Apple Releases New MacBook Air with Intel Sandy Bridge

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It was only a matter of time, but the team in Cupertino have announced an update to the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air laptops. The new ultraportables feature the second-generation Intel Sandy Bridge processors, backlit keyboards and a Thunderbolt port.

Only nine months since the last update, Apple has improved the specs on its 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air. Although the exterior of this thin aluminum design is essentially the same, both models now feature the Intel “Sandy Bridge” Core i5 and i7 processors, high-speed Thunderbolt ports, backlit keyboards, and OS X Lion.

The latest 11.6-inch MacBook Air has a starting price of $999 with 64GB solid state drive, 2GB of system memory and a 1.6GHz Core i5 processor. You’ll have to spend $1,199 if you want the 11-inch Air with a higher-capacity 128GB SSD and 4GB of memory. The 13-inch Air starts at $1,299, with a 128GB SSD, 4GB of RAM, and a 1.7GHz Core i5 processor. Upgrading the 13-inch model to a 256GB SSD will cost you $1,599 instead.

One of the most welcome changes to the new MacBook Air notebooks comes in the form of a new keyboard with LED backlighting so you can see the keys in the dark. The new Airs now have Intel HD 3000 graphics instead of Nvidia graphics, but this may not be a major concern for MacBook Air users since they typically aren’t gaming with these laptops. Once again, Apple has omitted the SD slot from the 11-inch model (apparently Apple thinks that people with digital cameras only buy 13-inch laptops).

The 13-inch model also gets a higher resolution 1440×900 display while the 11-inch Air is stuck with a 1366×768 screen. The 11-inch has a battery rated for up to five hours while the 13-inch model has up to seven hours of battery life according to Apple.

Be sure to visit NotebookReview.com in the weeks ahead for more coverage of these thin and light Macs, but feel free to visit the Apple website for more information about the new MacBook Air laptops.

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