MacBook Air (Apple silicon)
DeveloperApple Inc.
Product familyMacBook
TypeSubnotebook
Release date
  • November 17, 2020 (2020-11-17) (13-inch, M1, 2020)
  • July 15, 2022 (2022-07-15) (13-inch, M2, 2022)
  • June 13, 2023 (2023-06-13) (15-inch, M2, 2023)
Operating systemmacOS
System on a chipApple M-series
PredecessorMacBook Air (Intel-based)
12-inch MacBook (indirect, fanless)
RelatedMacBook Pro (Apple silicon)
Websitewww.apple.com/macbook-air

The MacBook Air is a line of Mac laptops made by Apple Inc. In 2020, Apple stopped using Intel processors in the Air and switched to using their own Apple silicon M-series chips. In the current product line, the MacBook Air is Apple's entry-level laptop, situated below the performance range MacBook Pro, and is currently sold with 13-inch and 15-inch screens.[1]

Apple released the MacBook Air with the Apple M1 system on a chip in November 2020. A redesigned model based on the Apple M2 chip was released in July 2022, and the first 15-inch MacBook Air was released in June 2023.[2]

M1 (2020)

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

On November 10, 2020, Apple announced an updated MacBook Air with an Apple-designed M1 system-on-a-chip (SoC), launched alongside an updated Mac Mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro as the first Macs with Apple's new line of custom ARM-based Apple silicon processors.[3] Apple released the device a week later, on November 17. The device uses a fanless design[4] and adds support for Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 3/USB4 and Wide color (P3).[5] The M1 MacBook Air can only run one external display, compared to the previous Intel-based model which was capable of running two 4K displays.[6] The FaceTime camera remains 720p, drawing some criticism, but Apple advertises an improved image signal processor for higher quality video.[7]

Reception

The M1 MacBook Air received positive reviews, with much of the praise going to the capabilities of the M1 chip.

In his review for Engadget, Devindra Hardawar gave the MacBook Air a score of 94/100, praising the performance as "shockingly responsive" and highlighting the lack of fan noise and "excellent" keyboard and trackpad as among some of the pros. Other than that, he only lightly touched on the notebook's design and feel, citing the fact that it hadn't really changed much since the early 2020 MacBook Air. He did, however, praise the case as feeling "sturdy as ever".[8]

Writing for Wired, Julian Chokkattu bemoaned the fact that the Air only came with 2 USB-C ports, but praised the keyboard and battery life. He also lauded the fanless design, saying it was something he found himself "appreciating over and over again".[9]

The M1 MacBook Air has suffered some problems during its lifetime. Some users reported alarmingly high solid-state drive usage and wear, which drew a lot of attention, as if the drive failed, it could not be replaced by the user. Some USB-C docks also caused Apple Silicon MacBooks to stop working.[10]

During tests, the battery life of the MacBook Air was many hours short of Apple's claims, leading to some questioning the veracity of the claims. However, when the same tests were repeated with a lower brightness setting, the MacBook exceeded Apple's claims. During initial testing, the battery performance of the MacBook was so phenomenal that Apple initially presumed the slow change of the battery meter to be a bug.[11]

Technical specifications

Current
Model M1, 2020[12]
Initial release operating system macOS 11 Big Sur
Latest release operating system macOS 14 Sonoma
Display
Screen Size 13.3 in (340 mm) (diagonal)
Backlight LED-backlit
Technology Retina Display with IPS technology
Resolution 2560 × 1600
Pixel Density (ppi) 227
Aspect Ratio 16:10
Supported scaled resolutions
  • 1680 × 1050 (Rendered as 3360 × 2100)
  • 1440 × 900 (Rendered as 2880 × 1800, default)
  • 1280 × 800 (Rendered as 2560 × 1600, native)
  • 1024 × 640 (Rendered as 2048 × 1280)
SDR Max brightness ( cdm2) 400
XDR Max brightness ( cdm2)
Color Depth 8-bit (native) with millions of colors
Full sRGB Display Yes
Wide Color Display (Display P3) Yes
True Tone Display Yes
Night Shift Yes
ProMotion Display No
Fixed refresh rates 60 Hz
Cooling System Aluminum heat spreader attached on processor, no fan included
Processor
Chip Apple M1
Technology Node 5 nm (N5)
CPU
Total Cores 8
High-Performance Cores 4 x Firestorm
Energy-Efficiency Cores 4 x Icestorm
Clock Speed 3.23 GHz, 2.06 GHz
Online Configuration
Cache
L1 Cache

