Apple refreshes 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs with M3 chip

By Sanjeev 3 Min Read

It took them four months, but the MacBook Air 13-inch and 15-inch have finally gotten the M3 treatment. Apple is positioning these laptops as the replacement for the original M1 MacBook Air, which is now discontinued.

The new laptops are said to be 60% faster than the 2020 model. However, as with other brand claims, this information must be taken with a pinch of salt.

Apple didn’t highlight the M2 MacBook Air, which is still in production and more appealing than ever following a $100 price drop. 

That said, there’s still reason to pick the newer laptops over this.

What’s new?

To start, the M3 MacBook Air laptops support two external displays with the lids closed — something not even available in the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro (although Apple has confirmed the feature will be available via a future update.)

Real-life application of M3 MacBook Air's dual external display support

The M3 includes an updated 16-core Neural Engine for on-device language processing and image generation with “optimized AI models.”

The M3 GPU brings hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing to the Air lineup. It also adds an AV1 decode engine for a better video experience. 

With Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity on board, these laptops are also more future-proof.

Slight changes

The design has remained the same. No surprises here, given Apple moved away from the iconic wedge-style design just one generation ago.

The midnight color option has a new anodization seal to reduce fingerprints, while the other color options have stayed consistent.

Aside from the obvious size difference, the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air look identical. They both use 50% recycled material, as Apple claims.

Both feature Apple’s Liquid Retina display, which has 1 billion colors and 500 nits of brightness. They also retain the notch on top of the display.

A size comparison between new M3-powered MacBook Air 13-inch and 15-inch

Pricing and Availability

The 15-inch MacBook Air has the upper hand in the audio department — it has a six-speaker setup with force-cancelling woofers.

The 13-inch MacBook Air with M3 costs $1,099 in the US, and the 15-inch model costs $1,299. 

Apple ships with the base 13-inch model with a 30W USB-C power adapter. For all other configurations, you can choose between a 35W dual USB-C port adapter or a 70W USB-C port adapter.

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