MacBook Air M3 release date, price, specs and latest news

MacBook Air M3
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air laptops are here. As rumors suggested, these updates to Apple's popular line of notebooks feature the powerful M3 chip — potentially making them the fastest and most powerful MacBook Airs ever.

In an announcement post, Apple said the new MacBook Air is up to 60% faster than the MacBook Air M1 and up to 13x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air. The company also claims the notebook will have up to 18 hours of battery life. And despite its past tendency to stay away from the term, Apple has also said the MacBook Air is the "world's best consumer laptop for AI."

Besides featuring the M3 chip, both MacBook Air laptops are largely similar to their respective predecessors: the MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Air 15-inch. The new laptops have the same unibody aluminum chassis and overall design. We get four colors, including midnight which features the same anodization seal to reduce fingerprints as the MacBook Pro M3 Pro released last year.

The 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air will cost $1,099 and $1,299 (respectively), which is the same price as the previous models. The MacBook Air M2 is now $999 and has replaced the MacBook Air M1, which is no longer available from Apple.

Here's everything Apple has said about the new M3 MacBook Air laptops.

MacBook Air M3: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 13-inch MacBook Air M315-inch MacBook Air M3
Price $1,099$1,299
CPU8-core8-core
GPU8-core10-core
Display13.6-inches (1 2560 x 1,664)15.3-inch (2,880 x 1,864)
Memory8GG8GB
Storage256GB256GB
Ports2x Thunderbolt 4/USB-C, 1x MagSafe port, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack2x Thunderbolt 4/USB-C, 1x MagSafe port, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
Webcam1,080p1,080p
Charging30W USB-C70W USB-C
Size11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches13.40 x 9.53 x 0.45 inches
Weight2.7 pounds3.5 pounds
ColorsMidnight, Starlight, Space Gray, SilverMidnight, Starlight, Space Gray, Silver

MacBook Air M3: Price and release date 

MacBook Air M3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The new MacBook Air with M3 is now available to pre-order from Apple's online store, with shipping starting this Friday, March 8.

The 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,099 and $999 for education, while the 15-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299 and $1,199 for education. Both devices come in midnight, starlight, silver and space gray.

The previous 13-inch MacBook Air M2 now starts at $999 and $899 for education and is also available in midnight, starlight, silver and space gray.

MacBook Air M3: M3 chip

M3 MacBook Air

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The new MacBook Air laptops feature the base Apple M3 chip we first saw in the 14-inch MacBook Pro introduced last year. Utilizing TSMC's 3nm process, this processor features an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU and support for up to 24GB of unified memory (RAM).

Apple says the new MacBook Air is 60% faster than the (now discontinued) MacBook Air M1 and up to 13 times faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air. The company also says the new laptops have up to 18 hours of battery life, which would be more than 3 hours longer than the MacBook Air M1 we tested.

Thanks to the power of the M3's GPU, the new MacBook Air supports hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing, which offers more accurate lighting, reflections, and shadows. The laptop also supports AV1 decode which provides more efficient and higher-quality when streaming videos.

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LaptopChipset (core count)Unified memory (RAM)Storage
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max)M3 Max (16-core CPU / 40-core GPU)128GB8TB
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Pro)M3 Pro (11-core CPU / 14-core GPU)18GB512GB
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3)M3 (8-core CPU / 10-core GPU)16GB1TB
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2 Max)M2 Max (12-core CPU / 38-core GPU)96GB4TB
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Pro)M2 Pro (10-core CPU / 16-core GPU)16GB512GB
MacBook Pro (M2)M2 (8-core CPU / 10-core GPU)16GB1TB
MacBook Air 15-inch (M2)M2 (8-core CPU / 10-core GPU)16GB512GB
MacBook Air 13-inch (M2)M2 (8-core CPU / 10-core GPU)16GB1TB
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M1 Max)M1 Max (10-core CPU / 32-core GPU)64GB2TB
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1 Pro)M1 Pro (10-core CPU / 16-core GPU)32GB1TB
MacBook Pro (M1)M1 (8-core CPU / 8-core GPU)16GB1TB
MacBook Air (M1)M1 (8-core CPU / 8-core GPU)16GB1TB

We'll need to get the new MacBook Air laptops into our testing lab to see what they can do. That said, we expect similar performance to the 14-inch MacBook Pro which features the same base M3 chip. In the meantime, you can see how all the M-series chips stack up against one another in the table above.

MacBook Air M3: Design

MacBook Air M3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The new MacBook Air laptops feature the same flat and utilitarian design as their predecessors. As their names suggest, these machines are very light with each weight less than 3 pounds.

We get four colors as before: starlight, silver, space gray and midnight. The latter is the most interesting of the bunch since it utilizes the same fingerprint-resistant technology introduced in last year's MacBook Pro M3 Pro and M3 Max laptops.

As before, the laptops feature MagSafe charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack and two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports. Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at 1 billion colors and one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and up to 5K resolution at 60Hz with the lid closed.

MacBook Air M3: AI

MacBook Air M3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The M3 chip features a faster 16-core Neural Engine, which is the processor's version of the NPU found on Intel's Meteor Lake CPUs. The M-series has featured a Neural Engine since 2020, but Apple has never outright used the term "AI." That's changed with the MacBook Air M3 announcement, no doubt to capitalize on the buzz surrounding AI.

Apple says accelerators in the CPU and GPU, along with the Neural Engine, will boost on-device machine learning. The company says this makes the MacBook Air M3 "the world's best consumer laptop for AI." macOS Sonoma also has features that will leverage on-device AI, such as real-time speech-to-text, translation, text predictions, visual understanding, accessibility features, camera features and more.

MacBook Air can run optimized AI models, including large language models (LLMs) and diffusion image generation models locally. The laptops will also support cloud-based AI solutions that let you run apps such as Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, Canva and Adobe Firefly.

MacBook Air M3: Outlook 

The MacBook Air M3 announcement isn't all that surprising but it's still exciting for those who wanted to upgrade from an older model or who might have wanted a price drop for the MacBook Air M2.

We'll update this story once we've tested both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air laptops so stay tuned for more!

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Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.