High-Performance Cores: 192 KB L1i, 128 KB L1d
Energy-Efficiency Cores: 128 KB L1i, 64 KB L1d

Shared L2 Cache High-Performance Cores: 12 MB
Energy-Efficiency Cores: 4 MB
System Level Cache 8 MB
GPU
Name Apple G13G
GPU Family Apple GPU Family 7
Total Cores 7 8
EUs and ALUs 28 (896) 32 (1024)
Hardware-accelerated ray tracing No
Metal Support Metal 3
Online Configuration 8-core GPU
Neural Engine 16-core Neural Engine
(11 TOPS)
Unified Memory
Type 128-bit LPDDR4X 2133 MHz (68.3 GB/s)
Capacity 8 GB
Online Configuration 16 GB
SSD
Type PCIe 4.0-based SSD
Capacity 256 GB 512 GB
Online Configuration 512 GB
1 TB
2 TB
1 TB
2 TB
Keyboard and Trackpad
Type Backlit Magic Keyboard with (Scissor-switch) mechanism and ambient light sensor
Number of keys 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO)
Arrow keys 4 arrow keys in an inverted-T arrangement
Function keys Yes
Touch Bar No
Trackpad Force Touch Trackpad
Secure Authentication
Touch ID Yes
Audio
Speakers Stereo speakers
Force-cancelling woofers No
Wide Stereo Sound Yes
Dolby Atmos Playback Yes
Dolby Atmos with built-in speakers No
Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking Yes
Microphone Three-mic array with directional beamforming
3.5 mm Jack Yes
Audio output from HDMI No
Camera
Resolution 720p FaceTime HD
Advanced image signal processor with computational video Yes
Connectivity
Wi-Fi (802.11) Wi-Fi 6 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax)
Maximum Wi-Fi Speed 1.2 Gbit/s
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
HDMI Port No
SDXC Card Slot No
USB-C/Thunderbolt Port Two Thunderbolt 3/USB4 USB-C ports supporting charging and DisplayPort protocols among others
Transmission Speed Up to 40 Gbit/s transmission speed (Thunderbolt 3 or USB4)
eGPU support No
External Display support
Maximum display 1
Max. one display combination Thunderbolt:
One 6K resolution at 60Hz
Power
Battery 11.4 V 49.9 W·h (4,379 mA·h)[13]
Power Adapter 30 W USB-C
Optional Configuration
Charging Method USB-C ports
Dimensions
Height 0.16 in (0.41 cm) to 0.63 in (1.6 cm)
Width 11.97 in (30.4 cm)
Depth 8.36 in (21.2 cm)
Weight 2.8 lb (1.27 kg)
Total greenhouse gas emissions 161 kg CO2e 181 kg CO2e[14]
Model Details
Model number A2337
Hardware strings MacBookAir10,1
Part/Order number
(Space Gray, Silver, Gold in order)
MGN63, MGN93, MGND3 MGN73, MGNA3, MGNE3
Timeline
Announced Date November 10, 2020
Released Date November 17, 2020
Discontinued Date In Production June 6, 2022
Unsupported Date Supported

M2 (2022)

15-inch MacBook Air M2 with the new design

On June 6, 2022, at WWDC 2022, Apple announced an updated MacBook Air based on the M2 system on a chip.[15] It incorporates several design elements from the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models, such as a flat, slab-shaped design, full-sized function keys, and a Liquid Retina 60 Hz display with rounded corners and a notch for a 1080p webcam. It includes two combination Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4 ports and adds MagSafe charging.[16] Along with the retaining Space Gray and Silver color options, the Gold color option (introduced with iPhone 8 in 2017) has been discontinued and replaced by Starlight color option (a color mixture between natural silver and champagne gold) and added the new Midnight color option (a color mixture between dark blue and dark gray).

