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Apple’s New M3 MacBook Airs: 4 Reasons You Should (Maybe) Upgrade

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Apple’s New M3 MacBook Airs: 4 Reasons You Should (Maybe) Upgrade

Apple has announced refreshed 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs equipped with its newest M3 chip. Here’s what you need to know.

Apple has officially announced its first new products of 2024 not named the Vision Pro. Today, it unveiled refreshed 13- and 15-inch MacBook Airs with its new M3 chip. They start at $1,099 and $1,299, respectively. Both are up for pre-order today and will start shipping this Friday (March 8th).

Apple’s new lightweight laptops are identical to their M2 predecessors — which were released in June 2022 (for 13-inch M2 MacBook Air) and June 2023 (for the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air) — in pretty much every way. They have the same Liquid Retina displays, same great battery life (up to 18 hours), same keyboard, and same charging ports. Aside from the M3 chip, the only other internal upgrade is that the new models support Wi-Fi 6E (instead of Wi-Fi 6), so they should get a little faster and better connectivity. 

That said, there are a few neat tidbits and differences with the M3 MacBook Airs that are worth nothing.

1. The 13-inch MacBook Air Just Got $100 Cheaper

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The 13-inch and 15-inch M3 MacBook Airs are identical to their M2 predecessors.
Apple

The 13-inch M3 MacBook Air starts at $1,099 and comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB of base storage. This is actually $100 cheaper than the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air, which started at $1,199 when it was released in June 2022. The 15-inch M3 MacBook Air has the same $1,299 starting price as its M2 counterpart. 

If you’re looking for a good deal on a slightly older laptop, Apple is going to continue selling the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air — and it’s lowered the starting price to $999.

2. The M3 MacBook Airs can support dual external displays (with a catch)

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The M3 MacBook Airs can support up to two external monitors.
Apple

Aside from the M3 chip, probably the most meaningful upgrade with the new M3 MacBook Airs is that they offer support for up to two external displays instead of just one like their predecessors. This makes these new M3 MacBook Airs even more viable for people working with multiple displays.  

There is a catch to this dual display support, however. In order for dual display support to work the lid of the laptop has to be closed. So you can’t have two displays and your laptop screen open all at the same time. 

3. There’s a new midnight color option (sort of)

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The new midnight finish on the M3 MacBook Airs is supposed to be less of a fingerprint magnet.
Apple

The M3 MacBook Airs are available in four different finishes: there’s starlight (gold), space gray, silver and midnight (dark blue). These are the same finishes as the M2 MacBook Airs, but the difference is that the midnight finish now comes in with a new anodization seal that is designed to reduce fingerprint smudges, which was a common problem with the previous finish. 

4. The M3 factor

Finally, there’s the M3 difference. Apple unveiled its lineup of M3 chips — which includes the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max — in October 2023 when it announced its refreshed 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. The newest MacBook Airs are only available with the most entry-level M3 chip, but they promise substantial performance and efficiency gains over older MacBook Airs … specifically M1 or Intel-based MacBook Airs.

According to the company’s press release, the M3 MacBook Airs are “up to 60 percent faster than the model with the M1 chip and up to 13x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air.” The M3 promises to be an upgrade over its M2 predecessor, too, but the gains aren’t as significant.

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M3 MacBook Air (13-inch)

The 13-inch M3 MacBook Air looks identical to the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air that was released in 2022. It has the same display, keyboard, MagSafe and Thunderbolt ports, speakers, microphone and webcam. The big difference is that it is now equipped with Apple’s M3 processor and it can support two external monitors at once.

Specs

Display 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone
Processor M3
Starting Price $1,099+
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M3 MacBook Air (15-inch)

The 15-inch M3 MacBook Air is basically identical to the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air that was released in June 2023. The new model is equipped with Apple’s superior M3 processor, which promises big performance and efficiency gains, as well as dual display support.

Specs

Display 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone
Processor M3
Starting Price $1,299+
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