Posted in: Mobile computers, Various

Apple announces a 11.6-inch MacBook Air, new Mac OS 10.7 Lion plus AppStore and FaceTime for Macs

It’s been quite busy in the Apple camp – the focus is again shifting towards computers. And as usual, usually gets interesting when Steve Jobs gets on stage. Anyway, I’m not going to recap last night’s “Back to the Mac” event. Instead, I’ll offer you a quick recap of the highlights as I see them.

Perhaps the most important announcement is the new generation of MacBook Air. Available in two flavors – with a 11.6 and a 13.6-inch screens – the new MBAs are thinner and lighter than ever. That’s been made possible by doing away with the hard drive altogether.

New MacBook Air

Instead Apple uses SSD storage for all the available models. And it’s unlike any SSD storage you’ve seen before. That one is more like RAM stick than a hard-drive and thanks to this, the new MacBooks Air (or is it MacBook Airs?) enjoys almost instant boot times. Yep, blink and you’ll miss it.

Apple will be using a new, reportedly more user relevant method for battery life estimation. They call it Wireless Web. The 11.6-inch MacBook Air will deliver 5 hours of that, while the bigger 13.6-inch model will offer 7 hours. Beside that, both models will have a 30-day standby time.

New MacBook Air

Both new models also enjoy two USB ports (instead of one), and a built-in SD card reader. The 11-inch MBA has a 1366×768 screen, while the 13-inch MBA packs 1440×900 pixel resolution.

Both devices are powered by Intel Core 2 Duo coupled with Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics. The smaller Air weighs exactly 1 kg, while the bigger is 1.3 kg.

The new and improved MacBooks Air

And the best part is, they are available effective immediately starting at 1000 USD. For that amount of cash you get the smaller Air with a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 64GB of storage. Another 200 USD will get you an upgrade to 128 gigs worth of storage.

The 13.3-inch MBA starts at 1300 USD with a 1.86GHz processor and 128GB of storage.

All base models start with 2GB of RAM but are upgradeable to 4GB. Instead of DVDs, you will get a reinstall version of the OS on a USB stick.

Mac OS 10.7 Lion

The new Mac OS iteration is called Lion. It will take its time though, as Apple projects its availability in summer 2011. The OS has got a few upgrades inspired by iOS and its devices.

Mac OS 10.7 Lion is going to offer extended multi-touch gestures support (via the trackpad, not the screen) plus full-screen applications.

The new Launchpad application launcher will give you an iPad-like grid of app icons, all of which you can manage in folders – just like under iOS.

And finally, Mac OS 10.7 Lion comes with Mission control Expose-like view mode, which shows all your opened apps and windows at a single glance.

AppStore and FaceTime for Macs

Much in tune with the iOS devices, Macs will also get an AppStore. The AppStore will be available to earlier Mac OS versions as well – not only to Lion.

The AppStore concept finds it way to Mac computers too

FaceTime is also coming to Macs and you can download a beta version of the app to your Mac straight away (download link here).

You can download FaceTime for Macs right now


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