Air reaching the same price point as the MacBook, it has been phased out. You now have the options of a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro. No more white, plastic cases as an option for the latest generation.
The Mac mini also received a refresh including Apple’s latest “big” thing, Thunderbolt. The processor is also upgraded to either a Core i5 or i7 processor. The cheapest one runs $599 with a 2.3GHz Core i5 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and an Intel HD graphics card. The more expensive version costs $799 for a 2.5GHz Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics. Apple is also touting a version of the Mac mini that comes with Lion Server on it. It costs $999 with a 2GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, dual 500GB hard drives, and the same Intel HD graphics card.
Apple also introduced the Apple Thunderbolt Display. It runs $999 and uses the Thunderbolt connection to your Mac in order to share the audio, network, FireWire, USB, Thunderbolt ports, and FaceTime camera. The display is LED-backlit and measures 27 inches with a resolution of 2560×1440.
Apple does a very good job at selling their new hardware. I’ve gotta admit I’m enticed to get a MacBook Mini as an HTPC and a MacBook Air to replace my ancient laptop. Just gotta get past the impulse buy stage…