Apple upgrades the MacBook Air to custom Ice Lake quad-core processors and the Magic Keyboard from the MacBook Pro 16
After much speculation, the MacBook Air 2020 is here. As predicted, Apple has upgraded the MacBook Air to its Magic Keyboard, which the company debuted in the MacBook Pro 16. Starting at US$999, the MacBook Air features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, integrated Touch ID, a Force Touch trackpad and a Retina display with built-in True Tone. The device comes in Space Gray, Silver or Gold too.
While the Magic Keyboard may be an upgrade over Apple's maligned butterfly switches, the stars of the show are the new processor configurations. Apple has jumped from the outdated Amber Lake-Y processors that it included in last year's MacBook Air to the new Ice Lake-Y architecture. Based on a 10 nm process, Ice Lake-Y can run at up to 9 W on up to four cores.
It would not be a MacBook release without some custom Intel silicon, though. The MacBook Air is no different. While Apple is not listing the processor names on its product page, it has stated that it will be offering Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 SKUs. However, all will feature Iris Plus Graphics, something that Intel does not currently offer with its Core i3 Ice Lake-Y processors. According to Apple, the MacBook Air can be configured with the following processors:
|Processor||Base clock||Turbo Boost||Cores/Threads||GPU|
|Core i3||1.1 GHz||3.2 GHz||2/4||Iris Plus Graphics|
|Core i5||1.1 GHz||3.5 GHz||4/8||Iris Plus Graphics|
|Core i7||1.2 GHz||3.8 GHz||4/8||Iris Plus Graphics|
None of these match up with Intel's current Ice Lake-Y offerings, which makes us suspect that they are custom processors. Additionally, all SKUs will come with LPDDR4X 3733 MHz RAM, with Apple offering 8 GB as standard along with 16 GB as an option. Likewise, the MacBook Air can be configured with up to a 2 TB SSD.
The MacBook Air is available to order now from US$999 for the Core i3 model. The Core i5 model, meanwhile, starts at US$1,299. The Core i7 processor is a US$250 upgrade for the Core i3 model and a US$150 upgrade for the Core i5 model. Adding 16 GB of RAM costs US$200 for reference, while the 2 TB SSD is an additional US$800 for the entry-level unit and US$600 for the Core i5 model.