Latest MacBook Air makes it debut


MacBook Air

Today (Wednesday 20th July) saw Apple announce its new line-up of MacBook Air portable computers. Both the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air now feature the latest generation of Intel processors, the Core i5 and i7. With speeds up to 1.8GHz and faster memory, the new MacBook Air gains up to 2.5x the processing performance over the previous generation.

The new MacBook Air also features the Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor, which includes an on-chip engine for video encoding and decoding. It also comes with the new Thunderbolt port, transferring data up to 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. You can also use it to connect the new Apple Thunderbolt Display.The new display (more of that later) offers over 4 million eye-popping pixels while coming with the following features:

  • Gigabit Ethernet,
  • FireWire 800,
  • an additional Thunderbolt port,
  • three USB ports,
  • a FaceTime HD camera,
  • 2.1 stereo sound and
  • a built-in microphone.

Instead of a traditional hard drive the MacBook Air is now all Flash memory storage (64GB, 128GB or 256GB), offering reliability, speed and efficiency, as well as up to 30 days on stand-by. It also comes with a full-size keyboard that is backlit, as well as a Multi-Touch Trackpad, making use of the new Multi-Touch gestures in Lion (also released today and available only on the App Store).

The display of the MacBook Air measures a mere 4.86 millimetres (0.19 inch) thin, yet the resolution is so high, you’ll feel like you’re looking at a much larger screen.  The 11-inch MacBook Air features a resolution equal to that of your typical 13-inch notebook, while the 13-inch MacBook Air wows with a resolution equivalent to a typical 15-inch notebook.

Supported resolutions:

11.6-inch (diagonal) model:

  • 1366×768 (native),
  • 1344×756 and 1280×720 pixels at 16:9 aspect ratio;
  • 1152×720 and 1024×640 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio;
  • 1024×768 and 800×600 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio

113.3-inch (diagonal) model:

  • 1440×900 (native),
  • 1280×800, 1152×720 and 1024×640 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio;
  • 1024×768, 800×600 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio

The new range is available now and ships with Lion OS X. UK pricing is as follows:

  • 11.6-inch model, 64GB Flash Storage – £849.00
  • 11.6-inch model, 128GB Flash Storage – £999.00
  • 13.3-inch model, 128GB Flash Storage – £1,099.00
  • 13.3-inch model, 256GB Flash Storage – £1,349.00

The UK Apple Store is quoting 24 hours free delivery.

 

Macbook Air – Intel’s new ULV chipset rumoured as CPU choice


Intel Core i7 logo as of 2009

Image via Wikipedia

As rumours hot up about the next refresh to the Macbook Air range, the question on everyone’s lips is which CPU will Apple go with; will it be Intel’s new ULV chipset?  Intel recently announced the specification and price fo the new ultra low voltage (hence the ULV moniker):

  • Core i7-2677M: 2 cores, 1.8 GHz (turbo boost to 2.9 GHz), 4 MB cache, 17 watts, $317
  • Core i7-2637M: 2 cores, 1.7 GHz (turbos to 2.8 GHz), 4 MB cache, 17 watts, $289
  • Core i5-2557M: 2 cores, 1.7 GHz (turbos to 2.7 GHz), 3 MB cache, 17 watts, $250

Certainly, with the Macbook Air, the ULV chipset would seem to be the way to go. There has been talk in the past of Apple choosing AMD over Intel. Whilst ARM processors have traditionally ran circles around Intel’s designs in power consumption, dominating the small mobile device market, it’s hard to see Apple jumping ship when its just refreshed other parts of its hardware portfolio with the latest Sandy Bridge processors. Certainly, AMD’s new Fusion processors are looking pretty good themselves, with strong integrated graphics than current Sandy Bridge offerings, equivalent power consumption, and a lower price tag. Could be a close call. DailyTech even mentions the possibility of an ARM-powered Mac notebook. Another possibility is that we could see a black anodized aluminum case version.

Whichever choice Apple makes (and for now I am going with Intel’s ULV chipset), the future of the Mac notebook market certainly looks brighter than ever.

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New iMacs arrive!


New iMacsAs predicted, Apple has announced a refresh of its iMac range of all-in-one desktop computers. As predicted in my earlier post, Apple has indeed gone with the AMD Radeon 6000 series GPU, only it has gone for a higher spec than I expected; 6750M or AMD Radeon HD 6770M in the entry-level models and HD 6770M or AMD Radeon HD 6970M in the 27″ models.

