Apple teased that it’d release the first Apple Silicon-enabled Macs before the end of 2020, and it delivered on the promise at the company’s November ‘One More Thing’ event. Revealed alongside a new MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, the new MacBook Air has Apple’s new M1 chipset at its heart and, if Apple’s numbers are to be believed, there’s a serious jump in performance.
The MacBook Air is available to pre-order right now in the UK, and we’ve got all you need to know right here.
When will the new MacBook Air be released?
The new MacBook Air is available to pre-order from Apple right now, with pre-orders set to ship sometime during w/c 16 November. The Apple Store suggests delivery will commence on 17 November, so make of that what you will.
Where can I buy the new MacBook Air?
The new MacBook Air is available in two configurations, but unlike previous Macs, it isn’t powered by Intel. The new Apple M1 chipset is available in both configurations of MacBook Air, but the £999 entry-level model features an M1 chipset comprised of 8 CPU cores and 7 GPU cores, compared to the dual 8 and 8 offering of the £1299 variant. There’s also double the storage available on the premium MacBook Air at 512GB.
The main place to pre-order the new MacBook Air in the UK is via Apple itself. That’s not to say it isn’t available to pre-order via other retailers though, with KRCS also offering pre-orders of the new MacBook Air – with £50 off the RRP, in fact! It’s also available to pre-order on Amazon at full price.
Apple’s website suggests that orders will ship on 17 November, and at that point we expect more retailers to stock the new laptop. Based on previous launches, we expect the MacBook Air to be available at the following third-party stockists once the laptop ships:
What’s so exciting about the new MacBook Air and its Apple M1 chip?
The M1 is Apple’s first designed and manufactured chipset for its Mac range – and it’s a big deal. Apple has started the transition away from Intel-powered Macs, a move that makes sense considering how well Apple has done with creating the A-series chipsets for its iPhones and iPads.
The key highlight of the new M1 is just how much of a boost in performance it provides compared to the Intel chips it used in MacBooks earlier this year. Apple claims a 3.5x jump in the CPU department and a 5x jump in the GPU department when it comes to the MacBook Air, two incredible improvements considering the relatively minor year-on-year gains on offer from Intel chipsets.
There’s also a dedicated Neural Engine packed onto the SoC, bringing a massive 15x improvement to ML actions like automatic image enhancement or facial recognition.
Despite the impressive performance gains, the 5nm process means that the chipset is incredibly energy efficient, offering 15-18 hours of battery life on the MacBook Air depending on what you’re up to. It’s also a lot cooler in operation, meaning Apple could actually ditch the fan in the MacBook Air for a truly silent machine.
Believe it or not, those are only the highlights of what the M1 brings to the MacBook Air in 2020 – there’s plenty more on offer under the hood. For more on why it’s such an exciting release, take a look at the latest details on the new MacBook Air with M1, and our full Apple Silicon explainer might be of interest too.