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Laptops

Apple MacBook Air and Mac OS X Lion set to arrive tomorrow

The new MacBook Air laptops and Mac OS X Lion operating system look set to roar into Apple Stores tomorrow. Jobs' minions will pull a late one to get the Apple Stores ready in time.

The new MacBook Air laptops and Mac OS X Lion operating system look set to roar into Apple Stores tomorrow.

The Air, and Lion with it, are rumoured to have been slightly delayed, but Apple watchers 9to5Mac and MacRumors both report that the big day is now almost upon us.

Apple Store employees will reportedly prepare their shops tonight, working on display areas for the new laptop and software, ready for the big opening tomorrow morning. They'll possibly do that while chanting incantations to Steve Jobs or thinking about working at McDonald's.

Lion is the latest version of the software used to power Apple's laptops and desktop computers. It's packed with new features influenced by Apple's portable devices, the iPhone and iPad, including a new grid of apps just like the home screen on your phone or tablet. It'll be built into all new Macs, starting with the Air.

For the first time, Lion will only be available as a download. If you already own a Mac and want to upgrade to Lion, you won't be able to buy it on a CD in a box, but only as a download from the Apple App Store. That makes it super-cheap, at just £21.

The Air was refreshed in October last year, when it was revealed in 11-inch and 13-inch flavours and gained a second USB port. It was also sliced so thin you could shave with it, so we wonder if the new Air will be any slimmer. Apple boss Steve Jobs famously produced the original Air from an envelope -- if the new model gets any thinner, it'll be made from an envelope.

Features we expect include a backlit keyboard and a Thunderbolt port. Thunderbolt is a super-fast data-transfer port that also connects your MacBook to a monitor -- or at least it would, if any monitors supported Thunderbolt yet. A new Apple LED Cinema Display monitor using the new connection is expected soon.

The iPhone 5 is also imminent, and we expect the usual overnight queuing and general hysteria when it arrives. We tried all that once and it nearly killed us