MacBook Air Overview Updated March 26, 2021

MacBook Air

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517 'MacBook Air' stories

October 2010 - September 2021

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is “the default Mac” – the one you should buy if you’re not sure which model you need.

History

The MacBook Air was launched in 2008 as a premium 13-inch model, billed as the world’s thinnest laptop. It was dramatically revealed by Steve Jobs sliding it out of an office envelope.

In 2010, it was joined by an 11-inch model. By 2011, that had become the entry-level MacBook, replacing the plain MacBook in the lineup. Its combination of affordability, portability, cuteness, and suitability for most people’s computer usage saw it become a hugely popular machine with everyone from students to senior business execs.

The 11-inch MacBook Air was discontinued in 2016, leaving only the 13-inch models.

In 2018, we saw the first major update to the then-elderly design. This gave the machine a Retina display, Touch ID, USB-C ports along with a design refresh with smaller bezels, a slimmer form factor, and lighter weight.

In 2020, the MacBook Air was one of the first three machines to make the switch from Intel processors to Apple Silicon in the form of the M1 chip.

MacBook Air Specs

The 2020 MacBook Air is powered by an 8-core Apple M1 chip, comprising four performance cores and four efficiency cores. It’s available in two almost-identical versions, one with an 8-core GPU, the other with a (chip-binned) 7-core one.

The machine is available with either 8GB or 16GB of unified memory. SSD storage options are 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB.

The machine supports 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 as well as 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. It can drive one external monitor of up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.

The MacBook Air has two USB-C ports that support USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB 4, and Thunderbolt 3.

Battery life is described as up to 15 hours of web browsing or 18 hours of movie viewing, and reviews suggest that real-life usage approaches the claimed life.

Pricing

MacBook Air (2020) pricing starts at $999 for the 7-core GPU with 8GB unified memory and 256GB SSD. The 8-core GPU model comes with the same 8GB unified memory, but a 512GB SSD, at $1,249.

The machine can be specced up as far as 16GB unified memory and 2TB SSD for $2,049.

Lower prices may be available from Apple’s official Amazon store.

MacBook Air Review

In our video review of the machine, we described it as game-changing.

There is very little negative to say about these MacBooks. Apple has taken a design like the MacBook Air, which it more or less perfected with the early 2020 refresh, and made it 10 times better. This is no hyperbole. These M1-powered MacBooks are such a huge improvement in performance and battery life with virtually no negative baggage. I can’t see myself ever wanting to go back to an Intel-based laptop […]

If I was using an Intel-based MacBook Air, I wouldn’t even consider using a machine with such little memory to handle my day-to-day creative workflow, but Apple’s implementation of unified memory cannot be compared 1:1 with typical RAM configurations.

Basic day-to-day usage is relatively unaffected by the amount of RAM, or lack thereof. The MacBook Air is competent with only 8GB of RAM even when running lots of apps simultaneously, even with a dozen Safari windows, and even when swapping out to the SSD […]

I can attest to the fact that these MacBooks have incredibly long battery life, so much so that it was honestly hard to believe initially. I was able to use my MacBook Air for a full workday, writing, browsing the web, chatting on zoom, and editing video and photos, and the machine was only at 50% by the end of the day. I woke up the next day, and did several hours of zoom video calls and web browsing, and the machine finally gave me a warning to plug in when it reached 10%

Deals

Over at 9to5Toys, you can find the best deals on the MacBook Air and other Apple products. Download the 9to5Toys iPhone app to receive push notifications for new deals as well.

MacBook Air Stories September 2

Looking to add more screen real estate to your Mac that’s easy to use at home, work, or on the go? Whether you want to make use of your iPad or would rather pick up a dedicated portable monitor, read along for a look at the best portable displays for MacBooks.

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MacBook Air Stories September 1

Apple’s M1 MacBooks bring some major performance gains and at first glance, the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro seem quite similar. They have the same CPU/GPU, same ports, same FaceTime camera, and more. However, let’s take a closer look at the M1 MacBook Air vs Pro to see what differentiates the two to help you decide which to buy.

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MacBook Air Stories August 10

Following up after a report from late July, Ming-Chi Kuo is out today with a new analyst note on the next-gen MacBook Air. While many of the details remain the same from Kuo’s previous predictions, the note mentions the 2022 MacBook Air with mini-LED will come in multiple colors with an updated form factor that will match the design of the upcoming 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

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MacBook Air Stories July 30

There have been multiple reports of M1 MacBook screen cracks occurring during normal usage of the machines, with both the M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro affected.

In some cases, Apple has repaired or replaced the machines free of charge, while most other users have been charged …

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MacBook Air Stories July 22

As rumors about the next-generation of Apple Silicon Macs have been floating around the web, we’ve been able to get a better idea of what Apple is working on for the MacBook lineup. In an investor note from Ming-Chi Kuo seen by 9to5Mac, the reliable analyst says that a new MacBook Air is expected to be introduced in mid-2022 with a 13.3-inch Mini-LED display.

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MacBook Air Stories July 11

Apple’s new line of M1 Macs, but as we approach one year since these first computers were unveiled, what else are you looking forward to the most in your next MacBook? Head below to let us know in a poll…

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MacBook Air Stories July 9

Every day, more rumors suggest that Apple will indeed introduce new, redesigned MacBook Pro models later this year. In a new research note obtained by 9to5Mac, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reinforces that new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros will enter mass production in the third quarter of 2021.

