Buried by the unveiling of the new 11.6- and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs was a quiet update to Apple's professional notebooks that will let customers custom-configure the machines with even faster Core i7 processors.
For an additional $200, customers can upgrade the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro to a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 processor from a 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 chip. The same upgrade is also available for the sole 2.53GHz 17-inch model for a $400 premium. An upgrade on that model to a 2.66GHz Core i7 remains, priced at $200.
With these options arriving at the close of Wednesday's Back to the Mac event, it appears that Apple's 2010 notebook line -- and Mac product family as a whole -- is now set in stone for the holiday shopping season, meaning no further hardware updates are likely until next year.
MacBook Air software update
In addition, Apple on Wednesday released a number of software updates related to the release of the new MacBook Air models, as well as the iLife '11 suite. Those who pick up the newly released MacBook Air have Software Update 1.0, a 368KB download, already available for them.
The update resolves an issue where the system becomes unresponsive while playing a movie trailer in iMovie. It also fixes a problem where the system becomes unresponsive after waking from sleep when an external display is connected. It is recommended for all late-2010 MacBook Air models.
Apple also released Aperture 3.1, a 357.55MB update that improves overall stability and performance, and also addresses compatibility with the newly release iLife '11 suite. Fixes apply to the following extensive list of areas:
Performance when opening large libraries
Performance when exporting heavily-adjusted images
Importing iPhoto Libraries
Relinking to referenced images after importing an iPhoto Library
Importing photos and videos from iPhone or iPad
Upgrading libraries with images containing Spot & Patch adjustments
Duplicate detection of audio and video files
Face detection on RAW+JPEG pairs
Rendering of thumbnails used in Faces view
Rendering of images scaled to below 100% in Viewer
Image quality on straightened images
Applying Red Eye correction
Rendering thumbnails when reprocessing masters
Searching libraries containing a large number of keywords
Applying photos to GPS track paths
Export of GPS data when using Export Metadata command
Handling of color profiles in Print dialog when using Loupe
Applying and removing slideshow Photo Effects
Slideshows containing video clips
Library database reliability
ProKit 6.0 (Snow Leopard)
Apple on Wednesday also issued ProKit 6.0 for Snow Leopard. The 13.5MB update fixes issues with interface software that is shared by Apple's professional applications, including:
Improves reliability for browsing iPhoto libraries in Aperture.
Addresses cosmetic issue with appearance of disclosure triangles in Aperture.
Fixes a problem in Logic Pro and MainStage where numeric parameters display incorrect information.
The update is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express, Soundtrack, Logic Studio, Logic Pro, MainStage, WaveBurner and Logic Express.
Finally, a pair of Java updates were also released Wednesday. Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3 is a 74.30MB update for Snow Leopard users. It delivers improved compatibility, security and reliability by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_22.
The same update is also available to users of Leopard with Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 8. The 119.07MB file updates J2SE 5.0 to 1.5.0_26. JSE 1.4.2 is no longer being updated to fix bugs or security issues, and remains disabled by default in the latest update.