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Apple Introduces M3 MacBook Air with Faster Performance, Longer Battery, and More External Display Support

Apple is gearing up for a slate of new product updates, starting today with the introduction of a new duo of MacBook Air laptops with the M3 system on a chip (SOC).

The upgrade to M3 brings some notable and welcome improvements to these laptops, including better battery life, support for more external displays, and faster performance. When purchased in the midnight color, both the 13- and 15-inch laptops will also feature Apple’s new anodization process that reduces fingerprints.

Apple’s new anodization process reduces fingerprints on the midnight M3 MacBook Air.

The M3 SOC will feature an 8-core CPU and up to a 10-core GPU. The upgrade brings a 60% speed boost to the Air when compared to the M1 model. Though Apple doesn’t say how much faster the M3 model is compared to the M2 models, the company does point out that these new laptops are 13x faster than the fastest Intel MacBook Air.

And because this is an M3 device, the new Air laptops support hardware-accelerated ray tracing and support for AV1 decode for more efficient and higher-quality streaming video.

The update also brings an improvement to battery life. Apple says the M3 Air now last up to 18 hours between charges.

The M3 MacBook Air brings support for two external displays.

Another huge new feature for those that dock their laptops is that the M3 allows these new MacBook Airs to support two external displays. This is the first time that a base M-Series chip has supported dual external displays in the MacBook Air.

Apple is also noting in its release materials that the M3 Air is also the “World’s Best Consumer Laptop for AI.” It’s a curious inclusion—it’s doubtful many who need their laptop to do AI work would choose a MacBook Air, especially one limited to up to 24GB of RAM capacity—but it’s there nonetheless.

Instead, by “AI work” Apple really means AI-powered efficiency, noting that the M3 allows macOS to deliver “intelligent features that enhance productivity and creativity, so users can enable powerful camera features, real-time speech to text, translation, text predictions, visual understanding, accessibility features, and much more.”

The 13-inch M3 MacBook Air starts at $1,099, while the 15-inch model starts at $1,299. Both models come with 8GB of RAM. Upgrading to 16GB adds $200, while going up to 24GB adds $400.

Standard storage capacity is still 256GB. Upgrading to 512GB adds $200, the 1TB configuration adds $400, and a 2TB configuration is available for an additional $800.

Midnight, space gray, starlight, and silver are the available colors.

Of note is that Apple will also continue to sell the 13-inch M2 Air at a slightly lower starting price: $999.

Preorders start today, March 4, with orders beginning to arrive March 8.

OWC Wayne G
the authorOWC Wayne G
Tech lover, multimedia creator, and marketing manager for OWC's Rocket Yard and Mission Control blogs.
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  • Shame on Apple the minimum ram should be 32 and the ssd 1tb.
    The price on both is so cheap on the supplier side.