Apple held a keynote today where they unveiled their first custom-built processor for the Mac called the M1. Coinciding with the announcement was the unveiling of a new MacBook Air that ships with the chip. It costs the same $999 as the previous Intel model and will replace the previous-gen Air in Apple’s lineup. That means from this moment on, you can’t buy a new Intel-based MacBook Air directly from Apple.
The MacBook Air, for the most part, remains the same as before. You still get a 13.3-inch 2560×1600 Retina display, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 2TB of SSD storage, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a headphone jack, a Touch ID sensor, and a 720p webcam. You also get a thin-and-light design that’s available in three colors.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts. As I stated, it’s powered by the M1 chip, and that lets Apple achieve things it couldn’t previously with the Intel-based MacBook Air. For one, the machine is completely fan-less, something the 2015 12-inch MacBook was famous for. Except this time, you likely won’t get any major throttling since Apple controls every aspect of the processor.
Battery life is also way longer now. Instead of topping off at 12 hours of video playback, Apple says the machine now maxes out on 18 hours of video playback. That likely means you can get through a full day on a single charge with no issues. It still charges over USB-C and, yes, you get a power adapter in the box. It’s only 30 watts, though.
And then there’s all the added benefits of the M1 itself. You get up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 5x faster graphics, 9x faster machine learning-based features, up to 2x faster SSD performance, improved security, and support for the P3 color gamut.
Overall, the new MacBook Air seems like a really solid device to add to your backpack. With the M1, it definitely feels more like something you’d grab to go with you anywhere, almost like an iPad. Of course, reviews will tell us much more, but early impressions seem to be positive amongst the tech community.
Apple starts the MacBook Air at $999 and is collecting orders beginning today. It’ll start shipping November 17th. It’s available in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold.
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