Apple Unveils Fruit Basket Filled with OS X Lion, Updated MacBook Air and Mini, and More

Today is shaping up to be a big day for Apple. It was just yesterday that the Cupertino outfit announced yet another record quarter, bragging about revenue being up 82 percent and profits up 125 percent, and today marks the launch of a bevy of products and technologies that will keep all those Apple exec pockets lined with cash for the foreseeable future. Let's take a quick look at each one.

Mac OS X Lion

Now available for purchase from the Mac App Store is Mac OS X Lion, the eight major release of Apple's operating system. It includes over 250 new features, some of the more notable ones being:
  • Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
  • Auto Save, which automatically and continuously saves your documents as you work;
  • Versions, which automatically records the history of your document as you create it; and
  • AirDrop, which finds nearby Macs and automatically sets up a peer-to-peer wireless connection to make transferring files quick and easy.
If you're a Mac user looking to upgrade, simply launch the Mac App Store, buy Lion with your iTunes account ($29.99), and sit back as the download and install process takes over.

Updated Mac mini

On the hardware side, Apple today introduced updated Mac mini models with next generation Intel Core processors, new discrete graphics, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology, and Mac OS X Lion (see above). According to Apple, you can expect up to twice the processor and graphics performance of the previous generation in the same compact aluminum closure.

Pricing starts at $599, which gets you a 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Mac mini with 2GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. There's a $799 model that kicks things up a notch with a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5 processor and 4GB of memory, and a $999 model equipped with a 2GHz quad-core Core i7 with Lion Server, 4GB of memory, and dual 500GB hard drives. All three models are configurable with upgrade options, such as adding more RAM, a larger hard drive, or swapping out the HDD for a solid state drive.

Refreshed MacBook Air (Now with Keyboard Backlight)

At long last, Apple revamped its MacBook Air line with Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, Thunderbolt technology, a backlit keyboard, and Mac OS X Lion. Like the Mac mini, the new MacBook Air models purportedly offer twice the computing power as previous models.

Cost of entry is a dollar shy of a grand, and for that you can pick up an 11-inch MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of flash storage, and Intel HD Graphics 3000 running the 3D show. For an extra $200, Apple will double-up the RAM to 4GB and flash storage to 128GB.

The 13-inch model starts out at $1,299 and includes a 1.7GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage, and the same integrated graphics as the 11-inch model. For an additional $300, you can double the storage size to 256GB. Both of the more expensive 11-inch and 13-inch models can optionally be upgraded to a 1.8GHz dual-core Core i7 processor.

World's First Thunderbolt Display

And finally, Apple today also unveiled its new 'Apple Thunderbolt Display,' the world's first display with Thunderbolt technology built-in. Using a single cable, Mac-centric users can hook up their Thunderbolt-enabled Mac to the 27-inch display and access its FaceTime camera, high quality audio, GbE, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt ports. Apple says the display is designed specifically for Mac notebooks.

Other features include a 16:9 edge-to-edge glass design with a 2560x1440 resolution, LED backlight, 178-degree viewing angle, 2.1 speaker system, and ambient light sensor. The display is available for purchase now and runs $999.