The MacBook Air wedge is well and truly gone – and I already miss it

I had mixed feelings when Apple did away with the wedge in favor of a more traditional shape for the M2 MacBook Air. Did it feel a bit like sacrilege? Sure, but the wedge certainly wasn’t away away. There was still the M1 Air.

Except now that the M3 Air is here, it is no longer available. Now it really is the end of the wedge era and I can’t help but feel deprived.

Logically, the loss of the wedge shape has no impact on how well the newer Airs work. I know because I have one: a 15-inch M2 MacBook Air. It’s thin, sleek and the battery lasts forever. I didn’t pay the nose for it. These are the defining features of the Air – wedgeless or not.

But I also have an M1 MacBook Air that I use for work. Recently, as I’ve been jumping back and forth between the two, I’ve come to appreciate the wedge more than I thought I would. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I find it easier to type. When I’m writing a draft, the beveled edge is more comfortable under my palms. If I tuck it under my arm as I walk around the office, it just feels better. I’ve owned many MacBook Airs over the years. It was actually the first one I ever bought with my own money. I still have that same fuzzy feeling when I unzip my backpack and see that wedge waiting in the laptop sleeve.

It’s more than vague design preferences, though. To me, the wedge represented a clear and distinctive identity for the Air.

I loved everything about my first Air. After breaking my back in college lugging a 17-inch Dell Latitude, the ultraportable design felt like a miracle. Every time I opened my pack, that tapered profile made such a big difference. Instead of just now a thick plate, I could carry a laptop and several other things at the same time. A weight had literally been lifted off my shoulders and this feeling of freedom? It’s exactly what made the Air such an iconic product.

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Over the years, that form has embedded itself in my psyche. I see it in coffee shops, airplanes, offices, etc., and for whatever reason it has become a visual cue that helps me get started. Ahmy brain thinks, look at all these wedges. I have reached the work zone. I vividly remember spending an afternoon in a San Francisco cafe ten years ago, eavesdropping on several groups of young entrepreneurs dreaming about the next big thing. Most of their ideas were downright terrible, but the energy was electric. They were all hunched over MacBook Airs.

The newer Airs, with their flat profiles and square edges, look a lot more like a Pro with fewer ports, but as the Pros get slimmer and lighter, there’s no guarantee that when I pick one up I’ll know which is which. It used to be that there were clear differences when I put a MacBook Pro versus a MacBook Air. But as I wrote in my M3 MacBook Pro 14 review, the line between the two is starting to blur. The differences between a 13-inch Air and a 14-inch Pro are clearer, but it’s where things get murky in the middle. Buying the 15-inch Air means giving up any real weight advantage: the 14-inch Pro weighs 3.4 pounds, while my 15-inch Air weighs 3.3 pounds. Depending on your configuration, you may not save any money either. When I ran the numbers for myself a few months ago, I was looking at a $100 difference.

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What’s next to differentiate an Air from a basic MacBook Pro? A slightly thinner profile? Maybe, if you’re the colorful type, a splash of color? (Apple isn’t nearly as punchy with colors as it could be.) Like I said, weight isn’t necessarily an asset in the Air column anymore. Gates? Are ports really the most important thing standing between an Air and a base MacBook Pro? That feels wrong.

When I woke up today, I didn’t expect to have any feeling for a wedgie. But looking back, a wedge-shaped Air was present during some of the most memorable parts of my life and career. Now that I can’t get new ones anymore? I’m going to hold on to this M1 Air for as long as I can.

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