Apple has updated the MacBook Air, the slimline laptop of which Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller says: "Everyone is trying to copy it. But they find it's not so easy."

The new MacBook Air features the latest Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core Intel Ivy Bridge processors at up to 2.0GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz.

The MacBook Air can now accommodate a hard drive up to 512GB, storage that Apple says is up to 2x faster with over 500MBps of read speed. Apple says it’s “faster than any hard drive.” In fact, Apple claims the flash storage in the MacBook Air is up to four times faster than traditional hard drives for instant-on performance and fast access to your apps and data. 

There’s also up to 8GB of 1600MHz memory. Apple says that with 4GB of faster memory, configurable up to 8GB, you can run memory-intensive apps with ease.

The new integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 is up to 60 percent faster, according to Apple. 

The big news is that the new MacBook Air includes a combined USB 2 and USB 3 port. Apple claims this is “Up to 10x faster than USB2

The new MacBook Air includes the same FaceTime HD 720p camera as the MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Air comes in 11in and 13in configurations. Prices start at £849 inc VAT for the 1.7GHz dual-core i5 offers up to 4GB of RAM. The entry level price is the same as before in the UK, although in the US it is $100 less than before.

The 13in MacBook Air comes with a 1.8 GHz processor, 4GB of memory and is available with 128GB of flash storage starting at £999 inc VAT, and 256GB of flash storage starting at £1,249 inc VAT. Previously there were four MacBook Air models, availble for £849, £999, £1,099 and £1,349. The new price of the high end model is £100 less than prevously. 

The new MacBook Air ships with Lion, but Apple says that new customers will be elegible for Mountain Lion when that ships in July.

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