Coinciding with the launch of Mac OS X Lion and the revamped MacBook Air, Apple has unleashed a new high-resolution display and Mac mini, both of which advance Apple's adoption of Thunderbolt connectivity (formerly known as Light Peak). Set to ship in the next 60 days, the 27-inch Thunderbolt Display is billed as the "ultimate docking station" for Mac notebooks as the display can use one Thunderbolt cable to transmit power and visuals, or to daisy chain up to five additional external devices.
The Thunderbolt Display sports an LED-backlit IPS panel that touts a resolution of 2560x1440 and 178-degree viewing angles. It's also outfitted with an ambient light sensor that tweaks the brightness based on external lighting conditions, a built-in "FaceTime HD" webcam and mic, a 2.1 speaker system, as well as an integrated MagSafe charger to keep MacBooks charged. Aside from Thunderbolt, connectivity includes three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and Gigabit Ethernet. Pricing is set at $999.
Meanwhile, the new Mac mini crams more speed and functionality in the same compact aluminum body as its predecessors. Three base configurations are available starting at $599, which gets you a 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 2GB of DDR3 1333MHz RAM, and a 500GB 5400RPM HDD. For $799, that's upgraded to a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5, 4GB of RAM, and an AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics chip. A third, server-oriented system wields a 2GHz quad-core i7 and dual 500GB 7200RPM HDDs for $999.
If desired, the two non-server configurations can be equipped with a 2.7GHz Core i7, 8GB of RAM, a 750GB HDD or 256GB SSD (or both), which pushes the fee north of $1,800. All systems come with a Thunderbolt port, four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, audio jacks, as well as a built-in power supply and speaker system. Mac OS X Lion is preinstalled on the dual-core models, while the quad-core server build gets Lion Server.