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Today at the WWDC 2012 conference in San Francisco, Apple announced updates across the board for its popular MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebook computers. The new machines are faster and more capable than ever before. They all come with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processors, multiple USB 3 ports, improved graphics, and other big performance boosts. They will all be able to take advantage of new features in the upcoming Mountain Lion operating system, like iCloud integration (for accessing music, photos, calendars, contacts and documents from the cloud), dictation (tell Microsoft Word what to write instead of typing) and hundreds of other useful features. Mountain Lion comes out in July 2012, and you’ll be able to update to it for free when you purchase one of these new Macs. Okay. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty details, shall we?
The MacBook Air is probably the most imitated computer design around these days, and with good reason. It is razor thin, ultra lightweight, and yet still incredibly powerful and versatile. Today’s update makes these featherweight notebook computers even more appealing. Their new Intel Ivy Bridge processors all feature Turbo Boost technology, their integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 engines are up to 60% faster than before, the all-flash storage is faster, too (and can go up to 512GB), they have two USB 3 ports (which are compatible with USB 2, and thanks to their 500MBps read speed, they’re up to ten times faster), the Facetime camera has been updated to 720p, and they can now support up to 8GB of 1600 MHz RAM.
Like before, there are 11-inch and 13-inch versions of the MacBook Air available. The 11-inch has a 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, which can Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz. It comes with 4GB of RAM. It’s available with either 64GB or 128GB of flash storage. The battery on the 11-inch model can run for up to five hours. The 13-inch version of the MacBook Air comes with a 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, which can Turbo Boost up to 2.8 GHz. The stock models come with 4GB of RAM. It’s available with either 128GB or 256GB of flash storage. The battery on the 13-inch model can run for up to 7 hours. You can upgrade any of these models to a 2 GHz Intel dual-core Core i7 processor, which can Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz, the RAM can be bumped up to 8GB, and the maximum amount of flash storage is 512GB.
The new MacBook Pros have the latest, top-of-the-line Intel Ivy Bridge processors, two USB 3 ports, and an Intel HD Graphics 4000 processor (which boosts performance up to 60%). The 15-inch version automatically switches to a GeForce GT 650M discrete processor which has up to 1GB of video memory for more intensive graphics work. The 15-inch can also be upgraded to a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, which can Turbo Boost up to 3.7 GHz. Of course, everything that made the last generation of MacBook Pros so popular is still present, like the Thunderbolt port, FireWire 800 port, SDXC card slot, FaceTime HD camera, Ethernet port, multi-touch track pad, 802.11n Wi-Fi, built-in Bluetooth and 8x SuperDrive.
Just as before, there are 13-inch and 15-inch versions of the MacBook Pro available. They can all be loaded with up to 8GB of 1600 MHz RAM. The hard drive options range from 500GB 5400 rpm serial ATAs; to 512GB Solid State Drives. The 13-inch model comes with either a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (that can Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz), or a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor (which can Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz). If you want to go for a quad core, you need to bump up to the 15-inch model. The 15-inch MacBook Pro starts out with a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (which can Turbo Boost up to 3.3 GHz). The next step up is the 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (which Turbo Boosts up to 3.6 GHz).
Any way you chop it, the new updated MacBooks are a welcome option. Their speed and power are hard to beat, and the Mac user experience has never been better. When OS X Mountain Lion becomes available later this summer, your Mac will become your even closer best friend. The iCloud integration will make for a more seamless flow of information across all of your Apple devices, and cool features like Power Nap (MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display only) will update your computer while it sleeps (receiving emails, messages, etc). Basically, Mountain Lion is loaded with features that you will use and appreciate every day.
Thanks for reading this B&H InDepth announcement. If you have any questions about the updated MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or OS X Mountain Lion, feel free to submit a Comment, below.