Apple’s 2019 256GB MacBook Air Includes Slower SSD Than 2018 Model

The 2019 MacBook Air, refreshed last week, appears to have a slower SSD than the 2018 MacBook Air, according to testing by French site Consomac. Using testing with the Blackmagic Disk Speed benchmarking test, the site found that the read speeds of the new SSD are lower.

A test of the 2019 MacBook Air with 256GB of storage demonstrated write speeds of 1GB/s and read speeds of 1.3GB/s. An equivalent model released in 2018 featured write speeds of 920MB/s and read speeds of 2GB/s. While write speeds are on par with the older machine (and are even slightly better), read speeds have dropped 35 percent.


Consomac also saw write speeds of 500MB/s in the 128GB 2019 MacBook Air and read speeds of 1.3GB/s, but this is similar to the performance of the 128GB 2018 MacBook Air as that machine also featured large differences between read and write performance. Higher capacity SSDs were not tested, but may display the same slight decline in performance.

The 2019 MacBook Air features an updated True Tone display and a price drop, starting at $1,099 instead of $1,199. Students are able to get the new machine even cheaper, with the MacBook Air now priced at $999 with educational pricing.

It's possible Apple went with slower SSD performance in order to drop the MacBook Air's price to a more affordable level, and it's not a change that most MacBook Air users are likely to notice in day to day usage of the machine, especially those upgrading from a much older model.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

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2018 MacBook Air Available for $999 at Select Apple Stores While Quantities Last, $849 Refurbished

Apple today updated the MacBook Air with a True Tone display. The notebook also received a $100 price drop, with prices now starting at $1,099 in the United States, or $999 for qualifying students through Apple's education store.


While this news means that 2018 MacBook Air models are no longer available to purchase through Apple's online store, a retail source informed MacRumors that Apple is offering $999 pricing on base 2018 MacBook Air models at select Apple Stores in the United States, while quantities last. Your mileage may vary.

Apple is also offering certified refurbished 2018 MacBook Air models on its online store from $849, which amounts to $350 off the 2018 MacBook Air's original starting price of $1,199 when it was first released in October 2018.

Apple says certified refurbished MacBook Air models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged, with all manuals and cables included in the box. In our view, a refurbished Mac is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new one. They're also backed by Apple's standard one-year warranty.

A refurbished Mac's warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+.

All in all, customers who can deal without True Tone can save $100 or $350 or more by purchasing a 2018 model instead of a 2019 model. Of course, something new is always around the corner: well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said a new MacBook Air with a scissor keyboard might launch later in 2019.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

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New MacBook Air and Base 13-Inch MacBook Pro Have Same Keyboard as Higher-End 2019 MacBook Pros

Good news: both the new MacBook Air and the new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro models introduced today have the same third-generation butterfly keyboard design with an updated material as the higher-end 2019 MacBook Pro models introduced in May, we've confirmed directly.

2019 MacBook Pro keyboard teardown via iFixit

Apple previously said the new material should substantially reduce issues that some users have experienced with its butterfly keyboards in recent MacBooks, according to The Loop. Apple apologized for the issues in March, but it continues to insist that a "small percentage" of customers are affected.

Apple has not elaborated on the new material, but the repair experts at iFixit completed a teardown of the 2019 MacBook Pro and discovered a "subtle change" made to the silicone membrane covering the keyboard switches.

Whereas the membrane in the 2018 MacBook Pro is "semi-opaque" and "feels like silicone," iFixit said the cover in the 2019 model is "clearer and smooth to the touch." Based on infrared analysis, it appears the 2018 membrane was made with polyacetylene, while the 2019 covers uses polyamide, aka nylon.

Despite the new material, Apple has added all 2019 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models, including today's refreshed entry-level configuration, to its keyboard service program — hopefully out of an abundance of caution.

This means any 2019 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, or any Mac with a butterfly keyboard that experiences keyboard issues such as sticky or inconsistently responding keys qualify for free repairs from Apple for up to four years after the original purchase date worldwide, regardless of warranty status.

With the 12-inch MacBook having been discontinued today, this means every notebook that Apple sells today features this new material for improved reliability. Whether the new material actually cuts down on the issues or not remains to be seen, as the sticky or repeating keys often take time to manifest.

Looking forward, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple plans to adopt a new scissor keyboard in future MacBooks, including a new MacBook Air later in 2019 and a new MacBook Pro in 2020. While the MacBook Air was updated today, the only change was a True Tone display, so a processor refresh could still follow this fall along with the new keyboard if Apple finally plans to ditch the butterfly mechanism.

