Apple launches M3 MacBook Air with faster performance, connect two external displays at once

Apple launches M3 MacBook Air with faster performance, connect two external displays at once

Apple today announced its next-generation M3 MacBook Air range, in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes. The new models are available to order today, and will start shipping March 8.

The new laptops feature the M3 chip with faster CPU and GPU performance, an upgraded Neural Engine, and up to 2x faster Wi-Fi. The chip now also supports connecting up to two external displays at once, finally making up for one of the few feature regressions in the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon … sort of.

The headline feature of being able to connect two displays at once does come with a slight gotcha … it only works when the laptop lid is closed. That means you can now have a MacBook Air desk setup with two external displays, but the laptop must stay in clamshell mode. If the lid is open, the Air screen is on and you can only have one active external display, just like the previous M1 and M2 models.

This is an improvement for the Apple Silicon era of MacBook Air, but still trails what used to be possible on the Intel Airs. (On the Intel Air, you could connect two external displays and also actively use the laptop’s own screen.)

As far as specs are concerned, the M3 MacBook Air features a faster 8-core CPU combined with up to 10-core GPU. Apple is also calling the new Air the “world’s best consumer laptop for AI” thanks to the inclusion of a faster 16-core Neural Engine. The Wi-Fi radios have been upgraded to support Wi-Fi 6E, which allows for maximum theoretical download speeds that are twice as fast as the previous generation.

The overall design of the M3 MacBook Air is the same as the M2 model, featuring the thin bezel screen with camera notch cutout, and flat edged chassis. This is a solid spec bump update for both the 13-inch and 15-inch sizes.

The 13-inch and 15-inch are available in midnight, starlight, space gray and silver. The midnight colorway features an anodization seal to reduce visible fingerprints, as previously introduced on the M3 MacBook Pro last fall.

You can order the new laptops starting today from the Apple online store. The 13-inch MacBook Air with M3 starts at $1099, or $999 for education. The 15-inch model starts at $1299, or $1199 for education. These are the same price points as the previous M2 range.

The 13-inch M2 MacBook Air remains on sale at a new lower price of $999, following the discontinuation of the M1 model.

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