How to order the Apple MacBook Air with M3

After a few weeks of rumors, Apple announced the newest entries to its MacBook lineup today: 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models, both powered by the M3 chipset. As anticipated, the M3 addition is the biggest change for these notebooks, bringing them in line with the latest MacBook Pros and 24-inch iMac, which were all updated at the end of 2023 to run on Apple’s latest silicon. You can order both new MacBook Air laptops today from Apple’s website and other retailers starting at $1,099, and they will be available in stores on March 8. With these new machines, Apple has removed the M1-powered Air from its online store and the MacBook Air M2’s starting price has dropped to $999.

Apple states that the M3 MacBook Airs will be up to 60 percent faster than the M1-powered laptop and up to 13x faster than old-school Airs running on Intel chips. Speed and efficiency are the big takeaways here, because otherwise the MacBook Air specs haven’t changed much. The new 13-inch and 15-inch notebooks have octa-core CPUs and support up to a 10-core GPU, along with up to 24GB of RAM and up to 2TB of internal storage. Notably, the base 13-inch MacBook Air M3 has the same starting specs of the M2 model that came before it: 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Display specs remain the same across the board as well: both new models include a Liquid Retina panel with a 2,560 x 1,664 resolution and up to 500 nits of brightness.

The only other noteworthy additions on the M3-powered MacBook Airs are the added support for Wi-Fi 6E (the M2 Air supports just standard Wi-Fi 6) and up to two external displays (with the lid closed). The latter should be particularly useful for multitaskers and anyone using the new Air as a daily driver and wants to use more than one external display in their desk setup.

Color options have carried over from the M2 version as well: the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air with M3 are available in midnight, space gray, starlight and silver. Although it appears Apple’s now billing the M2 Air as its "budget" option in the lineup, the M1 machine remains on sale (at the moment) at other retailers like Amazon when you can pick it up for as low as $750.
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The Mac turns 40: How Apple Silicon cured its midlife crisis

The Mac, formerly the more austere Macintosh, turns 40 today, putting Apple’s longest-running product squarely in middle age. But like someone who sees the back half of their life approaching and gets in marathon-runner shape, the Mac is in the strongest place it’s been for decades. From a revenue perspective, Mac sales declined precipitously in 2023, but that came on the heels of four years of growth that was likely the product of pent-up demand for an improved Mac lineup.

In 2020, Apple finally started delivering on that, thanks in large part to Apple Silicon arriving in the Mac, ushering in the era we’re in now. While the Mac was on shaky ground prior to Apple Silicon, it would now be pretty silly to suggest the Mac won’t make it to its 50th birthday. That wasn’t always a given, though. While the Mac is Apple’s oldest product, it’s also gone through numerous moments where it appeared to be on the brink of irrelevance or complete disaster. Through most of the ‘90s, before CEO Steve Jobs returned to lead the company he had founded, the Macintosh was a mess.

It was too expensive for the power it delivered, Apple’s product lineup was confusing and cluttered and Windows PCs now had both the GUI and performance to make the Mac a poor choice for most people. And even after Jobs returned and introduced the iMac and iBook while revitalizing the Power Mac and Powerbook lines, the G3 and G4 still lagged behind PCs in most tasks. Ironically, the move to Intel in 2006 helped make the Mac more relevant, even as it held Apple back a decade later, as the company chased thin and light laptop designs with “innovations” like the Touch Bar and butterfly keyboard that held it back while letting its power languish.

But in 2014, when the Mac turned 30, it was in a pretty good place. Apple had spent the recent years focusing on the iPhone and then the iPad, with former CEO Steve Jobs famously comparing PCs to trucks — an implication that the iPad would be the more mainstream car for most people. But at least as far as laptops go, the Mac was fairly compelling. The MacBook Air had finally become what Jobs had wanted when he pulled it out of an envelope on stage in 2008. It was a thin, light and reasonably powerful laptop with a reasonable price, and the spill-over effect from people buying iPods and then iPhones had helped the MacBook Air become ubiquitous in coffee shops and college campuses. The MacBook Pro, meanwhile, was well-suited to the creative professional Apple marketed towards, with a great screen, plenty of ports and enough power for it to be a compelling mobile studio.

