The 13-inch MacBook Air, which possessed all the iconic characteristics of a MacBook Air, maintained its signature traits despite undergoing a reduction in size and the incorporation of a Retina display during its significant upgrade in 2018. This particular model, introduced in 2010, showcased a distinct wedge-shaped design and solidified its status as the quintessential Mac of the previous decade, greatly influencing subsequent Apple laptops as well as numerous PC laptops.
The new M2 MacBook Air, introduced by Apple this week and shipping in June, is Apple’s first real attempt to reimagine the classic MacBook Air design. It is also the first chance for Apple to redesign the Air since the M1 MacBook Air of 2020, which was essentially a dead ringer for the previous Intel models.
This computer is likely to be the definitive bearer of the popularity of laptops, especially in this particular decade. The new MacBook Air, announced alongside the MacBook Pro M2 13-inch, is not stuck in the past and feels very much like a smaller cousin of Apple’s top-of-the-line laptops.
Luckily for all of us, it’s an excellent laptop.
[View Jason and Dan’s stored YouTube broadcast about the new MacBook Air.]
Pretending or Acting Superior
“The GQ article revealed that the design of the MacBook Air M2 resembles a smaller version of last year’s 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro models, as designed by Apple’s Vice President of Industrial Design, Hankey Evans, in collaboration with the MacBook Pro.”
The effect of accentuating the curves at the tight edges and the large flat surfaces is that it feels thin when you carry it, and the new MacBook Air is lighter and takes up less volume than the previous Air. The result is a laptop that is slightly thicker at the end of the wedge than the thickest part of the old Air, but thinner than the thinnest part. The MacBook Air’s defining design feature, the wedge shape, is also present in this MacBook Air, but the edges are thicker at the back and thinner at the front. The surfaces of the Air are flat and without the familiar pillowy curve of the old Air, similar to the MacBook Pros. And it shows.
(They sound good, for laptop speakers.) Bouncing off the screen, but emanating from the rear of the laptop, the speakers are now no longer located on the edges of the keyboard, in a modification that harkens back to the traditional design of the MacBook Air. Presumably the rationale behind the laptop being slightly thicker than earlier models, with a Touch ID key/power button of regular size, the row of functions on the keyboard has been enlarged to full size. The new version employs the identical flat, curved feet as the MacBook Pros, whereas the previous MacBook Air featured four small rubber bumps as feet.
The MacBook reminds me of an old black one. I like it. When you’re at the right angle to see the reflection off the surface, it actually scans as a very dark blue, but it’s officially called Midnight, which is the fourth color option. It’s nice, but the colors on the M1 iMacs are not as bold as this one. It has an undeniably warm tone, but your brain will interpret it as silver. Previously seen on iPhones and iPads, the subtle gold shade is also available as Starlight. However, the Air MacBook M2 comes in four colors: gray, space gray, silver, and two shades of gray, unlike the MacBook Pro models.
When they entered Starbucks with an orange iBook back in the day, someone at Apple is still burned by someone laughing and pointing, perhaps in those contexts. Moving into different contexts, it might feel less appropriate to have a bright color like orange, and unlike iMacs and laptops, keeping in mind the rules of conservatism, when it comes to laptops, Apple seems to have decided to understand that. What if they had a chance to order a bright blue or red MacBook Air? It wouldn’t be nice for people who want to have fun, but they should be able to order it in gray, space gray, or silver. I’m still an advocate for Apple creating fun versions of its products with fun colors for people who don’t want to have fun, sure.
Apple will include additional shades in the MacBook Air color range in the future, which I anticipate. It gives off a sense of disappointment, similar to a chance that was overlooked.
Similar to a Professional, but not a Professional
The MacBook Air M1 that I bought comes with two available USB/Thunderbolt ports, which allows me to charge it with a magnetic dongle that I purchased. This MagSafe dongle prevents a lot of cable-related accidents and is really great. It’s the first time since 2018 that the Air has a MagSafe charging port, which is not only for charging but also for plugging in peripherals into the four USB/Thunderbolt ports. In addition, the 2021 MacBook Pro comes with a bunch of new features and design language.
