It’s not an envelope moment, but it’s pretty nifty.
Apple unveiled a shiny new 2018 MacBook Air at its product launch event in Brooklyn on Tuesday. It’s the most meaningful physical redesign of Apple’s least expensive (and definitely cutest) laptop since 2015.
“It’s time for a new MacBook Air, one that takes the MacBook Air experience even further in the areas that are most important to our customers,” Tim Cook said.
That means a new display. The 2018 Air is equipped with a 13.3 inch Retina Display, which is an upgrade from the previous LED backlit. With 4 million pixels, its bezels are 50 percent thinner, it has 4x the resolution, and 48 percent more color.
The big attraction of the Air has been its portability and lightness, paired with the relatively inexpensive prior price tag of $999. But its specs have been outdated in comparison with the rest of the market.
The redesign addresses those concerns, while (mostly) improving upon what makes the Air great. It still has 12 hours of battery life, and is now 2.75 pounds, and is 10 percent thinner.
Unfortunately, it now costs $1199, which Apple described as its cheapest machine with a Retina Display. True, but that extra $200 bumps it up above the $1,000 threshold which is… noted.
It has also souped up the Air’s guts, with an 8th Gen Intel dual-core CPU, plus faster memory and SSDs.
In the ports department, it has pared down. The Air comes with two Thunderbold USB-C ports on the left, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right. Sayonara, USB 3.
The new Air also gets Touch ID, but still won’t have the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. Apple is also tripling down on its controversial redesigned keyboard, meaning the Air will no longer come with the more beloved and manually responsive keyboard of prior models (including the recently murdered 2015 MacBook Pro).
One of the coolest updates is the fact that Apple now makes the body out of 100 percent recycled aluminum. This new manufacturing process reportedly allows for a smaller carbon footprint. Apple production, all in, is not as green as the company touts, but this seems like a great step.
Apple’s laptop redesigns have not been received well in recent years. In the past, the Air had gotten better processing and battery life, but just didn’t cut it; because it had been deprived of meaningful updates, Mashable’s Ray Wong recently called it “a shadow of its former self.” People have reviled the MacBook and MacBook Pro’s new keyboards. And the recent machines have consigned MacBook users to dongle hell.
Now, if Air users can adapt to life with lightning ports, and afford the extra $200 in a new laptop, the 2018 MacBook Air is looking pretty sweet.
The new Air comes in three finishes, including a rose gold. You can pre-order it today, and shipping starts next week.