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Back To School Gadget Must-Have’s

If you’re headed back to college or sending someone back to school this Fall, Apple wants to remind you they still have the goods, with their annual back-to-school new product launches.

osx lion launchpad mac new

Launchpad gives you instant access to all the apps on your Mac in OS X Lion

Mac OS X Lion Launchpad
OS X Lion (v 10.7) has landed for the low price of $30. You can pick up the newest installment of the Mac operating system from the new Mac App Store. Last month, Apple released an update for Snow Leopard (officially version 10.6.8). This update was to prep all the Macs for OS X Lion. If you haven’t applied that update, you’ll want to do so before upgrading.
Apple is toting that Lion has over 250 new features. Among them are new multi-touch features, the ability to run apps full-screen, an updated App Store, auto-save features, including a feature that automatically saves multiple versions and a new interface called Launchpad, which makes launching apps on your Mac look more like an iPad.

New Mac Lineup: MacBook Air, Mac Mini and 27” Cinema Display
What’s a new operating system without new Mac models to run it on? First up: two new versions of the MacBook Air in 11- and 13-inch sizes. The revolutionary ultra-thin computer has a newer processor, brighter, backlit keyboard and a Thunderbolt port. Thunderbolt is Apple’s proprietary connector, similar to – but faster than – USB. The new MacBook Air models still have 2 USB ports. The 13-inch version also contains an SD card slot.

macbook air 2011

With the latest-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology, and all-flash storage, MacBook Air isn’t thin on features.

As with previous versions, the new Air models all have solid-state storage (Flash storage). The 11-inch starts at a base of 64GB of storage, the 13-inch with 128GB. Each also feature brand new Intel Core i5 or i7 processors. Between the faster flash storage, new Intel processors and Intel HD 3000 graphics processors, this year’s MacBook Airs are over 2.5 times faster than their predecessors. Prices range from $999-1,599, before add-ons or upgrades.

Like its MacBook cousin, the Mac Mini also upgraded for this year. Sporting an 2.3GHz i5 processor (upgradable to 2.5GHz or 2.7GHz i7), the Mini can be configured for 2 GB, 4GB or 8GB RAM and comes with a Thunderbolt port for connecting to fast external storage or to the new Thunderbolt 27” monitor. The Mini still has support for traditional Mac display and HDMI ports, four USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet, audio in, audio out and an SDXC card slot. They start at $599.

Apple also released a new 27-inch Cinema Display. This is more than a monitor; LED-backlit with a 16:9 aspect ratio at 2560×1440 resolution. The display is crystal clear with the glossy display you expect from Apple, viewable from nearly any angle with 178-degree viewing. It also includes a full-range stereo speaker system, including subwoofer and a built-in FaceTime HD camera. Of course, the new display is powered by Thunderbolt, Apple’s ultra-fast connector that runs two channels of data at 10 GBps each direction. Frame loss shouldn’t be an issue. The Apple display is $999.

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