Apple teased that it’d release the first Apple Silicon-enabled Macs before the end of 2020, and it delivered on the promise at the company’s November ‘One More Thing’ event.
Revealed alongside a new MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, the new MacBook Air is one of the first devices to be powered by Apple’s new M1 chipset. Apple made some big claims at the event, but as our review and many others have proven, it had every right to be confident in the device’s performance and battery life.
The MacBook Air is available to buy from a variety of retailers in the UK, with many offering sizeable discounts. Here’s a full guide.
Best MacBook Air M1 UK deals
The new MacBook Air is available in two configurations, but unlike previous Macs, neither are powered by Intel. The new Apple M1 chipset is available in both configurations of MacBook Air, but the £999 entry-level model features an M1 chipset comprised of 8 CPU cores and 7 GPU cores, compared to the dual 8 and 8 offering of the £1,249 variant. There’s also double the storage available on the premium MacBook Air at 512GB.
Here’s where you can buy the new M1 MacBook Air right now:
Apple – from £999 (256GB), £1249 (512GB) – no discounts
Amazon – from £899.97, up to £149.03 off 512GB model
Very – from £949, up to £200 off 512GB model
Currys PC World – from £949, up to £132 off 512GB model
John Lewis – from £949, up to £132 off 512GB model
Box – from £939, up to £101 off 512GB model (appears as £97 off)
Scan – from £999, up to £50 off 512GB model
KRCS – from £949.05, up to £72.45 off 512GB model
Argos – from £999 (256GB), £1249 (512GB) – no discounts
When is Black Friday 2021? – Should you wait for a better deal?
Black Friday arrives on Friday 26 November this year, followed by Cyber Monday on 29 November, which leads to the question: should you wait until then for a better deal?
Yes, and no. If you urgently need a new tablet or laptop now and you see a stellar discount on the M1 MacBook Air today, it’s easy: pick it up. If you have the luxury of waiting until November, however, it may pay off.
There’s no need to wait for 26 November itself, of course. In the past, the biggest and best Black Friday deals were typically reserved for the big day, but now deals appear all through November and sometimes, as early as October. MacBook Air models have been discounted during Black Friday season before, but there are no guarantees.
If you see dramatic Black Friday discounts before 26 November, just go for it! Some retailers that hold pre-Black Friday sales also promise that prices won’t go any lower on Black Friday itself and offer to refund customers back the difference if it does.
Should I buy refurbished?
While M1 MacBook Air prices set to remain near full price for the foreseeable future, the only place you’ll see bigger discounts is on refurbished models. Some might see this as another word for ‘second hand’, but in reality many of these devices have barely been used at all.
Remember, if a product has been used for demonstration purposes or returned as an unwanted gift, retailers must classify them as ‘refurbished’ despite looking and performing just like new. It’s true that there are situations where a fault has been fixed, so it’s worth checking the description for any device you’re considering buying.
There are two key places to go if you’re looking for a refurbished Apple Watch. The first is the Apple Refurbished Store, with devices refurbished to an excellent standard. MusicMagpie is a great alternative though, and typically offers a greater range to choose from.
See more in our guide to refurbished tech.
What’s so exciting about the new MacBook Air and its Apple M1 chip?
The M1 is Apple’s first designed and manufactured chipset for its Mac range – and it’s a big deal. Apple has started the transition away from Intel-powered Macs, a move that makes sense considering how well Apple has done with creating the A-series chipsets for its iPhones and iPads.
The key highlight of the new M1 is just how much of a boost in performance it provides compared to the Intel chips it used in MacBooks earlier this year. Apple claims a 3.5x jump in the CPU department and a 5x jump in the GPU department when it comes to the MacBook Air, two incredible improvements considering the relatively minor year-on-year gains on offer from Intel chipsets.
There’s also a dedicated Neural Engine packed onto the SoC, bringing a massive 15x improvement to ML actions like automatic image enhancement or facial recognition.
Despite the impressive performance gains, the 5nm process means that the chipset is incredibly energy efficient, offering 15-18 hours of battery life on the MacBook Air depending on what you’re up to. It’s also a lot cooler in operation, meaning Apple could actually ditch the fan in the MacBook Air for a truly silent machine.
Believe it or not, those are only the highlights of what the M1 brings to the MacBook Air in 2020 – there’s plenty more on offer under the hood. For more on why it’s such an exciting release, take a look at the latest details on the new MacBook Air with M1, and our full Apple Silicon explainer might be of interest too.
If you’d rather something a bit more powerful, check out our round-up of the best MacBook Pro M1 deals in the UK.