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
2C/4T
1.10 - 3.20 GHz

Core i5-1030NG7
4C/8T
1.10 - 3.50 GHz

Core i7-1060NG7
4C/8T
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
DCI-P3
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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  • Stephen_L - Thursday, March 26, 2020 - link

    It have way better iGPU though, 48 execution unit G4 at standard and 64 unit G7 for i5 and i7. And (compared to XPS at base price of $1249) a better screen (2560x1600 vs 1920x1200 same at 500 nits). And amazing trackpad/speakers and mic (especially important these days) to boot! Reply
  • playtech1 - Thursday, March 19, 2020 - link

    Decent keyboard, no touch bar, decent integrated graphics, quad-core, thin and light and not outrageously priced. Seems to me that the MacBook Air has gone a from pointlessly mediocre alternative to the MacBook Pro to actually pretty great.

    I hope the cooling and screen brightness are good enough though as both were issues with past iterations.
    Reply
  • scottrichardson - Thursday, March 19, 2020 - link

    I had to google the RAM speed to check it wasn't a mistake. That's the fastest (by Megahertz) RAM in any Mac, ever. Reply
  • RSAUser - Friday, March 20, 2020 - link

    Considering that there's 4200MHz and up chips hitting the market now, better late than never I guess. Reply
  • Stephen_L - Thursday, March 26, 2020 - link

    3733Mhz is enabled by intel 10 gen, apple always wanted to go faster (they generally use the fastest chip that particular cpu supports I think, of course without overclocking). 4200Mhz are overclocked ones, iirc Intel desktop CPUs Have 2666Mhz as standard and AMD have 3200Mhz. Reply
  • PaulE42 - Friday, March 20, 2020 - link

    Total novice here but really appreciate the expert reporting/comments here. You guys rock.
    I’m interested in replacing my (late) 2008 macbook pro (still going strong - hacked for Mojave).
    The 16 inch is a bit pricey.
    Is this a “powerful enough” machine? I use MakeMKV/Handbrake occasionally but a lot of stuff is mundane browser/mail stuff - with a bit of terminal thrown in!
    Otherwise I guess I should wait for the rumored 14 inch update (appreciate a it of speculation as to which chips would be in that and how the compare to these ones).
    Thanks and keep up the good work.
    Reply
  • RSAUser - Friday, March 20, 2020 - link

    If doing handbrake, the more cores the merrier, question is how often and how long you have to wait. If you really want an apple device, this is probably the best priced of the laptop devices.

    Whether you should wait or not, that's up to you.
    Reply
  • RSAUser - Friday, March 20, 2020 - link

    You will notice quite an upgrade though, pretty much anything is better than a 2008 laptop. Reply
  • PaulE42 - Friday, March 20, 2020 - link

    Thanks - it’s an old one but a good one! ;0) Reply

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