Comparison: MacBook Air (M1) vs MacBook Air (Intel)
Apple promised earlier this year that before the end of 2020, it would launch new Macs with the new processors made by the company. These Apple Silicon models are here, the new MacBook Air being the first to be introduced.
We compare the MacBook Air with M1 with the model with Intel that it has succeeded and conclude if you should start saving to take a step towards the age of Silicon.
Price and availability
With the new M1 processor (more on it below), the prices of the new MacBook Air were expected to go up. Well, it was not like that, and surely you have been as surprised as we are.
The truth is that Apple announced that the price will be announced at € 1,129, somewhat less than what the Air Intel cost at the beginning of the year. In Mexico, yes, it now costs from MXN $ 25,999, somewhat more than the previous model.
This is the price breakdown:
MacBook Air with M1
- MacBook Air Silicon | Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU; 256 GB of storage; 8 GB of RAM: € 1,129 / MXN $ 25,999
- MacBook Air Silicon | Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU; 512 GB of storage; 8 GB of RAM: € 1,399 / MXN $ 32,999
These models replace the MacBook Airs released in early 2020:
MacBook Air with Intel
- MacBook Air (2020) | 1.1 GHz dual-core 10th generation Intel Core i3; 256 GB of storage; 8 GB RAM: € 1,199 / MXN $ 24,999
- MacBook Air (2020) | 1.1 GHz Dual Core 10th Gen Intel Core i5; 512 GB of storage; 8 GB RAM: € 1,499 / MXN $ 32,999
If you look at it, in Spain the 512 GB version has also seen its price reduced with the Silicon model. With the release of Silicon Airs, previous models have been discontinued, but you should be able to buy in other stores offer , or at least until stocks are exhausted.
The new Silicon MacBook Airs can be purchased directly from Apple , with its official launch date being November 17.
Design and performance
There is no doubt that the biggest changes that have been made to the MacBook Air are in the electronic components and not in its exterior. The new model is practically the same as its predecessor, with the chassis with typical rounded edges, with dimensions of 304.1 x 212.4 x 16.1 mm and a weight of 1.29 kg.
On the sides, there are two Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports, compatible with USB 3.1 (2nd gen.), But the new models have the new USB 4 version, supposedly because Apple has abandoned Intel.
You’ll also find a 3.5mm headphone jack port on both models, as well as the Touch ID sensor to unlock the device and use Apple Pay online .
There are a couple of differences. Although there is no change to the backlit Magic Keyboard, the display has been updated on the new MacBook Air. It’s still a 13.3 ”IPS LED panel with 2560 x 1600 resolution and True Tone technology, but Apple has added wide color gamut support (P3).
Another big difference is that this model does not include a fan, which allows the new MacBook Air to run completely silently even with intense tasks, which are sure to be common now that the processor has been beefed up.
Performance and Specifications
There is no doubt that the highlight of the new MacBook Air comes in the form of a small square processor that is at the center of the update.
No traffic jam with the M1
Apple’s first new age chip for the Mac is the M1 SoC, and it seems like a good place to start. With 8-core CPUs (4 for performance and 4 for efficiency) and 7 or 8-core GPUs depending on the model you buy, it’s a monster.
Apple claims the new processor is better than the Intel version in the previous MacBook Air in several respects. These include the following capabilities:
- Export a project for the web with iMovie up to 3 times faster.
- Integrate 3D effects into a video in Final Cut Pro up to 5 times faster.
- Play and edit multiple high-quality 4K ProRes videos in Final Cut Pro for the first time without dropping a frame.
- Export photos from Lightroom up to two times faster.
- Use ML functions like Smart Conform in Final Cut Pro to intelligently frame a clip up to 4.3 times faster.
- Watch more movies and TV shows with a battery life of up to 18 hours, the longest ever on a MacBook Air.
- Extend FaceTime and other video calls up to two more times on a single charge.
It’s a pretty comprehensive list, especially considering that Apple is comparing it to a product of its own and not a rival’s.
But the thing does not end here, since Apple ensures that, thanks to the M1’s storage controller, the performance of the SSD can be twice as fast as that of the old MacBook Air, while machine learning (facial recognition, etc.) it is nine times faster.
CPU performance is three times faster, graphics are five times faster, and all while battery life has been extended up to 15 hours of web browsing or 18 hours of video playback.
The M1 even improves upon the woeful 720p FaceTime camera by reducing noise and improving the camera’s image quality, which has become essential on those days when we don’t stop making Zoom calls .
Other improvements have been made, such as the introduction of the Wi-Fi 6 standard and greater integration with macOS Big Sur , which means that older apps should be able to run on new hardware without problems.
The older MacBook Air will also benefit from the new macOS Big Sur features, but it is clear that Apple is now betting more on M1 devices, with the new M1 Mac mini now available as well .
Of course, we will have to check all this in our review , but Apple is usually quite accurate when comparing its own products, so hopefully the new MacBook Air with M1 can deliver impressive results when compared to the 2020 version of Intel. first MacBook Air benchmarks promise.
Here’s a breakdown of the specs for both models:
|MacBook Air Silicon||MacBook Air (2020)|
|screen||13.3 ”IPS LED display |
2560 x 1600 resolution
Wide color gamut (P3)
True Tone technology
|13.3 ”IPS LED Screen |
2560 x 1600 Resolution
True Tone Technology
|Processor||M1 with 8-core CPU (4 performance and 4 efficiency) and 7-core |
Neural Engine 16-core GPU
|1.1 GHz 10-core 10th Gen Intel Core i3|
|RAM||8 GB (configurable to 16 GB)||8 GB (configurable to 16 GB)|
|Storage||256 GB | 512 GB | 1 TB | 2 TB||256 GB | 512 GB | 1 TB | 2 TB|
|Graphics||7-core M1 GPU||Intel Iris Plus|
|Ports||2 x Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C (USB 4) |
3.5mm jack port
|2 x Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C (USB 4) |
3.5mm jack port
|Wifi||Wi-Fi 6||Wi-Fi 5|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5||Bluetooth 5|
|Camera||720p FaceTime HD||720p FaceTime HD|
|Battery||49.9 Wh lithium polymer battery||49.9 Wh lithium polymer battery|
|OS||macOS Big Sur||macOS Big Sur|
|Dimensions||304.1 x 212.4 x 4.1-16.1 mm||304.1 x 212.4 x 4.1-16.1 mm|
|Weight||1.29 kg||1.29 kg|
|Price||€ 1,129 / MXN $ 25,999||€ 1,199 / MXN $ 24,999|
The new MacBook Air models with M1 seem to be a big step forward for the range, and the price has not been raised or the classic and elegant design has been changed. Some problems may occur, as with any hardware change , but if the M1 processor is half its potential, the new Airs will triumph.