Apple’s main fanfare on this Tuesday was the introduction of a refreshed MacBook, with a new Skylake processor inside, faster graphics, faster memory and faster storage capacity (and a pretty new Rose Gold finish, if that’s your thing). You can read my thoughts on it if you haven’t already. They snuck in a comment at the end of the press release that was easy to miss, but important to note: “Apple also today made 8GB of memory standard across all configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Air®.”
To be clear, Apple hasn’t made any other change to the MacBook Air. The MacBook Air that you’ll buy from Apple today is built using the same processor and other parts that were in it yesterday. The difference is the 13-inch model comes better equipped for $999. Instead of a 4 GB/128 GB SSD, you get 8 GB and 128 GB of SSD instead.
You can argue that 128 GB SSD is a paltry amount, but it’s actually sufficient for a great many of us, especially when paired with external storage like a USB 3 or Thunderbolt hard drive, or even a network attached storage system like a Drobo or Synology NAS.
8 GB RAM resolves one of the biggest flaws in the previous MacBook Air matrix – the need to custom-order a MacBook air with enough RAM overhead to comfortably run the fairly memory-intensive apps that some Mac users rely on. It’s more value for the money, to be sure.
The MacBook Air doesn’t have a Retina display. It’ll be interesting to see if or what Apple does to the Air in the future. At the moment, it seems content to let this system, which has been very popular, continue to run its course.
This doesn’t extend to the base-model 11-inch MacBook Air, by the way – it remains configured with 4 GB RAM and stays priced at $899, making it Apple’s least expensive Mac laptop.