M3 MacBook Air: Everything you need to know

Macworld

When Apple launched the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max processors, and released an M3 iMac, at an event on October 30, we were surprised that the MacBook Air was ignored. It’s taken four months, but the MacBook Air has finally got an M3 chip.

M3 MacBook Air: Release date

Apple issued a press release on Monday, March 4, 2024 – no event for this one – revealing that the 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Pro is now available with the M3 chip.

The M3 MacBook Air models can be pre-ordered now and go on sale on Friday, March 8.

Pre-order a MacBook Air (U.S.)

Pre-order a MacBook Air (U.K.)

M3 MacBook Air: Price

Apple has added an additional M3 13-inch MacBook Air unit with 16GB RAM to the line-up. This means the price of the top-of-the-range 13-inch model is now slightly higher, but the now mid-range model is much better value than it was thanks to essentially a $100/£150 price cut.

13-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/8-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD): $1,099/£1,149

13-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,299/£1,299 (was $1,399/£1,449)

13-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,499/£1,499

Apple has done the same with the 15-inch MacBook Air, adding a 16GB RAM model to the top-of-the-range. Here both models get a £100 price cut in the U.K. while prices remain the same in the U.S.

15-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD): $1,299/£1,299 (was $1,299/£1,399)

15-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,499/£1,499 (was $1,499/£1,599)

15-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,699/£1,699

Apple will continue to sell the 13-inch MacBook Air with M2 chip at a lower price. Here are the prices and specifications of the M2 13-inch MacBook Air standard configurations:

13-inch, M2 chip (8-core CPU/8-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD): $999/£999 (was $1,099/£1,149)

13-inch, M2 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,199/£1,199 (was $1,399/£1,449)

The M1 MacBook Air will no longer be sold by Apple (other than via the Refurbished Store U.S. and Refurbished Store U.K.).

The M3 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air will be available through the usual retail outlets: the Apple Store, Amazon, and other popular retailers. You can find the best prices for a new MacBook Air in our MacBook Air deals article.

M3 MacBook Air: Design and dimensions

Apple

Externally the design of the M3 MacBook Air hasn’t changed and is available in the same four color options: midnight, starlight; space gray; and silver. However, there are a few changes.

Apple says that this MacBook Air is “the first Apple product to be made with 50 percent recycled content, including 100 percent recycled aluminum in the enclosure, 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in all magnets and, in another first for Apple, 100 percent recycled copper in the main logic board.”

It’s no surprise that the design hasn’t changed: when Apple released the M2 MacBook Air it featured a complete redesign that eliminated the tapered design and implemented a look that’s similar to the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

The dimensions and weight are the same as the previous generation:

15-inch MacBook Air: 13.40 x 9.35 x 0.45in (34.04 x 23.76 x 1.15cm), 3.3 pounds (1.51kg)

13-inch MacBook Air: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44in (30.41 x 21.5 x 1.13cm), 2.7 pounds (1.24kg)

M3 MacBook Air: Display

The display hasn’t changed between generations. For the 13-inch MacBook Air, Apple still uses a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display with a 2,560-by-1,664 pixel resolution, a maximum brightness of 500 nits, P3 color support, and True Tone. The 15-inch model also retains its 2,880-by-1,864 pixel display and 500 nits, P3, and True Tone.

However, the big change is in support for additional displays. As explained in our article about using more than one external monitor with an M-series Mac, Airs that use a standard M1 or M2 processor cannot natively connect more than one external monitor, including the M3 MacBook Pro models that arrived in fall 2023. The good news is that the M3 MacBook Air models will support two external monitors with the laptop lid closed and Apple will upgrade the M3 MacBook Pro via a software update. When the lid is opened, one of the displays will shut off.

The M3 MacBook Air retains the notch at the top of the display for the 1080p FaceTime camera, which doesn’t interfere with the 16:10 aspect ratio of the screen area below it. We’d like to see Face ID on the MacBooks, but that’s unlikely to happen soon.

M3 MacBook Air: Specs

As expected the M3 MacBookAir models come with an 8-core CPU and 8- or 10-core GPU, which might sound similar to the M2 chip, but the M3 chip is manufactured using a new 3nm process. This allows for more transistors than the enhanced 5nm process used with the M2. In our tests we’ve already found the M3 to be faster than most iterations of the M1 Pro, showing just how far the chip has become. Read: How the M3 stacks up to every other Apple processor.

Since we have already seen the M3 chip in the MacBook Pro and iMac you can view our benchmarks to get a clearer picture of how good the M3 is:

Apple makes various claims about how fast the M3 MacBook Air is compared to the M1 model and the Intel models. For example, Apple says it’s “60 percent faster” than the M1 MacBook Air and “up to 13x faster” than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air.