However, there were plenty of weak spots in the lineup if you looked closely. Perhaps the most obvious was the strange saga of the Mac Pro. For years, Apple’s tower-style computer had gotten more and more expensive, clearly priced out of the range of most consumers. That wasn’t a bad thing on its own, but Apple failed to recognize what its target market was looking for when it released the cylindrical Mac Pro redesign in 2013 — and then failed to meaningfully upgrade it for years. Between the lack of updates and a design that limited expandability, the Mac Pro was a bit of a joke in Apple’s lineup for the better part of a decade.

Apple then made a similarly disastrous change to the MacBook Pro in 2016. Let us count the ways Apple dropped the ball with this generation of laptops. First, the unreliable butterfly keyboard, which existed seemingly only so Apple could make these laptops as thin and light as possible. Then there was the removal of useful ports like HDMI, USB-A and an SD card slot in favor of just four USB-C / Thunderbolt ports, one of which was needed for charging. There’s also the Touch Bar, a thin OLED strip on the keyboard that dynamically changed depending on what app you were using. A neat idea, though one that failed to gain much traction with developers or end users, and the lack of a physical escape key baffled users for years to come.

Finally, while Apple managed to make the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models much thinner and lighter than their predecessors, it came at a performance cost. Plenty of users experienced overheating and CPU throttling, as if the extremely thin enclosure combined with the powerful chips was a bad combo.

Meanwhile, the venerable MacBook Air was left to languish for years with minor updates and a design and low-resolution screen that were quickly becoming uncompetitive. The iMac and Mac mini chugged along as solid options for users looking for a desktop machine, but picking a Mac laptop at the time was an exercise in compromise and paying for something that probably did not check all the boxes.

Things showed signs of turning around in 2019, when Apple introduced a new, tower-style Mac Pro with increased expansion options. But more significantly, Apple reversed course on the terrible butterfly keyboard and brought back scissor-style keys to the MacBook Pro and, a few months later, the MacBook Air (which had since been updated with a Retina display and more current Intel processors). Amazingly enough, Apple made the revamped 16-inch MacBook Pro thicker and heavier than the one it replaced, something that showed the company was moving away from thinner and lighter at all costs, especially in products like this where it just didn’t make sense to chase a smaller form factor at the expense of performance.

However, the Mac really rebounded in late 2020, when Apple released the first Macs running on the company’s own custom silicon. Apple had been designing chips for years, ever since the A4 first arrived in the iPhone 4 and original iPad in 2010, and the combo of efficiency and power the company had hit on had proven to be a big advantage for the company. And the first round of Macs running Apple Silicon included some of Apple’s most popular models, like the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The improvements were immediately obvious — when we reviewed it, we said the M1-powered MacBook Air “redefines what an ultraportable can be.” The combo of huge performance gains alongside wildly impressive battery life made the MacBook Air a no-brainer. Meanwhile, the Mac mini provided a ton of bang for the buck if you were looking for an inexpensive desktop computer.

The next big move for the Mac came in late 2021, when Apple fully fixed the MacBook Pro issues it introduced with the 2016 model. The totally redesigned 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models brought back a lot of the ports that Apple initially removed, banished the Touch Bar and utilized new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that boosted the multicore performance of these laptops far beyond their Intel-based predecessors.

The last major piece of the puzzle came into place in March of 2022, when Apple introduced the Mac Studio. While the Mac Pro lingered on with Intel chips, the new Mac Studio represented a middle ground between the Pro and mini. The $2,000 model included the M1 Max chip, which you can also get in a MacBook Pro if you were willing to pony up the cash, but the $4,000 model basically strapped two of those chips together to make the M1 Ultra. That monster processor had up to 64 GPU cores, while the M2 Ultra that replaced it lets you get up to a 76-core GPU to go along with its 24-core CPU and 32-core Neural Engine for machine learning tasks. Plain and simple, it’s the kind of power Apple hadn’t offered in its computers for a long time.

