MacBook Air

Introduced in 2008 and last redesigned in 2010, Apple’s MacBook Air ($899 and up from the Apple Store) started out as a significantly slimmer, lighter, and more expensive alternative to the 13″ MacBook and MacBook Pro. Currently available in 11.6″ (1366×768-pixel) and 13.3″ (1440×900-pixel) models, the MacBook Air is Apple’s most affordable laptop, featuring non-Retina screens, 9- to 12-hour battery life, and 128-512GB of flash storage. To reduce their size, they use low-power Intel Core i5 processors, two USB 3.0 ports and a Thunderbolt 2 port; only the 13.3″ model includes an SDXC card reader. They remain top choices for many students and casual computer users.

In March 2015, Apple refreshed the MacBook Air with slightly faster Intel Broadwell processors and superior Intel HD Graphics 6000 GPUs. The MacBook Air line currently includes 1.6GHz processors across the line with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.7GHz. All four models ship with 4GB of RAM standard, and built-to-order versions can go up to 8GB. 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4 wireless are standard on the Air, as is a 720p FaceTime HD camera.

Although Apple introduced a thinner 12″ Retina MacBook in March 2015 (with an April 2015 release date), the new model lacks almost all of the MacBook Air’s ports, has a lower-resolution FaceTime camera, and reduces the horsepower significantly – all at a higher price. Unless you really want the higher-resolution screen, which is also available on the Retina MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air is a better choice.

Read our full coverage for details.

All MacBook Air Generations

Release Date Age
March 10, 2015 11 months ago

MacBook Air January 22

AAPL: 101.42

5.12
Stock Chart

MacBook Air January 20

AAPL: 96.79

0.13
Stock Chart

Siri percolated throughout all of Apple’s platforms in 2015. It started with iPhone in 2011, iPad in 2012, debuted on Apple Watch in early 2015 and Apple TV with the new model a few months ago. It’s quickly becoming a premier feature on these platforms, with live-as-you-speak transcription and radically new features like ‘Remind me about this’ contextual tasks when inside apps. Except for one platform of course. Mac OS X has been ignored and left abandoned with regards to true voice searching and Siri. It’s 2016, and I want Apple to bring Siri to the Mac.

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MacBook Air December 28, 2015

AAPL: 106.82

-1.21
Stock Chart

Ever since I upgraded from an 11″ MacBook Air to a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, I’ve been hunting for the perfect hybrid computer and camera bag — a compact backpack that could hold my laptop, DSLR, lenses, and accessories at the same time. Six months ago, I covered several MacBook/camera bags from Incase, including the DSLR Sling Pack I’ve loved for years, and larger “Pro” options for bigger laptops. Each hybrid bag makes different compromises: for my needs, the Sling Pack’s too small, and the Pro bags are too large. But users of 11″ MacBooks might find the Sling Pack “just right.”

Seeing potential in a new alternative, I jumped at the opportunity to test Booq’s upcoming Slimpack ($195), a MacBook-sized evolution of its earlier iPad/DSLR backpack $145 Python Slimpack. Booq makes excellent bags, but apart from offering a multipurpose camera/headphone compartment in Boa Flow, it hasn’t taken a deep dive into the camera-laptop hybrid category. While the new Slimpack’s laptop compartment is just a hint too small for the 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad Pro I’m currently using, it’s right-sized for 12″ or smaller MacBooks, as well as 10″ or smaller tablets, any of which can be paired with a full-sized DSLR, three or four lenses, and accessories. Bundled with a rain shield and Booq’s standard Terralinq loss recovery protection system, it’s a very nice bag, and one I would certainly use if I switch to a 12″ MacBook next year…

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9to5toys 

MacBook Air November 30, 2015

AAPL: 118.30

0.49
Stock Chart

2015 isn’t over yet but the rumor mill is now churning for Apple’s 2016 product pipeline. According to a somewhat-sketchy report from Economic Daily News, the MacBook Air will be getting a major upgrade in mid 2016. The new design will be thinner and lighter with substantial internet component changes, as per the report. In terms of rough timeframe, the product could be announced at WWDC 2016, around June. The MacBook Air has not seen a significant hardware change since 2010, so a major update is certainly due.

The fate of the MacBook Air has been in question for some time, with the early 2015 Retina MacBook seemingly taking center stage in Apple’s thin and light laptop range, albeit priced slightly higher than the respective Air. Perhaps most interestingly in the Economic Daily News story is that Apple is considering a ’13 inch and 15 inch MacBook Air’ bringing the Air into the 15 inch screen size form factor for the first time.

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MacBook Air October 19, 2015

AAPL: 111.73

0.69
Stock Chart

Earlier in the year, a small-but-not-insignificant number of Apple customers complained about screen issues with their new Retina MacBooks and Retina MacBook Pros, specifically cases where the anti-reflective display coating leaves marks and stains on the screen, ranging from small corner blobs to large patches.

Several months later, Apple seems to have acknowledged the issue and launched a Quality Program to replace affected users’  hardware. The Staingate Facebook page now includes many reports of people successfully sending their MacBooks in for repair at Apple Stores. The existence of the program was first reported by MacRumors.

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MacBook Air October 15, 2015

AAPL: 111.86

1.65
Stock Chart

Following the corresponding update to Pixelmator for iOS 9, the company has released the latest version of Pixelmator for the Mac ($29.99) with full support for El Capitan. This includes compatibility with changes to the OS as well as an overhaul in the Pixelmator user interface to feature San Fransisco, Apple’s new system font. The update, version 3.4, also includes official full-screen Split View support on El Capitan, so users can dock Pixelmator next to any other app on the system filling the display.

Perhaps most interestingly, the app now includes a Photos.app editing extension …

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