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Home / Features / Apple’s MacBook Air M3 shows the AI PC isn’t just for Windows

Apple’s MacBook Air M3 shows the AI PC isn’t just for Windows

Apple's MacBook Air M3 press release contained a telling message - that Apple can't afford not to be seen at the forefront of the AI revolution

MacBook Air with M3

Apple’s latest MacBook Air M3 laptop lineup may not be groundbreakingly new. But what I think they do herald is a change in direction for Apple.

In its press release for the new MacBook Air models, there was a very telling line – the latest MacBook Air is, Apple says, the “world’s best consumer laptop for AI”.

That’s a bold claim because so much AI work is cloud-based. But it also shows that a race is afoot for PCs to be seen as having built-in intelligence in the same way our phones have. And that is key for Apple, because the M1/M2 and latest M3 chips are, essentially, phone chips at heart.

OK, so the Mac chips are much more capable, but they use ARM’s core tech which came from phones. And all these chips have a Neural Engine for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Indeed, they have since 2017 and Apple’s A11 Bionic introduced for iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Therefore there’s a little bit of truth to Apple’s claim, since it has quite a long history in technologies that have become to be known under the catch-all term of AI. But there aren’t actually any brand new AI capabilities in macOS itself – yet. Athough you wouldn’t know it from the press release which refers to app capabilities such as Microsoft Copilot and Adobe Firefly as well as running AI models.


AI PC is a trite marketing term, but such trendsetting from companies like Intel and Qualcomm has a habit of catching on and it certainly felt that way during an onslaught of Intel AI PC laptop launches during CES 2024.

I don’t think Apple expected to be using AI as a marketing term in the same way other companies have. Perhaps it expected to use Siri or the name of a Siri successor. But even it clearly doesn’t want these laptops – some of the world’s best-selling – to not have AI capabilities, even if they have for some time.

Here to stay

Like it or not, AI and AI PC are here to stay as catch-all terms. And that’s been helped by companies like Samsung repeatedly referring to it during mobile launch events. A couple of years ago all the talk during such events were about cameras. Now that has been replaced by AI.

What will be interesting to see is how much Apple talks about AI during its upcoming developer conference . There it will debut iOS 18, macOS 15 and more.

Roll on WWDC 2024, which usually takes place in early June. After the MacBook Air M3 announcement, it certainly feels like Apple AI will be more at the forefront of the conversation.

Now why not read Can I outsource my life to AI?

Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home