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2018 MacBook Air and Mac mini Hands-On: Long-Awaited Updates Don't Disappoint

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Apple today announced two new Mac-related device updates, including a new MacBook Air and Mac mini. The refreshed MacBook Air includes an updated keyboard, larger Force Touch trackpad, slimmer display bezels, two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, Retina Display, reduced footprint, Touch ID, and Apple's T2 security chip. The Mac mini comes in Space Gray with 8th-generation Intel Core processors, flash storage up to 2 TB, Apple's T2 security chip, and more.

According to The Verge, the new MacBook Air looks a lot like a MacBook Pro, but the tapered design gives away the computer as a MacBook Air device. The site called the MacBook Air's Retina Display great and essentially on par with the screens on MacBook Pro models.

Image via The Verge


The Verge acknowledged that Apple's third generation keyboards are still polarizing, with super minimal key travel, but the site didn't think this is enough of a reason not to upgrade. Ultimately, The Verge enjoyed its first hands-on time with the MacBook Air and said that this is the MacBook most people should get, but wondered if the $1,199 entry price is still too high:
We'll do a fuller price breakdown and comparison to other laptops soon, but my initial impression is that while I think this machine is worth $1,199, I still wonder if that's too high of an entry price. But the only real way to know the answer to that question is to wait to see how it sells.
TechCrunch also pointed out that the new MacBook Air looks largely similar to the MacBook Pro, comparing the two in an image (seen below). The site said that the update to the MacBook Air was solid, and they commended Apple for keeping the MacBook Air around and not discontinuing it in favor of the low-cost MacBook.

MacBook Air on top of MacBook Pro, via TechCrunch

Touch ID is now present up top -- a great addition -- though Apple opted not to include the Touch Bar. That could be for any number of reasons. There's some speculation that the company will ultimately move away from the feature, but more likely, it was simply a cost cutting measure.

All in all, a solid and long awaited update to Apple's best loved laptop. It's nice to see the company keeping the model around, rather than simply doing away with it in favor of the low end MacBook.
Switching over to the Mac mini, numerous sites praised the long-awaited update to Apple's miniature desktop device, which last saw a refresh in October 2014. The Space Gray Mac mini comes with quad- and 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core processors with Turbo Boost Speeds up to 4.6GHz, making it 5 times faster than the previous generation, and up to 64GB of 2,666MHz RAM.

SlashGear liked Apple's boosted internal specs for the Mac mini, and noted the numerous ports on the back of the device, including four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, and an ethernet port. The site argued that there is enough inside of the updated Mac mini to potentially convince iMac owners to switch over to a Mac mini and display setup:

Image via SlashGear

For a compact desktop, the Mac mini always punched above its weight for user upgrades. No, you can't change the processor - in this case a choice of 4-core or 6-core Intel Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 chips - but Apple has stuck with SO-DIMM memory. If you don't want to pay Apple for an upgrade to up to 64 GB of RAM from the standard 8 GB, you should be able to do it yourself later on.

It's little things like that which give the new Mac mini its charm. The $799 starting price, too, is aggressive - especially with the new MacBook Air Retina nudging up to $1,200. If you can do without Apple's Retina display and provide your own, this first rung on the macOS ladder no longer feels like such a compromise. In fact, there's plenty here that could sway iMac buyers back to a familiar old form-factor.
More news from Apple's New York event will be coming out as the day progresses, so be sure to keep an eye on our front page and on our Twitter feed for the latest coverage.

Article Link: 2018 MacBook Air and Mac mini Hands-On: Long-Awaited Updates Don't Disappoint
 

Jack Burton

macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2015
656
841
I'll be interested to see if the minis throttle under sustained full core load. It would be much more expensive, but MUCH more space efficient and quiet to have a couple of 6 core minis around for render slaves in another room.

We'll see when they are released. LOVE the small form factor (and quietness!)
 
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WAM2

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2011
873
490
United States
I believe they are incorrect about not being able to change the CPU.

The CPU was clearly socketed in the keynote, so guys like me can remove the logic board and upgrade ourselves.
 
