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Apple gives MacBook Air an update, and new OS X coming this fall

Consumer Reports News: June 10, 2013 03:38 PM

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All-day battery life is coming to the MacBook Air, Apple announced today during its World Wide Developers Conference. The new laptops use the latest processors from Intel, the fourth-generation Core processor known as Haswell ULT, and one advantage those processors bring is longer battery life.

The latest versions of the MacBook Air laptop will last 9 hours for the 11-inch models and 12 hours for the 13-inch models, the company claims.

The 11-inch Air retails for $999 with a 128GB solid-state drive. The 13-inch model is $1,099 with a 128GB solid-state drive. Both are available starting today. We'll add these to our Ratings as soon as we finish testing them.

Find the best model for your needs and budget: Check our computer buying guide and Ratings.

Apple also announced the latest version of OS X. The company is moving away from the cat theme that's characterized OS X's names (such as Mountain Lion), to place names in California. The next release, scheduled for this fall, is called Mavericks. Apple says Mavericks optimizes OS X for better battery life, faster responsiveness, and new apps.

Among the new features: Maps from iOS will now be available in OS X. If you have an iPhone as well as a Mac, you can look up directions on your computer and send them to your iPhone.

iBooks will also be available on OS X, and you'll be able to access your books from your iPad on your computer, and pick up easily where you left off from one device to the other.

Mavericks will also include an upgrade of the Safari browser. Apple continues to integrate social-networking features into the browser. You can set it up so the sidebar shows links posted by people you follow on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. It also makes your "reading list" available in the sidebar, and you can scroll straight through from one article in your reading list to the next.

iCloud, Apple's cloud-storage service, will also see some changes. There's a new iCloud Keychain that saves your website passwords, credit card numbers, and Wi-Fi logins, all encrypted. iWork for iCloud lets you create iWork documents in a browser. That includes the ability to drag items—even Word documents—from your desktop into the document on the browser.

Donna L. Tapellini

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