To initiate a keyboard repair, visit the Get Support page on Apple's website to book a Genius Bar or Apple Authorized Service Provider appointment.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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MacBook Air Updated With True Tone Display and Lower $1,099 Starting Price

Apple today announced that it has updated the MacBook Air with a True Tone display and lowered the price of the notebook to $1,099 in the United States, or $999 for qualifying students. 2018 models started at $1,199.


In addition, the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest 8th-generation Intel Core quad-core processors for up to two times faster performance. The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro also now features the Touch Bar and Touch ID, True Tone, and the Apple T2 security chip. Pricing starts at $1,299, or $1,199 for qualifying students.

More details to follow…

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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Kuo: Apple to Use New Scissor Switch Keyboard in Future MacBooks, Starting With 2019 MacBook Air Refresh

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will do away with its controversial butterfly mechanism keyboard in future MacBooks, beginning with a refreshed MacBook Air later this year.


In a report obtained by MacRumors, Kuo says Apple will instead use a new keyboard design based on scissor switches, which should provide better key travel and durability than the more failure-prone butterfly keyboard.
There have been successful developments in the new scissor keyboard. The new keyboard could improve the typing experience by offering longer key travel and durability by adopting glass fiber to reinforce the keys' structure.
Kuo believes a new scissor switch keyboard will also be used in the MacBook Pro, but not until 2020. Perhaps tellingly, Kuo made no mention of the 16-inch MacBook Pro he has previously suggested Apple will launch later this year.
We believe the partially refreshed MacBook Pro models will also adopt a new scissor keyboard in 2020; shipments of MacBook models equipped with a new scissor keyboard will grow 500–700% YoY in 2020. Though the butterfly keyboard is still thinner than the new scissor keyboard, we think most users can't tell the difference. Furthermore, the new scissor keyboard could offer a better user experience and benefit Apple's profits; therefore, we predict that the butterfly keyboard may finally disappear in the long term.
Apple's butterfly keyboards are highly controversial and have been called out as one of the company's worst design decisions due to their penchant for failure due to small particulates like crumbs or heat issues.

Following years of anecdotal complaints from customers, and a few class action lawsuits, Apple initiated a worldwide service program, offering free repairs of 2015-and-later MacBook and 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro keyboards, which are equipped with low-profile butterfly switch mechanisms.

Apple in 2018 debuted MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models that use an updated third-generation butterfly keyboard. The third-generation keyboard has a thin silicone barrier behind each key, which was put in place as an ingress-proofing measure to prevent dust from getting in the keys.

Clearly the hope was that the updated keyboard would cut down on failures, but the 2018 MacBook Pro is still prone to keyboard issues, and Apple acknowledged as much in March.

Kuo says the new replacement keyboard will be supplied solely by specialist laptop keyboard maker Sunrex rather than Wistron, which currently makes the butterfly keyboards for Apple. The analyst expects the new Sunrex keyboard will go to mass production in 2020 and will make the Taiwan-based firm Apple's most important keyboard supplier.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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Apple Identifies Logic Board Issue With ‘Very Small Number’ of 2018 MacBook Airs, Will Fix Free of Charge

Apple has identified an undisclosed issue with the logic board in "a very small number" of 2018 MacBook Air units, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers on Friday. The document was obtained by MacRumors from a source who has proven reliable.


Apple will replace the main logic board in affected MacBook Air units, free of charge. Apple will also send an email to affected customers to let them know that their notebooks are eligible for a main logic board replacement. Apple did not provide any specific details or symptoms pertaining to the "issue."

2018 MacBook Air owners can visit Apple's support website to schedule an appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. When the serial number of an affected MacBook Air is entered into Apple's internal repair system, a message will direct technicians to replace the logic board.

Apple will authorize coverage within four years of the MacBook Air's original purchase date. If the notebook has accidental damage that the customer does not want repaired, technicians are instructed to proceed with the logic board replacement at no cost as long as the damage does not prevent completion of the repair.

If accidental damage does prevent the logic board replacement from being completed, Apple says the customer must pay for necessary repairs in order to get the logic board replaced at no cost.

Apple has not publicly announced this repair policy, likely due to what it believes is a very small number of affected customers. While we are confident this information is accurate, as it comes from a consistently reliable source, we cannot guarantee that all Apple employees will acknowledge the policy.

