Apple announces new MacBook Air with M1 chip starting at $999

MacBook Air (late 2020)
MacBook Air (late 2020) (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple held it's "One More Thing" event today.
  • The company announced a new MacBook Air featuring the M1 processor.
  • The new laptop achieves CPU speeds up to 3X and GPU speeds up to 5X faster than previous models.

Today at Apple's "One More Thing" event, Apple announced its first Mac running the M1 processer, the new MacBook Air.

The M1 processor enables the new MacBook Air to achieve CPU speeds of up to three and a half times faster than previous MacBook Airs. Concerning graphics, the new GPU achieves performance of up to five times faster than previous models. This new level of performance allows it to do things like editing multiple streams of 4K video in ProRes.

Apple New MacBook Air Gold Imovie Screen

Apple New MacBook Air Gold Imovie Screen (Image credit: Apple)

Apple says that, compared to the best-selling Windows laptop, the new MacBook Air is three times faster. It is reportedly faster than 98% of PC laptops sold in the last year.

Apple has listed a number of things showcasing the improved performance of the new MacBook Air below:

  • Export a project for the web with iMovie up to 3x faster.
  • Integrate 3D effects into video in Final Cut Pro up to 5x faster.
  • For the first time, play back and edit multiple streams of full-quality, 4K ProRes video in Final Cut Pro without dropping a frame.
  • Export photos from Lightroom up to twice as fast.
  • Use ML-based features like Smart Conform in Final Cut Pro to intelligently frame a clip up to 4.3x faster.
  • Watch more movies and TV shows with up to 18 hours of battery life, the longest ever on MacBook Air.
  • Extend FaceTime and other video calls for up to twice as long on a single charge.

The new MacBook Air features Apple's Neural Engine which enables nine times faster machine learning processing than the previous. Despite all of these huge performance improvements, the new MacBook Air runs without any need for a fan. Apple says that the laptop runs completely silent.

The M1 processor greatly improves battery life, enabling around 15 hours of wireless web browsing, 18 hours of video playback, and twice as long when video conferencing. This is up to six hours more battery life than the previous models and the best battery life of any MacBook Air Apple has ever made.

Apple New Macbookair Gold Facetime Screen

Apple New MacBook Air Gold Facetime Screen (Image credit: Apple)

The new MacBook Air features a new image signal processor that improves camera image quality with better noise reduction, better dynamic range, and better white-balance. It also features face detection so that you look better on FaceTime and video conferencing calls.

The laptop maintains its 13-inch Retina display and now includes support for P3 wide color. It also sticks with Touch ID for authentication rather than upgrading to Face ID. The SSD is twice as fast, and you can upgrade the RAM to up to 16GB. It features Wifi 6 and up to a 2TB SSD hard drive. It also packs thunderbolt and support for USB 4.

Apple New Macbookair Gold Retina Display Screen

Apple New MacBook Air Gold Retina Display Screen (Image credit: Apple)

If the new features of the MacBook Air isn't something you necessarily need and you'd rather save some money on one of the current MacBook Air models, there are some great Black Friday deals going on for the current generation MacBook Air.

The new MacBook Air featuring the M1 processor still starts at $999, or $899 for those who can purchase using an education discount. Preorders for the new MacBook Air start today with shipping beginning next week.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.