Apple shows strength in its core

Company follows record quarter for Mac sales with new laptops, OS

Coming off its best quarter ever for sales of Mac computers, Apple on Wednesday unveiled two flashy new laptops and a new operating system.

Message: We're not letting up.

The two new MacAir laptops are priced between $999 and $1,599 and are available immediately. One of the laptops has the standard MacAir 13.3-inch diagonal screen, while its smaller counterpart has an 11.6-inch screen. They weigh 2.9 pounds and 2.3 pounds, respectively. Air, indeed.

The major wrinkle is the storage component. The new MacAirs use flash memory for storage, rather than hard drives, a first for Macs.

CEO Steve Jobs -- fresh off an earnings-call takedown of RIM and Google -- also announced that a new version of Apple's operating system will be available next summer. (Here's a streaming video of the event, for those who like to watch the Apple marketing juggernaut in action.)

Called Mac OS X "Lion," the new OS borrows features from the iPad and iPhone, such as FaceTime video chatting. It is Apple's eight major release of its operating system.

There has been so much buzz in recent years about Apple's wildly successful line of personal digital devices -- the iPod, the iTouch, the iPhone and, most recently, the iPad tablet -- that it's easy to forget the company started by selling computers. But Apple hasn't forgotten. Last quarter the company sold a record 3.89 million Macs, a 27 percent increase over 3.05 million in the year-ago quarter. For the full fiscal year, Apple sold 13.7 million Macs, also a new record.

Check out the chart below, which shows year-over-year Q4 sales of Macs:

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