New Apple MacBook Air Also Drops Butterfly Keyboard

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Apple ‘butterfly’ keyboard experiment seems to be over, as updated MacBook Air launches with traditional ‘scissor’ mechanism keyboard

Apple has released the updated version of its MacBook Air that comes with an improved keyboard, more performance, and increased storage.

The main takeaway from the Apple announcement on Wednesday is that the iPad maker is ditching the controversial butterfly mechanism of the previous-generation model.

The writing was on the wall for the butterfly design for a while now, after Apple last November revealed a brand new 16 inch MacBook Pro, which ditched the butterfly mechanism keyboard.

MacBook Air

Indeed, the new MacBook Air features the more traditional ‘scissor’ keyboards, which comes with the same 1mm of keyboard travel and inverted-T arrow keys as the 16-inch Pro.

The screen is a 13-inch Retina display that delivers 4 million pixels and millions of colours.

Performance wise, the new Air has doubled its speed as it comes with 10th-gen Intel Ice Lake processors (Y-series), up to a 1.2GHz quad-core Core i7.

Graphics performance is said to have a 80 percent improvement as the new ultra-thin laptop now features Intel Iris Plus Graphics.

And storage has also been improved, with models starting with a 256GB SSD. More expensive models offer up to 2TB of storage.

“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, Apple’s senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing.

“Today we’re giving it a huge update, with two times faster performance, the new Magic Keyboard, double the storage, a new lower price of $999 and an even lower price of $899 for education,” Boger said. “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.”

The machine does not feature the same highly-rated six speaker sound system found in the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but Apple said the MacBook Air does offer “advanced stereo speakers for immersive, wide stereo sound for activities like watching Apple TV+ content or playing games in Apple Arcade.”

Lower cost

The MacBook Air has a unibody wedge design made from 100 percent recycled aluminium and comes in three finishes, namely gold, silver and space gray.

Apple said the starting price of the laptop is $999, a starting price lower than previous models.

It is hardly surprising that Apple opted to ditch its controversial ‘butterfly’ keyboard with the new machine.

In May 2019 Apple took the unusual step of offering free keyboard repairs for those MacBooks that utilised the butterfly mechanism beneath the keyboard.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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