Since 2022, Apple has mostly been in a refine, upgrade and iterate mode, with many Macs moving on to the M3 architecture. But there are a few places that could still use an overhaul — the Mac Pro moved to Apple Silicon late in the transition to these new chips, only arriving this past June. And while it has an expandable tower-style case, it runs the same M2 Ultra that you can get in the Mac Studio but costs a whopping $3,000 more. There’s a pretty big opportunity for Apple to put in an even higher-end workstation-class — maybe it can just bolt two of the M3 Ultras that are surely coming together to further separate the Mac Pro from the Studio.

On a more consumer-focused level, Apple has recently made another stab at making Mac gaming a thing, with the company bringing popular, mainstream titles like Death Stranding and Resident Evil 4 to the platform. But the company still isn’t in the same realm of gaming on Windows, despite the massive power Apple Silicon offers. If the company can figure out a way to make porting games easier, developers could have a whole new market to sell to — and Apple would have another feather in its cap. If the company has any ambitions of really pushing past PCs the way the iPad came to dominate the tablet market, they’ll need to push even harder to get big games on the Mac.

And, of course, we’re just a week away from Apple releasing its first new platform in almost a decade, the Vision Pro. While it’s launching as a wildly expensive, standalone device, it’s not hard to imagine the market expanding if the form factor catches on. If that happens, we might see a Vision device that runs Mac apps natively, instead of just viewing them. Apple has long held the belief that its platforms should stand on their own, though — witness the futile calls for a touchscreen Mac or a version of MacOS for the iPad Pro. But in this case, maybe we’ll be talking in 10 years about how spatial computing was the next thing to move the Mac forward.
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How to use Apple’s new Journal app with the iOS 17.2 update

Apple’s AI-powered Journal app is finally here. The new diary entry writing tool was first teased for iOS 17 back in June, but it only became available on Monday with the new iPhone update — nearly three months after iOS 17 itself came out. After Apple released iOS 17.2, iPhone users can now access to the Journal app, which allows users to jot down their thoughts in a digital diary. Journaling is a practice that can improve mental wellbeing and it can also be used to fuel creative projects.

You can create traditional text entries, add voice recordings to your notes, or include recent videos or pictures. If you need inspiration, AI-derived text prompts can offer suggestions for what to write or create an entry for next. The app also predicts and proposes times for you to create a new entry based on your recent iPhone activity, which can include newer photos and videos, location history, recently listened-to playlists, and workout habits. This guide will walk you through how to get started with the Journal app and personalize your experience.

How to create a new entry in the Journal app on iPhone
Malak Saleh
When you open the Journal app, tap the + button at the bottom of the page to create a new entry. If you want to start with a blank slate, when you tap ‘New Entry’ an empty page will appear and from there you can start typing text. You can add in recent photos from your library when you tap the photos icon below the text space, take a photo in the moment and add it to your entry or include a recorded voice memo when you tap the voice icon. You can also add locations to your entry when you tap the arrow icon at the bottom right of an entry page. This feature might be helpful for travel bloggers looking back at their trips abroad. You can edit the date of an entry at the top of the page.

Alternatively, you can create a post based on recent or recommended activities that your phone compiled — say, pictures, locations from events you attended, or contacts you recently interacted with. The recent tab will show you, in chronological order, people, photos and addresses that can inspire entries based on recent activities. The recommended tab pulls from highlighted images automatically selected from your photo memories. For example, a selection of portraits from 2022 can appear as a recommendation to inspire your next written entry. Some suggestions underneath the recommendation tab may appear within the app with ‘Writing prompts.’ For example, a block of text may appear with a question like, “What was the highlight of your trip?”

