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New MacBook Air may arrive in July, giving Mac OS X Lion its first airing

A new MacBook Air is expected to appear in July, bringing with it powerful new Intel Sandy Bridge chips, a speedy Thunderbolt connection and the Mac OS X Lion software.

A new MacBook Air may arrive in July, bringing with it Apple's latest Lion-sized software. The updated range of super-slim laptops is expected to include powerful new Intel Sandy Bridge chips, a speedy Thunderbolt connection and Mac OS X Lion software.

9to5Mac reckons the new Air will offer a choice of 1.8GHz Intel Core i7, 1.7GHz Core i7 and 1.7GHz Core i5 dual-core processors. The word on the street is that the design won't change from that of the current 13-inch and 11-inch Air, which is fair enough -- if the Air were to get any thinner than today's models, it'd disappear into the space between molecules.

Sadly, that means there probably won't be a black version, which was another recent rumour. MacBook Noir, anyone?

As for the release date, Apple's tradition of launching products on a Tuesday points to 12 or 19 July.

The new Air models will add Thunderbolt, Apple's new port for transferring data at head-spinningly high speeds. Thunderbolt combines a PCI Express port and DisplayPort to chuck data at other devices at up to 10Gbps, and it could replace the Mini DisplayPort connection on the existing Air -- the Air's slimline design means space is at a premium, and there's barely room for the two USB sockets on the latest model as it is.

The new Air will run the upcoming Mac OS X Lion operating system, which adds 250 new features. The new Air will probably be the first to show off Lion, with its iPhone- and iPad-inspired Mission Control for apps, full-screen apps and various auto-saving options.

Apple laptops, desktops and mobile devices will also be able to access the new online syncing and storage service iCloud sometime in the autumn.

Which features would you like to see coming to the Air? What Apple goodness would tempt you to part with your hard-earned moolah for a new slimline MacBook? Air your views in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.