MacBook Air M3 announced — pre-orders open now for ‘world’s best consumer laptop for AI’

macbook air m3 announcement image
(Image credit: Apple)

At long last, Apple has the MacBook Air M3, which is coming in 13-inch and 15-inch versions. As of March 8, both models of what Apple is calling the "world's best consumer laptop for AI" will be available with big performance and power efficiency boosts.

The MacBook Air M2 is our pick for the best laptop, and we’re been very pleased with the performance on the M3 MacBook Pros that were announced last year. Needless to say, we couldn’t be happier that the MacBook Air M3 is now here.

These new models offer 13.6-inch and 15.3-inch Liquid Retina displays, which sport up to 500 nits of brightness and one billion colors. Apple claims that it offers twice the resolution of “comparable PC laptops”. If you like figures you get 2560 by 1664 pixels on the 13-inch model and 2560 x 1894 on the 15-inch.

There’s also support for up to 2 external displays when your laptop lid is closed.

The 1080p FaceTime camera also lives at the top of the screen, and it looks as though the notched display is coming along for the ride. However Apple’s imagery suggests that it may be possible to hide the notch with a black bar.

According to Apple this 3nm chip ensures the MacBook Air M3 is 60% faster than models running on the M1 chip, and 13 times faster than Intel-based Airs. The chip also offers an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, while these new MacBook Airs offer up to 24GB of memory, 256GB to 2TB of SSD storage, plus 18 hours of battery life.

Comparisons to the M2 model aren't mentioned anywhere, so we would recommend you wait and see how closely these two generations compare when we go hands on with M3. But if you’re rocking an older model, this might be the perfect time to upgrade.

MacBook Air M3: Apple is going big on AI 

Apple’s also emphasizing the AI-capabilities of the MacBook Air M3, which is no high surprise. Apple says that the 16-core Neural Engine, combined with accelerators in the CPU and GPU, help boost on-device machine learning to offer improved AI performance. 

Apple has gone so far to make the lofty claim you see in the first paragraph, that this is the best in the world at this kind of work for consumers. It’s set to offer various AI powered features including “powerful” camera features, AI Math Assistance, automatic photo enhancement, reduction of video noise and more. 

The memory architecture of Apple silicon is said to be able to run optimized AI models, including LLMs and diffusion models locally — though cloud-based support is also available. Apple directly names Microsoft CoPilot, Canva and Adobe Firefly.

Other features include Wi-Fi 6E support, a 3-mic array for enhanced voice clarity and support for Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. The Magic Keyboard and Touch ID are, unsurprisingly, coming along too. Ports-wise you have MagSafe 3 for charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack plus two USB-C ports that offer Thunderbolt and USB-4.

Prices for the 13-inch MacBook Air M3 start at $1,099 / AU$1,799 while the 15-inch MacBook Air M3 starts at $1,299 / AU$2,199. Both models are available in Midnight, Starlight, Space Gray and Silver. Pre-orders are open now over on the Apple website, with release day scheduled for March 8 — also known as this Friday.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.