Malak Saleh
Scheduling, bookmarking and filtering
If you’re not free to write when a suggestion is made, you can also save specific moments you want to journal about and write at a later time. Using the journaling schedule feature, you can set a specific time to be notified to create an entry, which will help a user make journaling a consistent practice. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone and search for the Journal app. Turn on the ‘Journaling schedule’ feature and personalize the days and times you would like to be reminded to write entries. As a side note, in Settings, you can also opt to lock your journal using your device passcode or Face ID.

Malak Saleh
You can also organize your entries within the app using the bookmarking feature, so you can filter and find them at your own convenience. After creating an entry, tap the three dots at the bottom of your page and scroll down to tap the bookmark tab. This is the same place where you can delete or edit a journal entry.

Later on, if you want to revisit a bookmarked entry, tap the three-line icon at the corner of the main journal page to select the filter you would like applied to your entries. You can select to only view bookmarked entries, entries with photos, entries with recorded audio and see entries with places or locations. This might be helpful when your journal starts to fill up with recordings.

Adding music, workouts and other off-platform entries into your journal app
Using your streaming app of choice, (Apple Music, Spotify or Amazon Music), you can integrate specific tracks or podcast episodes into your entries by tapping three buttons at the bottom of your screen that opens up the option to ‘share your music.’ The option to share a track to the Journal app should appear and it will sit at the top of a blank entry when you open the app.

You can use the same method with other applications, like Apple’s Fitness app. You can share and export a logged workout into your journal and start writing about that experience.

Malak Saleh

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Apple tvOS 17.2 has a redesigned TV experience and no iTunes Movies or TV Shows apps

Alongside iOS, iPadOS and watchOS updates, Apple has rolled out the latest version of tvOS. The main change this time around is a redesign of the core Apple TV app.

You’ll now see a sidebar that blends content from Apple’s own services (such as Apple TV+, MLS Season Pass and a Store where users can buy and rent popular movies) with access to third-party channels and apps such as Disney+ and Max. It seems that Apple is aiming to improve navigation and discoverability without straying too far from the industry standard tile browsing format on the homepage.

On living room devices (i.e. Apple TV hardware and the eponymous app on smart TVs and other devices), the sidebar will include profiles. Apple says this will allow you to swiftly switch between users for more personalized recommendations across the app and in the Up Next section. Meanwhile, Watch Now has been rebranded as Home.

The Apple TV app’s Store tab is where you’ll want to go to buy or rent movies and TV shows. Starting today, the iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps on Apple TV 4K and HD devices will redirect users to the Apple TV app’s Store tab to find and manage their purchases. The same goes for the iTunes Store app on iPhone and iPad.

Meanwhile, you’ll now be able to answer FaceTime calls directly on Apple TV 4K devices. Apple has added support for FaceTime audio calls as well.
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Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ Mac event: Everything announced about M3 MacBook Pro and M3 iMac

