New MacBook Air?

Published on Nov 21, 2020

I was wow'd by the recent Apple event in which Apple announced computers with the first-ever Apple-made M1 chip replacing Intel chips. The reviews have been extremely positive for the Macbook Air, the MacBook Pro, and the Mac Mini. The only one that interests me is the MacBook Air. What's so great about the new chip? For me, it boils down to two things: speed and battery life. The new Macs are blowing away everyone with how fast they are, and Apple says the new MacBook Air gets up to 18 hours of battery life--6 hours more than mine! Speed and battery - ok I'm in!

I bought the then-new MacBook Air in April of this year. Some might argue that I should be the last person who is ready to upgrade already. But let's walk through the details.

April 2020 13-in MacBook Air

1.1 GHZ quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5

8GB RAM

512 GB SSD

$1299

There are two options for the new 13-in MacBook Air with the M1 chip

7-core GPU, 256 GB SSD = $999

8-core GPU, 512 GB SSD = $1249

The first thing that struck me is that the new equivalent MacBook Air is actually $50 cheaper than the one I bought in April.

I checked my current MacBook Air trade-in value with Apple, and it's a very nice $670.

So the real question is, which new MacBook Air do I need? 

I did some research on this 7-core vs 8-core difference, and apparently, it has to do with chip manufacturing. The chips are manufactured to be 8-core, but some chips may have defects and only 7 operational cores, so rather than throw them out they put them in the lower-end laptops. It's the GPU, and I don't necessarily do any work that requires intense graphic processing. So the real difference I'm looking at is 256 vs 512 SSD. I just checked the storage on my MacBook Air, and I'm using about 125 GB. It seems to me that I don't NEED the 512 SSD or the 8-core GPU.

The price difference is $1000 vs. $1250. It does not make sense to pay an extra $250 for features I don't NEED.

So, I will most likely opt for the $900 MacBook Air, which will be only $230 after I get my trade-in credit of $670. 

It's a good day in Apple land.