PhotoHotels would like for you to deal directly with them instead of using third-party sites. So would airlines. And so, it turns out, would Apple, which isn't very surprising when you think about it.

Hoping to entice more customers to come directly to the Apple Online Store for iPhones, iPads, iMacs, MacBooks and so forth, Apple says is cutting in half the time it will take to process refunds who want to return their purchase.

That would mean customers could expect their refunds in less than a week, compared to 10 days previously.

StellaService, a retail-intelligence firm, says it first noted the speed-up in November but thought it might be related to the expected holiday crush.

Fresh Air

Apple's not expecting many returns of the updated MacBook Air, though, thanks to its faster processors and lower prices, which Apple says are "making the perfect everyday notebook an even better value."

Now starting at $899, MacBook Air features powerful processors, fast flash storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, up to 12 hours of battery life and Apple’s iLife and iWork apps.

“With MacBook Air starting at $899, there’s no reason to settle for anything less than a Mac,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Macs have never been more popular, and today we’ve boosted the performance and lowered the price of MacBook Air so even more people can experience the perfect everyday notebook.”

Power-efficient fourth generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors work in conjunction with OS X Mavericks to give the 13-inch MacBook Air up to 12 hours of battery life and the 11-inch MacBook Air up to 9 hours of battery life, according to Apple.

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