A new generation of MacBook Air has arrived.
Announced at WWDC 2022, the latest version of Apple’s entry-level laptop was redesigned with a larger display, a new processor, fresh color options, and—for better or worse—a notch.
The first thing you’ll notice about the MacBook Air is the new color options. Along with traditional Space Gray and Silver, the new Air is available in Starlight (soft gold) and Midnight (dark bluish). It has an aluminum unibody enclosure that looks a bit flatter than before (goodbye wedge) and is more portable, at 0.5 inches thick and 2.7 pounds.
Apple also brought back MagSafe for this laptop, freeing up the two Thunderbolt ports on the left side. On the right is a 3.5mm headphone jack with high-impedance audio support.
The screen has been expanded from 13.3 inches to 13.6 inches, but a notch was added in the process. It looks the same as the one on the MacBook Pro 14 and 16, meaning the top edge of the screen is interrupted by a dark rectangle. Along with being larger than before, the new Liquid Retina Display is 25% brighter.
Above the display is a 1080p webcam, which promises to deliver a much better video quality than the 720p snapper on the previous model. Augmenting the camera is a three-mic array and a four-speaker sound system. The Magic Keyboard returns, with a full-height function row and Touch ID. Below the keyboard is a Force Touch trackpad.
Under the hood is an M2 processor, the sophomore release among Apple’s custom chips, following the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra. It is an enhanced, second-generation 5nm chip with 20 billion transistors, which is 20% more than the M1. It supports 100GB/s memory bandwidth, which is 50% more than M1.
With M2, which had four performance and four efficiency cores, you can get up to 24GB of unified memory, up from 16GB but short of the 32GB you find on some ultra-portable PCs. Apple says its multi-core CPU performance is 18% greater than M1. Apple also claims it’s 1.9x faster than a 10-core Windows PC but uses a quarter of the power. M2 has a next-gen GPU with 10 cores, up from 8 cores, and a higher cache and memory bandwidth to enable 35% faster performance. It is supposedly 2.3x faster than integrated graphics in a PC while usin one-fifth of the power.
The MacBook Air is still fanless despite gaining the more powerful chip, and promises 18 hours of battery life while doing video playback. Another nice addition is a new compact power adapter with two USB-C ports. And for the first time, the MacBook Air supports Fast Charge to juice up to 50% in just 30 minutes.
Apple’s WWDC event also unveiled a new MacBook Pro 13 with M2 chips, but an otherwise unchanged design.
The MacBook Air with M2 will be available “next month” starting at $1,199 or $1,099 for education, while the MacBook Pro will cost $1,299 or $1,119 for education.
Updating as more information arrives.