Apple’s new M1 MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Are the differences as small as they seem?

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The primary Mac laptops with Apple silicon are right here and you’ll already pre-order them at However choosing which mannequin to purchase isn’t practically as simple because it was final week. It’s not simply that you simply’re coming into a brand new world of compatibility, Apple additionally hasn’t completed all that a lot to distinguish between the 2 machines. Right here’s what we all know from diving into the specs.


Neither the 13-inch MacBook Professional nor the MacBook Air is any totally different than the fashions they substitute. They each measure the identical 8.36 inches by 11.97 inches, and the Air nonetheless has a tapered edge that extends from 0.16 inches to 0.63 inches whereas the Professional has a hard and fast 0.61-inch top. And the Air is lighter at 2.8 kilos versus simply 3 kilos on the Professional.

macbook air 2020 hero1 IDG/Willis Lai

The design of the brand new MacBooks is equivalent to the previous ones.

The within is identical as effectively. Each function a Magic Keyboard flanked with a pair of vertical audio system together with household sizable bezels across the show. An enormous Pressure Contact trackpad is centered under the keyboard and so they are available the identical colours: silver and area grey for the Professional and silver, area grey, and gold for the Air.

Our take: It’s a little bit of a bummer that the design is so much like final 12 months, particularly since Apple clearly needed to do fairly a little bit of re-engineering to configure the previous MacBook physique for the brand new chip.


Whereas each laptops already featured 13.3-inch shows, the Professional had a little bit of a bonus with assist for the DCI-P3 gamut for higher colour saturation. Now the MacBook Air has that spec too, so the shows are practically equivalent:

  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit IPS
  • 2560 by 1600 pixels
  • Large colour (P3)
  • True Tone

The one distinction between them now could be one most individuals aren’t more likely to discover. On the MacBook Professional, the max brightness is 500 nits whereas the Air solely reaches 400 nits. However each are brighter than your eyes can deal with for an prolonged time frame.

Our take: Each of those computer systems have improbable shows, however we’d nonetheless wish to see some enhancements with the subsequent era: mini-LED, edge-to-edge designs, rounded corners, something to make it really feel just a bit extra fashionable.

Keyboard, ports, and digicam

The Air and Professional have the identical Magic Keyboard that launched final 12 months, so that you don’t want to fret about loud, sticky keys. Apple’s latest keyboard is a large enchancment over the previous one and can really feel nice to kind on. Each function backlighting with an ambient gentle sensor in addition to a Contact ID sensor for unlocking, authentication, and Apple Pay purchases.


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