MacBook Air Gets Thunderbolt, Core i5 Processor

Apple announced the immediate availability of updated MacBook Air models on Wednesday. The new version of Apple’s ultra lightweight laptop gained a Thunderbolt port along with an Intel Core i5 processor, and OS X Lion pre-installed.

Like previous MacBook Air models, the updated versions are available with an 11-inch or 13-inch LED display, at least 2GB RAM, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, USB 2.0, SD card slot, and solid state drive. The new models add a backlit keyboard, along with a Thunderbolt port.

MacBook AirMacBook Air, now with Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt was introduced earlier this year on the MacBook Pro, and later was added to the iMac. It uses the same Mini DisplayPort connector as Apple’s displays, offers up to 10Gbps data transfer speeds, and can support six devices at the same time.

The new laptops also include Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 integrated graphics processor, FaceTime HD video camera, built-in stereo speakers and a microphone.

The 11-inch model ships with a 1.6GHz Core i5 processor, 2GB RAM and 64GB flash-based storage for US$999, or 4GB RAM and 128GB storage for $1,199. The 13-inch model ships with a 1.7GHz Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB storage for $1,299, or 256GB storage for $1,599.

The new laptops are available now, and Apple’s online store is showing a 24 hour ship time.