This article was published on January 15, 2019

Video: 5 things we love about the new Macbook Air – and 4 we don’t

We're not sure whether to kiss it or kill it

MacBook Air
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

We’re huge fans of Apple laptops at TNW. Not only do most of us work on MacBooks many of us also have our own Apple laptops. I’m sorry to report that I’m one of those people.

So, whenever Apple releases a new computer – like the fresh-from-the-factory MacBook Air – it’s a big deal. After getting my dirty mitts all over it, there were some things I loved and others I, well, didn’t

Luckily for you, TNW has put together a lovely video breaking all this down. But if video isn’t your thing? Well, there’s an article for you below. We’re decent like that.


There were five things about the newest MacBook Air iteration that really stood out.

1) Those sweet, sweet looks

Soak that design in. The understated curves. The sleekness. It’s just a gorgeous looking machine. The new model has retained the classic MacBook Air teardrop shape, but added some modern subtlety to proceedings.

Visually, it’s everything you want a MacBook to be.

2) The inclusion of Touch ID

This feature has appeared on previous MacBooks, but this is its first appearance on an Air. And it’s great. As you’d expect from Apple, it just works.

I’m not sure at what point in my life typing to log into my computer felt like a chore, but the Touch ID function is something I’m going to struggle to live without.

3) They kept the headphone jack!

It feels slightly strange praising Apple for not getting rid of a feature that almost everyone wants, but here we are. With Apple leading the charge to remove the headphone jack from mobiles, I was concerned it’d do it with the new MacBook Air too.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case. I’m not ready to throw away the wires just yet.

4) At long last there’s a Retina Display

This is the first MacBook Air with a Retina Display and, well, it’s beautiful. Having used an older Air for what feels like an age, the extra detail on the screen makes a world of difference. It’s a thing of beauty.

5) Fresh touchpad and keyboard

There are a lot of people who don’t like the newest iterations of the MacBook keyboard – and for good reason. Thankfully, it seems like Apple has listened to the detractors with the new Air and actually made a keyboard and touchpad that are joys to use.

The keyboard in particular takes a little while to get used to, but when you master it, typing is terrific.


Despite the many positives of the new MacBook Air, there are a few things that Apple didn’t do well. Specifically, four things. These four things.

1) Dropping the MagSafe charger

(Credit: Emanuele1212)

Oh man, I miss the MagSafe. I remember being blown away when this magnetic charging cable was introduced. This simple, brilliant idea must’ve stopped untold numbers of people from breaking their laptops.

Unfortunately, it’s no more.

On one hand, I get it; USB-C is far a more adaptable and widespread standard. If you left your MagSafe cable at home, you had to hope someone else had one. This won’t be the case with USB-C.

Still, I’ve almost broken the new MacBook Air by tripping over the cable already, so I’m not sure how worth it this trade-off is. I guess we’ll find out in a few months.

2) No USB-A slots

To reiterate, I get it. USB-C is a far better format than USB-A. It’s the future. Unfortunately, we still live in the present.

Almost all of my external devices use a normal USB-A slot. This means that if I want to, say, plug a hard drive in, I need to constantly have a dongle on me.

Did I expect Apple to do this? Of course. Do I like it? Not one bit.

3) Those bezels are too wide


Ugh, they’re so big. In an era of edge-to-edge screens, it seems slightly ridiculous how wide the bezels on the new MacBook Air are. Yes, the screen itself is delicious, but Apple could’ve done much more to make use of that space.

4) It costs too much

Historically, the MacBook Air is the budget Apple laptop. Yes, a thousand dollars isn’t exactly inexpensive, but it was just about affordable. I mean, why do you think it’s become the de facto work laptop for so many companies?

This price range also helped separate the Air from other laptops in Apple’s range, but this is no longer the case. The new MacBook Air starts at $1,200, while both the MacBook and the MacBook Pro start at $1,299.

The Air isn’t an entry-level machine any more.


I love the new MacBook Air, I really do. It’s an incredible upgrade from the old model and does most things right. There is one glaring issue though: the price.

Previously, it was easy to recommend a MacBook Air to a specific type of person. It was light, cheap(-ish), and perfect for day-to-day work. Now, it appears that Apple has muddled its laptop range. Yes, it’s still cheaper than a Pro, but only by a hundred dollars. Considering it’s a very similar size to that computer, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t pay that extra bit to get a more sophisticated machine.

It comes down to this. Do I like the new MacBook Air? Yes, I really, really do. Would I actually buy one with my own money? Probably not. But would I be happy if my company provided me with one? Damn straight I would.

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