Apple has just announced the MacBook Air 2020, its latest thin and light laptop that offers the power, design and build quality we’ve come to expect from Apple’s laptops, but in a much more affordable package compared to the MacBook Pro.
While the launch of the MacBook Air 2020 has come out of the blue, many of us were hoping for an updated version of the laptop this year given how impressive the MacBook Air (2019) model was.
The new MacBook Air 2020 offers twice the performance and twice the storage of its predecessor, plus a new magic keyboard, addressing a couple of issues we had with the previous model.
Best of all, it comes with a new lower price of $999 (£999, AU$1,599) for the base model, making it the cheapest MacBook Air released.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next MacBook Air
- When is it out? Available to order right now, in stores March 23 2020
- What will it cost? $999 / £999 / AU$1,599
MacBook Air 2020 release date
The MacBook Air 2020 is available to order right now from the Apple Store. Apple says it will also be available in stores from March 23, although we’re not sure if that’ll be the case, as Apple Stores around the world are currently closed.
We also don’t know if the pandemic will lead to shipping delays, so while the MacBook Air 2020 is currently available to buy, we’re not sure when you’ll get it in your hands. We’ve asked Apple for clarification on this issue, and we’ll update this article when we get a response.
MacBook Air 2020 price
Perhaps the biggest surprise with the MacBook Air 2020 announcement is its new lower starting price of $999 / £999 / AU$1,599.
This continues Apple’s recent commendable practice of launching more powerful MacBooks that start at lower prices than their predecessors; the MacBook Air 2019, for example, launched with an entry-level price of $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,699.
The new entry-level MacBook Air comes with a dual-core 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 256GB storage (up from 128GB in the previous model) and 8GB of RAM.
There’s also a higher-end MacBook Air, priced at $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$1,999, which comes with a 10th-generation quad-core Intel Core i5 processor – the first time a quad-core CPU has been included in a MacBook Air – 512GB SSD storage and 8GB of RAM.
You can upgrade the processor, RAM and storage on both models at additional cost. Apple has also announced that students will be able to get a discount on the new MacBook Air.
MacBook Air 2020 specs
Display: 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7
GPU: Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics
RAM: 8GB/16GB LPDDR4X (3,733MHz)
Storage: 256GB–2TB SSD storage
Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports
According to Apple, the MacBook Air 2020 will be up to twice as fast as last year’s model thanks to the new 10th-generation processors on board.
While Apple isn’t divulging the exact types of processors used, our guess is that the i3 processor is the Intel Core i3-1000G4, and the i5 chip is the Intel Core i5-1030G7. MacBook Airs usually have fanless designs, which leads us to believe these are Intel Ice Lake chips.
Interestingly, this could mean the MacBook Air 2020 has off-the-shelf processors from Intel, rather than specially-made CPUs with higher clocks, which older MacBook Airs had.
Graphics are provided by the integrated GPUs – Intel Iris Plus – which Apple claims will deliver 80% faster graphics performance. While this won’t compete with MacBook Pros rocking discrete graphics cards, it should mean the new MacBook Air can better handle tasks such as video editing.
MacBook Air 2020 features
While the design of the new MacBook Air 2020 remains largely unchanged from the previous model, it now comes with a new and improved Magic keyboard, which first debuted on last year’s MacBook Pro 16-inch.
With a redesigned scissor mechanism, this keyboard should avoid the issues that plagued previous MacBooks with the older Butterfly keyboard.
This new keyboard offers 1mm key travel for a responsive feel when typing, and the arrow keys are now in an inverted ‘T’ shape, as on PC keyboards, which makes them more intuitive to use.
The MacBook Air 2020 has a unibody design made from 100% recycled aluminum, and comes in three color options: gold, silver and space gray.
The Thunderbolt 3 ports can also drive up to a 6K external display, which is a first for a MacBook Air.