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Mac OS X Lion Roars - Along With MacBook Air And Mac Mini Refresh

David Gilbert by

MacBook Air 2011

Apple has taken the opportunity of refreshing its MacBook Air and Mac Mini line-ups to coincide with the launch of the latest version of Mac OS X.

Mac OS X Lion or 10.7, has just gone on sale in the Mac App store this afternoon for a bargain basement price of £20.99. It is the first time Apple has released a version of its OS available as a download only. While we already knew what to expect from Lion, the refresh of Apple’s MacBook Air and Mac Mini line-ups were much more anticipated.

MacBook Air

The new MacBook Airs are not so much revolution as evolution. The 11.6in and 13.3in models look practically identical to the previous versions (here and here) but on the inside it’s a whole different story.

Some people had held back on purchasing the latest Airs because of the older processors inside, but the refreshed line-up has the latest Core i5 and Core i7 chips inside them and both models come with the lightening-fast Thunderbolt port we first saw on the latest iMacs.

MacBook Air 2011

The 11.6in MacBook Air comes with a 1.6GHz processor 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as standard. However these specs can be boosted up to 1.8GHz processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (or indeed 256GB if you’re feeling particularly generous).

Looking at the 13.3in model, it comes as standard with a 1.7GHz Core i5 chip, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. This is again configurable up to a 1.8GHz chip and double the storage. All models will of course ship with Mac OS X Lion.

Mac Mini

The Mac Mini Line up has also been refreshed and Apple obviously feels there’s no need to tinker with a winning design, keeping the same look as the previous iteration. As with the MacBook Airs, all the significant changes have taken place inside.

Mac Mini 2011 Mac Mini Server

The new Mac Mini has ditched the Intel Core 2 Duo processor in favour of Sandy Bridge silicon and again Thunderbolt has been included. The base model comes with a 2.3 GHz Core i5, 2GB of RAM, and a 500GB HDD. The top-tier model comes with 2.5GHz Core i5, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD with an optional Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RM and a 750GB HDD.

Apple has also refreshed the Mac Mini Server model and it now come with a 2.0GHz Core i7, 4GB of RAM and instead of an optical drive, two 500GB HDDs — or if you have the money, 8GB of RAM and dual 256GB SSD. Again Mac OS X Lion comes as standard on all models.

Pricing and Availability

As we said, Mac OS X Lion is available now in the Mac App Store for £20.99. The new MacBook Air line-up is also available today from the Apple website with prices beginning at £849 for the 11.6in model and £1,099 for the 13.3in model. As for the Mac Minis, they will be available today starting at £529 with the server model starting at £849.

We will of course be getting our hands on Mac OS X Lion, the new MacBook Airs and the Mac Minis in due course so keep it at TrustedReviews to get the low-down on all these Apple releases.

Source: Apple Store

Go to comments

KultiVator

July 20, 2011, 7:19 pm

> Apple obviously feels there's no need to tinker with a winning design, keeping the same look as the previous iteration.

Look again... the lack of an optical drive slot counts as a change in the external appearance.

You guys are usually first in line to knock Apple over stuff like this. Perhaps you're still too busy killing your own site through more silly design choices.

chris Preston

July 20, 2011, 9:00 pm

Do you think people will miss the lack of DVD drive ?

lensmann

July 21, 2011, 12:17 am

I had a play with Lion on a colleague's laptop. The changed scrolling behaviour drove me totally insane (you now have to move your fingers down to scroll up and vice versa). I just don't get it. Why does everything have to be like on the iPhone? Don't most people interact differently with touchscreens and touchpads?

Eddy Hall

July 21, 2011, 12:42 am

Apple obviously feels there's no need to tinker with a winning design...

Except they have removed the optical drive. This is a really big thing for those of us who were thinking to make a HTPC swap!

alex 10

July 21, 2011, 4:25 am

From what ive read the scrolling behaviour can be changed round in system preferences, i hope so!!!

spr23

July 21, 2011, 4:52 am

This can be switched back to the normal behaviour by going into system preferences and unchecking natural scroll direction in the trackpad settings. It confused me too at first but was only a matter of taking time to check the options available so not such a big drama.

rsrd

July 21, 2011, 1:00 pm

RE: the lack of optical drive comments

At first I though the same as those above but then it occurred to me that this is a quiet/risky attempt by Apple to deal with a number of issues, namely:

Cost: One complaint with the previous Mini was that it still seemed expensive, they have reduced the cost for those that have Minis as secondary machines (who can use optical drive sharing from existing macs on their networks) and for new users who may only ever get their software/music etc online. They can purchase an external drive for £70-80 if they desperately need it without it breaking the bank (not as elegant a solution admittedly).

Blu-ray: Another complaint had been the lack of blu-ray support and whilst the 'downloading is the future' argument has been stuck to it does allow for thunderbolt based external blu-ray drive to come into play at some point without compromising the Apple party line too much.

App store: Let's not forget they are pushing the app store as the medium by which software is distributed (i.e OSX Lion). The apparent abandonment of optical drives is entirely in keeping with this model a la abandoning floppy drives on the original iMac (which didn't exactly garner support at the time but certainly seems to have been the right call in hindsight).

rsrd

July 21, 2011, 1:01 pm

Settings, touchpad, untick 'Scroll direction natural'

Pbryanw

July 21, 2011, 1:19 pm

To be fair, you can disable this scrolling setting from mouse or trackpad preferences in Lion, but I agree that some of the changes in Lion only make sense if you're using it on a Macbook or with the Trackpad add-on.

Saying that, I've just upgraded from Snow Leopard, and it feels like there's only been minor changes in Lion. Most non-Apple apps haven't been upgraded to work in full-screen mode, and the new scrollbars are the only real give-away you're using Lion. Look forward to the TR review.

lensmann

July 21, 2011, 2:32 pm

Thanks for the tip about the preferences.

On the positive side, Versions looks set to be absolutely, incredibly fantastic as a productivity tool, and may by itself just about convince me to make a Mac my primary work machine once more applications start supporting it.

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