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Apple Unveils New MacBook Air Models with M3 Chip

Apple's latest move in the laptop market shakes things up as it unveils two new MacBook Air models featuring the highly anticipated M3 chip


Apple has recently expanded its MacBook Air lineup with the introduction of two new models equipped with the M3 chip, marking a significant moment for the tech giant and its consumers. The unveiling of these models, available in both 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, comes as a notable development, especially since the M3 chip’s debut last year was accompanied by new MacBook Pros but not the more budget-friendly MacBook Airs, leaving a gap in the product range that has now been filled.


This unexpected announcement has set the stage for pre-orders, offering the MacBook Air 13-inch starting at $1,099 / £1,099 and the MacBook Air 15-inch at $1,299 / £1,299. Interested buyers have the opportunity to secure their devices ahead of their official availability in stores starting Friday, March 8. This move by Apple, though surprising to some, was anticipated by others due to circulating rumors suggesting the imminent release of new MacBook models, with the MacBook Air variants being prime candidates for an update.

The introduction of these M3 models also signifies the end of the road for some of Apple’s previous offerings. Notably, the original M1 MacBook Air, a model that once led the pack in many “best laptops” lists for its outstanding balance of performance and affordability, will no longer be available for purchase from Apple. However, Apple is not leaving budget-conscious consumers without options. The MacBook Air 13-inch with the M2 chip will continue to be available, now at a reduced price of $999 / £999, representing the most affordable entry into the MacBook ecosystem. The fate of the 15-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip seems sealed, as it appears to have been discontinued, an interesting decision given its relatively recent launch mid-last year.

Moreover, the future of the 13-inch MacBook Pro seems uncertain. Apple has remained silent on plans for an M3 upgrade or a redesign for this model, which was notably the last to feature a Touch Bar, suggesting it may be phased out as the company’s lineup evolves.

The M3 chip is poised to deliver substantial performance enhancements, with Apple claiming up to a 60% speed increase over the M1 MacBook Air and a staggering 13-fold improvement over the Intel-based models. Such advancements are not just numbers but promise significant real-world benefits. Apple has highlighted that games like No Man’s Sky could see up to 60% faster performance, and video editing in Final Cut Pro might also benefit from similar speed improvements. These improvements suggest that the new MacBook Air models are not only more efficient but could potentially offer a viable gaming experience and enhanced video editing capabilities, a notable leap from their predecessors.

Apple has also compared the new MacBook Air M3’s performance favorably against Windows laptops equipped with Intel Core i7 processors, suggesting twice the speed, 50% faster web browsing, and up to 40% longer battery life. These are bold claims that will undoubtedly be scrutinized in upcoming reviews.

Despite these under-the-hood improvements, Apple has opted not to alter the external design of the new MacBook Air models. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch versions retain the appearance introduced with the M2 models. This decision reflects a confidence in the existing design, which was well-received for its modern aesthetics and functionality. Given the significant redesign just over a year ago, maintaining a consistent look while focusing on internal upgrades seems a strategic choice, especially if it means delivering significant performance enhancements to users.

In this latest move, Apple demonstrates its commitment to innovation and performance enhancement while balancing the need for affordability and design consistency. The introduction of the M3 MacBook Air models enriches Apple’s product lineup, offering users a range of options to suit different needs and preferences. As these devices make their way into the hands of consumers and reviewers alike, the true impact of the M3 chip’s capabilities will become more apparent, potentially setting new standards for what users can expect from lightweight, powerful, and versatile laptops.

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