This morning Apple announced its 2014 MacBook Air refresh. With Intel's 14nm Broadwell SoC delayed, this mid-cycle update still uses Haswell ULT parts. The chassis and internal specs haven't changed, however the base CPU gets a slight speed bump. The 1.3GHz Core i5-4250U is replaced by a 1.4GHz Core i5-4260U. The extra 100MHz won't change much, you can expect a 0 - 3% increase in performance compared to last year's entry level model. The upgraded CPU option hasn't changed, and Apple continues to accept nothing less than Intel's HD 5000 (Haswell GT3) on any of its MBAs.

Apple 2014 MacBook Air CPU Comparison
  1.4GHz dual-core 1.7GHz dual-core
Standard On 11 & 13-inch MBA Optional on Both
Intel Model Core i5-4260U Core i7-4650U
Base Clock Speed 1.4GHz 1.7GHz
Max SC Turbo 2.7GHz 3.3GHz
Max DC Turbo 2.4GHz 2.9GHz
L3 Cache 3MB 4MB
TXT No Yes
AES-NI Yes Yes
VT-x/VT-x EPT Yes Yes
VT-d Yes Yes
TDP 15W 15W
Processor Graphics Intel HD 5000 Intel HD 5000
GPU Clock (Base/Max) 200/1000MHz 200/1100MHz

The bigger news is that, hot on the heels of a solid financial quarter, Apple is dropping all MBA prices by $100. The entry level 11.6-inch system now starts at $899. I suspect Apple is making room for an eventual MacBook Air with Retina Display. That design is expected to be a launch vehicle for Intel's Broadwell, but it's unclear how Intel's 14nm delays will impact the schedule for that product.

2014 MacBook Air Refresh
  11.6-inch 11.6-inch (high-end) 13.3-inch 13.3-inch (high-end)
H: 0.11-0.68" (0.3-1.7cm)
W: 11.8" (30cm)
D: 7.56" (19.2cm)
H: 0.11-0.68" (0.3-1.7cm)
W: 12.8" (32.5cm)
D: 8.94" (22.7cm)
Weight 2.38 lbs (1.08kg) 2.96 lbs (1.35kg)
CPU 1.4GHz dual-core Core i5 1.4GHz dual-core Core i5
GPU Intel HD 5000
Display Resolution 1366 x 768 1440 x 900
Ports Thunderbolt, 2x USB 3.0, headphone jack Thunderbolt, 2x USB 3.0, SD card slot, headphone jack
Networking 2x2:2 802.11ac 2x2:2 802.11ac
Battery 38 Wh 54 Wh
Price $899 $1099 $999 $1199

I was a fan of the 2013 MBA, and this price drop only makes the system more accessible. Unless you're holding out for a model with a Retina Display, the refresh is still a great buy.

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  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - link

    Does anyone know if this is just a US price drop, or a worldwide one? I haven't been monitoring the cost of the low end models here in the UK.
  • Brandon Chester - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - link

    I can confirm that here in Canada we have not received the price drop. It also seems to be the only product sold by Apple here that doesn't have price adjustments to account for our weaker dollar.
  • solipsism - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - link

    I seem to recall that the Canadian price drops have come oddly later (later in the day) than other markets.
  • tipoo - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - link

    I guess they cancel each other out, partially.
  • Brandon Chester - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - link

    Pretty much entirely. $999 CAD is only $911 USD so Canadians have really had this deal for a while now. It also looks like Apple's sites for other countries have all reflected a price drop by now so I'm assuming a drop to $899 in Canada is out of the question.
  • dsumanik - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    The problem with that line of thinking is when our dollar is higher...the prices never drop up's only ever a one way price gouge. Eff u 'merica.


    I hate to say but articles like this one are blatant proof of a pro-apple ulterior motive at anandtech, likely to do with direct investment in stocks, or perhaps even direct kickbacks. Seriously guys, a 100mhz speed bump deserves an "article" ? This is not journalism, it is direct advertising, and the reason why anandtech has been, and will continue to decline in readership.

    This is the first time i've visited the site in ages.... and what a surprise, on the front page, im instantly reminded why.

    Sent from my mac mini, connected to dual thunderbolt displays...I'd be happy to provide proof i drink the apple kool aid to anyone doubting me..

    This ain't about fanboyism, its about right or wrong.

    I think this officially might be the last comment i ever make here after reading this site for over a decade. Been here since university way back in the year 2000. I mean seriously, im actually kinda sad.

    It ok to like apple, its ok to advertise for them, but its not ok to do that under the guise of unbiased journalism....if there is such a thing anymore.

    You cant expect people to believe conclusions in your "real" articles after publishing crap like this. Why don't you guys just go give each other handjobs around Steve Job's tombstone while your at it????
  • jimbo2779 - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    I don't own any Apple products nor do I particularly like any of them but you have to acknowledge that the MacBook air is the one of, if not the, most popular (based on sales) laptop going and it just got a bit faster and significantly cheaper.

    I'm not saying that all news outlets should shout it from the roof tops but lets be real here; there are a huge amount of people that are interested in news like this as it directly affects them and as such Anand will publish articles on it.

    It is only a small pipeline story after all, it's not even a full blown article.
  • jaydee - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    This isn't an "article" it's a pipeline story, getting the same attention as such stories as nVidia adding a game to their GeForce bundle. You're really getting your panties in a bunch over nothing...
  • michael2k - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    1) MacBook Air is one of the best ranked ultrabooks over the past decade
    2) Reporting on Apple draws viewers, including you!
    3) The refresh isn't out of line for the site; right next to the pipeline entry is one about a GeForce Game Bundle and the Acer Switch 10
    4) Having to say, "This isn't about fanboyism" actually means it probably is
    5) You leaving kind of proves that point
  • ESC2000 - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    To me it is not about the fact that there is an article about this- it does make sense if an article about nVidia games does. It's the tone and content of the article that's an issue.... The "Apple continues to accept nothing less than intel 5000 GPU" without mentioning the still crappy screen that would be a sticking point for many, if not, most here. (l was surprised by how crucial screen rez and quality wore to my job as a is not only a point for artists , gamers and developers.) The price drop isnews but paying anywhere near $1,000 for a TN panel is madness. (Looks like Apple is starting to feel the pressure, though...)

    Anyway l also come here less and less for the same reason dsumanik doesn't. It no longer feels authentic, for whatever reason.

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