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Apple's MacBook Air is in a holding pattern

The severely outdated 13-inch ultraportable gets a blink-and-you-might-miss-it processor update for 2017 and that's all.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman

MacBook Air 2015 or 2017? The only difference is inside. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The MacBook Air is the least expensive laptop option from Apple. It also hasn't had a significant update since 2015.

Starting at $999, £949 and AU$1,499, the 13-inch Air has taken a backseat to the slimmer, lighter 12-inch MacBook. While Apple announced a minor speed bump for the Air's processor at WWDC 2017 -- going from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz -- that was the extent of the changes. The base configuration now has 8GB of memory, too, up from 4GB. 

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Apple also continues to use fifth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors (Broadwell) in the Air, while the rest of the company's laptops run on Intel's seventh-generation processors (Kaby Lake). And the laptop is the only one left in Apple's lineup without a high-resolution Retina display: The 13-inch Air's resolution is 1,440x900 pixels. 

Other key specs include:

  • 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz 
  • Intel HD Iris Graphics 6000 
  • 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSD 
  • 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Two USB 3.0 ports, Thunderbolt 2 port, SD card slot and 3.5 mm headphone jack

The faster processor and twice the memory should result in slightly better performance than the 2015 version we reviewed, but everything else is the same. 

Watch this: Hands-on with Apple's new MacBooks