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Apple’s strategy for offering budget devices is usually to keep selling older hardware at discounted prices after launching new hardware. So this month, when the company launched the new MacBook Air with an M3 processor for $1099 and up, Apple also lowered the starting price for models with M2 chips to $999.

But at the same time Apple discontinued the previous-gen MacBook Air with M1. Now it’s back… sort of. Walmart has announced it’s selling the MacBook Air with M1 for $699.

That’s a pretty good price for Apple’s 13.3 inch thin and light laptop with a 2560 x 1600 pixel display, an 8-core M1 processor with 7-core graphics and a 16-core neural engine.

It may not be the most powerful Mac that money can buy, but it’s officially one of the cheapest Macs with an Apple Silicon processor available. The only cheaper option you can find right now is a Mac Mini with an M2 chip, which starts at $599 but doesn’t include a keyboard, display, or battery.

One thing to keep in mind though, is that Walmart is only selling the entry-level version of this laptop, which means you’re stuck with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Both are soldered to the mainboard and aren’t designed to be user upgradeable (That hasn’t stopped some folks from doing it anyway, but it’s not exactly easy).

The MacBook Air with M1 first launched in 2020, and it’s a 2.8 pound fanless laptop that measures 12″ x 8.4″ x 0.6″ and features a 49.9 Wh battery, a 30W USB-C power adapter, two USB4/Thunderbolt 3 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a backlit keyboard with a Force Touch trackpad and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

The laptop supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 and features a 720p webcam. I wish those specs were starting to feel dated in 2020, but they’re still not bad for a laptop in this price range.

In a press release, Walmart notes that the MacBook Air with M1 is the first Mac that the store has sold directly to customers. It’s currently available from the Walmart website, and will be available in select brick and mortar stores soon.

While Apple no longer sells new MacBook Air models with M1 chips, you can still buy refurbished models from the company. Apple sells a refurbished model for $759. But I’m not sure why you’d want to do that now that you can buy a new one from Walmart for $60 less.

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  1. @Some Guy I can definitely appreciate not wanting to be dependent on Asahi specifically – in spite of all the seriously great work they’ve done (and their team includes highly respected members of the wider Linux community, who also contribute to other projects) – but then there are such things as virtual machines, Podman etc. and as a value proposition, it does seem pretty difficult to beat?

  2. @Mac Trash, do you have a recommendation for an equally-specced but much cheaper laptop on which to run Linux?

    1. I presume the question is rhetorical, of course since there isn’t anything else with Apple Silicon you can’t get “equally specced”. But the closest contender I know of is a Thinkpad x13s, which is $662 on newegg and has strangely good linux support for a windows on ARM laptop and is about 78% of an M1 in benchmarks.
      One kind of has to pick between an exchange of battery life, fan noise, benchmark scores, or price, to get a wider range of distros to pick from, and the availability of 360 degree hinges and other hardware features you may or may not care about.

      But I do think that not wanting to be dependent on Asashi specifically isn’t an invalid concern.

  3. They would have to pay me to want to use their devices. I don’t respect them because they don’t respect my privacy. They monetize everything and want to profit from everything. MS, Apple, Alphabet, TikTok – same waste.

  4. If you buy one of these, in just a few months you will own a piece of 5 year old technology.

  5. Frankly, this is awesome. M1 is still really good performance/efficiency chip and at $699, this is a good choice if you are fine with the MacOS eco-system.

    1. Incidentally, these specs would be pretty decent on an iPad. But you can’t get one, not at this price. At least not in most places, including where I live.