5 Things To Know About Apple's New MacBook Air

The Air Is Back

Apple launched the era of highly portable laptop designs with the introduction of the MacBook Air in 2008. But in recent years, the notebook took a backseat and got only minor updates from Apple. And yet, the MacBook Air—Apple's most affordably priced notebook—remained popular, leading many to wonder why Apple seemed to have abandoned it. On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook signaled that he's gotten the message, saying that the MacBook Air is the company's "most beloved notebook ever"—and unveiling a sweeping refresh of the laptop during the company's October event in Brooklyn. Along with a redesigned chassis, the MacBook Air has gotten a new display and keyboard along with an array of performance upgrades.

What follows are five key things to know about the new MacBook Air on specs, price and availability.


Perhaps the leading sign of the neglect for the MacBook Air over the years was that Apple never added its vibrant Retina display onto the notebook. That's changing now—at last—with the new MacBook Air, which will feature a 13.3-inch Retina display. The new MacBook Air display also gets a big boost on resolution, to 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, up from 1,440 x 900 previously. In addition, Apple has significantly narrowed the bezel around the screen—by 50 percent—for a more modern notebook design.

Keyboard, Trackpad & Touch ID

In what may be a less well-received move, Apple has brought its third-gen "butterfly" keyboard to the new MacBook Air. Apple touted the new keyboard as "more precise and responsive" than on the previous MacBook Air— though the thin keys (and tendency for debris to get trapped underneath) has made the butterfly keyboard unpopular in the MacBook Pro and MacBook.

Meanwhile, Apple said the new MacBook Air will get a 20-percent larger trackpad. The notebook also adds Touch ID for fingerprint login along with the T2 security chip—which protects Touch ID while providing data encryption and secure boot on the new MacBook Air.

Portability & Ports

In keeping with the MacBook Air tradition, Apple said the redesigned notebook will offer major strides in portability. The reduction of the bezel and other adjustments to the chassis will give the new MacBook Air a total volume that is 17 percent lower than its predecessor. And, the new MacBook Air weighs just 2.75 pounds, down from 2.96 pounds previously, and measures 0.61 of an inch thick, compared to 0.68 of an inch previously.

The new MacBook Air also is following the lead of the MacBook Pro and going all-in on USB-C. The notebook features two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, meaning that users will need a dongle to use other types of connectors.

Other Specs

Not surprisingly, the new MacBook Air will feature performance improvements with the addition of current processors. The notebook will move up to eighth-gen Intel chips, but will only offer dual-core Core i5—no Core i7 or quad-core option is available. Memory and storage will be more configurable—the new MacBook Air comes with choices between 8 GB and 16 GB of RAM, and between 128/256/512 GB (and up to 1.5 TB) of storage. The new version of the MacBook Air holds steady with the previous version by offering up to 12 hours of battery life, while its speaker system is now 25 percent louder with 2X the bass of the previous model.

In addition, the new MacBook Air body is made from 100 percent recycled aluminum—the first Mac with that distinction—thanks to Apple's invention of a new custom alloy.

Price & Availability

Apple's starting price for the new MacBook Air is $1,199, up from $999 for the previous model. That pricing gets you an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. For a model with 16 GB of RAM, you'll need to pay another $200, while additional storage levels are available in $200 increments, as well.

Apple's new MacBook Air is available for pre-order today, with shipping on Nov. 7. For colors, it's available in space gray, gold and silver.