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Why Black Friday 2021 is a good time to buy a MacBook Air

MacBook Air on a desk with a Black Friday tag superimposed
(Image credit: Future)

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air earned critical acclaim thanks to the power and efficiency upgrades delivered by its M1 chip, and now that Black Friday deals are in full swing you might be wondering if it's a good time to pick up a new Air at a discount.

This is a reasonable question to have, given that Apple is rumored to have a successor to the 2020 MacBook Air in the works. The MacBook Air 2022 is tipped to have a better screen, a redesigned chassis, and upgraded internals that include a rumored M1 follow-up: the M2 chip.

But everything we've heard so far suggests Apple won't launch the next MacBook Air until midway through next year at the earliest, and some reports claim it could launch as late as the third or fourth quarter of 2022. 

If you can afford to wait and see, you might be pleased by whatever changes Apple makes to the next MacBook Air. But if you need a new laptop now (either for yourself or as a gift for a loved one) don't let the specter of feeling obsolete within a year stop you from taking advantage of Apple Black Friday deals that will give you a rare discount on a new MacBook Air.

Why it's okay to buy a MacBook Air on Black Friday

Here at Tom's Guide we regularly hear from readers who have questions about what type of tech to buy, or when to buy it. Now that Black Friday has grown from a day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. to a full-blown shopping season that starts sometime in October and (usually) wraps up by December, it's become one of the best times of the year to buy new devices. Deals on smartphones, TVs, and laptops are especially popular, and the best Apple Black Friday deals can net you some tidy savings off the price of a new Apple Watch or MacBook.

That's why it's okay to take the plunge and buy a new MacBook Air right now: Apple rarely offers big discounts on its products, so even $100 or $150 off the price of a new 2020 MacBook Air is one of the better deals you'll see all year. Sometimes we see similarly-sized discounts outside of Black Friday, but they're often limited to customers who work in education — whereas right now, anyone can get 10% or more off the price of a new MacBook Air.

Apple MacBook Air M1 on a desk showing Into the Spider-Verse

If you want one, don't let the specter of obsolescence keep you from buying a new 2020 MacBook Air (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

And while it will eventually be succeeded by a new model, the current Air is still a compact powerhouse that hasn't strayed too far from the cutting edge. Read our MacBook Air with M1 review and you'll see what a game-changer the M1 chip is, as it enables this thin-and-light laptop from 2020 to run circles around its predecessor and most comparably-priced Windows ultraportables. Plus, the 13.3-inch Retina display (2,560 x 1600 pixels) looks great, the keyboard is comfy to type on, and with 14+ hours of proven battery life, a new Air should last you quite a long time.

We think it's one of the best laptops you can buy, so if you need a new laptop and you're on the fence about whether to invest in a new Air, don't be; it's important to not let the promise of shiny new tech keep you from getting something you need, when you need it. And if you happen to need a new MacBook Air, now is one of the best times of the year to buy one, as Best Buy has MacBook Airs on sale for $849 (opens in new tab), which is $150 off the usual $999 starting price.

You can also get a 2020 MacBook Air for $849 @ Amazon (opens in new tab), which is again a solid $150 discount. Of course, keep in mind these deals are on the $999 entry-level model, which packs the M1 chip, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. If you want more memory you'll need to invest in an upgraded model, which are also on sale at Best Buy and Amazon. 

We expect to see similar price cuts at other retailers between now and Cyber Monday, and while this might be the lowest the Air gets, we have seen discounts of as much as $200 off in the past — so it might be worth waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to pull the trigger on a new Air. 

Of course, with the ongoing supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we're seeing even more shortages and quick sell-outs than usual during the Black Friday shopping season. To compensate, we recommend you shop early if you can, and keep checking our guides to the best Black Friday deals and the best Cyber Monday deals for the latest savings opportunities. Our Amazon Black Friday deals and Best Buy Black Friday deals are also worth checking out, especially if you have membership to either retailer. 

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.