Apple has unveiled its new generation MacBook Air lineup that features a number of long-awaited upgrades, including Intel’s newest processors with up to four cores as well as Iris Plus graphics, a keyboard with scissor mechanism, more memory, as well as more storage space.

Apple’s early-2020 MacBook Air laptops come in silver, space gray, as well as gold aluminum chassis that are slightly thicker and slightly heavier when compared to enclosures used for the 2018 and 2019 machines. We are still dealing with systems that are up to 1.61 cm thick and weigh no more than 1.3 kilograms, so they are still more portable than MBAs from, say, 2017.

But the slightly different dimensions and weight also brings a big performance gain, as the new MacBook Air notebooks are based on Intel’s new 10th Generation Core processors, with up to four cores as well as Iris Plus Graphics, a significant upgrade when compared to low-voltage 8th Gen dual-core Core i5 CPUs with UHD Graphics 617 used for previous-gen MBAs.

Apple doesn't specifically mention which variants of Intel's 10th gen processors it uses, but given that they describe the graphics being Iris Plus, these parts must be based on the 10nm Ice Lake lineup, as the Comet Lake products don't feature such a GPU.

The new processors are paired with 8 GB or 16 GB of LPDDR4X-3733 memory, providing substantial performance impovements and energy savings. Meanwhile, the new systems can be equipped with a 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB PCIe SSD.

While Apple completely redesigned the guts of the new MacBook Air notebooks, it did not touch their display. The new laptops still feature a 13.3-inch IPS LCD of a 2560x1600 resolution and a 227 PPI pixel density that supports True Tone technology which automatically changes white balance depending on the surrounding environment and illumination.

Connectivity wise, the new 2020 MacBook Air are generally similar to their predecessors: they have two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Wi-Fi 5 + Bluetooth 5 controller (a minor upgrade), Touch ID fingerprint reader powered by the Apple T2 chip, and a headset jack.

As many people have complained about Apple’s keyboards with butterfly switches, the company is now moving on back to good-old scissor switches that promise to be more reliable. To that end, the new MacBook Airs feature the company’s latest ‘scissor’ Magic Keyboard as well as the signature oversized trackpad with Force Touch.

The new MBAs are equipped with the same 49.9-Wh battery as previous-generation Airs, but now Apple rates them for a slightly lower 11 ~ 12 hours of battery life.

MacBook Air Specifications
Model 2020 (General) 2019 (Base) 2018 (Base) 2017 (Base)
Dimensions Width 30.4 cm  32.5 cm
Depth 21.2 cm 22.7 cm
Height 0.41 - 1.61 cm 0.41 - 1.56 cm 0.30 - 1.7 cm
Weight 2.8 lbs (1.29 kg) 2.75 lbs (1.25 kg) 2.96 lbs (1.35 kg)
CPU Core i3-1000NG4
1.10 - 3.20 GHz

Core i5-1030NG7
1.10 - 3.50 GHz

Core i7-1060NG7
1.20 - 3.80 GHz
1.6 GHz (3.60 GHz Turbo)
Core i5
2 CPU Cores
1.8GHz (2.90GHz Turbo)
Core i5-5350U
2 CPU Cores
GPU Intel Iris Plus Intel UHD Graphics 617 Intel HD Graphics 6000
Display 13.3-inch 2560x1600 IPS LCD
DCI-P3 with True Tone
13.3-inch 2560x1600 IPS LCD
13.3-inch 1440x900 TN LCD
Memory 8 - 16 GB LPDDR4X-3733 8 GB LPDDR3-2133 8 GB LPDDR3-1600
SSD 256 GB - 2 TB 128 GB PCIe 128 GB PCIe
I/O 2x USB 3.1 Type-C
w/Thunderbolt 3
3.5mm Audio
Touch ID
2x USB 3.0 Type-A
1x Thunderbolt 2
SDXC Card Reader
3.5mm Audio
Battery Capacity 49.9 Wh 50.3 Wh 54 Wh
Battery Life 11 - 12 Hours 12 Hours 12 Hours
Price $999 $1099 $1199 $999

When Apple introduced its 2018 MacBook Air notebooks, it increased their entry-level price to $1,199 (up from $999), which was not exactly a customer-friendly move. Last year the company dropped the price of its cheapest MBA model to $1,099, and this year it is finally back where it was several yeas ago, with the new MacBook Airs starting at only $999. Meanwhile, a quad-core Intel Core i5-based MacBook Air with 8 GB of LPDDR4X and 512 GB of storage is priced at $1,299.

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Source: Apple

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  • Mccaula718 - Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - link

  • Stochastic - Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - link

    They do stand out, don't they?
  • ingwe - Thursday, March 19, 2020 - link

    The XPS 13 definitely looks better but I don't feel like these bezels are large enough to be off-putting. That said, I'd rather buy the XPS 13, but that isn't due to the thin bezels.
  • id4andrei - Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - link

    You criticize the 2017 chassis but it had quality of life features like a proper usb a port and sd card slot. Also it had a proper 15W U series chip and comfortable keyboard. This is a 9W CPU so don't rush to applaud the iris graphics.
  • solipsism - Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - link

    The USB-IF says that USB-C is "proper." I look forward to the day when all the old people are either finally onboard with the better USB port interface or are dead.
  • Stochastic - Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - link

    There are still a ton of new peripherals that use USB-A. Yes, USB-C is better, but it's going to take at least another 5 years for all device manufacturers to make the transition. And not everyone can afford to upgrade their gear every time a new standard is released.
  • Rudde - Thursday, March 19, 2020 - link

    If you can afford a new MacBook Air, you better afford buying new peripherals (or dongles). It will take at least another 10 years before any new standard comes out, which means that you'll have to make the switch at some point anyways.
  • KPOM - Saturday, March 21, 2020 - link

  • id4andrei - Saturday, March 21, 2020 - link

    I've seen a review already of the i5 model. It idles at 70 degrees and reaches easily 100 at which point it throttles. 12W is boost until it begins to throttle to 9W. The latter is sustainable the 1st is not.

    The 15W U-series CPUs can spike up to 25W. In reality Apple sells a lower powered package than when the MBA was seen as the best ultrabook. 1100$ for an underpowered throttle prone machine is never a good deal. Sorry.
  • x15 - Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - link

    What is the wifi chipset, and how many antenna?

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