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Apple officially unveiled a new set of M3-powered MacBook Air laptops, a surprising announcement that arrived via a press release Monday morning. The newest models are available in both the tried-and-true 13-inch variant and the largest 15-inch variant it introduced more recently. Apple says the performance is even better than the last generation, and that it offers faster wifi, up to 18 hours of battery life, and support for up to two external displays.

Apple says that the M3-powered MacBook Air is up to 60 percent faster than the model with the M1 chip, and that it’s up to 13 times faster than the latest Intel-based MacBook Air. The star of the show, of course, is the new Neural Engine in the M3 chip, which Apple says helps power the Liquid Retina display and brings two times faster wifi speeds.

Apple MacBook Air with M3

Credit: Apple

The body of the laptop is made of aluminum and is available in four different colors: midnight, space gray, starlight, and silver.

The new M3-powered MacBook Airs will be available starting on Friday, March 8, and they’ll start at $1,099 for the 13-inch MacBook Air and $1,299 for the 15-inch MacBook Air. In the U.S., educators will be able to get the two new laptops starting at $999 and $1,199, respectively.

Another interesting change with the M3-powered MacBook Air is that it will be the first Apple product to be made with 50 percent recycled content, including a 100 percent recycled aluminum enclosure, 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in all the magnets, and even 100 percent recycled copper in the main logic board.

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch M3-powered MacBook Air will offer up to 500 nits of brightness, with support for 1 billion colors. Apple also says it will be the “world’s best consumer laptop for AI,” with plans to utilize its 16-core Neural Engine to boost on-device machine learning and other intelligent features.

As for actual specs, Apple says the M3 chip will provide an 8-core CPU and an 8-core GPU in the 13-inch M3 MacBook Air. There is also an upgrade option with a 10-core GPU and 8GB of memory that will cost you an extra $100, should you need the additional power. The 13-inch MacBook Air will be available with up to 16GB of Unified Memory and 512GB of SSD storage, and that 16GB upgrade will also get you an upgraded 10-core GPU.

While both options are nice for the upgrades they offer, if you think you’ll need the 10-core GPU, it’s better to upgrade to the 16GB of memory, too. It’s only $100 more than the upgrade to the 10-core GPU, and it gives you twice the memory to work with, which you’ll be happy to have when you start digging into more intense tasks.

As for the new 15-inch M3-powered MacBook Air, Apple will offer up to 16GB of Unified Memory and 512GB of SSD storage and it will feature the same 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU across all storage options.

You can preorder the new 13-inch MacBook Air with M3 or the new 15-inch MacBook Air with M3 starting today.

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