The M2 MacBook Air 13 inch started shipping on July 15, 2022. A 15-inch version was announced at Apple's WWDC event on June 5, 2023. Apart from the larger screen, the hardware specs are mostly identical to the other M2 Air models. Preorders for the new model began on June 6, 2023, with deliveries and retail availability beginning the following week on June 12.

Reception

The M2 MacBook Air was generally well received. Several reviewers praised the new design, as well as the improved display, performance, and webcam.[17] Dan Seifert of The Verge described it as "a success on virtually every level".[18] The price increase over the M1 model was noted, with most concluding that the M1 model was a better value.

Due to a lack of active cooling, the M2 can overheat on high workloads, leading to thermal throttling issues.[19]

Technical specifications

Current
Model 13-inch, M2, 2022[20] 15-inch, M2, 2023[21]
Initial release operating system macOS 12 Monterey macOS 13 Ventura
Latest release operating system macOS 14 Sonoma
Display
Screen Size 13.6 in (350 mm) (diagonal) 15.3 in (390 mm) (diagonal)
Backlight LED-backlit
Technology Liquid Retina Display with IPS technology
Resolution 2560 × 1664 2880 × 1864
Pixel Density (ppi) 224
Aspect Ratio 9:5.85
16:10 without notch
9:5.825
16:10 without notch
Supported scaled resolutions
  • 1710 × 1112 (Rendered as 3420 × 2224)
  • 1470 × 956 (Rendered as 2940 × 1912, default)
  • 1280 × 832 (Rendered as 2560 × 1664, native)
  • 1024 × 666 (Rendered as 2048 × 1332)
  • 1920 × 1243 (Rendered as 3840 × 2486)
  • 1710 × 1107 (Rendered as 3420 × 2214, default)
  • 1440 × 932 (Rendered as 2880 × 1864, native)
  • 1280 × 828 (Rendered as 2560 × 1656)
  • 1024 × 663 (Rendered as 2048 × 1326)
SDR Max brightness ( cdm2) 500
XDR Max brightness ( cdm2)
Color Depth 10-bit (FRC) with 1 billion colors
Full sRGB Display Yes
Wide Color Display (Display P3) Yes
True Tone Display Yes
Night Shift Yes
ProMotion Display No
Fixed refresh rates 60 Hz
Cooling System Aluminum heat spreader attached on processor, no fan included
Processor
Chip Apple M2
Technology Node 5 nm (N5P)
CPU
Total Cores 8
High-Performance Cores 4 x Avalanche
Energy-Efficiency Cores 4 x Blizzard
Clock Speed 3.49 GHz, 2.42 GHz
Online Configuration
Cache
L1 Cache

High-Performance Cores: 192 KB L1i, 128 KB L1d
Energy-Efficiency Cores: 128 KB L1i, 64 KB L1d

