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Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Apple updates the MacBook Air for keyboard, value

Even if it feels like the economy might be going down, at least you can find comfort knowing your next laptop might not only be a better deal, it might be more comfy to use.

One of Apple’s most popular laptops is getting a change or two, as the MacBook Air is refresh for 2020.

It doesn’t seem like all that long between releases as it is, especially since Apple updated the MacBook Air with a new design, screen, and focus on USB Type C back in 2018. There’s been one slight refresh since that release, but the updates were somewhat small.

This week, however, Apple is making proper changes, as it learns from its MacBook Pro 16 release with a return to the scissor-switch keyboard of the good ol’ days, and changes a few things alongside it.

As such, the new MacBook Air offers much the same design as the 13 inch MBA before it, but with some improvements on the inside that won’t be obvious upon first glance.

For starters, there’s more storage, with the MacBook Air starting at 256GB compared to the 128GB it started at earlier. That means you’ll see a choice of either 256GB or 512GB now, with room to move in up to 2TB SSD if you have the money to spend. Memory, however, stays at 8GB with an option of 16GB if you choose to upgrade.

Inside, the processor has seen a change, too, with a move from the eighth-generation Intel Core processors to a tenth-generation option. For the entry level MacBook Air, that starts with a dual-core Intel Core i3, but if you need more grunt, there’s also a quad-core Intel Core i5 and an option for a quad-core Intel Core i7, making the MacBook Air a little more like a 13 inch MacBook Pro, but without the OLED Touch Bar.

Both have the 13 inch Retina screen, complete with Apple’s white-balancing “True Tone” feature introduced from the last MBA refresh, but it now sports one major difference from the 13 inch MacBook Pro: a new keyboard.

Officially, it’s called a “Magic Keyboard” by Apple, but the jargon-less version is a proper scissor-switch keyboard similar to what Apple used to use on its keyboards, and what Taika Waititi recently referred to at the Oscars in a slight on Apple’s current butterfly-switch keyboards.

Apple has already made a return to the older scissor-switch keyboard on its laptops, as that’s what can be found on the 16 inch MacBook Pro. It’s firmer and should be easier to repair, replacing a little bit of thickness in the design for a better keyboard.

There are other changes, too, such as support for a 6K external display through the Thunderbolt 3 ports on the side, though like the older model, there are still only two.

However the big deal is likely the price, which sees the MacBook Air fall in price, which previously started at around the $1699 mark for the 128GB model and cost $1999 for a 256GB dual-core i5 model.

This week, however, the 2020 MacBook Air will start from $1599 for 256GB in a dual-core i3, while $1999 will get you a 512GB model with a quad-core Intel i5, a pretty notable increase of each.

“From students and consumers buying their first computer to customers looking to upgrade, everyone loves the Mac, and they especially love MacBook Air,” said Tom Boger, Senior Director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing.

“With its stunning, thin and light design, brilliant Retina display, all-day battery life and the power and ease-of-use of macOS, MacBook Air is the world’s best consumer notebook,” he said.

Availability of the new MacBook Air will be from next week, though the laptop is available to order from today. Unfortunately, you can’t go into an Apple Store as they’re closed at present, but other retailers as well as Apple’s online presence should see the 2020 MacBook Air very shortly.

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