Tl;dr for Steve, if you can you should wait for the M3 versions of the MacBook Air 13″ and 15″. The M3 just launched this fall and it looks like all the MacBook Airs will get updated in 2024, so if you can it’s not a bad idea to wait to get the extra 15% in performance. It’s not a huge deal, but it is only a few months is the rumor so we might as well wait.
But if you need one right now there are two great choices. The MacBook Air 13″ is small and easy to carry. It doesn’t have a fan so that is nice. The two main choices are how much RAM to get. The 8GB is adequate but the main issue is this machine could last a long time so you might want to think about going to 16GB is a good idea. The other good idea is to get enough disk because you can’t change it and the 256GB is not that much if you are doing photos so 512GB is a good size—one up from the base is normally what I recommend.
On the other hand, some good sales are going on right now. For instance, the MacBook Air 15″ is $999 right now just before Christmas for the 8GB/256GB version and $1200 for the 8GB/512GB version. So it’s not a terrible time to get a nice new computer if you need it. Pricing-wise, the 15″ is about $100 more than the 13″, so pretty reasonable and to move up to 16GB is an additional $200 and going to 512GB to an additional $200.
Buying these things: Check the Buying Guide
There are a couple of interesting choices if you are a student, there is the Apple Higher Education Store, or the MacRumors Buying Guide is a good source for the merchant market and there are going to be some good sales