It’s perhaps The Addams Family’s favorite time of year, but Apple’s pre-Halloween “Scary Fast” event was neither mysterious nor spooky. Thanks to M3 chip leaks and rumors, all of the company’s announcements were largely expected. And though the showcase inexplicably took place in the evening, it’s hard to imagine Tim Cook ever cutting a ghostly figure.
Anyway, Apple had a bunch of product refreshes to discuss, namely in the new MacBook Pro and iMac lineups. The event anchored around a trio of new chipsets that, unsurprisingly, Apple is touting as its most powerful yet.
M3 chipsets Apple Apple unveiled a trio of M3 chips at Scary Fast: the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max. While they’re certainly going to be faster than the previous M2 chipsets, the company not-so-subtly hammered home the notion that they’re far more powerful than their M1 equivalents, just in case folks who are using devices with first-generation Apple silicon chips are starting to yearn for an upgrade.
Notably, these are the first three-nanometer chips for PCs. On the GPU side, Apple has factored in hardware-accelerated ray-tracing and mesh shading to offer more realistic lighting and better geometry handling.
The base M3 has an eight-core CPU (four performance cores and a quartet of efficiency cores) and a 10-core GPU, with support for up to 24GB of unified memory. The M3 Pro has six performance and six efficiency cores for a 12-core CPU, along with an 18-core GPU. The mid-range chipset can support up to 36GB of RAM.
As for the M3 Max, that’s up to 80 percent faster than the M1 Max, according to Apple. The company’s current most powerful chipset features a 16-core GPU (with 12 performance and four efficiency cores), a 40-core GPU and support for a whopping 128GB of RAM, in case you’re feeling flush or need a lot of memory.
The chips should be major upgrades for anyone making the switch from an M1-powered device or an Intel-powered Mac. That means better performance for productivity, creativity and even gaming as high-profile titles such as Death Stranding Director’s Cut make their way to Apple’s ecosystem.
M3 MacBook Pro Apple Of course, those fancy chips aren’t going to be very useful unless they’re plugged into some capable hardware. As such, Apple showed off some upgraded MacBooks of the Pro variety that run on M3 chips.
There are new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros for you to get your hands on. The 14-inch variant starts at $1,599 for a model with a base M3 chip. That’s the lowest ever price for a new 14-inch MacBook Pro. There wasn’t a version with a base M2 chip. Instead, you would have had to shell out $1,999 for an M2 Pro-powered unit if you wanted to go with that form factor. You can now opt for a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M3 Pro, which will likewise run you $1,999.
On a similar note, the 16-inch MBP starts at $2,499 for a model with an M3 Pro. An M2 Pro-powered model started at $2,499 as well.
Don’t expect major hardware changes elsewhere on the latest models. This is by and large a spec bump. One notable tweak, however, means that the laptops’ Liquid Retina XDR displays are now able to display SDR content with 20 percent more brightness, up to 600 nits.
Perhaps the best thing about the new MBPs is that Space Black chassis. I’m more tempted than ever to make the switch from Windows to Mac for that colorway alone. The extra power that the M3 chips offer seems like a bonus — though the Space Black option isn’t available for the base 14-inch MacBook Pro, unfortunately.
However, not everything about the refreshed MacBook Pros is a Halloween treat. The base 14-inch model has a paltry 8GB of RAM, which maybe doesn’t quite align with Apple’s promise of significantly better performance in the new MBPs.
Pre-orders for the new MacBook Pro models are now open. Apple will start shipping them on November 7.
M3 iMac Apple The new 24-inch iMac is pretty much the same as the last 24-inch iMac, save for a new chipset and a few other tweaks. Apple says the M3-powered system is up to twice as fast as the previous version, which ran on the M1 chipset.
The company claims that Safari and productivity apps like Microsoft Excel will run up to 30 percent faster than on the M1 iMac. There will be support for up to 12 video streams in 4K resolution, three times as many as on the last iMac. Image processing and video-editing apps will be up to twice as fast too, according to Apple.
There are some minor upgrades on the connectivity front too. The M3 iMac supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, which improve on the previous model’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
The M3 iMac starts at $1,299 for a model with an eight-core GPU and eight-core CPU. Unfortunately, Apple’s only offering 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage with that configuration, so you may want to bump those up a bit. Pre-orders for the M3 iMac are open now and the revamped desktop will arrive next week.
Everything else Other than the M3 chips, new MacBook Pros and refreshed iMac, Scary Fast was notable for what Apple didn’t talk about. First, you had to read between the lines to realize that the company has ditched the 13-inch MacBook Pro. That means we’re waving farewell to the much-loved and much-loathed Touch Bar, at least for the time being.
It was widely expected that Apple would update several of its accessories to include USB-C ports as it shifts away from Lightning to a common charger. That wasn’t the case at Scary Fast. For the time being, you’ll still need a Lightning cable on hand at least for your Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse.
Although we couldn’t really shake the notion that Apple would reveal an M3-powered iPad or two, the company declined to do so on Monday. As such, you’ll need to wait a while longer for tablets with its new chips.
Follow all of the news from Apple’s "Scary Fast" October event right here.
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