M3 MacBook Air has Faster SSD Speeds

A bit of good news from iFixit on the teardown of the new M3 MacBook Air: they have now switched to two 128 GB storage modules. You may know that in the first two iterations of the Apple silicon MacBook Air, the base storage models were significantly slower in read-write speeds than the other models in the line because they only used one socket for storage, significantly cutting down the bandwidth. With the M3 model, the device gets SSD write speeds approximately 33% faster and read speeds approximately 82% faster.

There was a lot of hand-wringing when the M2 model didn’t make any changes to the SSD problem. It could just be that the manufacturing timeline didn’t give them enough time to fix it. I would argue that they should have caught this problem before releasing the first one. Regardless, I’m happy that Apple did respond, and now customers of the lower-end MacBook Air will get better SSD read and write speeds.

The New M3 MacBook Air

Recently, Apple released new M3-based MacBook Air computers in 13- and 15-inch sizes. In addition to the faster processors, the new machines can run two monitors simultaneously. Specifically, they can run one 6k and one 5k monitor, provided the lid on the MacBook Air is closed. These new computers are very similar to the configurations on the M3 iMac released late last year, and this is a nice upgrade to the MacBook Air line.

Apple’s M3 MacBook Air is here.

If you’ve been waiting for a new MacBook Air, now is the time. I’ve frequently stated that the MacBook Air really is the laptop standard at this point. I don’t recommend getting a MacBook Pro unless you have good reason for one since the MacBook Air is such a capable computer, and now with the additional 15-inch size, it is even more so.

It’s interesting that these got released via a press release. Normally there is an event around this time of year where Apple releases several new products and it would seem like a new MacBook Air would fit within such an event. This makes me wonder if the other rumored devices like an M3 Mac mini and new iPads will also be released the same way, and Apple will skip a Spring event.

We’ll see.

Farewell, Big iMac

In Jason Snell’s (excellent, as usual) review of the new M3 24” iMac, he reports on the currently-non-existent large iMac: “Apple told me that it has no plans to develop a 27-inch iMac again.”

Apple said the same thing to The Verge.

I have received many emails and messages from listeners and Labs members wanting to get a large iMac and asking how long they will have to wait. Based on this reporting, my answer will be, “Don’t wait; it’s not coming.”

I used to be a large iMac guy. I owned several of them over the years. If they released one today, I would not be interested. I’ve found I prefer the new world of separate computers and displays. My current display (a Pro Display XDR) has now worked with three different Macs. While there’s a higher cost going in, I think the math works out over time. Moreover, you can avoid that higher cost if you buy a non-Apple display.

When you look at the Mac compared to the iPhone, it is a blip on the Apple product line. Moreover, I expect if we had the numbers, you’d find that desktop Macs are but a blip compared to laptop Macs. So, when it comes to desktop Macs, we’re talking about a blip of a blip. I can understand why Apple doesn’t want to spend the time and resources to make a large iMac.

In hindsight, their messaging on this has been pretty straightforward: They view the 24-inch iMac as halfway between the little one and the big one and good enough for an iMac. I bought my daughter (a teacher) an M1 iMac as a graduation present (in yellow!). She loves it. I asked if she thinks it should be bigger, and she declined, “It fits perfectly on my desk.”

If you want something bigger, they want you to buy a Mac mini or Mac Studio along with one of their displays. Many people will not be happy with this decision but that is the reality. That doesn’t mean Apple isn’t capable of changing its mind. Remember when they got out of the display business? But if you need new hardware, I would not plan on waiting for that day.

I don’t think Apple is being coy. I think they view themselves as out of the big iMac business.