New MacBook Air and Mac mini are official, packing Thunderbolt and Lion

It's a bumper Apple harvest! Both the MacBook Air and Mac mini line have been refreshed, packing Thunderbolt, improved Intel processors and OS X Lion. Check it out.

Luke Westaway
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This time next year, Rodney, we'll be mini and Airs! We will if Apple keeps to a yearly refresh schedule, because it's just unleashed a bumper crop of updated tech, including new MacBook Airs and a new Mac mini desktop. Flip through the official photos above to take a gander, and read on for all the info.

MacBook Air

Apple's so-thin-you-could-shave-with-it MacBook Air laptop has added a Thunderbolt port, a backlit keyboard and comes with Mac OS X Lion pre-installed, as was widely predicted.

Thunderbolt is Apple's new port, and it's sticking it on just about everything it makes. It allows for frighteningly fast data transfer, though few accessories use it yet. We're pleased Apple's stuck a backlit keyboard on the new Air, though it's worth noting earlier models did have one too -- Apple mysteriously removed it from last year's edition.

Performance should be boosted significantly, thanks to Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. That's a relief, because the Core 2 Duo chips in the previous version were getting long in the tooth.

The design seems to be unchanged from previous versions, coming in 11- and 13-inch versions (though note the actual diagonal screen measurements are 11.6 inches and 13.3 inches respectively), and just like earlier models the Air features flash storage, which is faster and more reliable than a traditional hard drive.

Luxury comes at a price though -- the cheapest MacBook Air comes with a Core i5 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and will set you back £850. The most expensive version will set you back a whopping £1,350.

Mac mini

Apple's also given its Mac mini desktop range an oil change. Just like the Air, it'll feature Thunderbolt and HDMI connectivity and ship with OS X Lion.

New Intel chips are the order of the day here, with Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs on the table. The cheapest model will set you back £530, and comes with a 2.3GHz Core i5 chip, 2GB of RAM and 500GB of storage.

Interestingly, the mini has a removable panel on the underside, which will let you add memory without too much fuss. That's in stark contrast to the MacBook Air, whose aluminium unibody is sewn up tight to stop you tampering.

Other bits and pieces

There's also a new 27-inch Cinema Display with a Thunderbolt port that will set you back £900. Yep, nine hundred squid.

Apple has also taken today's big refresh bonanza as an opportunity to quietly give its white plastic MacBook the Ol' Yeller treatment, which is a little sad, but ho-hum, life goes on, and we suspect we haven't heard the last of the non-Pro, Air-less MacBook.

Are you interested in any of the new Apple gear? Let us know in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.

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The Air's aluminium unibody frame.
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The new MacBook Air in action.
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The Air's new backlit keyboard.
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The new Mac mini.
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The mini has a removable bottom for easy access to the memory, so you can upgrade its insides.
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There's a new 27-inch Cinema Display too.
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The Cinema Display's ports, including Thunderbolt.
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The Lion pride.
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Mission Control, one of Lion's new features.

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