Apple Updates MacBook Air with Retina Display

Apple is finally updating the MacBook Air. And, at last, it has a retina display and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. There's no SD card reader. Apple claims the laptop has 17 percent less volume than its predecessor and weighs 2.75 pounds. It starts at with a Core i5 CPU, 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM for $1,199, so it doesn't fall at the sub-$1,000 price many expected as a "budget" device. The new MacBook Air launches on November 7.

The CPU uses an 8th Gen dual-core Intel Core i5 (Amber Lake) CPU with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1.5TB of SSD storage. Apple also claims "all-day battery life" with up to 13 hours of iTunes movie playback or 12 hours of web browsing.

The 13.3-inch display offers over 4 million pixels, though the company didn't mention a specific resolution on stage.

The company also discuss colors but showed three different hues on stage.

Additionally, the new MacBook Air has TouchID. It's the first MacBook to use the fingerprint reader without a Touch Bar, like the more expensive MacBook Pros. It uses Apple's T2 chip to secure TouchID information and to protect data during the boot process, as well as data encryption for the SSD, plus the Hey Siri feature. 

The keyboard has the same butterfly keyboard as the MacBook Pro, which may be controversial for some because of a shallow typing experience. The trackpad is being updated to use Force Touch and has 20 percent more surface area than on the previous MacBook Air.

The company also says that it will offer more bass and volume, as well as a three-microphone array for Siri.

Apple's announced its refreshed device at an event in Brooklyn today, where CEO Tim Cook described the lineup as being “designed for creativity.” He said there is an install base of 100 million.

Apple also announced that every single MacBook Air will be made from 100 percent recycled aluminum.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon