Apple has just released a new range of MacBook Air laptops and we've already grabbed the top of the range 13-inch model to put it through its paces. Before we start work on the full review of the new thin laptop from Apple, we thought it would be wrong not to share a stack of hands-on photos of the new model. 

Now the eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that there is very little change to the design of the laptop with most of the changes happening inside. 

There are changes though if you look closely. 

There is the new Thunderbolt socket, yep it looks identical to the DisplayPort socket, but the logo is new for starters and obviously the power potential is considerably greater. 

apple macbook air 13 inch mid 2011 hands on image 20

More importantly though, the new MacBook Air now has a backlit keyboard so you can see what you are doing in the dark. Yep it's bright. 

Finally for those that like to notice the little things the dashboard icon (a speedometer) has gone from the F4 key to be replaced by a Launchpad key instead complete with new logo. 

Inside and there's a lot more change. The processor is now either an 1.6Ghz Core i5, and 1.7Ghz Core i7, or as we've been playing with - a 1.8Ghz Core i7. Nice. 

We've been messing around for about 2 hours now and our first impressions are that it's fast, very fast. We're currently loading it up with a stack of Adobe packaged amongst other things to find out how it performs under stress rather than just using iPhoto or Safari and will let you know how we get on in our full review.

At a quick glance it looks like it is going to be hard to recommend the MacBook Pro in the future unless you really do nothing but heavy duty lifting.