Apple also claims that game titles like No Man’s Sky run “up to 60 percent faster” than they did on the M1 MacBook Air, while “working in Excel spreadsheets is up to 35 percent faster” than with the M1, and 3x faster than it was with Intel, and Final Cut Pro is “up to 60 percent faster” than with the M1, and “up to 13x faster” than on an Intel MacBook Air.

Apple

As expected the M3 MacBook Air models support 8-24GB memory, with 8GB as standard. The good news here is that Apple is offering 16GB Unified Memory at the top of the range for both the 13-inch and 15-inch models. We have commented in the past that 8GB isn’t really sufficient, so our recommendation is to get as much memory as you can because you can’t update it later.

The MacBook Air still lacks internal fans, which could be an issue if you are likely to really push the processor, as it may slow down to stop overheating. However, the lack of fan does equal silent operation, which will appeal to some.

The MacBook Air still has two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, a MagSafe 3 connector for a power adapter (the laptop can also be charged through Thunderbolt), and a headphone jack.

The new M3 Air offers Wi-Fi 6E, up from Wi-Fi 6 wireless connectivity in the predecessor. That might look like just a letter different, but Apple claims it offers “up to 2x faster Wi-Fi than the previous generation” including twice as fast download speeds.

Were you hoping to see 5G on a MacBook? It won’t happen this time, but it is coming according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Read: If you’re waiting for a 5G MacBook, it’s coming–but not for a while.

The MacBook Air has a MagSafe port that supports fast charging.

Apple

M3 MacBook Air: Camera and mic

The 1080p FaceTime HD camera hasn’t changed since the M2 model launched but there are improvements to the mic.

The M3 MacBook Air features Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum microphone modes and Enhanced voice clarity in audio and video calls, according to Apple.

M3 MacBook Air: Battery and charging

The M3 13-inch MacBook Air has the same 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery as the M2 model, while the 15-inch model offers the same 66.5-watt-hour battery as the previous generation. Unsurprisingly battery life hasn’t changed and is still up to 15 hours wireless web and up to 18 hours for movie playback, according to Apple.

The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air also support fast charging with a 70W USB-C Power Adapter or another from our list of the best MacBook Air chargers.

13-inch MacBook Air M3 (2024)



15-Inch MacBook Air M3 (2024)



MacBook

​Macworld Macworld

When Apple launched the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max processors, and released an M3 iMac, at an event on October 30, we were surprised that the MacBook Air was ignored. It’s taken four months, but the MacBook Air has finally got an M3 chip.

M3 MacBook Air: Release date

Apple issued a press release on Monday, March 4, 2024 – no event for this one – revealing that the 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Pro is now available with the M3 chip.

The M3 MacBook Air models can be pre-ordered now and go on sale on Friday, March 8.

Pre-order a MacBook Air (U.S.)

Pre-order a MacBook Air (U.K.)

M3 MacBook Air: Price

Apple has added an additional M3 13-inch MacBook Air unit with 16GB RAM to the line-up. This means the price of the top-of-the-range 13-inch model is now slightly higher, but the now mid-range model is much better value than it was thanks to essentially a $100/£150 price cut.

13-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/8-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD): $1,099/£1,149

13-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,299/£1,299 (was $1,399/£1,449)

13-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,499/£1,499

Apple has done the same with the 15-inch MacBook Air, adding a 16GB RAM model to the top-of-the-range. Here both models get a £100 price cut in the U.K. while prices remain the same in the U.S.

15-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD): $1,299/£1,299 (was $1,299/£1,399)

15-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,499/£1,499 (was $1,499/£1,599)

15-inch, M3 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,699/£1,699

Apple will continue to sell the 13-inch MacBook Air with M2 chip at a lower price. Here are the prices and specifications of the M2 13-inch MacBook Air standard configurations:

13-inch, M2 chip (8-core CPU/8-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD): $999/£999 (was $1,099/£1,149)

13-inch, M2 chip (8-core CPU/10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD): $1,199/£1,199 (was $1,399/£1,449)

The M1 MacBook Air will no longer be sold by Apple (other than via the Refurbished Store U.S. and Refurbished Store U.K.).

The M3 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air will be available through the usual retail outlets: the Apple Store, Amazon, and other popular retailers. You can find the best prices for a new MacBook Air in our MacBook Air deals article.

M3 MacBook Air: Design and dimensions

Apple

Externally the design of the M3 MacBook Air hasn’t changed and is available in the same four color options: midnight, starlight; space gray; and silver. However, there are a few changes.

Apple says that this MacBook Air is “the first Apple product to be made with 50 percent recycled content, including 100 percent recycled aluminum in the enclosure, 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in all magnets and, in another first for Apple, 100 percent recycled copper in the main logic board.”

