MacBook Air 2018: Apple revives its ultraportable MacBook

Apple has finally announced an updated MacBook Air laptop at its October product event, confirming rumours from earlier this year that it was planning to revive the device.

This is the first time Apple has revisited the MacBook Air since its last iteration in 2012, opting instead to push its ultraportable MacBook device. The key takeaways from this new version of the MacBook Air is that it’s more powerful than before, sports a recycled aluminium chassis and now has a Retina Display.

Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s brand-new MacBook Air devices.

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New MacBook Air 2018: Price and release date

As is the case with nearly all products Apple announces at its events, the MacBook Air is available for pre-order immediately from Apple’s online store. Pre-orders will be shipped, and the laptop will be available at retail, from 7 November.

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The price, however, is not for the faint of heart. Unlike past MacBook Air’s, which have always been entry-level Apple Mac devices with sub £1,000 price tags, this year’s model starts at £1,199. If you want 256GB of SSD space instead of 138GB, you’ll have to pay even more at £1,399

It’s a hefty price for the device, especially since you can get current MacBook Airs on Amazon for around £800-£900, and the super-slim MacBook is only £100 more than these new Airs. For less money, you could opt for the fantastic Surface Laptop 2, which comes equipped with a more powerful 8th-generation Intel Core i5 and premium finish for a lot less.

New MacBook Air 2018: Design

At first glance, the new MacBook Air doesn’t look wholly different from its previous iteration. Look a little deeper, however, and you’ll spot that this time it comes with two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, a headphone jack and Apple’s signature Retina Display – something past MacBook Air’s were sorely missing.

By upgrading to a Retina Display, the MacBook Air’s 13.3” display is made up of 4 million pixels, instead of the 1 million found in previous MacBook Airs. This provides 48% better colour coverage, which Apple believes makes it great for artistic projects. The screen’s glass covering also stretches from edge-to-edge, meaning there’s no bezel to worry about either.

In terms of size, the MacBook Air has 17% less volume, is 10% thinner, and weighs a twelfth less than previous MacBook Airs. It’s also a laptop designed for those who are somewhat environmentally conscious (yet still want a brand-spanking new product), the tin used in the motherboard is completely recycled; the aluminium alloy shell is made of 100% recycled aluminium, and the plastic body is comprised of 35% “post-consumer” plastics. Not bad.

It’s also available in gold, grey or black finishes.

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New MacBook Air 2018: Features and Specifications

With the new MacBook Air Apple is promising up to 12 hours of battery life while web browsing, or 13 hours if you’re watching films on iTunes. MacBook batteries tend to perform very well, but we’ll still need to get our hands on it to properly test that statement out for ourselves.

Like the iPad and newest MacBook Pros – as well as former iPhones – the MacBook Air now has Touch ID to provide a secure unlock to the laptop. This is a major upgrade, cutting down on time spent fiddling around on the old third-gen keyboard that the laptop is carrying over from previous MacBook Airs.

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In addition, the trackpad has been upgraded to a Force Touch touchpad. This doesn’t make you a Jedi, but uses haptic feedback to provide tactile interactions with what you’re clicking on. It basically means the pad doesn’t move, but you can also do “press and hold” clicks to open up new options. It’s likely the exact same Force Touch touchpad as found on all current-generation MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

In terms of specifications, the MacBook Air comes with an 8th-generation Intel dual-core i5, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Other configurations are available, as always, but this is what Apple is slating as its entry-level MacBook Air.

Comparing this to other competitors on the market, it’s not looking too strong. While we don’t quite know what’s in Google’s new Chrome OS hybrid, the Pixel Slate, it’s certainly more expensive and less powerful than Microsoft’s own Surface Laptop – which is similar in size, specs and function.

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