2020 MacBook Air: The reviews are in

Three words: Keyboard, keyboard, keyboard.

Excerpts from the reviews I’ve seen:

apple macbook air 2020 reviewsDavid 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!

Mine is due early next week. 


  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Do it like Chrysler’s bailout in the early ‘80s. The government got restricted stock. When Chrysler bought them back, as was the terms, the government made a substantial profit.

    I’m of the opinion that recipients of government bailouts should never pay exec bonuses. Without the bailout they’re collecting unemployment.

    Exec compensation/bonuses are way too high to begin with.

    March 20, 2020
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Ironically I agree with Joseph and Gregg.

    That said, should Apple take any money? Generally bail-outs are meant to prevent companies from failing and causing collateral damage to individuals and the economy broadly. Ideally our local, state and federal gov’t come up with fair ways to help the impacted workers regardless of who they work for. We can hope.

    Meanwhile, Apple launched a product that everyone loves and will buy on-line to ship as fast as they can.

    March 20, 2020
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    We broke below $240 and ended at $229.24. Unbelievable!

    Apple has a balance sheet so solid that most nations would love to trade places. Apple revenues may be taking a hit, but Apple most likely is seeing increased sales in hardware and software from folk quarantined in homes. The forthcoming government checks to most households will go for the needed essentials, but little doubt in my mind that many Apple consumers will use their government checks, or at least a part of the checks, to purchase new Apple products. There is a host of new products flowing through Apple’s pipeline and we saw some released this week. Reviews (as above on the 2020 MacBook Air), are extremely positive. And then we see Apple at $229.24. One never can time the bottom successfully except through luck. I already went in twice to pick up some basement bargain Apple prices; but $229.24? Ahhhhhh!

    I do not see Apple asking for federal economic relief. It’s usually the other way around. Governments ask Apple for economic relief. Look at what Apple has done to help countries (China) with improving their environments. Look what Apple is doing for Silicon Valley in housing. I could keep enumerating, but I am sure you see my point. If Apple does anything, it will be to use some of its stockpile of cash to help the needy.

    I do not believe, though, Apple will slow its’ buyback program. No one can criticize Apple’s buyback program (shame on you Elizabeth Warren/Joe Biden) when Apple always is helping folk outside the Apple family, including saving those folk’s environment. So, I suspect Apple continues with its buyback program toward its targeted goal for which it initiated its buyback program to do.

    There are periods when governments must step-in and provide businesses and industries economic relief, whether it be based on natural disasters or health pandemic crisis. As much as I detest Boeing Airlines getting federal economic relief because of its regulatory abuse, its perpetrated fraud, its flagrant arrogance, to deny Boeing such economic relief will cause the loss of over a hundred thousand highly paid skilled jobs (Boeing employees and its Suppliers) to employees at no fault of their own. Whole communities would be destroyed economically if Boeing goes under. So, the government needs to bail-out Boeing. In so doing, though, I hope that Congress weighs-in to obtain a government stake in the company so that as Boeing returns to its once esteemed self and its stock price rises then the government can cash out and get a handsome return on its investment.

    In the interim, the feds are all over Boeing like green blow flies on a cow patty to ensure modest executive salaries for senior executives, no bonuses, no dividends, no buybacks and a host of other restrictive measures so that Boeing and its employees will understand fully the consequences of not running an efficient operation. If Boeing ran a tight ship like Apple, then during those years when their stock price was rising and nipping at four hundred dollars a share they should have been accumulating cash similar to a well run company like Apple.

    In summary, I doubt seriously Apple will ask for federal economic relief. Something says to me that asking for economic relief is not in their DNA. That is the nature of Apple.

    Apple will keep its head down doing its needle work, taking care of business as usual. In the coming quarters we will hear the numbers come forth. We will look back on this day realizing that Apple’s closing stock price of $229.24 was predicated on panic and fear, and not substance.

    March 20, 2020
  4. David Baraff said:
    So we’re down 30% from the high. Yawn. (To the stock price. Not to the COVID-19 debacle causing it.)

    When we hit $163 (down 50%) I’ll take notice. For as long as I’ve been in this stock, like clockwork, *something* comes along to take a big bite out of it every couple of years. Whether it be justified or it, it’s just always always always gonna be something.

    The difference is that this time when we hit the bottom, the P/E won’t be f$#@ing bat-shit nuts. (It’ll just be nuts.)

    However, I disagree that those checks are going to flow to Apple products. I can’t even begin to fathom how utterly terrified lots of folks must be, certainly about the economic disaster that they are going through, or about to go through. (The potential around 1% chance of, well, dying is nothing to sneeze at, but for most folks, almost certain economic disaster is just a much bigger worry than highly unlikely immediate death.)

    [Gonna regret that if I’m in that 1% minority if and when I finally catch this.]

    As I said about 2 weeks ago, before it became obvious we were going to be majorly impacted, that if business closures showed up in the USA, I wouldn’t be at all surpised to see us down at $220.

    Frankly, if we don’t break $200, I’ll be astonished.

    March 20, 2020
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @David Baraff: “…. The forthcoming government checks to most households will go for the needed essentials, ….”. (written by Jerry D)

      No one in their right mind would question that there are folk devastated economically by Covid-19. That fact is understood alarmingly. Our hearts go out to them and many of us are doing what we can to provide additional assistance to them beyond what Congress is providing.

      Concomitantly, there are individuals who are affected little economically. That too, is a fact. Workers continue to telecommute from their homes. Others are adjusting by transitioning and working from their homes. There are individuals quarantined in their homes still drawing paychecks, even though their jobs are not suitable for telecommuting.

      Many times during my federal career over 1.5 million federal employees were sent home for days, sometimes weeks, while Congress argued over the federal budget. At no time did a single federal employee not get paid during those days sitting at home and unable to work because Congress could not do its job. Little doubt there are employees now quarantined in their homes drawing full salaries. They want to be back at work just as our workers wanted to be on the job site. They will be taken care of, though.

      Your response omits the fact that I said “The forthcoming government checks to “most households” (emphasis added) will go for the needed essentials…”.

      I also know during this period there are newly transition workers to a home environment drawing their full salaries with their school children too, confronting the lack of quality computing hardware needing an upgrade to do their work efficiently. It is these individual for whom I referenced.

      I say the above because your response leaves the impression that I failed to recognize and was insensitive to the economic suffering and hardships many individuals are experiencing during this quarantine period. That false impression simply is unfounded and I felt compelled to address it poignantly.

      March 20, 2020
      • David Baraff said:
        Sorry if you thought my response was pointed; honestly, it wasn’t meant at all to be, and I apologize for not being clearer in my response, given how stressful these times are.

        I was just saying that somehow I doubt that the extra checks coming people’s way are going to translate to any kind of meaningful swing in spending towards Apple. For people whom this check means they could buy something Apple they couldn’t have without the check, I assume that they’re in difficult enough straits that buying this kind of thing right now wouldn’t be a priority.

        For people who could already afford it, the size of the check in itself isn’t all that meaningful. (And I think that you’re not even getting a check if you make more than 100k?)

        Truly, my heart goes out to people. I’m one of the the lucky ones who was already set up for this mode of life anyway; other than some canceled travel plans of fun trips, I’m barely registering any hardships at all. I’m extremely fortunate, and I know it. But I have a lot of people around me I worry for in the upcoming months.

        March 20, 2020

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