Apple's new MacBook Air debuts at $999 with 256GB storage, quad-core options

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Apple has updated the MacBook Air with the new Magic Keyboard, up to a quad-core i7 processor, and a lower starting price.

Apple says that the new MacBook Air delivers up to two times faster CPU performance and up to 80 percent faster graphics performance. At the $999 low-end, it ships with 256GB of storage, and a higher-end model has a quad-core option for the first time.

To get that speed, the new model features the latest 10th-generation Intel Core processors with up to a 1.2GHz quad-core Core i7 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.8GHz. Additionally, the new models have Intel Iris Plus Graphics, providing better performance than the previous model.

New Magic Keyboard on the 2020 MacBook Air
New Magic Keyboard on the 2020 MacBook Air

The MacBook Air refresh for the third time in a year features the new Magic Keyboard, first introduced on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. A redesigned scissor mechanism delivers 1mm of key travel, and the new inverted-T arrangement for the arrow keys.

The new model includes support for a 6K display over one of the two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the machine. Specifically, the new unit will support one 6K display, or one 5K display, or up to two 4K displays.

The FaceTime camera remains a 720p model, with a three-microphone array now included for more clear voice capture for FaceTime calls. Bluetooth 5.0 remains on the unit, as does 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking.

In conjunction with the MacBook Air release, Apple is also promising updates to the iWork suite, including iCloud folder sharing, and more.

The $999 MacBook Air model ships with a 1.1Ghz i3 processor with turbo speeds up to 3.2GHz, and 256GB of flash storage. A $1299 model comes with a quad-core i5 processor with turbo speeds up to 3.5 GHz and 512GB of flash storage.

The i7 model with 512GB of flash storage retails for $1449. Apple says that all configurations, including the education model for $899, will arrive between March 23 and March 25.