Apple gives MacBook Air a speed bump, cheaper price tag
Apple has today announced an upgrade to the MacBook Air, which was first introduced in 2008. The 2020 models come with a new Magic Keyboard, more storage, and faster performance.
"From students and consumers buying their first computer to customers looking to upgrade, everyone loves the Mac, and they especially love MacBook Air," said Apple's Tom Boger. "Today we’re giving it a huge update, with two times faster performance, the new Magic Keyboard, double the storage, a new lower price of US$999 and an even lower price of $899 for education. With its stunning, thin and light design, brilliant Retina display, all-day battery life and the power and ease-of-use of macOS, MacBook Air is the world’s best consumer notebook."
The new MacBook Air can be had with a 1.2 GHz Intel Core i7 processor with quad cores and Turbo Boost up to 3.8 GHz, 2 TB of PCIe SSD storage and 16 GB of LPDDR4X RAM. But for that starting price of $999/$899 you're looking at a configuration of 1.1 GHz Core i3 processor with dual cores, 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM.
All models come with Intel Iris Plus graphics for up to 80 percent faster performance, with support for external graphics processors over Thunderbolt 3. There's also support for one external display at up to 6K resolution at 60 Hz, or two 4K monitors at 60 Hz.
The new Air benefits from a recycled aluminum design, has dimensions of 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.16-0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 0.41-1.61 cm), and tips the scales at 2.8 lb (1.29 kg). It features a 13-inch Retina display with 2,560 x 1,600 native resolution (that's 227 pixels-per-inch) at a 16:10 aspect, and a backlit Magic Keyboard with up to 1 mm of key travel from the redesigned scissor mechanism. And the roomy Force Touch trackpad in front supports multi-touch gestures.
A 49.9-Wh lithium-polymer battery should be good for up to 11 hours of surfing the internet, or up to 12 hours watching movies via the Apple TV app. Standby time is given as up to 30 days. There's Touch ID for login ease and security validation during online transactions, Bluetooth 5.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi are cooked in, and stereo speakers promise a wide throw, with support for Dolby/Atmos playback.
The Air runs macOS Catalina, the latest flavor of Apple's desktop operating system, and comes with the company's T2 Security Chip onboard, which verifies the health of software during the boot process, while also providing on-the-fly data encryption for everything stored on the drive. Elsewhere, the combination of a 720p FaceTime camera and three beamforming microphones should help video conferences tick along smoothly, and there's a 3.5-mm headphone jack for cabled cans.
As mentioned above, the 2020 MacBook Air starts at $999 for regular consumers and $899 for those in education. Your color options are gold, silver or gray.
Product page: MacBook Air