Apple announces new MacBook Airs with M3 chips

Apple just announced a refresh for the ever-popular MacBook Air series, just one month after launching the Vision Pro headset. The big takeaway here? The new MacBook Air is outfitted with the company’s proprietary M3 chipset. This chip was previously reserved for the more powerful MacBook Pro line and the latest iMac models, and it’s coming to new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air models.

The M3 chip is a significant improvement over its predecessor, with benchmark tests showing an approximate performance increase of 17 percent in single-core tasks and 21 percent in multi-core tasks. This carries over to GPU performance, with an improvement of around 15 percent when compared to the M2.

In other words, the line between the MacBook Air and the Pro continues to blur. Gone are the days when the Air was exclusively used for web surfing. (It is worth noting, however, that the new Air features the standard M3 chip, and not the M3 Pro or Max).

Beyond the new chip, this is still the MacBook Air. Apple didn’t reinvent the wheel here. It looks essentially the same as the 2022 model, with the same gorgeous 13.6-inch screen and surprisingly robust quad-speaker setup. We called the M2 version from two years ago “Apple’s near-perfect Mac” and an “ideal ultraportable.”

The new MBAs both come with a relatively humble 8 gigs of RAM — but these aren’t Apple’s power-user laptops. They… just have a very powerful chip. There should be new benefits, including, as Apple mentions, support for up to two external displays when the laptop is closed. There’s also Wi-Fi 6E for 2024’s family of Air laptops.

The 13-inch M3 MacBook Air is priced at $1,099, while the 15-inch model starts from $1,299. Apple also bids farewell to the M1 MacBook Air, while the M2 13-inch MacBook Air will stay on the books for $999.

Both new laptops are available to preorder today, with devices coming out Friday March 8.

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