Best Apple MacBook deals: M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro hit lowest prices ever – CNET

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Apple made a significant move last fall away from Intel chips toward its own Apple silicon M1 design, and we’re seeing big price breaks on the new M1-powered machines right now. You can save $100 on Apple’s new M1 MacBook Air and $149 M1 MacBook Pro right now. With these discounts, both the baseline and step-up models of the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are at their lowest prices ever. And there are even deeper discounts available on Apple’s older Intel-based MacBooks.

The MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro lines received the M1 update, but the big 16-inch MacBook Pro still uses an Intel Core i7 or i9 chip. Apple still sells two higher-end configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel parts and has stated that it will support all the Intel-powered Macs for years to come. 

While you might be tempted by a discount on an older, Intel-based MacBook, it had better be significant to convince you to get that instead of a new M1 MacBook. Our preliminary tests of the M1 machines show a significant performance increase over their predecessors. Plus the M1 MacBook Air boasts a fanless design for silent operation.

Read moreA pro photographer tests Apple’s M1 MacBook

Pricing for new M1 MacBooks

The new MacBooks maintain the pricing of the models they replaced: The new MacBook Air starts at $999, the new MacBook Pro starts at $1,299. There are a couple of ways to grab either at a discount.

Want to go the refurb route? Apple has started selling refurbished M1 MacBook Air models. Previously, only Intel-based MacBooks were available as cost-saving refurbs, but now you can save $190 on a refurbished M1 MacBook Air on Apple’s Certified Refurbished Mac page. There are no M1 MacBook Pro refurbs listed at the time of this writing, but they have been previously available at a $200 discount. CNET’s resident Cheapskate, Rick Broida, is a big fan of refurbs, particularly Apple’s, which are often as good as new.

Want to buy new? Both M1 MacBook Air models are $100 off on Amazon, and both M1 MacBook Pro models are currently discounted by $149 on Amazon. These discounts are the biggest we’ve seen to date, and you won’t get them if you buy directly from Apple. One benefit of paying full price and buying from Apple, however, is you can customize the machine and add more RAM or a higher-capacity solid-state drive, whereas the models sold on Amazon and other retailers are fixed configurations.

It’s also worth noting that the Apple Store offers students an educational discount, which can trim hundreds of dollars from the price of a new laptop or tablet.

Keep reading to see the best prices currently available for Apple’s current and previous-generation MacBooks. We update this list periodically.

Read moreTesting out the entire new Apple Mac M1 lineup

MacBook discounts, compared

Model w/ CPU (and storage capacity) List price Best price (current) Best price (all-time)
New MacBook Air w/ M1 chip (256GB) $999 $899 $899
New MacBook Air w/ M1 chip (512GB) $1,249 $1,149 $1,149
New MacBook Pro w/ M1 chip (256GB) $1,299 $1,150 $1,150
New MacBook Pro w/ M1 chip (512GB) $1,499 $1,350 $1,350
MacBook Air w/ 10th-gen Core i3 (256GB) $999 $929 $850
13-inch MacBook Pro w/ 8th-gen Core i5 (256GB) $1,299 $1,099 $1,049
16-inch MacBook Pro w/ 9th-gen Core i7 (512GB) $2,399 $2,185 $2,079

*Note that “all-time” means the best price that we’ve seen at an Apple-authorized retailer in the product’s lifetime.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The new, fanless MacBook Air starts at $999 and features Apple’s M1 processor that has an eight‑core CPU, seven‑core GPU and 16‑core Neural Engine. The system also supplies 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It lacks the Touch Bar (which could be viewed as a net positive) but features a 13.3-inch Retina display, Touch ID and the Magic keyboard. The baseline model is currently discounted by $100 in either silver or space gray on Amazon to bring it to its lowest price ever. (The gold model offers only a $50 discount.)

Read our MacBook Air (M1) review.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro uses Apple’s new M1 processor, which is an eight-core CPU with four performance cores and four efficiency cores, an eight-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. The baseline model also features 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a Retina display, the Magic keyboard and the Touch Bar with Touch ID. The baseline config is currently $149 off at Amazon in both silver and space gray — the biggest discount we’ve seen to date.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The baseline Intel-based MacBook Air model features a 10th-gen Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD as well as the updated Magic Keyboard. It’s currently selling for $70 less than its $999 list price in silver at B&H. This discount shouldn’t be enough to tempt you over the new M1-based Air, especially since students may be eligible for a discount on the new M1-based model with the Apple Store’s educational discount.

Read our 2020 MacBook Air review.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

The current 16-inch MacBook Pro was the lone MacBook line not to receive an M1 upgrade. It features a ninth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics and a 512GB SSD. It boasts a bigger screen with a higher resolution than its smaller, 13-inch sibling. This model in space gray is selling at a $214 discount at Amazon. (The step-up model, which bumps up the CPU to an eight-core Core i9 chip, the GPU to the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M and the storage capacity to 1TB, is currently $300 off at Amazon.) Unless you have an urgent need for a giant MacBook Pro, it would be prudent to wait until Apple delivers an M1 update to this line.

Read our 16-inch MacBook Pro review.

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with the entire new Apple Mac M1 lineup


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