On July 20, 2011, Apple released updates to the 11.6" and 13.3" models of the MacBook Air, which also became Apple's entry-level laptops due to lowered prices and the discontinuation of the white MacBook around the same time. The mid-2011 MacBook Airs were powered by the new Sandy Bridge 1.6 or 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, or 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processors, that came with an Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor, and with a backlit keyboard, two USB 2.0 ports, FaceTime camera, a standard of 2 GB of RAM (configurable up to 4 GB), Thunderbolt which shares function with Mini DisplayPort and Bluetooth was upgraded to v4.0. Maximum SSD flash memory storage options were increased up to 256 GB. Both 11" and 13" models had an analog audio output/headphone minijack (that also supports an iPhone/iPod touch headset with microphone), but only the 13" model had an integrated SDXC-capable SD Card slot. These models use a less expensive "Eagle Ridge" Thunderbolt controller that provides two Thunderbolt channels (2 × 10 Gbit/s bidirectional), compared to the MacBook Pro which uses a "Light Ridge" controller that provides four Thunderbolt channels (4 × 10 Gbit/s bidirectional). A USB ethernet adapter was immediately available upon release and a Thunderbolt-to-Firewire 800 adapter became available in mid-year 2012.
Apple is about to begin charging users outside of their warranty for online chat support using a new web payment system it recently developed. Sources familiar with the project say Apple is currently expecting to launch the new paid chat support, which will also let customers schedule repairs and replacements online, as early as next week. Here’s how it works: