Apple unveils fastest MacBook Air yet with 18 hours of battery, improved Wi-Fi, and price drop in the UK

macbook air with 13 and 15 inch screens pictured side by side in a promotional image from apple for the release of its m3 models in the uk

Apple has fitted its refreshed MacBook Air models with a newer, faster M3 system-on-a-chip and speedier Wi-Fi 6E, but the UK price has actually dropped compared with the previous generation

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 04/03/2024

- 16:14

Updated: 04/03/2024

- 16:14

After making its debut in the MacBook Pro last year, Apple's speedy M3 processor comes to its more affordable laptop

  • Apple's new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air models are available for preorder now
  • Both variants are powered by the latest Apple M3 system-on-a-chip
  • Apple says it offers 60% faster performance over M1-powered MacBook Air
  • If you're using an Intel-based MacBook Air, expect a 13x speed bump
  • Apple's fastest MacBook Air starts from £1,099 for 13-inch, £1,299 for 15-inch
  • That's between £50 and £100 cheaper than its predeccesor at launch
  • M2-powered MacBook Air from 2022 still available, but now costs £999

Apple has announced two new MacBook Air models, both powered with its latest M3 processor. According to the company, the new system-on-a-chip — which made its debut in a refreshed iMac and MacBook Pro launched at the end of last year — offers 60% faster performance compared to the original M1-powered MacBook Air, which was still available sold in the Apple Store for £999.

If you’ve still got an Intel-based MacBook Air, Apple says upgrading to this new M3-fuelled variant will offer a 13x speed boost. Apple started the process of removing chipsets from Intel in favour of its own custom-designed M-series silicon back in late 2020. These processors, which are only designed to work with Apple hardware, have unlocked huge performance and battery life gains.

The gains under the bonnet of these new MacBook Air models mean you’ll be able to power two external screens (when the lid is closed) for the first time. MacBook Air has two USB 4.0 / Thunderbolt ports, which can be connected directly to a monitor or via a hub with support for a myriad of connections, including HDMI, Ethernet, USB A, SD card, and many more.

a man sits with airpods pro and a ps5 controller playing games on a macbook air m3

MacBook Air can connect wirelessly to a PlayStation 5 controller to control native games via Apple Arcade, Stream, as well as streaming services like Xbox Game Pass


The M3 system-on-a-chip has a more efficient Neural Engine, which Apple says makes these improved MacBook Air models “the world’s best consumer laptop for AI”.

Despite all of this extra grunt, Apple says its new MacBook Air will still offer 18 hours of battery life between charges. There’s also up to 2x faster Wi-Fi than the previous generation of laptop.

MacBook Air is available in two flavours — a 13- and 15-inch screen size. Both variants boast an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display that supports up to 500 nits of maximum brightness, with a small iPhone X-like cut-out for the webcam and ambient light sensor.

Apple is offering four colour options: Midnight, which it says now comes with “a breakthrough anodisation seal to reduce fingerprints” after previous models were particularly prone to showing off greasy prints, Starlight, Space grey, and Silver.

a person sits infront of two displays running macos powered by the new macbook air m3

​The additional power under the bonnet afforded by the M3 means this is the first MacBook Air model that can power two external displays 


Speaking about the new MacBook Air models, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Greg Joswiak said: “MacBook Air is our most popular and loved Mac, with more customers choosing it over any other laptop. And today it gets even better with the M3 chip and new capabilities.

“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.”

Despite all of the improvements, the price of both new M3-fuelled models has dropped compared to their predecessors.

The smaller 13-inch MacBook Air with M3 starts at £1,099, although if you’re currently a high school, undergraduate or postgraduate student you can buy the same model for £999 via Apple'sEducation Store. That compares to £1,249 when the M2 MacBook Air made its debut in the Apple Store — although this was later dropped to £1,149 when the 15-inch model arrived the following year.

The savings are even more noticeable with the larger15‑inch MacBook Air, which starts at £1,299 — or £1,199 for education — for the M3-powered model. That compares to £1,399 for the older M2 model. This M2-powered 15-inch laptop is no longer available to buy from Apple, although some stock might be available from other retailers if you're fast.


Preorders for both models are now (Monday, March 4, 2024). The new laptops will start shipping to customers and will be available to test for yourself in Apple Store locations and Apple Authorised Resellers from March 8, 2024.

two macbook air m3 models pictured in a promotional image from apple

MacBook Air has an edge-to-edge screen, enormous trackpad, two USB 4.0 ports, and a 3.5mm headphone port


If you’re not fussed about that cutting-edge performance, Apple has dropped the price of the 13-inch MacBook Air with the older M2 chipset down to £999. It replaces the M1 MacBook Air in the lineup, meaning it’s no longer possible to get the older design with its larger borders around the display, 720p quality webcam, and more limited choice of colour finishes.

Education pricing for the MacBook Air with M2 drops as low as £899. Apple offers additional discounts when you trade-in an older MacBook, iPad, or iPhone at checkout.

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