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Apple Announces Two New MacBook Airs (PHOTOS)

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The new Apple products keep on coming.

Apple has announced that it is releasing 2 new MacBook Airs, the first updates to the super-light laptop since October 2010. The new Airs will be available to order online and in Apple stores immediately.

The most noticeable difference between the two Airs is screen size: one comes with an 11-inch screen, and the other a 13-incher. Both come standard with much of the hardware we've already told you about: Intel i5 processors, super-fast Thunderbolt periphery connection, a back-lit keyboard, and the recently-released OS X Lion. After that, though, the options are up to you.

First, let's look at the 11'' model, which, at a starting price of $999, Apple has trumpeted with the tagline "Everyone should have a computer this advanced. Now everyone can." Here are some specs for the $1,000 model (all upgrades are on the $1200 model):

  • 2GB RAM (upgrade to 4GB RAM available)
  • 1.6GHz processor (upgrade to 1.8 GHz available)
  • 64GB storage (upgrade to 128GB and 256GB available)
  • Weight: 2.38 pounds
  • Two USB ports and a Thunderbolt port (no SD card reader)
  • Up to 5 hours of battery life

And here are your bullet points on the 13-inch model, which starts at $1299 and upgrades to $1600 for the top-of-the-line model:

  • 4GB RAM
  • 1.7 GHz processor
  • 128GB storage (upgrade to 256GB available)
  • Weight: 2.96 pounds
  • Two USB ports, a Thunderbolt port, and an SD card reader
  • Up to 7 hours of battery life

These aren't the flashiest updates to the Air, but they are substantial. The Thunderbolt port and the back-lit keyboard are the most noticeable changes, but the real work has been done on the inside. Apple says that the new Intel processors make this Air up to 2.5x faster than the previous generation; it has also added more durable flash storage, which means faster start-up times and the ability to put the computer on standby mode for up to 30 days.

This has been a busy week for Apple, which posted its "Best Quarter Ever" and also announced its new Lion operating system. According to ZDNET, the company reported shipping 3.95 million Macs last quarter--impressive, but not as robust as the numbers for the iPad, 9.25 million of which were shipped in the same quarter.

Now take a look at what it hopes will be its latest good news: The refreshed MacBook Air:

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