It’s no surprise that the design hasn’t changed: when Apple released the M2 MacBook Air it featured a complete redesign that eliminated the tapered design and implemented a look that’s similar to the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

The dimensions and weight are the same as the previous generation:

15-inch MacBook Air: 13.40 x 9.35 x 0.45in (34.04 x 23.76 x 1.15cm), 3.3 pounds (1.51kg)

13-inch MacBook Air: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44in (30.41 x 21.5 x 1.13cm), 2.7 pounds (1.24kg)

M3 MacBook Air: Display

The display hasn’t changed between generations. For the 13-inch MacBook Air, Apple still uses a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display with a 2,560-by-1,664 pixel resolution, a maximum brightness of 500 nits, P3 color support, and True Tone. The 15-inch model also retains its 2,880-by-1,864 pixel display and 500 nits, P3, and True Tone.

However, the big change is in support for additional displays. As explained in our article about using more than one external monitor with an M-series Mac, Airs that use a standard M1 or M2 processor cannot natively connect more than one external monitor, including the M3 MacBook Pro models that arrived in fall 2023. The good news is that the M3 MacBook Air models will support two external monitors with the laptop lid closed and Apple will upgrade the M3 MacBook Pro via a software update. When the lid is opened, one of the displays will shut off.

The M3 MacBook Air retains the notch at the top of the display for the 1080p FaceTime camera, which doesn’t interfere with the 16:10 aspect ratio of the screen area below it. We’d like to see Face ID on the MacBooks, but that’s unlikely to happen soon.

M3 MacBook Air: Specs

As expected the M3 MacBookAir models come with an 8-core CPU and 8- or 10-core GPU, which might sound similar to the M2 chip, but the M3 chip is manufactured using a new 3nm process. This allows for more transistors than the enhanced 5nm process used with the M2. In our tests we’ve already found the M3 to be faster than most iterations of the M1 Pro, showing just how far the chip has become. Read: How the M3 stacks up to every other Apple processor.

Since we have already seen the M3 chip in the MacBook Pro and iMac you can view our benchmarks to get a clearer picture of how good the M3 is:

Apple makes various claims about how fast the M3 MacBook Air is compared to the M1 model and the Intel models. For example, Apple says it’s “60 percent faster” than the M1 MacBook Air and “up to 13x faster” than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air.

Apple also claims that game titles like No Man’s Sky run “up to 60 percent faster” than they did on the M1 MacBook Air, while “working in Excel spreadsheets is up to 35 percent faster” than with the M1, and 3x faster than it was with Intel, and Final Cut Pro is “up to 60 percent faster” than with the M1, and “up to 13x faster” than on an Intel MacBook Air.

Apple

As expected the M3 MacBook Air models support 8-24GB memory, with 8GB as standard. The good news here is that Apple is offering 16GB Unified Memory at the top of the range for both the 13-inch and 15-inch models. We have commented in the past that 8GB isn’t really sufficient, so our recommendation is to get as much memory as you can because you can’t update it later.

The MacBook Air still lacks internal fans, which could be an issue if you are likely to really push the processor, as it may slow down to stop overheating. However, the lack of fan does equal silent operation, which will appeal to some.

The MacBook Air still has two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, a MagSafe 3 connector for a power adapter (the laptop can also be charged through Thunderbolt), and a headphone jack.

The new M3 Air offers Wi-Fi 6E, up from Wi-Fi 6 wireless connectivity in the predecessor. That might look like just a letter different, but Apple claims it offers “up to 2x faster Wi-Fi than the previous generation” including twice as fast download speeds.

Were you hoping to see 5G on a MacBook? It won’t happen this time, but it is coming according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Read: If you’re waiting for a 5G MacBook, it’s coming–but not for a while.

The MacBook Air has a MagSafe port that supports fast charging.Apple

M3 MacBook Air: Camera and mic

The 1080p FaceTime HD camera hasn’t changed since the M2 model launched but there are improvements to the mic.

The M3 MacBook Air features Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum microphone modes and Enhanced voice clarity in audio and video calls, according to Apple.

M3 MacBook Air: Battery and charging

The M3 13-inch MacBook Air has the same 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery as the M2 model, while the 15-inch model offers the same 66.5-watt-hour battery as the previous generation. Unsurprisingly battery life hasn’t changed and is still up to 15 hours wireless web and up to 18 hours for movie playback, according to Apple.

The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air also support fast charging with a 70W USB-C Power Adapter or another from our list of the best MacBook Air chargers.

13-inch MacBook Air M3 (2024)

15-Inch MacBook Air M3 (2024)

MacBook 

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