Apple on Wednesdayof its least expensive laptop, the MacBook Air. Returning to its pre-2019 starting price of $999, the 2020 version features the first introduced on the , 10th-gen Intel processors, a new Force Touch trackpad and 256GB of storage for the entry-level configuration. It's available for preorder from Apple now, it starts shipping next week and will soon become available from third-party retailers.
What's different about the 2020 MacBook Air:
- Lower starting price
- Entry-level configuration features newer but lower-end dual-core Intel Core i3 CPU, though quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 upgrades are available
- Faster RAM
- Intel Iris Plus graphics
- Entry-level configuration features 256GB SSD and there's a new top-tier 2TB SSD upgrade available
- Bluetooth 5.0
What's unchanged with the 2020 MacBook Air:
- Retina display
- Chassis, design and weight
- Ports and connections
The one must-have upgrade: The Core i5 processor for $100 ()
Nearly all of these changes, and especially the lower starting price, are indisputably positive steps forward. The only possible exception is that processor. The previous entry-level model featured Intel's eighth-gen dual-core i5 CPU, while the new MacBook Air comes equipped with a 10th-gen dual-core Intel chip. Sounds good, right? But it's Intel's Core i3 -- and as, "A Core i3 is what you get in cheap Black Friday doorbuster laptops." Though we haven't yet tested the new model, stepping up to the Core i5, which tacks on an extra $100, is almost certainly a worthwhile, and possibly essential, upgrade.
The only other downer -- especially now that most of us are stuck at home doing a lot morefor the foreseeable future -- is that . That's pretty low-res in this era of 4K video.
Otherwise, we like what we see in the new model's specs and features. A (probably) better keyboard, more storage on the baseline model (finally, 256GB to start), an updated trackpad and a lower starting price. Here's a summary of exactly what's included with the 2020 and 2019 base models, and the upgrades that are available for each.
The basics: Entry-level features and upgrades
||MacBook Air (2020)||MacBook Air (2019)|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS Retina True Tone display (2,560x1,600 pixels)||13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS Retina True Tone display (2,560x1,600 pixels)|
|Processor||1.1GHz dual-core 10th-gen Intel Core i3, 1.1GHz quad-core 10th-gen Intel Core i5, 1.2GHz quad-core 10th-gen Intel Core i7||1.6GHz dual-core eighth-gen Intel Core i5|
|Memory||8GB 3,733MHz LPDDR4X RAM (16GB upgrade available)||8GB 2,133MHz LPDDR3 RAM (16GB upgrade available)|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Plus||Intel UHD Graphics 617|
|Storage||256GB PCIe SSD (512GB, 1TB or 2TB upgrade available)||128GB PCIe SSD (256GB, 512GB or 1TB upgrade available)|
|Networking||802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 5.0||802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.2|
|Ports and connections||2x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports (one of which is used to connect the charger)||2x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports (one of which is used to connect the charger)|
|Weight||2.8 pounds (1.27 kg)||2.8 pounds (1.27 kg)|
|Operating system||MacOS Catalina||MacOS Catalina|
|Battery life||Up to 11 hours||Up to 12 hours|
|Chasse design||100% recycled aluminum||100% recycled aluminum|
|Other notable features||Magic Keyboard (scissor-based), Touch ID||Butterfly keyboard, Touch ID|