Three words: Keyboard, keyboard, keyboard.
Excerpts from the reviews I’ve seen:
David Phelan, The Independent: Faster, Cheaper and a Game-Changing Keyboard. Apple has just revealed a new MacBook Air. It looks outwardly near-identical to the current model, but it offers better value, increased storage and faster performance. But even these things are not the game-changer: that’s the new keyboard.
John Gruber, Daring Fireball: The bottom line: Apple is once again making excellent, world-class, no-caveat MacBook keyboards again, so something, however insignificant in the grand scheme of life, is right in the world… Don’t overthink it. The new MacBook Air is what it looks like: nearly perfect.
Jason Snell, Six Colors: No news is good news. Despite the keyboard and the $1099 starting price, the MacBook Air was already my go-to Mac laptop recommendation. What this new model has done is eliminate almost every caveat, warning, or footnote that might have come along with that recommendation. If the MacBook Air wasn’t definitively the center of the Mac world before—and Apple says it’s been the most popular Mac model “by far”—it certainly is now.
Todd Haselton, CNBC: The new MacBook Air is the best laptop for Mac fans — and Apple finally fixed the keyboard: Lots of people have asked me over the last several months if they should “buy the MacBook Air or wait.” And I always said “just wait.” The old model desperately needed a new keyboard. It’s finally here.
Jason Cross, Macworld: Apple’s new MacBook Air addresses most of our complaints (but not all). Apple is still determined to make every USB port feature a USB-C connector. We’ve been told that the ubiquity of USB-C devices is just around the corner for years now, and it’s still not happening. Accessory makers keep cranking out mice, keyboards, storage devices, microphones, audio interfaces, and loads of other things with USB-A connectors on them. Putting a single USB-A port on MacBooks would not be a step backwards, it would be recognition that in the wide world of USB devices, that interface is still widespread, and we shouldn’t need a dongle or dock to use them.
Dane Wollman, Engadget: Buy it for the keyboard. I find myself typing quickly. Confidently. Aggressively. I pound away at the keys, knowing they’ll keep up with me. With each press I’m met with springy feedback. Excuse me: loud springy feedback. If you can’t tell, I love this keyboard. I won’t be returning to my company-issued MacBook Pro unless I need to use the VPN.
Brian Heater, TechCrunch: It feels good to type again. Interestingly, the stated battery life has actually contracted, from 12 down to 11 hours. That, of course, largely depends on usage. After several hours, I’m down to 35% left. I’ve had the brightness and everything else at default levels and have mostly been typing, using Chrome and Slack and listening to music on headphones via Spotify (along with the occasional benchmark).
Marques (“MKBHD”) Brownlee: A clean refresh!