As expected, they have gone for the new Intel Sandy Bridge Quad Core i5 processors, only this time they have gone for slower clock speeds than I thought; 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 in the entry-level 21.5″ models (I thought they would go for 31.GHz and 3.3GHz respectively). They also went for 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 in the 27″ models, compared to 2.8GHz and 3.4GHz respectively as I suggested.

However, all models come with Thunderbolt as expected (single port in the 21.5″ models and two in the 27″ models), along with HD backlit LED screens (1920×1080 in the 21.5″ models and 2560×1440  in the 27″ models – a 78% more pixels compared to the 21.5″ models).

More detailed specifications:

  • Storage: 500GB or 1TB in 21.5″ models; 1TB in 27″ models. Configurable with 2TB or 256GB SSD in all but entry model.
  • Video & Canera:
    • FaceTime HD camera
    • Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to a 30-inch display (2560×1600 pixels) on an external display
    • Support for extended desktop and video mirroring modes

Audio:

  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Two internal 17-watt high-efficiency amplifiers
  • Headphone / optical digital audio output (mini-jack)
  • Audio line in / optical digital audio input (mini-jack)
  • Built-in microphone
  • Support for Apple iPhone headset with microphone

Expansion ports:

  • One Thunderbolt port on 21.5-inch iMac
  • Two Thunderbolt ports on 27-inch iMac
  • Mini DisplayPort output with support for DVI, VGA and dual-link DVI (adapters sold separately)
  • One FireWire 800 port; 7 watts
  • Four USB 2.0 ports
  • SDXC card slot
  • Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with 4x double-layer burning (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • Audio in/out
  • 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
  • IR receiver

Wireless & Networking:

  • 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking;2 IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology
UK Prices:
  • 21.5″ 2.5GHz – £999 inc. VAT & free delivery
  • 21.5″ 2.7GHz – £1249 inc. VAT & free delivery
  • 27″ 2.7GHz – £1,399 inc. VAT & free delivery
  • 27″ 3.1GHz – £1,649 inc. VAT & free delivery

Apple updates iMac line


With new processors and advanced graphics, the new iMac is the fastest, most powerful iMac yet. Apple has now introduced Intel’s range of iCore processors throughout the iMac range. No more Core Duo 2 processors. Instead you can get either a i3, i5 or i7 CPU in your iMac depending on which model you choose.

Faster processors.

New processor architecture.

Now all iMac models come as standard with Intel Core processors built on a new architecture. Based on Intel’s 32-nanometre process technology, these processors set new benchmarks for iMac performance.

Quad-core power.

The available quad-core Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor in the 27-inch iMac puts four processing cores on one circuit die, so data doesn’t have to travel far to get from core to core.

Turbo Boost.

Many iMac models now benefit from Turbo Boost technology built into the Intel Core series processors. If you’re using a processor-intensive application such as Aperture 3 or Final Cut Pro that benefits from extra performance, Turbo Boost dynamically increases the speed of available cores.

In addition to the new range of processors, the graphics GPU has also been given a much-needed boost.

Faster graphics.

Discrete graphics for everyone.

Every iMac includes powerful discrete graphics, meaning the graphics processor is separate from the CPU. So whether you’re an amateur filmmaker or an avid gamer, iMac gives you faster, smoother, crisper graphics no matter which model you choose.

Start with advanced graphics.

The 21.5-inch iMac offers fast graphics performance with either the ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256MB of dedicated memory or the ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB of memory. Which one is right for you? The greater the memory, the faster the performance for graphics-intensive applications such as games and video editors.

Step up to even faster graphics.

When you step up to the 27-inch iMac, you can choose the ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB of memory. Or enjoy amazing performance with the ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. You’ll notice the speed boost every time you run your favourite 3D applications and games.

Of course, probably the most important part of the iMac is the display. Apple has made improvements here too.

LED backlighting. One bright idea.

Full brightness with no waiting. That’s the big advantage of the LED-backlit iMac display. Unlike most displays that take time to warm up before they reach maximum brightness, an LED-backlit display is instantly on and uniformly bright. LED backlighting also gives you greater control over screen brightness. So you can finely tune the iMac display to suit the ambient light in even the dimmest room.

More pixels. Better picture.

iMac offers some prime pixel real estate. The 21.5-inch, 1920×1080 display has 17 per cent more pixels than the previous 20-inch iMac. The 27-inch, 2560×1440 display has a whopping 78 per cent more pixels than the 21.5-inch iMac. And a 1000:1 contrast ratio gives you more vibrant colours and blacker blacks. All that in a widescreen display with a 16:9 aspect ratio — the same as an HD TV.

Stunning from every angle.

The iMac display looks great from any seat in the house, thanks to a premium display technology called in-plane switching (IPS). IPS gives you a bright picture with excellent colour — even if you’re viewing the display from the side.

