By Dan Moren
March 18, 2020 6:28 AM PT
Apple updates MacBook Air with new processors, keyboard, and boosts Mac mini storage
Warning: This story has not been updated in several years and may contain out-of-date information.
The iPad Pro isn’t the only Apple device to see a notable keyboard-based update today. The MacBook Air, which Apple dubs “the world’s most loved notebook”1 has received a notable boost today, with not only the new Magic Keyboard, but improved storage, and a better processor line-up.
The Magic Keyboard is the same found in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, with improved key travel, a scissor mechanism, and, as Apple says, “the new inverted-“T” arrangement for the arrow keys makes them easier to find without looking down.”2 (These people get me.)
The 10th-generation Intel Core processors featured in the new MacBooks mark the first time quad-core chips have appeared in the product, and they range from a Core i3 at 1.1GHz to a 1.2GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz, making them twice as fast as the previous generation of MacBook Air. They also include Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which Apple says boosts the notebook’s graphics performance by 80 percent, and now allows the Air to drive an external 6K display.
Storage has also been doubled for the standard configurations, starting at a very reasonable 256GB for the base Core i3 model at that ever-desirable $999 price point ($899 for educational buyers); a $1299 model sports a Core i5 and 512GB of storage. Customization options on both models include doubling the RAM from the standard 8GB to 16GB for $200, and 1TB or 2TB of storage, the price of which varies depending on the model. A 1.2GHz Core i7 processor is also available as a build-to-order option.
Apple has also included Bluetooth 5.0, as well as beefing up the sound system, which now includes support for Dolby Atmos playback, and a three-mic array with directional beam forming, features that debuted on the 16-inch MacBook Pro last year.
A side-by-side comparison with the previous model also notes that Apple has reduced its battery life estimates on the new models, which are now only rated for 11 hours of wireless web and 12 hours of Apple TV app movie playback, down from 12 and 13 respectively. It’s also slightly heavier than its predecessor: 2.8 pounds instead of 2.75.
All in all, it’s a traditional Apple update: better things in the same package, at an equivalent or lower price point. Hard to argue with that.
Oh, and Apple also took the time to say that it had boosted Mac mini storage configurations: the $799 model comes with a 256GB SSD, while the $1099 model starts at 512GB. A nice boost for, er, the world’s most loved small-footprint computer.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at email@example.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]
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