Here it is! After years of rumors, we finally have the first Mac featuring Apple’s own processor. It’s a 13-inch MacBook Air running the just-announced M1 chip. And while the laptop may look familiar on the outside, there are a number of upgrades and changes on the inside.
The display is a 13.3-inch Retina panel with a resolution of 256o-by-1600. It also features P3 wide color gamut, so you get a wider palette of colors, and True Tone technology, which atomically adjusts the white point of your display to the color temperature of your environment for a more natural viewing experience.
Here’s what Apple says about the M1 chip in this MacBook Air:
M1 has the fastest CPU we’ve ever made. With that kind of processing speed, MacBook Air can take on new extraordinarily intensive tasks like professional-quality editing and action-packed gaming. But the 8‑core CPU on M1 isn‘t just up to 3.5x faster than the previous generation2 — it balances high-performance cores with efficiency cores that can still crush everyday jobs while using just a tenth of the power.
Interestingly, there are no variations of the M1 chip at this time. So if you’re looking to buy the new Air, you won’t have to choose between 4-core or 6-core processors—every model has the same 8-core M1. You can, however, upgrade the memory to 16GB and the storage to 2TB.
Battery life for the new MacBook Air is extremely impressive. Apple says that it can get up to 18 hours on a single charge, which is roughly 6 hours more than the previous Air models. This is thanks to a combination of power-saving features in both the M1 chip and the latest version of macOS. It’s also worth noting here that the Air doesn’t have a single fan, so you get all this performance and power, with none of the noise.
Apple only identifies the Air’s front-facing camera as 720p FaceTime HD. I believe that’s technically an upgrade, but hitting just 720p is sure to upset users who are unhappy with their current Mac laptop cameras—particularly in this current work-from-home, Zoom-call climate. It’s worth noting, however, that there is some new behind-the scenes tech with the M1’s ISP (image signal processor) and face detection + Neural Engine that promises to help you look your best on video calls.
And it wasn’t worth its own section, but it’s worth noting here that the new Air also features a 3-microphone array that focuses on capturing your voice and not the noises around you. This should also benefit you in video calls, as well as your experience with Siri voice commands.
I’m sure everyone will be happy to know that the new MacBook Air features Apple’s updated keyboard with ‘scissor’ mechanisms, and not that terrible Butterfly-style keyboard that Apple essentially had to apologize for a few years back. It also has a large Force Touch trackpad and built-in Touch ID (found at the top right of the keyboard, not the trackpad sadly), so you can unlock your Mac, use Apple Pay to make purchases and open password-protected documents with a single touch. Other features include support for Wi-Fi 6 and two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports.
Apple has kept the new Air’s entry level price at just $999. As we mentioned above, there is no way to upgrade the processor, but you can pay another $200 for 16GB of RAM and even more to upgrade your storage to 2TB. They are available to order today on Apple’s website, and will begin arriving to customers and select Apple Store locations next week.