This is at least the third repair program that Apple has introduced in the past five weeks, alongside its 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro battery recall and replacement program and 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro display backlight service program.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Neutral)

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MacBook Air and Possibly 13-Inch MacBook Pro Without Touch Bar Said to Receive Processor Refresh in the Fall

Apple plans to refresh its MacBook Air lineup with faster processors in September, according to IHS Markit analyst Jeff Lin's latest Emerging PC Market Tracker report, published Thursday and shared by Forbes:
Apple is also expected to update the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and Retina MacBook Air with the new MacOS Catalina and new processors in September, according to Lin.
Forbes also cites Lin as saying the 13-inch MacBook Pro receiving a processor refresh in September as well, which likely refers to the base model without the Touch Bar, dubbed the "MacBook Escape" for its physical Esc key. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar just received a processor refresh in May.


The MacBook Air was last updated in October 2018, when it received a long-awaited Retina display, 8th-generation Intel Core processors, butterfly keyboard, larger trackpad, Touch ID, Thunderbolt 3 ports, new color options, and more.

Apple rarely refreshes any Macs in September, often waiting for October instead, but these would be fall updates either way. IHS has close ties to Apple's supply chain, having accurately revealed the original 10.5-inch iPad Pro's resolution nearly four months in advance and LTPO on the Apple Watch.

Lin also believes that Apple plans to release the rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro in September. Again, this could end up being October too, but it sounds increasingly likely that the 16-inch MacBook Pro is coming this year.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
Tag: IHS

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Apple Registers 7 Unreleased Mac Notebooks in Eurasian Database

Apple has registered seven unreleased Mac models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database today, including A2141, A2147, A2158, A2159, A2179, A2182, and A2251, according to listings uncovered by MacRumors. All seven models appear to be notebooks, as they are described as "portable" computers.

MacRumors mockup of rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro

On the more imminent front, the 12-inch MacBook is certainly long overdue for an update, having been last refreshed in June 2017. A spec bump to the MacBook Air is also plausible, but its October 2018 refresh was not too long ago.


Looking farther out, we've heard rumors about a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an all-new design launching later this year. Given the MacBook Pro was just refreshed weeks ago, the 16-inch model is presumably a fall product at the earliest. Apple occasionally hosts Mac events in October, including in both 2018 and 2016.

Eurasian Economic Commission filings like these have foreshadowed the release of new Apple products on numerous occasions, including multiple Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, Apple Watch, and AirPods models. The filings are legally required for any encrypted devices sold in Russia and select other countries.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook

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2018 and Newer MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Now Eligible for Apple’s Keyboard Service Program

Apple today extended its Keyboard Service Program to all MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models equipped with any generation of its butterfly mechanism keyboard, not long after apologizing over the issues.


This means 2018 MacBook Air, 2018 MacBook Pro, or just-announced 2019 MacBook Pro models that experience keyboard issues such as sticky or inconsistently responding keys now qualify for free repairs up to four years after the original purchase date worldwide, regardless of warranty status.

To address the underlying issues, Apple said it has changed the material in the 2019 MacBook Pro keyboard's butterfly mechanism to "substantially reduce problems that some users have seen," according to The Loop.

The new keyboard design on the 2019 MacBook Pro is still classified as "third generation" like the 2018 MacBook Pro and 2018 MacBook Air. Owners of the 2018 MacBook Pro and 2018 MacBook Air can have their keyboards replaced with ones that have the new materials during repair, according to The Verge.

To initiate a keyboard repair, visit the Get Support page on Apple's website to book a Genius Bar or Apple Authorized Service Provider appointment.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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Apple Revises 2018 MacBook Air Display Brightness to Up to 400 Nits After macOS 10.14.4 Release

As noted on Reddit, Apple has updated its tech specs for the 2018 MacBook Air to indicate that the notebook now has a display brightness of up to 400 nits, compared to up to 300 nits previously.


We've confirmed with Apple that this increase is tied to the macOS 10.14.4 software update released on March 25. Apple's release notes did mention that the update "corrects the default screen brightness" for 2018 MacBook Air models, although no specific details were known at the time.

Prior to macOS 10.14.4, Laptop Mag found that its 2018 MacBook Air review unit maxed out at a brightness of 234 nits, while NotebookCheck determined an average value of 315 nits. It's unclear why there is such a big discrepancy there, but it'll be interesting to see how much the number increases in subsequent testing.

Battery life stats for the 2018 MacBook Air remain unchanged on Apple's tech specs page.

(Thanks, Aaron!)

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, macOS Mojave
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Neutral)

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