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wiesel87

macrumors newbie
Oct 30, 2018
2
9
This is not a replacement for the old MacBook Air, it's a new 13" MacBook
The old Air had an i5-5350U 15W CPU, where as the new Air has a Core i5-8200Y 7W CPU


MacBook Air (128GB) - i5-5350U 15W CPU - 999$
MacBook (256GB) - Core m3-7Y32 7W CPU - 1299$
MacBook Air Touch (128GB) - Core i5-8200Y 7W CPU - 1199$
MacBook Pro nTB (128GB) - Core i5-7360U 15W CPU - 1299$

That means that the current MacBook Pro nTB is really the new Air if you looking only at performance (better cpu, gpu and screen). It's not worth it to buy the new Macbook Air Touch, when you get an MacBook Pro nTB for only 100$ more. The only things you will be missing is 3. gen keyboard and Touch ID.
 
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RubiksC#be

macrumors newbie
Oct 30, 2018
3
43
MacBook Air is definitely disappointing. It's extremely expensive (1600 euros for the 256GB model in Europe) and underpowered. The base model literally only has 128GB of storage. That's unacceptable for this price.

Any tech reviewer that's not extremely harsh on these products is a joke.
 
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cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
19,703
20,543
California
This is not a replacement for the old MacBook Air, it's a new 13" MacBook
The old Air had an i5-5350U 15W CPU, where as the new Air has a Core i5-8200Y 7W CPU


MacBook Air (128GB) - i5-5350U 15W CPU - 999$
MacBook (256GB) - Core m3-7Y32 7W CPU - 1299$
MacBook Air Touch (128GB) - Core i5-8200Y 7W CPU - 1199$
MacBook Pro nTB (128GB) - Core i5-7360U 15W CPU - 1299$

That means that the current MacBook Pro nTB is really the new Air if you looking only at performance (better cpu, gpu and screen). It's not worth it to buy the new Macbook Air Touch, when you get an MacBook Pro nTB for only 100$ more. The only things you will be missing is 3. gen keyboard and Touch ID.
It’s a replacement for the old old MacBook Air, back to its roots as light, all day use, relatively low performance, etc.
 
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macboy2000

macrumors newbie
Oct 2, 2018
7
36
I believe they are incorrect about not being able to change the CPU.

The CPU was clearly socketed in the keynote, so guys like me can remove the logic board and upgrade ourselves.

Now that would be a gift. Anything official regarding the SSD? Sounds like lots of speculation that it is soldered, but haven't seen anything concrete.
 
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Bark

macrumors newbie
Nov 30, 2004
25
9
Earth
“If you don’t want to pay Apple for an upgrade to up to 64 GB of RAM from the standard 8 GB, you should be able to do it yourself later on. “

Would love to see confirmation and difficulties for this.
 
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MacWorld78

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2012
437
186
Great updates esp to the iPad. Blows other tablets out of the water but...

64gb $800 bucks just WiFi is a joke in 2018. Should have been 128gb n up honestly

Just one day I still believe that iPad pro will kill off MacBook Air/Pro.
 
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Apple Knowledge Navigator

macrumors 68000
Mar 28, 2010
1,560
3,284
The pricing suggest that they are anything but replacements. If I was a first-time Mac buyer, I'd be more than a little put out (and confused) that the 'Air' is larger and heavier than the regular MacBook, yet is priced very close to the infinitely better value MacBook Pro 13".

The fact of the matter is, they won't admit to the 12" MacBook being a complete flop - which again, will have partly been due to it's high entry price. All they had to do was introduce a tapered 13" notebook, set it sub-£1000 and you're in business.

And as for the Mac Mini... Have they forgotten already that we need to buy a mouse, keyboard and display on top of the £800?
 
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Tastannin

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2003
364
42
UT
Nitpick time.

The site said that the update to the MacBook Air was solid, and they commended Apple for keeping the MacBook Air around and not discontinuing it in favor of the low-cost MacBook.

Isn't TechCrunch wrong here? The base MacBook ($1299) is MORE expensive than the base MacBook Air. ($1199)

Also SlashGear is wrong about the Mac Mini, saying "... Apple has stuck with SO-DIMM memory".
Apple removed SO-DIMMs in the previous generation of the Mac Mini, right? So it should be "Apple has returned to using SO-DIMM memory."
 
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