Apple MacBook Air gets more power with M3 chips - Hindustan Times
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Apple MacBook Air gets more power with M3 chips

Mar 04, 2024 08:21 PM IST

There are three base specs each for the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air that will go on sale in India, and Apple is talking about a Neural Engine that’s optimised for AI models

This is Apple’s first product announcement for the year, and it isn’t a minor one. The 13-inch MacBook Air and the 15-inch MacBook Air, have received the 3-namometer architecture M3 chips, giving them a performance renewal that’ll likely set the trajectory for inevitable refresh for the MacBook Pro updates later. Apple says the M3 MacBook Air versions are “up to 60 percent faster” than the M1 MacBook Air from a couple of years ago, and 13x faster than the last Intel chip powered MacBook Air that Apple made (they just had to get this point across, didn’t they?).

The 13-inch MacBook Air and the 15-inch MacBook Air, have received the 3-namometer architecture M3 chips. (Apple)
The 13-inch MacBook Air and the 15-inch MacBook Air, have received the 3-namometer architecture M3 chips. (Apple)

The M3’s comparison with the M1 to highlight what a difference a couple of generations makes, is something we’d seen even with the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro refresh as well, late last year. Apple insists both MacBook Air can deliver up to 18 hours of battery life, and the headline changes include support for dual external displays and faster Wi-Fi 6E standard, and a gentle reference to the AI conversation too – the M3’s 16-core Neural Engine is optimised for specific AI models including for certain macOS functionality such as enabling camera features, real-time speech to text, translation, text predictions and visual understanding. Further details on specific models and functionality, is awaited.

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Apple has detailed some third-party apps that will be able to take advantage of the Neural Engine optimisations, including checking homework with AI Math Assistance in Goodnotes 6 and enhancing photos in the Pixelmator Pro app. There is confirmation that cloud based solutions such as Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, Canva, and Adobe Firefly, do have complete support.

This, whilst retaining the fan-less aluminium unibody design, the Liquid Retina Display and MagSafe charging. “From college students pursuing their degrees, to business users who need powerful productivity, or anyone who simply wants the unmatched combination of performance, portability, and industry-leading battery life, all in a fanless design, the new MacBook Air continues to be the world’s best thin and light laptop,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

There are three base specs each for the 13-inch MacBook Air and the 15-inch MacBook Air that will go on sale in India. The former’s prices start 1,14,900 and this will have an M3 with an 8-core CPU, an 8-core GPU and 8GB RAM with 256GB storage. The variants that are priced at 1,34,900 and 1,54,900 will be powered by the M3 with 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU and 512GB SSD storage, with 8GB and 16GB RAM respectively. The 15-inch MacBook Air prices start 1,34,900.

At this time, the previous generation M2 powered 13-inch MacBook Air (this was released in 2022; the 15-inch MacBook Air broke cover in the summer of 2023) will still remain on sale, and we suspect that is purely because it gives Apple a significant pricing advantage – those two variants are priced at 99,900 and 1,19,900.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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