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MacBook Air

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In 2008 Steve Jobs introduced the first ultra-thin, lightweight MacBook Air by dramatically sliding it out of an inter-office envelope. The idea of a dramatically thin, lightweight, and fully functional laptop continues on.

MacBook Air

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


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.


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%


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.

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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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Apple patent shows how retractable keyboard could make MacBooks thinner

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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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M1 MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro, which should you buy?

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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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After Apple Watch, patent describes titanium MacBook, iPhone, and iPad

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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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Apple asks for M1 MacBook feedback, what would you change? [Poll]

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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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Comment: Why has Apple left the exterior design of M1 Macs unchanged?

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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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Education-only 128GB M1 MacBook Air (MGN83LL/A) available for $799

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Apple has quietly included a 128GB M1 MacBook Air in the Apple Store for Education, priced at $799. This is $100 cheaper than the education deal on the standard entry-level 256GB model. It is not, however, available in the higher education store aimed at students.

Apple offers discounted prices to educational institutions like schools and colleges, but sometimes also adds in lower-specced models at even cheaper prices …

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Opinion: Is the base MacBook Air M1/8GB powerful enough for you?

Last year I picked up a very expensive computer — a top of the line 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro upgraded to an i9, 1TB of storage, and 16GB of RAM. But I just couldn’t wait to see how these M1 chips actually perform, so I decided to pick up the base $999 MacBook Air to see how it would hold up side-by-side with my 16-inch behemoth. The results are incredible.

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Comment: The new MacBook Air is all the Mac most people need

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Yesterday’s Apple event was the latest in a series of much snappier, more focused, pre-recorded presentations. The new MacBook Air was the undisputed star of the show. If it lives up to the promises Apple made – and there is every reason to believe that it will – it’s all the Mac most people will need.

That’s long been true of the MacBook Air through the generations, of course. When the average Mac user does nothing more demanding than email, web-browsing, and word-processing, they don’t need much of a machine to do it. But the new MacBook Air takes us into whole new territory …

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Why is there a comical difference in the new MacBook Air specs?

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A number of people commented on what appears to be a comical difference in the new MacBook Air specs, between the $999 base model and the $1249 version.

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Apple’s M1 chip fastest laptop CPU in the world, says independent analysis

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A detailed analysis by AnandTech says that Apple’s M1 chip can indeed credibly claim to be the fastest laptop CPU in the world. Apple made the claim during yesterday’s Mac event.

While the piece does level a couple of criticisms at Apple’s presentation, it says that a comparison of A-series and Intel chip trajectories tell a very clear story: Apple has long been on-track to overtake the PC chipmaker, and has now done so …

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Here are the huge battery life improvements with the Apple Silicon MacBook Air and Pro

As Apple launched its new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro powered by its M1 custom Apple Silicon, we learned about the big performance gains to expect. Beyond processor and graphics performance, Apple says battery performance is seeing massive improvements giving them the “longest battery life ever in a Mac.” Here’s what Apple is rating battery runtime for the new MacBook Air and Pro.

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