First look at the new 2018 MacBook Air

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited November 2018
After a nearly two-year dry spell, we got to check out Apple's overhaul of the beloved MacBook Air complete with Retina display and dual Thunderbolt 3 ports.

2018 MacBook Air
2018 MacBook Air


We are loving Apple's trend of reducing bezels and increasing screen sizes, as is evidenced by the removal of those silver aluminum bezels and the smaller physical volume of these new machines. They have also gotten new finishes to match Apple's others portable Macs -- gold, space gray and silver.






All of the ports have been changed, with only dual Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left and a headphone jack on the right. It isn't ideal to only have two, but at least they are Thunderbolt 3 rather than USB-3.1 type-C, which gives you a wealth of expansion options.

A 23-percent larger trackpad which doesn't necessarily sound like a lot but makes a difference when actually using it.

2018 MacBook Air with Touch ID
2018 MacBook Air Touch ID


Another nice inclusion we were surprised by is Touch ID. It lives in the top right and makes it easy to quickly unlock your Mac, much the same as MacBook Pro owners have had since 2016.

2018 MacBook Air eGPU
2018 MacBook Air with BlackMagic eGPU


We are excited to play around with the 2018 MacBook Air more as we get it in our labs to check out the performance.

The new MacBook Air starts at $1199 for 8GB of 2133 MHz RAM, an eighth-generation i5 1.6GHz CPU, and 128GB of storage. Orders start on today, with availability on November 7. Configurations are available with up to 1.5TB of storage for an additional $1000, and 16GB of RAM for $200 more.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the MacBook Air uses a fan-less design.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    thttht Posts: 3,251member
    2018 MacBook Air with BlackMagic eGPU

    That is not a picture of a MBA. It’s a MBP13TB. 
    SoliRobots78bageljoeywozwoz
  • Reply 2 of 15
    gavzagavza Posts: 17member
    Not hugely informative - just reiterates Apple’s talking points. I most want to know how the keyboard is, in particular how it compares to the 2013 Air, which is what I’m looking to replace.
  • Reply 3 of 15
    I'm actually tempted to replace my 2017 MBP13 with this. I don't really need much power in my laptop, and the Touch Bar sucks. Having physical function keys and Touch ID would be nice. 
    entropyschiawilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 15
    tht said:
    2018 MacBook Air with BlackMagic eGPU

    That is not a picture of a MBA. It’s a MBP13TB. 
    That’s a 15” MBP actually. But whatever, I get the idea they’re trying to convey. That the new MBA can drive an eGPU via TB3. 
    pulseimages
  • Reply 5 of 15
    kudukudu Posts: 34member
    tht said:
    2018 MacBook Air with BlackMagic eGPU

    That is not a picture of a MBA. It’s a MBP13TB. 
    The ONLY MacBook with TouchID and without a Touchbar is the new MacBook Air. Picture description is accurate 
  • Reply 6 of 15
    hrguyhrguy Posts: 24member
    Depends which picture. The one with an eGPU doesn’t show a tapered front edge, but the new MBA does run an eGPU.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    kudu said:
    tht said:
    2018 MacBook Air with BlackMagic eGPU

    That is not a picture of a MBA. It’s a MBP13TB. 
    The ONLY MacBook with TouchID and without a Touchbar is the new MacBook Air. Picture description is accurate 
    The picture with the eGPU most definitely has a touchbar.  The wide speaker grills on the sides of the keyboards point to it being a 15" Touchbar-equipped Macbook Pro. Picture description is completely wrong.


    williamlondonwozwozwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    gavza said:
    Not hugely informative - just reiterates Apple’s talking points. I most want to know how the keyboard is, in particular how it compares to the 2013 Air, which is what I’m looking to replace.
    This is a typical "race to get to the top of the charts by submitting as soon as possible" article.  

    Nobody is going to have anything informative after the demo session unless they are *very* focused and organized, it's typically a madhouse.  Generally look to iMore and Six Colors for more focused and organized reviews this early, and even they will only have 5-15 minutes with the unit, tops.

    It'll take a while for the others to have more details.  We won't see anything truly informative until people with review units are able to spend some time with them.  
    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 15
    19831983 Posts: 1,192member
    This was a great Apple event, much more exciting and interesting than the underwhelming iPhone event last month, with the exception of the Series 4 Apple Watch, which was a great redesign! (And topped off by LDR singing a couple of songs too, where she actually sang quite well, which isn’t usually the case for her live performances!) Still a little disappointed by how relatively pricey the new products are. A 12.9” iPad Pro with at least 512GB needed for high-end photo storage and editing is going to be expensive. Same goes for the new MBA with at least 16GB RAM and 1TB of storage for a decent spec etc...
    edited October 2018 wozwoz
  • Reply 10 of 15
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,058member
    PCMag says there is a fan. "One rep did say that there is some active air cooling of the CPU in the new Air, with the chassis taking up some of the cooling duty as a passive heat sink, but the fan ventilating subtly out the trailing edge of the hinge area when the laptop is open."

    Their graphic of the blown up internals also showed what appeared to be a fan. 

    Maybe it's like the Matebook X Pro, where the direct cooling is passive but there's a system fan (not blowing through heatsinks). 
  • Reply 11 of 15
    thttht Posts: 3,251member
    kudu said:
    tht said:
    2018 MacBook Air with BlackMagic eGPU

    That is not a picture of a MBA. It’s a MBP13TB. 
    The ONLY MacBook with TouchID and without a Touchbar is the new MacBook Air. Picture description is accurate 
    The picture with the eGPU most definitely has a touchbar.  The wide speaker grills on the sides of the keyboards point to it being a 15" Touchbar-equipped Macbook Pro. Picture description is completely wrong.


    Yup. Definitely is a 15 model. I knew I was wrong as soon as I saw someone with a MBP13.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    mariomario Posts: 346member
    Does the new Air have bottom cover air vents like the pros?
  • Reply 13 of 15
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 238member
    Thoroughly enjoyed the NY release. New MacBook Air looks wonderful - and I have ordered one (without even seeing it in the flesh). Coming Nov 7.Just wondering whether I should have upped to 16G RAM rather than 8??
  • Reply 14 of 15
    I have a question for all the experts here. I am an elementary principal teacher and I’ve been using a mid 2012 MacBook Pro which is now running quite slow. MagSafe is emmensely important with kids ages 7-12 walking around and MagSafe has saved my MacBook Pro quite a few times. I figure I’ll get used to the keyboard as I’m not typing long essays all day long. I’ll need a dock to stay in class. My question is: are there docks that incorporate a MagSafe style magnetic connector? I have seen adapters that allow for a magnetic connection, but if is incorporated into a dock that would be a big plus. Thanks ahead for any input.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,058member
    Confirming the fan 

    Apple VP of hardware engineering Laura Lagrove introduces MacBook Air
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