Apple teased that it’d release the first Apple Silicon-enabled Macs before the end of 2020, and it delivered on the promise at the company’s November ‘One More Thing’ event.
Revealed alongside a new MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, the new MacBook Air is one of the first devices to be powered by Apple's new M1 chipset. Apple made some big claims at the event, but as our review and many others have proven, it had every right to be confident in the device's performance and battery life.
The MacBook Air is available to buy right now in the UK, and there are already some useful discounts. Here's everything you need to know.
Best MacBook Air M1 UK deals
The new MacBook Air is available in two configurations, but unlike previous Macs, neither are powered by Intel. The new Apple M1 chipset is available in both configurations of MacBook Air, but the £999 entry-level model features an M1 chipset comprised of 8 CPU cores and 7 GPU cores, compared to the dual 8 and 8 offering of the £1,249 variant. There’s also double the storage available on the premium MacBook Air at 512GB.
Here's where you can buy the new M1 MacBook Air right now:
- Apple - from £999
- Amazon - from £898, up to £149.03 off 512GB model
- Very - from £899, £100 off both 256GB and 512GB models
- Currys PC World - from £898 (£101 off)
- John Lewis - from £893, up to £132 off 512GB model
- Box - from £939, up to £101 off 512GB model (appears as £97 off)
- Scan - from £999, up to £50 off 512GB model
- KRCS - from £899.10, up to £124.90 off 512GB model
- Argos - from £999
Should I buy refurbished?
While M1 MacBook Air prices set to remain at or near full price for the foreseeable future, the only place you'll see bigger discounts is on refurbished models. Some might see this as another word for 'second hand', but in reality many of these devices have barely been used at all.
Remember, if a product has been used for demonstration purposes or returned as an unwanted gift, retailers must classify them as 'refurbished' despite looking and performing just like new. It's true that there are situations where a fault has been fixed, so it's worth checking the description for any device you're considering buying.
There are two key places to go if you're looking for a refurbished Apple Watch. The first is the Apple Refurbished Store, with devices refurbished to an excellent standard. MusicMagpie is a great alternative though, and typically offers a greater range to choose from.
See more in our guide to refurbished tech.
What’s so exciting about the new MacBook Air and its Apple M1 chip?
The M1 is Apple’s first designed and manufactured chipset for its Mac range – and it’s a big deal. Apple has started the transition away from Intel-powered Macs, a move that makes sense considering how well Apple has done with creating the A-series chipsets for its iPhones and iPads.
The key highlight of the new M1 is just how much of a boost in performance it provides compared to the Intel chips it used in MacBooks earlier this year. Apple claims a 3.5x jump in the CPU department and a 5x jump in the GPU department when it comes to the MacBook Air, two incredible improvements considering the relatively minor year-on-year gains on offer from Intel chipsets.
There’s also a dedicated Neural Engine packed onto the SoC, bringing a massive 15x improvement to ML actions like automatic image enhancement or facial recognition.
Despite the impressive performance gains, the 5nm process means that the chipset is incredibly energy efficient, offering 15-18 hours of battery life on the MacBook Air depending on what you’re up to. It’s also a lot cooler in operation, meaning Apple could actually ditch the fan in the MacBook Air for a truly silent machine.
Believe it or not, those are only the highlights of what the M1 brings to the MacBook Air in 2020 – there’s plenty more on offer under the hood. For more on why it’s such an exciting release, take a look at the latest details on the new MacBook Air with M1, and our full Apple Silicon explainer might be of interest too.
If you'd rather something a bit more powerful, check out our round-up of the best MacBook Pro M1 deals in the UK.