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similar to the previous model with Intel

Although everything pointed to the fact that the first MacBook Air with M1 had not undergone major changes compared to its predecessor, we were all waiting for a confirmation that it really was. Not in the aesthetic section, because for this it is enough to see both devices, to verify that distinguishing them with the naked eye is not within the reach of ordinary mortals. And the same if we talk about its keyboard, since the 13-inch MacBook Air of the beginning of 2019 had already left behind, fortunately, the butterfly keyboard, which has given so many problems these years.

We finally have that confirmation and, as expected, it comes from the hand of iFixit, absolute experts in the dismantling of devices, and who have already opened a MacBook Air with M1. And what they have seen is what one would expect. There are only two substantial changes: the processor, of course, and that as we already knew, the change from Intel to Apple Silicon has made the fan unnecessary., so this component (and the noise associated with it) has disappeared.

MacBook Air with M1 is similar to the previous model with Intel

On the left the 13-inch MacBook Air from early 2019, on the right the first MacBook Air with M1 Image: iFixit

As you can see in the image above, a fairly similar construction is observed, something that is confirmed by individually analyzing the components built into the MacBook Air with M1. Obviously some changes will have been made, but it seems that they have been only the essential ones to replace the previous processor to include, instead, the SoC designed by Apple and based on ARM.

Does it seem like little change? Well that’s because you haven’t seen the inside of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 yet, compared to its immediate predecessor:

MacBook Air with M1 is similar to the previous model with Intel

On the left the 13-inch MacBook Pro from early 2019, on the right the first MacBook Pro with M1 Image: iFixit

In this case, unlike the MacBook Air with M1, the fan does remain, of course, and both the components and their arrangement are maintained. And as we can read in iFixit, the similarity is not only aesthetic, we are talking about practically the same hardware in both computers, Air and Pro, with respect to their predecessors. In one case the fan has disappeared, in the other not even that.

This has two readings that, although compatible, will make some reach a positive conclusion, and others a negative reading. First we see both and then I would love to know your opinion, that is, if you stay with one of them, with both, with neither or if you have another that you would like to share.

MacBook Air with M1: Continuity or Innovation?

I think that not even the biggest Apple detractor can deny that, with Apple Silicon, the Cupertino guys have done a good job, and along the way they have made reality something that has been raised for years in the sector: bring ARM to the PC. the MacBook Air with M1, along with the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini also equipped with this processor, are the clear example of this. And as we have seen in the first performance tests, it has achieved much better results than we expected a few months ago.

However, Is it innovative to change the chip and leave everything else the same? Apple could have taken the opportunity to introduce new features. For example, a few months ago we told you that Apple was considering introducing FaceID on its desktops and laptops, a novelty for which it would be necessary for Apple to change the camera that its laptops now include. The MacBook Air with M1 has not taken this step, and it would have been the ideal time to do so, even more so when we consider that this function has been included in MacOS Big Sur. It was time to give everything in innovation, but it has not been like that.

However, the other reading we can do is that Apple has achieved a significant performance improvement only by changing the chip that governs the activities of the MacBook Air with M1. A change that, a priori, did not seem too feasible. The way in which ARM has reached PCs from Apple is undoubtedly an exceptional leap, and one that invites us to think about the performance and benefits of future Macs, once they are “wearing” the new SoC with new components, designed to get the most out of it.

It is also understandable that Apple has opted for a more progressive transition, to be able to adjust everything little by little, in order to guarantee optimal operation from the first moment. It is a point that would be understandable, although it may have left us wanting a little more.

What do you think? Do you think Apple has done well by being a bit “conservative” in this regard, or do you think it should have put all the meat on the spit?