The M1 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini are the first of Apple’s Macs to support WiFi 6, or 802.11ax. WiFi 6 support started rolling out in Apple devices with the March 2020 launch of the iPad Pro, but Apple did not include the feature in Macs refreshed earlier in the year.
WiFi 6 brings faster speeds, expanded network capacity, lower latency, and improved power efficiency, plus it is ideal for homes where there are many WiFi-connected smart home products in use. With more and more routers starting to offer WiFi 6 performance, the update is a welcome change to the Mac lineup.
None of the Macs refreshed today got major design changes, but the MacBook Air features an updated row of function keys that gains Spotlight search instead of Launchpad, and a dictation key and a Do Not Disturb key in place of the function keys that used to be available for adjusting keyboard brightness.
The Fn key at the bottom of the keyboard has also been updated to serve as an emoji key for bringing up emoji on the MacBook Air.
Aside from these function key updates, the M1 MacBook Air uses the same scissor switch keyboard that Apple added to the 2020 MacBook Air earlier this year. The scissor switch keyboard is more reliable than the prior-generation Butterfly Keyboard and not prone to failure due to exposure to crumbs and other small particulates.
The new M1 Macs are available for purchase as of today from Apple’s online store, and the first orders are set to arrive to customers on November 17.