Advertisement

Apple MacBook Air M3: New laptop models come with chip and productivity upgrades

Apple's new MacBook Air models are available to pre-order now (Apple)
Apple's new MacBook Air models are available to pre-order now (Apple)

Apple has quietly released two new MacBook Air models that feature its latest M3 processor.

The characteristically slim, lightweight laptops are all but guaranteed to be even faster as a result, as Apple continues to prioritise speed over other upgrades.

In Apple’s words, they’re up to 60 per cent zippier than the M1 MacBook Air from late 2020. You can pre-order them today before they start shipping on March 8.

The 13-inch model starts from £1,099, while the 15-inch model begins at £1,299. At the same time, Apple has discounted the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air to £999. Unfortunately, it appears to have now discontinued its 15-inch counterpart.

All told, the upgrades are iterative instead of substantial, which should make an already great MacBook Air line-up slightly stronger. Barring the new chip, the 8GB starting memory, 256GB storage, and 18 hours of purported battery life are identical to the M2 MacBook Air.

The same goes for the brightness and HD web camera – while handy features like fingerprint ID for payments and security were available all the way back on the M1.

Apple’s MacBook Air M3 works with two external displays when shut (Apple)
Apple’s MacBook Air M3 works with two external displays when shut (Apple)

The lack of headline specs may explain why Apple opted to launch the MacBook Airs online instead of at a splashy event. For its part, Apple is mainly offering comparisons with the M1 MacBook Air models. The newcomers are apparently better at a variety of tasks, from working in Excel to photo- and video-editing.

Speaking of productivity, the new machines can support up to two external displays when shut. That sounds great for creative users who own two huge monitors for work – though they may have appreciated more memory and storage as standard. Everyone else will probably be fine using the MacBook Air as their primary screen and a separate display as an extra.

The jump to Wi-Fi 6E should also double download speeds, as long your internet provider and router support it as well.

Apple says the MacBook Air M3 offers twice as fast Wi-Fi speeds (Apple)
Apple says the MacBook Air M3 offers twice as fast Wi-Fi speeds (Apple)

Oddly, Apple describes the new MacBooks as the “world’s best consumer laptop for AI”. Thanks to the latest machine-learning hardware built into its M3 chips, Apple says they can run a bunch of AI-powered apps. Notably, the ones it mentions are all developed by other companies, including visual editing tools like Capcut and Pixelmator Pro. It even namechecks online AI helpers that are readily accessible on most phones and laptops, such as Microsoft Copilot.

All of which is another reminder that Apple doesn’t have its own AI chatbot baked into its devices. Comparably, the likes of HP and Asus boast native support for AI tools that mean you no longer have to wait in line to generate images and text. It also means they won’t share your data with their corporate overlords in the vein of ChatGPT and Google Gemini.

Thankfully, Apple is said to be working on something similar for its iPhones, and could unveil the upgrade in the autumn. Don’t be surprised if AI becomes a more central part of its future Macs to boot, which could be the update worth waiting for.