Media Event: Apple releases updated MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Aperture 3.1, iLife ’11, Pro Kit refinements and FaceTime for Mac OS X

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Date: Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, 19:05
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Proving good on a good numbers of the rumors surrounding the event, Apple offered a slew of goodies at its October 20th announcements including an updated MacBook Pro, a new MacBook Air and a slew of software goodies.

Without further ado, let’s get down to it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple surprised its audience by releasing a faster build-to-order MacBook Pro. For an additional US$200, customers can upgrade the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro to a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 processor from a 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 chip. The same upgrade is also available for the sole 2.53GHz 17-inch model for a US$400 premium. An upgrade on that model to a 2.66GHz Core i7 remains, priced at US$200.

In addition, Apple on Wednesday released a number of software updates related to the release of the new MacBook Air models, as well as the iLife ’11 suite. Those who pick up the newly released MacBook Air have Software Update 1.0, a 368KB download available via Mac OS X’s Software Update function, already available for them.

The update resolves an issue where the system becomes unresponsive while playing a movie trailer in iMovie. It also fixes a problem where the system becomes unresponsive after waking from sleep when an external display is connected. It is recommended for all late-2010 MacBook Air models.

During the event, Apple also released Aperture 3.1, a 357.55MB download that improves overall stability and performance, and also addresses compatibility with the newly release iLife ’11 suite.

Fixes and changes include the following:
– Performance when opening large libraries.

– Performance when exporting heavily-adjusted images.

– Importing iPhoto Libraries.

– Relinking to referenced images after importing an iPhoto Library.

– Importing photos and videos from iPhone or iPad.

– Upgrading libraries with images containing Spot & Patch adjustments.

– Duplicate detection of audio and video files.

– Face detection on RAW+JPEG pairs.

– Rendering of thumbnails used in Faces view.

– Rendering of images scaled to below 100% in Viewer.

– Image quality on straightened images.

– Applying Red Eye correction.

– Rendering thumbnails when reprocessing masters.

– Searching libraries containing a large number of keywords.

– Applying photos to GPS track paths.

– Export of GPS data when using Export Metadata command.

– Handling of color profiles in Print dialog when using Loupe.

– Applying and removing slideshow Photo Effects.

– Slideshows containing video clips.

– Tethered capture.

– Library database reliability.

– Library repair.

– Updating vaults.

During the media event, Apple also issued ProKit 6.0 for Snow Leopard. The 13.5MB downloadadds the following fixes and changes to Apple’s professional applications:
– Improves reliability for browsing iPhoto libraries in Aperture.

– Addresses cosmetic issue with appearance of disclosure triangles in Aperture.

– Fixes a problem in Logic Pro and MainStage where numeric parameters display incorrect information.

The update is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express, Soundtrack, Logic Studio, Logic Pro, MainStage, WaveBurner and Logic Express.

The highlight of the event came when Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the new MacBook Air, which Jobs came after the company asked itself “What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?” The company then announced the release two new MacBook Airs with 11.6″ and 13.3″ screens, instant-on capabilities, starting at just $999 which are now available.

The new MacBook Air has no optical drive and no hard drive, which allows instant-on capabilities. The MacBook Air has memory up to two times faster that is more reliable and 90% smaller and lighter, Jobs said.

Both models feature a forward-facing FaceTime camera, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics.

The new 13″ model boasts a 7 hour of battery life with 30 days of standby time and features a full-size keyboard and a full-size glass trackpad as well. The 13.3″ display is 1440-by-900 pixels, and the model weighs just 2.9 pounds.

The larger model starts at US$1,299 for 128GB of storage with a 1.86GHZ processor. Doubling the storage to 256GB is US$1,599.

The 11″ model has a display resolution of 1366×768 pixels. It’s just as thin, but is even lighter, at just 2.3 pounds.

The low-end model has a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 64GB of storage for US$999. a higher-end model with a 128GB drive retails for US$1,199.

Memory, rather than being enclosed in a solid state drive, is situated directly on the motherboard, allowing Apple to save space within the notebook. Jobs showed the inside of the MacBook Air, demonstrating that most of the space inside is used for the batteries.

The new MacBook Air measures an incredibly thin 0.11″ at its thinnest point and 0.68″ at its thickest, and weighs just 2.3 pounds for the 11″ model and 2.9 pounds for the 13″. Like the iPad, MacBook Air was designed from the ground up to use flash storage exclusively.

Along with the full-sized keyboard, as well as the standard Multi-Touch trackpad found on Apple’s MacBook Pro, the unit also include built-in FaceTime camera for communication with iOS-based devices as well as other Macs.

Full specs include the following:
Size and weight
Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
Width: 11.8″ (29.95 cm)
Depth: 7.56″ (19.2 cm)
Weight: 2.3 pounds (1.06 kg)

Processor and memory:
– 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache; or optional 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache.

– 800MHz frontside bus.

– 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM onboard (4GB maximum).

Storage:
– 64GB

– 128GB

Display:
11.6″ (diagonal) high-resolution LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors

Supported resolutions:
1366 by 768 (native), 1344 by 756, 1280 by 720, 1024 by 576 pixels at 16:9 aspect ratio; 1152 by 720, 1024 by 640, and 800 by 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 by 768, 800 by 600, and 640 by 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 by 480 pixels at 3:2 aspect ratio

Graphics and video support:
– Mini DisplayPort

– Pure digital video output

– DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (sold separately)

– VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (sold separately)

– Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately)

– HDMI output using a third-party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (sold separately)

– NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main
memory

– Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

– FaceTime camera

Keyboard and trackpad:
– Full-size keyboard with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys (inverted “T” arrangement)

– Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities

Peripheral connections:
– USB 2.0

– Mini DisplayPort

– MagSafe

– USB 2.0

– Headphone

– Microphone

Audio:
– Stereo speakers

– Omnidirectional microphone

– Headphone minijack

– Support for Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic

Communications:
– AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking4 (based on IEEE 802.11n specification); IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible

– Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology

– Apple USB Ethernet Adapter (sold separately)

Battery and power:
– Built-in 35-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

– 45W MagSafe power adapter with cable management system

– MagSafe power port

Environmental:
Per Apple, the MacBook Air achieves EPEAT Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements. Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.

Pricing & Availability:

The 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air are immediately available through the Apple Store at apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The 1.4 GHz 11-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $999 (US) with a 128GB model for US$1,199 (US).

The 1.86 GHz 13-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US) with a 256GB model for US$1,599 (US).

Configure-to-order options and accessories include faster processors, 4GB of memory, MacBook Air SuperDrive and a USB Ethernet Adapter.

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