Apple has officially unveiled the latest MacBook Air. This latest version, which has arrived in March 2020, remains part of the third-generation and serves as a follow up to the July 2019 release. There are some similarities between the 2019 and 2020 models, however, the 2020 model is arriving with some notable improvements in terms of the processor, storage, and keyboard.
To that point, while the 2020 MacBook Air will retain the ‘entry-level’ designation in the Apple MacBook lineup, this release does bring the notebook a bit closer to the currently available MacBook Pro (2019 13.3-inch model). And, in terms of portability — it is hard to argue with the sub-3-pound weight of the MacBook Air.
MacBook Air: Colors, display and size
Similar to the 2019 MacBook Air, this latest MacBook Air is available in three colors: Gold, Space Gray, and Silver. In terms of the display, those checking out the MacBook Air will find a 13.3-inch True Tone display with a native resolution of 2560 x 1600, an aspect ratio of 16:10, and a 227 ppi.
Touching back on the weight — the MacBook Air did gain a little weight as compared to the previous years model, however, it remains the lightest (currently available) notebook in the Apple lineup. The 2020 MacBook Air weighs in at 2.8 pounds. In comparison, the 2019 MacBook Air weighed in at 2.75 pounds and the 2019 13.3-inch MacBook Pro weighs in at 3.02 pounds.
Measurements for the MacBook Air include a width of 11.97-inches and a depth of 8.36-inches. Otherwise, the MacBook Air has a tapered design that goes from 0.16-inches on the thinnest side to 0.63-inches on the thickest side.
MacBook Air: Specs
- 13.3-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology (2560 x 1600, 227ppi, 16:10 aspect ratio, True Tone technology)
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics
- 1.1GHz dual-core 10th generation Intel Core i3 (standard)
- 1.1GHz quad-core 10th generation Intel Core i5 or 1.2GHz quad-core 10th generation Intel Core i7 (as upgrades)
- 8GB (standard) or 16GB of RAM
- 256GB (standard), with options to upgrade to 512GB, 1TB or 2TB of storage
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Stereo Speakers
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Three-mic array
- 720p FaceTime HD camera
- Full-size 78 key keyboard with LED-backlit keys and ambient light sensor
- Force Touch trackpad
- Touch ID sensor
- Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
- Up to 12 hours of battery life
- 30W USB-C power adapter
- 0.16-0.63 (H) x 11.97 (W) x 8.36 (D) inches
- 2.8 pounds
MacBook Air: Features
The MacBook Air sits alongside the MacBook Pro in the Apple notebook lineup. The Pro can be spec’d out if you are looking for the most power and performance. The MacBook Air on the other hand, is likely the better option for most users. The notebook is plenty powerful, especially with the 2020 model year improvements. The MacBook Air also shines in terms of portability due to the 2.8 pound weight. Apple has chosen to highlight three areas in terms of the 2020 model MacBook Air — performance, storage, and keyboard
- Performance: Apple is touting two times faster CPU performance and up to 80 percent faster graphics performance. If you read the fine print, you’ll see these comparisons were done using the 2020 with 1.2GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage vs the 2019 with 1.6GHz Core i5, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage. We’d expect to see a performance boost going from the Core i5 to the Core i7, but even outside this specific Apple test — the 2020 model year does come with the 10th generation Intel processors, which is a decent bump.
- Storage: This one is simple — Apple has doubled the storage amounts. The base-model 2020 has 256GB of SSD storage and can max out at 2TB of SSD storage.
- Keyboard: This is the keyboard many users have been waiting to see added. The 2020 MacBook Air features the Magic keyboard, which is the same keyboard that was introduced on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple has said the Magic Keyboad is a redesigned scissor mechanism that delivers “1mm of key travel for a comfortable and stable key feel.” Further details on the keyboard include a “new inverted-“T” arrangement for the arrow keys makes them easier to find without looking down.”
Aside from these new features, the MacBook Air retains some of the key overall features. We’ve mentioned the display, which is a 13.3-inch Retina display. The MacBook Air also features Touch ID which helps to secure your notebook. The Touch ID can be used to unlock (access) your notebook, and also make it easier to enter your payment information. Apple also has the T2 security chip paired with the Touch ID. The Apple T2 security chip helps to protect you by checking to make sure the software has not been tampered with during the boot process, and also by providing on-the-fly data encryption.
Another highlight of the 2020 MacBook Air is the external monitor support. This new model is able to support a single 6k display (at 6016 x 3384). In addition, the MacBook Air also supports a single 5k display (at 5120 x 2880), or up to two 4K displays (at 4096 x 2304).
MacBook Air: 2020 vs 2019 model years
The 2020 and 2019 MacBook Air models both look the same externally. And, the display is also the same across both models. Both have a 13.3-inch display with True Tone technology. Internally though, the 2020 MacBook Air is where the improvements can be found. The improvements can be found in the graphics card, processor, storage, Bluetooth, and keyboard.
|2019 MacBook Air ($1,099)||2020 MacBook Air ($999)|
|Graphics Card||Intel UHD Graphics 617||Intel Iris Plus Graphics|
|Processor||1.6GHz dual-core 8th generation Intel Core i5||1.1GHz dual-core 10th generation Intel Core i3|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.2||Bluetooth 5|
|Keyboard||Butterfly||Magic Keyboard (scissor switch)|
*All specs noted as base model.
As you’ll see in the table (above), the 2019 model looks a bit nicer in terms of the processor speed. But it is important to note the jump from the 8th generation to the 10th generation. In addition, the base-model 2019 comes with a $100 premium as compared to to the base-model 2020 price.
Apple offers an option to upgrade the processor on the base-model 2020 to a 10th generation 1.1GHz Intel Core i5 processor, which (if you were looking to buy new) seems like the way to go, especially considering the base-model 2020 also has double the storage capacity and the Magic Keyboard.
MacBook Air: Pricing
Apple is offering the 2020 MacBook Air in two base model configurations. These are priced at $999 and $1,299. The differences between these models are with the processor and the storage.
- $999: 1.1GHz dual-core Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD storage
- $1,299: 1.1GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD storage
The $999 model sits with a good entry level price point, however, with the bump in the processor (dual-core i3 to quad-core i5) and getting double the storage capacity — the $1,299 model would seem the way to go. Well, that is assuming you were looking to purchase a brand new MacBook Air from Apple and pay regular retail price.
The 2020 MacBook Air is a decent upgrade over the 2019 MacBook Air, but that is not to say the 2019 model is lacking in any way. In fact, the 2019 MacBook Air should be more than capable for the majority of regular computer users.
Prices on Swappa will vary based on the condition of the notebook, and also on the specs, such as processor and internal storage. However, as of this writing (March 2020) the 2019 MacBook Air prices range from $825 to $1150.
Here at Swappa, we aim to help buyers save money — and grabbing a newish 2019 model may be a good way to save some serious money.