They say Apple updates its products like clockwork, releasing something new at the same time in the same place every year. Not so with MacBook Airs anyway. The outfit’s gone and freshened up its 13-inch and 11-inch ultraportables — the second such update in nine months. Although the industrial design hasn’t changed much since the last generation, both models step up to Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors, Thunderbolt ports, backlit keyboards, and, of course, OS X Lion.
The last time Apple updated its iMac line we were treated to Intel Core 2010 processors. So it’s no surprise — really, no surprise at all — to see Apple refreshing the lineup today. Prices start at $1,199 (as usual) for the 21.5-inch (1,920 x 1,080 pixel IPS panel) model with new 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and 512MB of AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics. Prices soon jump to $1,999 for a 27-inch (2,560 x 1,440 IPS) model with 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU and 1GB of AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics, or optional 3.4GHz quad-core Core i7 proc and 2GB of HD 6970M graphics if you so desire. We’re talking Intel Sandy Bridge, of course, but Apple never goes into specifics. New owners will also be treated to a Thunderbolt jack (one on the 21.5-inch model and two on the 27-incher) and FaceTime HD camera with 24 hours shipping. Yeah, it looks the same, but it’s the insides that count.