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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Best Apple MacBook deals: Save $99 on an M1 MacBook Air, $150 on an M1 MacBook Pro – 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 $99 on Apple’s new M1 MacBook Air and $150 on the M1 MacBook Pro right now on Amazon. With these discounts, the new MacBooks are at or very near 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 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? You can now find refurbished M1 MacBooks on Apple’s Certified Refurbished Mac page. Refurb inventory changes rapidly so you may not always see an M1 MacBook Air or Pro listed. It’s worth keeping an eye out, however, because you can lock in substantial savings of up to $200. 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? The baseline M1 MacBook Air model and the step-up model with a 512GB SSD are both $99 off on Amazon. And both M1 MacBook Pro models are currently discounted by $150 on Amazon. The discounts are the biggest we’ve seen to date (or just $1 from the biggest discount, in the case of the M1 Air), 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 $900 $899
New MacBook Air w/ M1 chip (512GB) $1,249 $1,150 $1,149
New MacBook Pro w/ M1 chip (256GB) $1,299 $1,149 $1,149
New MacBook Pro w/ M1 chip (512GB) $1,499 $1,349 $1,349
MacBook Air w/ 10th-gen Core i3 (256GB) $999 $949 $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 $2,199 $2,079

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

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Hands-on with the entire new Apple Mac M1 lineup


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