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Apple launches new line of MacBook Air, gives a sneak peak of upcoming Mac Pro

At the ongoing Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, Apple made a number of announcements that included a new line of MacBook Air laptops, a sneak preview of the upcoming Mac Pro, iTunes Radio, as well as new operating systems iOS 7 and Mac OS X Mavericks. We have already talked about iOS 7 and iTunes Radio in an earlier story (you can read about that here). We now look at the new MacBook Air and the Mac Pro.

MacBook Air

There are no design changes in the new MacBook Air, and the only difference between it and its predecessors is in terms of what's inside. The new MacBook Air is powered by fourth generation Intel Core i5 (1.3GHz dual-core with Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz) and Core i7 processors (1.7GHz dual-core with Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) and comes with Intel HD Graphics 5000 and has 4GB of RAM. It runs on the OS X Mountain Lion operating system and, in terms of internal memory, users will have a choice between 128GB and 256GB of flash storage that will provide speed up to 45 per cent faster than the previous generation devices.

11-inch Air: This one has 11.6-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display (1366 x 768 pixel resolution); its dimensions are 3mm (at its thinnest point) x 300mm x 192mm and weight is 1.08 kg.

13 inch Air: This has 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display (1440 x 900 pixel resolution); its dimensions are 3mm x 325mm x 227mm and weight is 1.35 kg.

Air

In addition to a FaceTime high definition (HD) camera, the device also comes with dual microphones. On the connectivity front, it has Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, a Thunderbolt port and two USB 3.0 ports. The 11-inch Air has a built-in 35-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, which the company claims will provide up to nine hours of battery life and 30 days standby time. In comparison, the 13-inch Air has a built-in 50-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery that will provide up to 12 hours of battery life and 30 days standby time.

The new MacBook Airs are available for purchase online (in the US) from the Apple Store, and offer more value for money—the 11-inch models feature double the storage and 13-inch models starting at a new lower price. They are priced at $999 (Rs 58,585) and $1,199 (Rs 70,314) for the 11-inch devices (128GB and 256GB storage), and $1,099 (Rs 64,449) and $1,299 (Rs 76,178) for the 13-inch devices (128GB and 256GB storage).

Mac Pro

The company also gave a sneak peek of the next generation Mac Pro, which is a cylindrical shaped device and introduces a completely new pro-desktop architecture and design. It comes with next generation Intel Xeon E5 processors and two AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs, making it up to 2.5 times faster than the current Mac Pro. The device comes with PCI Express-based flash storage, which the company claims is 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based solid-state drive and up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives.

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The new Mac Pro will also have six built-in Thunderbolt 2 ports (completely backwards compatible with existing Thunderbolt peripherals), USB 3 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, and HDMI 1.4 ports. Users can also connect up to three high-resolution 4K displays to the device. Interestingly, all of this is offered in an incredibly small package. At just 9.9 inches tall with a diameter of just 6.6 inches, the new Mac Pro is one-eighth the volume of the current Mac Pro.

OS X Mavericks

Apple released a developer preview of OS X Mavericks, the 10th major release of the operating system (the last one being Mountain Lion). It comes with over 200 new features, and brings 'maps' and 'iBooks' to the Mac. Here is a quick look at its features:

Maps: enables users to plan a trip from their Mac, then send it to their iPhone for voice navigation on the road. Maps integration also gives users maps from within mail, contacts and calendar.

iBooks: with iBooks, users will have instant access to their existing iBooks library, as well as more than 1.8 million titles in the iBooks Store. The books work seamlessly across devices, hence users can read a book on their Mac, make notes or highlights, and then pick up exactly where they left off on the iPad.

Tags: a new way to organise and find files anywhere on the Mac or in iCloud. Users can tag any file in the finder, in iCloud, or when saving a new document. The created tags appear in the finder sidebar to help view files by project or category.

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Finder tabs: reduce the clutter on your desktop by consolidating multiple finder windows into one window with multiple tabs. Users can customise the view for each tab, move files between tabs, and even run the finder with multiple tabs open in full-screen.

The operating system also makes using multiple displays easier. The menu bar and dock are available on any display, and users can run windowed or full-screen apps on whichever display they choose, without any configuration. App Nap reduces the power consumed by apps that you're not using, while compressed memory automatically compresses inactive data. While You Were Away Notifications make sure users can view what happened while the Mac was asleep and interactive notifications, allow users to reply to a message, respond to a FaceTime call or even delete an email without leaving the app they are using. Additionally, new Safari comes with 'shared links' that enable users to discover, read and share interesting new content from Twitter and LinkedIn, all in one place.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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