A week with Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina display

“Having resisted the urgings of an Apple store salesman to buy a MacBook Pro, I brought the Air home with a sense of achievement and loyalty,” Chris Matyszczyk writes for ZDNet. “I’ve used Airs for years. They’ve represented a certain grace in computers, a simplicity and effectiveness that few could approach.”

“But as I began to unbox my new Air, I feared that times have changed and I wouldn’t be breathing quite the same Air again,” Matyszczyk writes. “For a start, I’ve been used to the 11-inch version for a long time… When you’ve been used to an 11-inch screen for so long, the necessary leap to 13 inches is jarring.”

“Still, the one thing I do more than any other on a laptop is type. This is where the new Air leaves me hanging. It isn’t so much the butterfly keyboard and how it feels to the touch. My typing seems to be doing just fine. No obvious increase in typos. No painful misspelling of Peter Thiel or Utterly Bonkers,” Matyszczyk writes. “No, it’s the noise. The new Air clacks. And clacks. And clacks.”

With faster memory and the latest processors and graphics, MacBook Air delivers the performance you need for organizing your photos, browsing the web and creating presentations.
With faster memory and the latest processors and graphics, MacBook Air delivers the performance you need for organizing your photos, browsing the web and creating presentations.

Matyszczyk writes, “I still hanker after the Classic.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Out favorite Mac of all time remains the 11-inch MacBook Air, so we know what you mean, Chris. Still, the display, the speed, and the battery life make the 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina display a worthy successor.

ZDNet reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: ‘A good balancing act’ – November 12, 2018
John Gruber reviews Apple’s new MacBook Air: ‘It’s pretty damn sweet’ – November 6, 2018
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s new MacBook Air: The clear pick over the 12-inch MacBook – November 6, 2018
Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air has a processor like no other laptop – October 31, 2018
Apple reveals all-new MacBook Air with a gorgeous 13-inch Retina display – October 30, 2018


  1. Every after 3 generations of butterfly keyboards they STILL suck hard.

    The noise coming out of my MacBook is loud enough to wake my wife early in the morning, so I am forced to refrain from typing until late enough in the day that I wont bother her.

    Well done Pipeline. Wonderful innovation as usual.

    1. I’ve used the new MacBook Pro/Air 3rd gen butterfly keyboards. All this whining about the keyboard is a trollmeat nothing burger topped with an extra helping of first world problem.

      The keyboard is actually really nice to type on and it delivers the nicest backlight experience of any notebook computer ever made.

      1. You’d make an excellent VP at Apple. It’s hard to find yes men sycophants such as yourself. Please forward to me your resume.

        Pipeline needs all the help he can get.

    2. I am not a highly competent typist, so the changes in keyboards have not really impacted me to any degree. I can see where keyboard design changes could impact a professional typist, though.

      As far as the sound level goes, I agree that the new keyboards seem somewhat louder than the older ones with longer travel. But I am in open office and meeting environments all of the time and I hear a lot worse from other computers. Many Wintel laptops clack like crazy. There are also the user-specific aspect to consider – typists with long nails make a racket, regardless of the keyboard.

      What should Apple do? Should Apple revert to the older and quieter keyboard design with greater travel and add a few mm of thickness? I don’t feel strongly one way or the other, in truth. But there are certainly some people who do.

  2. You want a loud keyboard go back a few years to the keyboards with the chunky keys.. Those things could wake the dead.. I found that the new keyboards are not so loud if you actually tap the keys but if you pound them they are really loud.. These keys need almost no pressure which is quite nice..

  3. I find the 2012 MBP keyboard and trackpad to be as good as it gets. Love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. The new keyboards aren’t nearly as good. So i find myself asking, “why modify it, when the newer versions are apparently inferior?”

    1. The latest 3rd gen butterfly keyboard is different from the the original Retina MacBook Pro keyboard, but it is just as good to type on once you get used to it and it’s backlight system is much better -no light leakage around the keys at all…

    2. I LOVE the keyboard and trackpad on my non-Retina 2012 13″ MBP. The perfect amount of travel and comfort. I upgraded to the 201515″ MBP this summer and it’s nowhere near as good.

      1. … Early 2011 13″ MBP also has an excellent keyboard. I wish the one with my Mid-2017 27″ 5K iMac was half as good, because it really sucks in comparison.

        1. I have the early 2011, too 🙂 My fave laptop keyboards, by far!

          The 2011/2012 non-Retina models were pretty solid all around – all the ports, user-upgradable. Too bad they’re too fat and bulky for Jony’s thin-is-in obsession.

  4. While waiting for an iPhone battery replacement, I had 3.5 hours to kill in my local Apple Store. I gave the new MBA keyboard a try and found that it seems slightly better than the 2018 MBP, and much better than my 2017 MBP.

    I actually consider getting rid of my current MBP and getting an MBA instead. I use the keyboard much more than I use the graphics card, which is the primary difference between the machines for my purposes (I have the base MBP, which is really not a pro-level machine in terms of specs).

      1. I used one last weekend for a few minutes in the store. It’s okay but nowhere near as good as my 2012. But I’m a basher and that’s not going to change so it gets pretty loud when I’m on a roll.

        Being a writer, the keyboard is key so I’ll have to stick to external keyboards if I ever upgrade to a recent MBP/MBA.

  5. I’m surprised that no-one complains that the two TB3/USBc ports are both on one side.
    Which is the wrong side in 50% of cases.
    So, I’m complaining.
    I never needed more than 2 ports. I hardly ever need one. But I want one on any side, whatever’s more convenient at the time. That was a thing that only the Air had.

    1. I have to agree with you on this design issue. They are not only on the same side, but they are too close together. If a computer only has two ports, then put one on each side. With four, put two on each side and provide some decent spacing between the pairs. This may not matter when you are using Apple cables with smallish connectors, but try using both ports with some third-party adapters or a USB stick in one of them. This may require some compromise in the design, but usability is supposed to be a strength of Apple.

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