Apple’s new MacBook Air is a 2.8 pound laptop that measures 0.63 inches at its thickest point, and which packs a 13.3 inch, 2560 x 1600 pixel IPS display, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and a 49.9 Wh battery for up to 12 hours of run time on a charge.
But there are three things that make the 2020 MacBook Air stand out from its predecessors:
- 10th-gen Intel Ice Lake-Y processors with Iris Plus graphics
- 2X as much storage on entry-level configurations
- A keyboard that shouldn’t stink
The new MacBook Air is available from Apple.com for $999 and up.
In terms of performance, the move from an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 Amber Lake processor with Intel UHD 617 graphics and a 7 watt TDP to 10th-gen Ice Lake-Y chips with Iris Plus graphics and 9 watt TDPs should bring up to an 80-percent boost in performance.
But not all Ice Lake-Y chips are created equal.
What you get for $999 is a laptop with a Core i3-1000G4 (or similar) dual-core processor and Iris Plus graphics, 8GB of LPDDR4X 3733 MHz RAM, and a 256GB solid state drive.
Update: It looks like the new MacBook Air will be powered by previously unannounced Core i3-1000NG4/Core i5-1030NG7 and Core i7-1060NG7 chips.
You’ll have to pay $1299 or more if you want a model with a quad-core Intel Core i5 Ice Lake-Y series processor, although you’ll also get at least 512GB of storage if you go that route.
Apple says the new MacBook Air is also configurable with up to a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 2TB of solid state storage. A fully-decked-out Core i7/16GB/2TB model will set you back $2249.
One thing that should be improved on all models is the keyboard — Apple says the 2020 MacBook Pro features a new “Magic Keyboard” with improved scissor switches featuring 1mm of key travel. It’s basically the same keyboard used on the 16-inch MacBook Pro that launched late last year rather than the much-maligned “butterfly” keyboard the company had been using in laptops until recently.
Other features include an Apple T2 scurity chip, a pressure-sensitive “Force Touch” trackpad, a 3-mic array for FaceTime calls or other video activities, and Thunderbolt 3 ports. Apple says the 2020 MacBook Air is the first in the series to support up to a 6K external display.