The MacBook Air’s wedge is truly gone — and I miss it already

Two Thunderbolt ports
RIP to an iconic shape. | Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

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 at least the wedge wasn’t gone gone. There was still the M1 Air.

Except now that the M3 Air is here, it’s been discontinued. Now, it really is the end of the wedge era and I can’t help but feel bereft.

Logically speaking, losing the wedge shape doesn’t affect 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 out the nose for it. These are the defining characteristics for the Air — wedge-less or not.

But I also have an M1 MacBook Air that I use for work. Recently, 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 on. When I’m writing a draft, the sloped edge is more comfortable under my palms. When I tuck it under my arm while walking through the office, it just feels better. I’ve owned many MacBook Airs over the years. It was actually the first I ever bought with my own money. I still feel the same fuzzy feeling when I unzip my backpack and see that wedge waiting in the laptop sleeve.

Though, it’s more than nebulous design preferences. To me, the wedge represented a clear and distinct identity for the Air.

I loved everything about my first Air. After breaking my back in college schlepping a 17-inch Dell Latitude, the ultraportable design felt like a marvel. Whenever I’d open my backpack, that tapered profile was such a stark difference. Instead of just a chunky slab, 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 the exact thing that made the Air such an iconic product.

The MacBook Air half open seen from above.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
Goodnight, my sweet wedgy prince.

Over the years, that shape has wedged itself into my psyche. I see it at coffee shops, planes, offices, etc., and for whatever reason, it’s become a visual cue that helps me get down to business. Ah, my brain thinks, look at all these wedges. I’ve reached the work zone. I distinctly remember spending an afternoon ten years ago at a cafe in San Francisco, eavesdropping on several groups of young entrepreneurs dreaming up the next big thing. Most of their ideas were patently horrible, but the energy was electric. All of them were hunched over MacBook Airs.

The newer Airs, with their flat profiles and squared edges, look a lot more like a Pro with fewer ports, but as the Pros slim down and get lighter, it’s not a guarantee that when I pick one up, I’ll know which is which. It used to be that when I pit a MacBook Pro versus a MacBook Air, there were distinct differences. But as I wrote in my M3 MacBook Pro 14 review, the line between the two are starting to blur. The differences between a 13-inch Air and a 14-inch Pro are clearer, but it’s getting murky in the middle. Buying the 15-inch Air means you’re 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 might not be saving money either. When I ran the numbers for myself a few months ago, I was looking at a $100 difference.

View of M2 MacBook Air’s side profile
Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge
Technically, these new wedge-less Airs are thinner, but the flat profile doesn’t hit the same.

Going forward, what is there to help differentiate an Air from a base MacBook Pro? A slightly thinner profile? Maybe, if you’re the colorful type, a splashy color? (Apple isn’t nearly as punchy with colors as it could be.) Like I said, weight isn’t necessarily a plus in the Air’s column anymore. Ports? Are ports really the main thing standing between an Air and a base MacBook Pro? That feels wrong.

When I woke up today, I did not expect to feel any sort of way about a wedge. But looking back, a wedge-shaped Air was present during some of the most momentous parts of my life and career. Now that I can’t get another one? I’m going to hold onto this M1 Air for as long as I can.