Apple Drops New MacBook Air With Powerful M3 Chip

In October, Apple unveiled the next-gen 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with new M3 chipsets. While it was inevitable the MacBook Air would receive the same treatment, it was mainly a question of when. The wait is finally over. Today, the company announced updated versions of its 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air with the latest M3 chip. Both models are available for purchase starting today and will begin to arrive on March 8.

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Apple didn’t make any external changes to either laptop. After all, it’s only been two years since it launched the fully redesigned 13-inch MacBook Air—ditching the signature wedge design for a boxier frame, adding a slightly larger 13.6-inch display, upgrading the webcam to 1080p, and including a MagSafe port for charging.

15-inch MacBook Air

Photograph: Brenda Stolyar

The 15-inch MacBook Air, on the other hand, was released less than a year ago. It was the first of its kind in the Air lineup and includes a majority of the same features as its smaller counterpart. So, it makes sense that Apple kept the same design on both.

The noteworthy upgrades can be found under the hood. Unlike the M1 and M2 chipsets, the M3 lineup is built on a 3-nanometer process, which means it packs more transistors into a smaller space and enhances both the speed and power efficiency of the chip. It packs new features, too, including ray tracing, mesh shading, and dynamic caching. You can read more about those features here.

The M3, specifically, is Apple’s latest entry-level chip. It packs an 8-core CPU and up to 10-core GPU, making it a great option for completing basic tasks like word processing, using spreadsheets, sending emails, and light gaming. Apple claims CPU performance is up to 35 percent faster and GPU performance is up to 65 percent faster when compared to the M1. Meanwhile, both the CPU and GPU are 20 percent faster than the M2.