Just in time for the upgrade to Lion, Apple has released an update to its MacBook Air and Mac mini line-up, as well as the new ‘Apple Thunderbolt Display’. Meanwhile, the white, plastic entry level MacBook has been discontinued, instead making way for the 11-inch Air to take over as Apple’s entry level portable model.
The new Thunderbolt equipped Macbook Air models start at £849 in the UK store for the 11-inch, and come with an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 CPU as standard, clocked at 1.6GHz. They also come with 2GB RAM and a 64GB SSD. On the Graphics front, you’re looking at an Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip. For just an extra £150, you can bump the RAM up to 4GB and double the storage giving you 128GB.
The 13-inch model starts at £1099, and for that you can go to a 1.7GHz processor of the same model, and you will still have 4GB RAM. To double the storage again to 256GB, you’ll need to go for the top-end option at £1349. You can bump the 13-inch model’s processor to a 1.8GHz i7 for just £100 extra too, so that may be worth the cost if you’re going to be pushing it hard. Oh, and did I mention that the backlit keyboard is back? It’s about time!
The latest generation Mac mini now starts at £529, and uses the same Intel graphics chip as the Air on the entry level model. One thing that you will notice straight away is the lack of an optical drive in the new models, so if you’re relying on software from CDs and DVDs then you will have to purchase an external drive. For your money, you will get a 2.3GHz Core i5 processor, 2GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive as standard. Moving up to the £699 model, the processor will be a 2.5GHz i5, configurable up to a 2.7GHz i7 model, and you get 4GB RAM which can be upgraded to 8GB as a later option. You can also swap out the 500GB hard drive for a 256GB solid state drive if you’d like, but this will be a lot more expensive. The graphics chip in the more expensive model is the AMD Radeon HD 6630M.
The Mac mini Server has also seen an upgrade, and costs £849. You will get a 2GHz Core i7 CPU as standard with this model, as well as 4GB RAM and two 500GB hard drives to run your server for you. The graphics in the server model are powered by the Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip found in the Air and the low end mini, as server operations aren’t going to be as graphically intense as some applications that you may run on the regular model.
Finally, Apple’s Thunderbolt display has been updated with, well, Thunderbolt. Like before, it has a FaceTime HD camera at the top of the screen, and it also has a number of ports at the back too including three USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800, Gigabit Ethernet and a Thunderbolt port too. The Apple Thunderbolt display will put you back £899, and current shipping estimates are at 6-8 weeks, so you may have to be patient on that one.
Are you going to be taking the plunge and buying any of these new Mac models that have been released today? Are you already holding a funeral for your trusty plastic MacBook? Let us know in the comments!