|Discontinued||November 10, 2020Intel-based)(|
|System on a chip||Apple M1 (current)|
|Related articles||MacBook, MacBook Pro|
|This article is part of a series on the|
|List of Mac models by case type and CPU type|
The MacBook Air is a line of notebook computers developed and manufactured by Apple Inc. It consists of a full-size keyboard, a machined aluminum case, and, in the more modern versions, a thin light structure. The Air was originally positioned above the previous MacBook line as a premium ultraportable. Since then, the original MacBook's discontinuation in 2011, and lowered prices on subsequent iterations, have made the Air Apple's entry-level notebook. In the current product line, the MacBook Air is situated below the performance range MacBook Pro.
The Intel-based MacBook Air was introduced in January 2008 with a 13.3-inch screen, and was promoted as the world's thinnest notebook, opening a laptop category known as the ultrabook family. Apple released a second-generation MacBook Air in October 2010, with a redesigned tapered chassis, standard solid-state storage, and added a smaller 11.6-inch version. Later revisions added Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and Thunderbolt. The third generation was released in October 2018, with reduced dimensions, a Retina display, and combination USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports for data and power. An updated model was released in February 2020 with the Magic Keyboard and an option for an Intel Core i7 processor.
First generation (unibody)
Steve Jobs introduced the MacBook Air during Apple’s keynote address at the 2008 Macworld conference on January 15, 2008. The first generation MacBook Air was a 13.3" model, initially promoted as the world's thinnest notebook at 1.9 cm (a previous record holder, 2005's Toshiba Portege R200, was 1.98 cm high). It featured a custom Intel Merom CPU and Intel GMA GPU which were 40% as big as the standard chip package. It also featured an anti-glare LED backlit display, a full-size keyboard, and a large trackpad that responded to multi-touch gestures such as pinching, swiping, and rotating.
The MacBook Air was the first subcompact notebook offered by Apple after the 12" PowerBook G4 discontinued in 2006. It was also Apple's first computer with an optional solid-state drive. It was Apple's first notebook since the PowerBook 2400c without a built-in removable media drive. To read optical disks, users could either purchase an external USB drive such as Apple's SuperDrive or use the bundled Remote Disc software to access the drive of another computer wirelessly that has the program installed. The MacBook Air also did without a FireWire port, Ethernet port, line-in, and a Kensington Security Slot.
On October 14, 2008, a new model was announced with a low-voltage Penryn processor and Nvidia GeForce graphics. Storage capacity was increased to a 128 GB SSD or a 120 GB HDD, and the micro-DVI video port was replaced by the Mini DisplayPort. A mid-2009 version featured slightly higher battery capacity and a faster Penryn CPU.
Second generation (tapered unibody)
On October 20, 2010, Apple released a redesigned 13.3-inch model with a tapered enclosure, higher screen resolution, improved battery, a second USB port, stereo speakers, and standard solid state storage. An 11.6-inch model was introduced, offering reduced cost, weight, battery life, and performance relative to the 13.3-inch model, but better performance than typical netbooks of the time. Both 11-inch and 13-inch models had an analog audio output/headphone minijack supporting Apple earbuds with a microphone. The 13-inch model received a SDXC-capable SD Card slot.
On July 20, 2011, Apple released updated models, which also became Apple's entry-level notebooks due to lowered prices and the discontinuation of the white MacBook around the same time. The mid-2011 models were upgraded with Sandy Bridge dual-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, Intel HD Graphics 3000, backlit keyboards, Thunderbolt, and Bluetooth was upgraded to v4.0. Maximum storage options were increased up to 256 GB. This revision also replaced the Expose (F3) key with a Mission Control key, and the Dashboard (F4) key with a Launchpad key.
On June 11, 2012, Apple updated the line with Intel Ivy Bridge dual-core Core i5 and i7 processors, HD Graphics 4000, faster memory and flash storage speeds, USB 3.0, an upgraded 720p FaceTime camera, and a thinner MagSafe 2 charging port.
On June 10, 2013, Apple updated the line with Haswell processors, Intel HD Graphics 5000, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The standard memory was upgraded to 4 GB, with a maximum configuration of 8 GB. Storage started at 128 GB SSD, with options for 256 GB and 512 GB. The Haswell considerably improved battery life from the previous generation, and the models are capable of 9 hours on the 11-inch model and 12 hours on the 13-inch model; a team of reviewers exceeded expected battery life ratings during their test.
