Apple to host "Back to Mac" event this Wednesday; New MacBook Air models on the horizon

This Wednesday Apple will hold a special "Back to Mac" media event where OS X will take center stage; New MacBook Airs are also rumored to be on the agenda

With so much attention devoted to the iPhone and the iPad, it's sometimes easy to think that Apple has seemingly forgotten about the Mac. Indeed, it's not uncommon to hear second-hand stories about how talented engineers are often pulled off of OS X development in the weeks, and perhaps even months, preceding a big iOS release.

All that said, and despite an iOS centric WWDC event this past Summer, Apple has not forgotten about OS X. A few days ago, Apple sent out invitations to a number of outlets inviting them to a special media event scheduled for this Wednesday, October 20. As you can tell from the invitation above, the Mac will be at the forefront of what will probably be a Steve Jobs presentation. And with Snow Leopard now a little bit more than a year old, it would seem that the next iteration of OS X will be called Lion (note the photo above).

So what can we expect from this short notice event? Well, rumor has it that Apple has plans to unveil an 11.6-inch MacBook Air to complement the current 13.3-inch model. AppleInsider reports that the new MacBook Air models will discard existing hard-disk drive options and will instead come with "something described as an “SSD Card” that lacks a traditional drive enclosure and more closely resembles a stick of RAM, yet is not easily user-replaceable."

Earlier today, Cult of Mac posted more alleged details about the next-gen MacBook Air which include the following.

- A 50% larger battery capable of delivering 8-10 hours of battery life.

- A thinner and lighter design

- Two USB ports

- An SD card slot

- Single button multi-touch trackpad

- Base model will come with 3GB of RAM

- NVidia GeForce 320M graphics 

Lastly, and in terms of pricing, Cult of Mac writes that Apple will agressively price the 11.6-inch MacBook Air at $999 while the 13-inch model may drop down in price from $1,500 to $1,100. $999 seems awfully cheap for the Air, but I suppose we'll all find out soon enough.

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