Here is the full specification from Apple:

Technical Specifications

Size and weight

21.5-inch iMac

Height:
45.1 cm (17.75 inches)
Width:
52.8 cm (20.8 inches)
Depth:
18.85 cm (7.42 inches)
Weight:
9.3 kg (20.5 pounds)1

27-inch iMac

Height:
51.7 cm (20.4 inches)
Width:
65.0 cm (25.6 inches)
Depth:
20.7 cm (8.15 inches)
Weight:
13.8 kg (30.5 pounds)1

Connections and expansion

  • One FireWire 800 port; 7 watts
  • Four USB 2.0 ports
  • SDXC card slot

Communications

  • 802.11nAirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking;2 IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible
  • BluetoothBluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology
  • 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)

Audio

  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Two internal 17-watt high-efficiency amplifiers
  • Headphone / optical digital audio output (mini-jack)
  • Audio line in / optical digital audio input (mini-jack)
  • Built-in microphone
  • Support for Apple iPhone headset with microphone

Environmental Status Report

iMac is designed with the following features to reduce its environmental impact:

  • Arsenic-free display glass
  • BFR-free
  • PVC-free3
  • Highly recyclable aluminium and glass enclosures
  • Meets ENERGY STAR 5.0 requirements
  • Rated EPEAT Gold4

Display

iMac

21.5-inch iMac

  • Built-in 21.5-inch (viewable) LED-backlit glossy widescreen TFT active-matrix liquid crystal display with IPS technology
  • Resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
  • Typical brightness: 330 cd/m2

iMac

27-inch iMac

  • Built-in 27-inch (viewable) LED-backlit glossy widescreen TFT active-matrix liquid crystal display with IPS technology
  • Resolution: 2560×1440 pixels
  • Typical brightness: 375 cd/m2
  • Can be attached to a wall mount, articulating arm or other VESA-compliant mounting solution using the optional VESA Mount Adapter Kit

All models

  • Millions of colours at all resolutions
  • Typical viewing angle: 178° horizontal; 178° vertical
  • 16:9 aspect ratio

Graphics and video support

  • 21.5-inch models, one of the following:

    • ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics processor with 256MB of GDDR3 memory
    • ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR3 memory
  • 27-inch model with dual-core processor:
    • ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR3 memory
  • 27-inch model with quad-core processor:
    • ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
  • iSightiSight camera
  • Mini DisplayPort output with support for DVI, VGA and dual-link DVI (adapters sold separately); 27-inch models also support input from external DisplayPort sources (adapters sold separately)
  • Support for extended desktop and video mirroring modes
  • Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to a 30-inch display (2560×1600 pixels) on an external display

Processor and memory

  • 21.5-inch models, one of the following:
    • 3.06GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB level 3 cache; supports Hyper-Threading
    • 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB level 3 cache; supports Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost
    • 3.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor with 4MB level 3 cache; supports Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost
  • 27-inch models, one of the following:
    • 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB level 3 cache; supports Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost
    • 3.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor with 4MB level 3 cache; supports Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost
    • 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor with 8MB level 3 cache; supports Turbo Boost
    • 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor with 8MB level 3 cache; supports Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost
  • 4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; four SO-DIMM slots support up to 16GB

Configure your iMac now, only at the Apple Online Store.

Storage5

  • 21.5-inch models:
    • 500GB or 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
    • Optional 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
  • 27-inch models:
    • 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
    • Optional 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
    • Optional 256GB solid-state drive

Configure your iMac now at the Apple Online Store

Configurable options

Optical drive

  • Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    • Writes DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL discs at up to 4x speed
    • Writes DVD-R and DVD+R discs at up to 8x speed
    • Writes DVD-RW discs at up to 6x speed and DVD+RW discs at up to 8x speed
    • Reads DVDs at up to 8x speed
    • Writes CD-R discs at up to 24x speed
    • Writes CD-RW discs at up to 16x speed
    • Reads CDs at up to 24x speed

Electrical and operating requirements

  • Line voltage: 100-240V AC
  • Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, single phase
  • Maximum continuous power: 241W (21.5-inch models); 365W (27-inch models)
  • Operating temperature: 10° to 35° C (50° to 95° F)
  • Storage temperature: -20° to 47° C (-4° to 116° F)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing
  • Maximum altitude: 3,000m (10,000 feet)
  • Typical acoustical performance
    • Sound pressure level (operator position): 18 dBA at idle6

UK prices start at £999 inc VAT for the 21.5 inch 3.06 GHz model to £1, 649 inc VAT for the 27 inch 2.8GHz model.

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