Shared L2 Cache High-Performance Cores: 16 MB
Energy-Efficiency Cores: 4 MB
System Level Cache 8 MB
GPU
Name Apple G14G
GPU Family Apple GPU Family 8
Total Cores 8 10
EUs and ALUs 32 (1024) 40 (1280)
Hardware-accelerated ray tracing No
Metal Support Metal 3
Online Configuration 10-core GPU
Neural Engine 16-core Neural Engine
(15.8 TOPS)
Unified Memory
Type 128-bit LPDDR5 3200 MHz (102.4 GB/s)
Capacity 8 GB
Online Configuration 16 GB
24 GB
SSD
Type PCIe 4.0-based SSD
Capacity 256 GB 512 GB 256 GB 512 GB
Online Configuration 512 GB
1 TB
2 TB
1 TB
2 TB
512 GB
1 TB
2 TB
1 TB
2 TB
Keyboard and Trackpad
Type Backlit Magic Keyboard with (Scissor-switch) mechanism and ambient light sensor
Number of keys 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO)
Arrow keys 4 arrow keys in an inverted-T arrangement
Function keys With full-height
Touch Bar No
Trackpad Force Touch Trackpad
Secure Authentication
Touch ID Yes
Audio
Speakers Four-speakers Six-speakers
Force-cancelling woofers No Yes
Wide Stereo Sound Yes
Dolby Atmos Playback Yes
Dolby Atmos with built-in speakers Yes
Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking Yes
Microphone Three-mic array with directional beamforming
3.5 mm Jack With advanced support for high-impedance headphones
Audio output from HDMI No
Camera
Resolution 1080p FaceTime HD
Advanced image signal processor with computational video Yes
Connectivity
Wi-Fi (802.11) Wi-Fi 6 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax)
Maximum Wi-Fi Speed 1.2 Gbit/s
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.3
HDMI Port No
SDXC Card Slot No
USB-C/Thunderbolt Port Two Thunderbolt 3/USB4 USB-C ports supporting charging and DisplayPort protocols among others
Transmission Speed Up to 40 Gbit/s transmission speed (Thunderbolt 3 or USB4)
eGPU support No
External Display support
Maximum display 1
Max. one display combination Thunderbolt:
One 6K resolution at 60Hz
Power
Battery 52.6 W·h 66.5 W·h
Power Adapter 30 W USB-C 35 W Dual USB-C
Optional Configuration 35 W Dual USB-C
70 W USB-C
70 W USB-C
Charging Method MagSafe 3 or USB-C ports
Dimensions
Height 0.44 in (1.1 cm) 0.45 in (1.1 cm)
Width 11.97 in (30.4 cm) 13.40 in (34.0 cm)
Depth 8.46 in (21.5 cm) 9.35 in (23.7 cm)
Weight 2.7 lb (1.22 kg) 3.3 lb (1.50 kg)
Total greenhouse gas emissions 147 kg CO2e 171 kg CO2e[22] 139 kg CO2e 152 kg CO2e[23]
Model Details
Model number A2681 A2941
Hardware strings Mac14,2 Mac14,15
Part/Order number
(Midnight, Starlight, Space Gray, Silver in order)
MLY33, MLY13, MLXW3, MLXY3 MLY43, MLY23, MLXX3, MLY03 MQKW3, MQKU3, MQKP3, MQKR3 MQKX3, MQKV3, MQKQ3, MQKT3
Timeline
Announced Date June 6, 2022 June 5, 2023
Released Date July 15, 2022 June 13, 2023
Discontinued Date In Production
Unsupported Date Supported

Timeline

Timeline of portable Macintoshes
Mac transition to Apple siliconiMac ProApple WatchiPadiPhoneMac ProPower Mac G5Power Mac G4Power Macintosh G3Power MacintoshCompact MacintoshMacBook Pro (Apple silicon)MacBook Pro (Apple silicon)MacBook Pro (Apple silicon)MacBook Air (Apple silicon)MacBook Pro (Apple silicon)MacBook Pro (Apple silicon)MacBook Pro (Apple silicon)MacBook Pro (Apple silicon)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Apple silicon)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)MacBook Pro (Intel-based)iBook G4PowerBook G4PowerBook G4iBook (white)PowerBook G3PowerBook G3PowerBook 2400cPowerBook 3400cPowerBook 1400PowerBook 5300PowerBook 500 seriesPowerBook 190TiBookPowerBook 150PowerBook 500 seriesPowerBook 500 seriesPowerBook 500 seriesPowerBook 500 seriesPowerBook 165PowerBook 145BPowerBook 180cPowerBook 180PowerBook 165cPowerBook 160PowerBook 145PowerBook 170PowerBook 140iBook G4MacBook Air (Apple silicon)MacBook Air (Apple silicon)iBook (white)MacBook Air (Intel-based)12-inch MacBookMacBook Air (Intel-based)MacBook Air (Intel-based)MacBook (2006–2012)iBook ClamshellPowerBook DuoMacBook Air (Intel-based)MacBook (2006–2012)MacBook (2006–2012)PowerBook G4PowerBook 100Macintosh PortablePowerBook G3PowerBook G3PowerBook G3PowerBook G3PowerBook G3PowerBook Duo 2300cPowerBook Duo 280cPowerBook Duo 280Macintosh PortablePowerBook Duo 270cPowerBook Duo 250PowerBook Duo 230Macintosh Portable

