$999-$1,599
Macs

Apple MacBook Air (Mid 2011)

The rumors have been a few weeks off, but our predictions were right. About ten months after Apple took a second, far more successful swing at the MacBook Air ($999-$1,599), it has followed it up with an impressively improved new lineup—changes that aren’t groundbreaking, but all very much welcome, and considerably improving the horsepower of Apple’s new base model MacBook. That’s right—the MacBook’s gone, so long live MacBook Air.

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$699 and Up
Macs

Apple Mac mini + Mac Pro (Mid-2011) Expectations

If you were thinking of buying a Mac mini ($699 and up) or Mac Pro ($2499 and up), now would probably be a good time to wait. Following the successful transitions of the MacBook Pro and iMac to Intel’s latest lineup of Sandy Bridge processors—and the impending similar update of the MacBook Air—Apple plans to refresh its other desktop machines with new processors and ports over the next couple of months. As of this week, Cnet is claiming the new machines are coming in late July or early August. Read on for the details of what’s expected to change.

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$1,199 and Up
Macs

Apple iMac (Early 2011)

Right on cue, Apple today updated the iMac ($1,199 and up) line of all-in-ones with quad-core processors across the board, faster graphics, new Thunderbolt I/O ports, and a higher resolution FaceTime HD camera. Sure, pretty much everything is as predicted—and the machines look nearly identical from the outside—but the iMacs remain a great value for the dollar, and these upgraded models are an even better bang for the buck.

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Apple MacBook Air (Mid-2011) Expectations

Last year’s release of the “late 2010 MacBook Air” hit the laptop market like a bolt of lightning. While the improved 13-incher missed the mark with us, gaining an SD card slot, nicer trackpad, and blessedly fixed hinge—but standing still in the CPU department—the tiny 11-inch version won our hearts by offering nearly as much power in a dramatically smaller shell. Two of our editors ditched MacBook Pros for 11-inch Airs and haven’t looked back; two others are ready to make the jump, too. That’s going to happen soon: less than a year later, Apple’s preparing a supposedly major refresh for a May or June 2011 launch, and it might just be worthy of an upgrade. Here’s what we’re expecting.

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$1,200-$2,500
Macs

Apple MacBook Pro (Early 2011)

Yes, Apple’s last MacBook Pro update wasn’t particularly exciting, but the new MacBook Pros ($1,200-$2,500) pack a lot more awesome into otherwise familiar enclosures. On the outside is the same body we’ve seen since the October 2008 overhaul, but new graphics chips and Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors offer huge performance jumps over earlier, same-priced models, and a new Thunderbolt port promises faster I/O with future peripherals. Available in the standard 13”, 15”, and 17” sizes, these workhorses live up to the Pro name.

 

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