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Best Apple MacBook deals: Save $50 on M1 MacBook Air, $100 on M1 MacBook Pro

The new M1 MacBook models offer slight discounts, and you can save up to $300 on the older, Intel-based models. Plus, Apple now has refurbs available for the M1 MacBook Air.

Apple made a significant move last fall away from Intel chips toward its own Apple silicon M1 design, and we're already seeing price breaks on the new M1-powered machines. You'll find discounts on Apple's new M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro, and there are deeper discounts available from retailers on Apple's older Intel-based MacBooks -- up to $300 off the step-up model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. And for the first time, Apple is now offering refurbished M1 MacBook Airs for a $150 or $190 discount.

The MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro lines received the M1 update, but the big 16-inch MacBook Pro still uses an Intel Core i7 or i9 chip. And Apple still sells two higher-end configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel parts and has stated that it will support all the Intel-powered Macs for years to come. 

While you might be tempted by a discount on an older, Intel-based MacBook, it had better be significant in order to pass on a new M1 MacBook. Our preliminary tests of the M1 machines show a significant performance increase over their predecessors. Plus the M1 MacBook Air boasts a fanless design for silent operation.

Read moreA pro photographer tests Apple's M1 MacBook

Pricing for new M1 MacBooks

The new MacBooks maintain the pricing of the models they replaced. The new MacBook Air starts at $999, and the new MacBook Pro starts at $1,299. 

Apple this week began selling refurbished M1 MacBook Air models. Previously, only Intel-based MacBooks were available as cost-saving refurbs. And while the M1 MacBook Pro isn't available as a refurb, you can get a refurbished M1 MacBook Air from Apple for a discount. A refurbished baseline M1 MacBook Air is $849 for $150 in savings, and a refurbished step-up model of the M1 MacBook Air is $1,059 for $190 in savings. CNET's resident Cheapskate is a big fan of refurbs, particularly Apple's, which are often as good as new.

Want to buy new? Currently, you'll find a $50 discount on the step-up $1,249 model of the M1 MacBook Air on Amazon. (The baseline MacBook Air was discounted by $49 two weeks ago, but that price break has disappeared.) Both M1 MacBook Pro models are currently discounted -- the baseline model by $80 and the step-up model by $100.

One benefit of paying full price and buying from Apple, however, is you can customize the machine and add more RAM or a higher-capacity solid-state drive, whereas the models sold on Amazon and other retailers are fixed configurations.

It's also worth noting that the Apple Store offers students an educational discount, which can trim hundreds of dollars from the price of a new laptop or tablet.

Keep reading to see the best prices currently available for Apple's current and previous-generation MacBooks. We update this list periodically.

Read moreTesting out the entire new Apple Mac M1 lineup

MacBook discounts, compared

Model w/ CPU (and storage capacity) List price Best price (current) Best price (all-time)
New MacBook Air w/ M1 chip (256GB) $999 $999 $950
New MacBook Air w/ M1 chip (512GB) $1,249 $1,199 $1,175
New MacBook Pro w/ M1 chip (256GB) $1,299 $1,219 $1,199
New MacBook Pro w/ M1 chip (512GB) $1,499 $1,399 $1,399
MacBook Air w/ 10th-gen Core i3 (256GB) $999 $929 $850
13-inch MacBook Pro w/ 8th-gen Core i5 (256GB) $1,299 $1,099 $1,049
16-inch MacBook Pro w/ 9th-gen Core i7 (512GB) $2,399 $2,149 $2,079

*Note that "all-time" means the best price that we've seen at an Apple-authorized retailer in the product's lifetime.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The new, fanless MacBook Air starts at $999 and features Apple's M1 processor that has an eight‑core CPU, seven‑core GPU and 16‑core Neural Engine. The system also supplies 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It lacks the Touch Bar (which could be viewed as a net positive) but features a 13.3-inch Retina display, Touch ID and the Magic keyboard.

Read our MacBook Air (M1) review.

Apple

The step-up MacBook Air model delivers the M1 processor with a slight difference from the baseline model -- it has an eight-core GPU versus the seven cores you get in the model above. More significantly, it doubles the storage capacity with a 512GB SSD. Amazon's prices are currently jumping around, and -- strangely -- list discounts that don't line up with the Apple Store price. This model is currently selling for $1,200 on Amazon, which is $50 less than you'd pay from Apple.

Read our MacBook Air (M1) review.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro uses Apple's new M1 processor, which is an eight-core CPU with four performance cores and four efficiency cores, an eight-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. The baseline model also features 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a Retina display, the Magic keyboard and the Touch Bar with Touch ID. The baseline config is currently $80 off at Amazon, but if you want to upgrade the RAM on a new MacBook Pro you'll need to buy from Apple.

Apple

The step-up MacBook Pro model doubles the storage capacity with a 512GB SSD and costs $1,499 from Apple. Amazon has it right now for $1,399, which is the lowest price we've seen for this model.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The baseline Intel-based MacBook Air model features a 10th-gen Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD as well as the updated Magic Keyboard. It's currently selling for $70 less than its $999 list price at B&H in gold or silver. This discount shouldn't be enough to tempt you over the new M1-based Air, especially since students may be eligible for a discount on the new M1-based model with the Apple Store's educational discount.

Read our 2020 MacBook Air review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The baseline Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro has a list price of $1,299 and is currently selling for $200 less than that at B&H. It features an eighth-gen 1.4GHz Core i5 processor along with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. (The step-up model with a 512GB SSD is also $200 off at B&H.) Either way, I'd still spend a bit more for the newer M1 MacBook Pro if your budget allows. Or opt for the new M1 MacBook Air for even less.

Read our 2020 MacBook Pro hands-on.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

The current 16-inch MacBook Pro was the lone MacBook line not to receive an M1 upgrade. It features a ninth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics and a 512GB SSD. It boasts a bigger screen with a higher resolution than its smaller, 13-inch sibling. This model is selling at a $200 discount at Amazon. (The step-up model, which bumps up the CPU to an eight-core Core i9 chip, the GPU to the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M and the storage capacity to 1TB, is currently $300 off at Amazon.) Unless you have an urgent need for a giant MacBook Pro, it would be prudent to wait until Apple delivers an M1 update to this line.

Read our 16-inch MacBook Pro review.

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with the entire new Apple Mac M1 lineup
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