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    Monday, March 4, 2024

    Apple Launches MacBook Air Laptops with Faster M3 Chips

    Apple on Monday announced new versions of its 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air laptops with its latest M3 chip.

    Apple launched the M3 chip in October with versions for its iMac desktop computer and more powerful versions for its MacBook Pro laptops. Apple reported $7.78 billion in Mac revenue during its fiscal first-quarter earnings report, which showed less than 1% growth. The latest computers may help boost the company's sales.

    Apple said its new MacBook Air laptops offer sharper 1080p webcams, support for faster Wi-Fi networks and up to 18 hours of battery life. The design remains the same as earlier models. The new M3 chip allows users to add up to two external displays, an improvement from a single screen supported by earlier chips.

    Apple’s announcement showed it’s stepping up its marketing around artificial intelligence.

    It called the new MacBook Air the “world’s best consumer laptop for AI.” It’s an interesting change of language since Apple didn’t mention that when it introduced the iMac with M3 in October, but shows it’s trying to compete with new Windows laptops billed as “AI PCs.”

    Still, the most popular AI platforms, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Anthropic’s Claude and others, run in the cloud over an internet connection, not directly on a computer. Apps such as Pixelmator Pro can use AI to remove background noise in photos, Apple said, although that’s more in line with how apps have used artificial intelligence for years.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated on Feb. 28 that Apple is “investing significantly” in artificial intelligence and teased a major announcement later this year. That may come during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, when the company typically unveils new software. It’s possible Apple announces its own large language model that could run locally on its Macs and other devices, such as iPhones and iPads.

    The 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,099, while the 15-inch starts at $1,299. They're available for order beginning Monday and will be in stores starting March 8.

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