References

  1. ^ Chin, Monica (5 June 2023). "Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Air is the 'world's thinnest'". The Verge. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  2. ^ Casserly, Martyn. "Apple launches the new 15-inch MacBook Air". Macworld. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  3. ^ "Apple Announces New 13-inch MacBook Pro With M1 Apple Silicon". MacRumors. Archived from the original on 2020-11-25. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  4. ^ Hollister, Sean (2020-11-10). "The biggest difference between the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is a fan". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2020-11-10. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  5. ^ "Buy MacBook Air site". Apple. Archived from the original on 10 November 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  6. ^ "How Apple Silicon on a M1 Mac changes monitor support and what you can connect". AppleInsider. Archived from the original on 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  7. ^ Potuck, Michael (2020-11-10). "Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Air and Pro get improved cameras but still stuck at 720p". 9to5Mac. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  8. ^ Hardawar, Devindra. "MacBook Air M1 review: Faster than most PCs, no fan required". Engadget. Archived from the original on 19 November 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  9. ^ Chokkattu, Julian. "Review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)". Wired. Archived from the original on 19 November 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Are USB-C Docks Killing M1 MacBooks? - Created Tech". 2021-10-11. Archived from the original on 2022-01-21. Retrieved 2022-07-07.
  11. ^ Lovejoy, Ben (2021-07-09). "M1 MacBook battery life so good Apple thought indicator was broken". 9to5Mac. Archived from the original on 2022-06-29. Retrieved 2022-07-01.
  12. ^ "MacBook Air (M1, 2020) – Technical Specifications". support.apple.com. Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  13. ^ "MacBook Air 13" Retina 2018 Teardown". iFixit. 2018-11-08. Archived from the original on 2020-11-27. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  14. ^ "Product Environmental Report 13-inch MacBook Air" (PDF). Apple. November 10, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  15. ^ "Apple unveils all-new MacBook Air, supercharged by the new M2 chip". Archived from the original on 2022-07-28. Retrieved 2022-06-06.
  16. ^ Pierce, David (2022-06-06). "Hands-on with the new, more colorful, M2-powered MacBook Air". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2022-06-06. Retrieved 2022-06-07.
  17. ^ Adorno, José (2022-07-14). "M2 MacBook Air reviews are in: New era, all-day battery, same base storage concern as MacBook Pro". 9to5Mac. Archived from the original on 2022-07-25. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  18. ^ Seifert, Dan (2022-07-14). "Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022) review: all-new Air". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2022-07-21. Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  19. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (2022-07-22). "The new MacBook Air runs so hot that it affects performance. It isn't the first time [Updated]". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2022-07-25. Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  20. ^ "MacBook Air (M2, 2022) – Technical Specifications". support.apple.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-09. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  21. ^ "MacBook Air (15-inch, M2, 2023) - Technical Specifications". support.apple.com. Retrieved 2023-06-12.
  22. ^ "Product Environmental Report 13-inch MacBook Air" (PDF). Apple. June 6, 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 6, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  23. ^ "Product Environmental Report 15-inch MacBook Air" (PDF). Apple. June 5, 2023. Retrieved June 5, 2023.

Further reading