The MacBook Air Gets an M3 Upgrade

Published on March 6, 2024

Apple has unveiled a fresh iteration of the MacBook Air featuring an upgraded chip. The revamped laptop maintains the familiar design of Apple’s smallest and most economical computer while integrating the M3 chip, which debuted late last year.

The new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air soars with the powerful M3 chip, featuring a super-portable design, power-efficient performance, and all-day battery life. (Image: Apple)

Enhancements to the new MacBook Air include improved WiFi, advanced microphone capabilities for clearer voice transmission during calls, and the ability to support two displays simultaneously when the lid is closed, a departure from the previous single display setup.

Remaining consistent are the starting price of $1,099 and the availability of four color options, although the “midnight” variant now boasts a specialized coating to reduce fingerprint smudges. Like its predecessor, the MacBook Air will be offered in both 13- and 15-inch display sizes.

Some regions will witness a reduction in price. In the UK, the latest laptop will start at £1,099, compared to £1,149 for the preceding model.

The new MacBook Air with the M3 chip is strikingly thin and fast, so users can work, play, or create anywhere. (Image: Apple)

Apple asserts that the new laptop delivers up to 60 percent faster performance than its predecessor equipped with the M1 chip. Notably, Apple chose to benchmark the MacBook Air’s performance against the M1 chip from two generations ago, rather than the more recent M2, presumably assuming that a larger portion of consumers will be transitioning from older models.

However, Apple will continue to offer an M2 variant of the MacBook Air with a 13-inch display, priced at $999 or £999.

The introduction of the lower-priced model resulted in the discontinuation of the M1 MacBook Air, which had been available until now. Initially launched in 2020, the M1 MacBook Air retained the older design unveiled in 2018.

The power-efficient M3 chip brings more speed to everything users do, including working on demanding tasks like photo and video editing. (Image: Apple)

In its announcement, Apple positions the new MacBook Air as the “world’s best consumer laptop for AI,” highlighting the dedicated hardware integrated into the new chip. Following a sluggish start in the realm of artificial intelligence, Apple has outlined plans for various enhancements to its operating systems, slated to roll out starting this summer.

The launch of the new MacBook Air may signal the onset of a series of upcoming announcements. Speculation suggests that Apple has been gearing up for a spring launch event, although recent reports hint at product reveals through website updates instead.

Rumors also hint at the possibility of updated iPads being part of this wave of launches. Apple refrained from updating any of its iPads last year and is anticipated to introduce significant upgrades early this year.

Games get even better on MacBook Air with M3, delivering incredible performance, breathtaking graphics, and features like Game Mode in macOS Sonoma. (Image: Apple)

Interestingly, the unveiling of the new computer coincided with the European Union’s announcement of a $2 billion fine imposed on Apple. The EU accused Apple of “abusing” its dominance in the iPhone market to stifle competition from rival streaming services such as Spotify.

Notable features

1. Performance Improvements with the M3 Chip Upgrade

  • The M3 chip upgrade brings significant performance enhancements to the MacBook Air, enabling smoother multitasking, faster rendering of graphics-intensive tasks, and improved overall efficiency.
  • Users can expect a boost in productivity and seamless execution of demanding applications with the enhanced processing power delivered by the M3 chip.

2. Enhanced Connectivity and Audio Features

  • Alongside the M3 chip upgrade, the new MacBook Air offers improved WiFi capabilities, ensuring faster and more reliable wireless connectivity for users.
  • The introduction of new microphone features enhances the audio experience during calls, delivering clearer voice transmission and reducing background noise for improved communication.

3. Expanded Display Capabilities

  • Noteworthy among the upgrades is the ability of the new MacBook Air to support dual displays even when the lid is closed, providing users with greater flexibility in their workflow and multitasking capabilities.
  • This expanded display functionality opens up possibilities for enhanced productivity and creativity, allowing users to connect multiple monitors for a more immersive computing experience.

4. Pricing and Availability Adjustments

  • While maintaining a starting price of $1,099, Apple has made pricing adjustments in some regions, offering the new MacBook Air at reduced prices to make it more accessible to a wider audience.
  • The availability of the MacBook Air in four color options remains consistent, with the addition of a specialized coating for the “midnight” variant to minimize fingerprint smudges.

5. Future Prospects and Industry Impact

  • Apple’s positioning of the new MacBook Air as the “world’s best consumer laptop for AI” underscores the company’s commitment to innovation and advancing the capabilities of its devices in line with emerging technologies.
  • The launch of the new MacBook Air amid the backdrop of the European Union’s fine on Apple reflects the challenges and regulatory scrutiny facing tech giants as they navigate issues related to market dominance and competition in the digital ecosystem.

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