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Apple unleashes new products, kills off MacBook

Apple unleashes new products, kills off MacBook
Apple's much anticipated release of Mac OS X Lion coincided with the launch of its updated MacBook Air—and the discontinuation of its original entry-level laptop.

The MacBook is no more.

Apple's much anticipated release of Mac OS X Lion coincided with the launch of its updated MacBook Air—and the discontinuation of its original entry-level laptop.

The company is riding high on the back of record sales, profit and stock prices and Lion, the latest version of the Mac operating system, is expected to increase interest in Apple products. It will be pre-installed on new Macs and is available for download as an update from the App Store for $38.99.

"People are already downloading like crazy," Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller told the Wall St Journal.

Lion features a host of refinements and new features while incorporating aspects of iOS (which runs on iPhones and iPads). It marks the first time Apple has released an operating system on the Mac App Store.

Meanwhile, its refreshed MacBook Airs boast faster Intel processors, backlit keyboards and new Thunderbolt data ports. The technology is touted as a faster alternative to other connections, such as USB, and was introduced by Intel earlier this year. Apple says Thunderbolt can transfer information up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 and up to 12 times faster than on FireWire 800.

Apple also introduced a 27-inch Thunderbolt Display to serve as a docking station and a desktop screen for a Mac notebook, due to hit the market in the next two months.

"The Apple Thunderbolt Display is the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook," Schiller says.

"With just one cable, users can dock with their new display and connect to high performance peripherals, network connections and audio devices."