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MacBook Air Stories July 6

While rumors expect a new MacBook Pro for later this year, a leaker now says we can also expect a new MacBook Air that will launch in the first half of 2022 in different colors. This comes after Bloomberg previously reported on Apple’s plans to introduce its M1 successor with an updated MacBook Air.

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MacBook Air Stories June 2

The Epic v. Apple trial has now officially been adjourned, but it brought several documents that revealed sensitive information about both companies. Interestingly, in one of the emails Steve Jobs sent back in 2007, it is confirmed that Apple was working on a 15-inch MacBook Air (which was never officially released), plus some more discussions about the App Store.

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MacBook Air Stories May 18

With the success of the 2020 M1 MacBook Air, Apple is readying itself to launch a revamped MacBook Air with an even faster chip. According to Bloomberg, a redesigned MacBook Pro is expected to debut as soon as early this summer “followed by a revamped MacBook Air.”

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MacBook Air Stories May 10

Last week, a rumor suggested that a future MacBook Air could be available in an array of colors similar to the new M1 iMac. Now, more details about the next MacBook Air’s design have potentially emerged, and they hint at a handful of notable changes.

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MacBook Air Stories May 7

After several rumors, Apple finally introduced last month a completely redesigned new iMac that is not only thinner but also comes in multiple colors reminiscent of those of the original iMac G3. And for those who love colors, a new rumor claims that Apple is working on a new MacBook expected to be available in multiple colors, just like the new 2021 iMac.

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MacBook Air Stories April 9

The Brydge MacBook Vertical Dock is the latest incarnation of what used to be Henge Docks. Brydge acquired the company back in 2019 and has continued to develop new models since then.

The concept of a laptop dock has been around for decades now. The basic idea is that you use the laptop as a standalone machine when mobile, then snap it into a dock when you return to your desk, to effectively turn it into a desktop computer. There are, though, two different takes on the idea …

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MacBook Air Stories March 30

An Apple patent granted today describes a MacBook with a solid-state keyboard using an all-touch surface which can be reconfigured as the user desires.

A user working with numbers might opt for a large numeric keyboard, for example, while an artist might instead choose a large area for drawing …

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MacBook Air Stories March 23

Apple has long been on a mission to make MacBooks ever thinner, and a new patent granted today describes how a retractable keyboard could help.

Earlier patents suggest that Apple’s long-term goal is a completely solid-state keyboard, which uses electrostatic charges to allow users to “feel” keys so that touch-typing remains possible, and haptic motors to simulate key presses for the feel of a physical keyboard …

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MacBook Air Stories February 25

Apple has released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2. to the public today with a fix for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air users. Apple says the update “prevents” certain models from “incurring damage” when they are connected to third-party USB-C hubs and docks.

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MacBook Air Stories February 23

One day after it started selling the refurbished M1 MacBook Pro, Apple has also now started selling the M1 MacBook Air via its Certified Refurbished store. The M1 MacBook Air starts at $849 in refurbished condition, a savings of $150.

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MacBook Air Stories February 3

CalDigit’s new USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ‘Element Hub’ adds 7 ports to your MacBook

CalDigit is out today with an interesting new compact USB 4/Thunderbolt 4/USB-C dock. The Element Hub adds lots of I/O and bandwidth to connect your MacBook with new and legacy devices and 4K/8K displays.

MacBook Air Stories January 26

Apple already makes a titanium Apple Watch, but a patent granted today could pave the way for titanium MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones too.

The patent describes how Apple could overcome the challenge of giving titanium an aesthetically pleasing finish, and follows a patent granted last month regarding a method of making a true matte black MacBook

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MacBook Air Stories December 23, 2020

On the whole, Apple’s M1 MacBooks and Mac mini have been a hit with big improvements across the board. However, the improvements never end and Apple has been asking early M1 MacBook customers a list of questions in a new survey including what they would change about the new generation of computers. How about you, what would like to see with the next iteration of M1 MacBooks?

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MacBook Air Stories December 4, 2020

If you’ve ever wished Apple made matte black MacBooks, a new patent shows that the company is at least considering the idea.

Apple begins by explaining the likely reason it hasn’t yet done it: it’s really hard to get a true black, rather than a dark grey …

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MacBook Air Stories December 2, 2020

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new investor note today in which he focuses on Apple’s planned transition to mini LED display technology, as well as the possibility that Apple will release “2 or 3 new chargers in 2021.” Kuo reports today that the mini LED transition will happen faster than initially expected.

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MacBook Air Stories December 1, 2020

Has the transition from Intel to Apple silicon on the Mac surpassed all expectations? Watch our hands-on video as we discuss what makes Apple’s M1 MacBooks so special in our MacBook Air and MacBook Pro review.

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MacBook Air Stories November 23, 2020

Apple’s switch from Intel processors to Apple Silicon is the most significant change to the Mac lineup in many years, and yet the exterior design of M1 Macs has been left almost completely unchanged. A few function keys aside on the new MacBook Air, there is no clue that the new machines are radically different from the old ones.

Some believe this is a very deliberate move by the Cupertino company. I agree, but not for the reason that has mostly been suggested …

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