In March 2015, the models were refreshed with Broadwell processors, Intel HD Graphics 6000, Thunderbolt 2, and faster storage and memory. In 2017 the 13-inch model received a processor speed increase from 1.6 GHz to 1.8 GHz and the 11-inch model was discontinued. The 2017 model remained available for sale after Apple launched the next generation in 2018. It was discontinued in July 2019. Before its discontinuation it was Apple's last notebook with USB Type-A ports, a non-Retina display, and a backlit rear Apple logo.
Third generation (Retina)
On October 30, 2018, Apple released the third generation MacBook Air, with Amber Lake processors, a 13.3-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels, Touch ID, and two combination USB-C 3.1 gen 2/Thunderbolt 3 ports plus one audio jack. The screen displays 48% more color and the bezels are 50% narrower than the previous generation, and occupies 17% less volume. Thickness was reduced to 15.6mm and weight to 1.25 kg (2.75 pounds). It was available in three finishes, silver, space gray, and gold. Unlike the previous generation, this model could be configured with an Intel Core i7 processor, possibly because Intel never released the i7-8510Y CPU that would have been used In the previous generation.
Apple released updated models in July 2019 with True Tone display technology and an updated butterfly keyboard using the same components as the mid-2019 MacBook Pro. A test found that the 256 GB SSD in the 2019 model has a 35% lower read speed than the 256 GB SSD in the 2018 model, though the write speed is slightly faster.
Updated models were released in March 2020 with Ice Lake processors, updated graphics, support for 6K output to run the Pro Display XDR and other 6k monitors, and replaced the butterfly keyboard with a Magic Keyboard design similar to that found in the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro.
On November 10, 2020, Apple announced an updated MacBook Air with an Apple-designed M1 processor, launched alongside an updated Mac Mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro as the first Macs with Apple's new line of custom ARM-based Apple silicon processors. The device uses a fanless design. It also adds support for Wi-Fi 6, USB4 / Thunderbolt 3 and Wide color (P3). The M1 MacBook Air can only run one external display; the previous Intel-based model was capable of running two 4K displays. The FaceTime camera remains 720p but Apple advertises an improved image signal processor for higher quality video.
Supported operating systems
Supported macOS releases
|Supported macOS releases|
|OS release||Intel-based||Apple silicon|
|1st generation||2nd generation||3rd generation|
|Early 2008||Late 2008||Mid-2009||Late 2010||Mid-2011||Mid-2012||Mid-2013||Early 2014||Early 2015||Mid-2017||Late 2018||Mid-2019||Early 2020||Late 2020|
|10.6 Snow Leopard||Partial|
|10.8 Mountain Lion||Partial||Partial|
|10.11 El Capitan||Patch|
|10.13 High Sierra||Patch||Patch|
|11 Big Sur||Patch||Patch||Patch||Patch||Patch|
|12 Monterey||Patch, no graphics acceleration||Patch||Patch|
Boot Camp–supported Windows versions (Intel models only)
|Supported Windows versions|
|OS release||1st generation||2nd generation||3rd generation|
|2008–2009||Late 2010||Mid-2011||Mid-2012||2013–2014||Early 2015 and newer|
|Windows XP[Note 1]|
[Note 5][Note 6]
Timeline of the MacBook family
- Windows XP can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 3 or earlier. This includes Mac OS X 10.6 or earlier and copies of Mac OS X 10.7 that have not been updated to Boot Camp 4.
- Windows Vista can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 3 or earlier. This includes Mac OS X 10.6 or earlier and copies of Mac OS X 10.7 that have not been updated to Boot Camp 4.
- The 32-bit version of Windows 7 can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 3.1 to 6.0. This includes OS X 10.11 and earlier.
- The 64-bit version of Windows 7 can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 3.1 or later, running macOS High Sierra or earlier. Later versions of macOS no longer support Windows 7.
- Windows 8 can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 5.0 to 6.0. This includes OS X 10.11 and earlier.
- Only 64-bit versions of Windows are supported for Windows 8 and later.
- Windows 8.1 can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 5.1 or later, running macOS High Sierra or earlier. Later versions of macOS no longer support Windows 8.1.
- Windows 10 can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 6.0 or later. It is the only supported version of Windows on macOS Mojave and later.
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- 1 GB = one billion bytes
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- "Pro Display XDR - Technical Specifications". Apple. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
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- "Use Windows 8.1 on your Mac with Boot Camp". Apple Support. September 24, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
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|Wikinews has related news:|
- MacBook Air – official site