The area of the computer’s content is not impinged by the negative space of the notch, so the exact height of the menu bar on macOS has been redesigned by Apple. Most importantly, the size of the upper display bezel is reduced, and its new larger size extends upward to allow the display to grow. The notch allows for the placement of other sensors, microphone, and camera, creating space in the top center of the display that is marred by a cut-out area. People who prefer the glass-half-full approach will see the empty half of the proverbial glass, while others may complain about the display being notched.
The menu bar is even logically organized, with menus on the right and left.
The MacBook Pros in 14- and 16-inch sizes now feature an improved 1080 webcam, which is an upgrade from the previous Air models, since the notch hides the webcam. Furthermore, the display is not only larger but also brighter compared to the previous Air models.
Please do not place the Pro MacBook M2 13-inch in this family portrait because it will ruin the line. In fact, the MacBook Air inherits many features from the Pros MacBook, making it easy to see all the parts of the same product and place them on the side.
So, how is this MacBook Air different from a MacBook Pro? Well, they are powered by Apple’s Max M1/M1 Pro chips, which are capable of heavy workloads. Additionally, they have an SDXC slot, HDMI port, and 4 USB Thunderbolt/USB ports. The laptops also feature ProMotion for high refresh rates and much brighter screens.
There are several compelling arguments for excluding “Pro” from its name, considering the fact that the M2 MacBook Air is an incredibly proficient computer. It is likely to exceed the expectations of most users in terms of handling the tasks they require.
It is not surprising that the chips are the same on most speed tests for the Pro iPad M1, Pro MacBook M1, Air MacBook M1, Mini Mac M1, and iMac M1. However, the wrapper that might change is the processors inside, as we have learned about the M1 series of processors rolled out in different Macs in 2021 and 2020.
I will refer you to my previous review of the MacBook Air’s results, which ran tests on the MacBook Pro M2 13-inch a few weeks ago.
However, I need to remind everyone once again that there are stark differences in both power consumption and speed between Apple’s silicon and Intel, as we learned in 2020. Most likely, the upcoming MacBook Airs will be faster and consume less power with the upgrade to the M2 chip, compared to the Intel-based MacBook Airs.
The MacBook Air, which works to keep itself cool, slows down when the M2 chip inside gets hot. This also means that it will get even hotter. However, the MacBook Air runs silently and does not have a cooling fan, unlike the MacBook Pro. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro M2 13-inch and the MacBook Air M2 have a big difference between them.
In the identical 10-minute examination, the M2 Air outperformed the M1 Air, even when limited. I would like to emphasize that, despite being limited, the M2 Air achieved a higher score than the M1 Air in the same 10-minute test. At some point during the process, the Air had to reduce its pace to maintain a (relatively) cool temperature, causing the chip to heat up while the test continued to run the M2’s processor cores. As the test continued for more than 10 minutes, the two systems started to diverge; however, during a regular, single run of the test lasting more than 10 minutes, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro demonstrated comparable performance levels. To evaluate the disparity, I conducted the Cinebench test suite on both M2 laptops.
It appears that the MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Pro M2 have similar export times for Final Cut Pro, with the MacBook Air taking slightly longer. However, I purchased iZotope’s Dereverb Dialog plugin for Mac Studio because it is a processor-intensive plugin. So, what does all of this mean for most people? In most cases, the majority of people do not use it extensively, but it can provide a significant improvement in the warm air at the bottom of the MacBook.
If you’re concerned about using a fanless computer to do heavy-duty work, you might want to consider buying a MacBook Pro instead of the Air.Output: If you’re worried about using a computer without a fan to perform heavy-duty tasks, you may want to contemplate purchasing a MacBook Pro rather than the Air.
Costs and alternatives
The MacBook Air I purchased for my family costs $1599 and comes with a 16 GB / 512 GB SSD / 8 GPU configuration. The version I tried out has 10 GPU cores, 1TB of SSD storage, and 16GB of RAM, which is priced at $1899. For that same price, you can get a laptop with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, and eight GPU cores. The M1 Air, which starts at $999, is still available on Apple’s price list and is $200 cheaper than the M2 MacBook Air, which starts at $1199.
If you were reluctant to purchase a MacBook Air with 16 GB of RAM, then you’re in luck because your opportunity has arrived. Although it may come at a cost, the M2 processor enables the MacBook Air to be upgraded to a maximum of 24 GB of RAM. Personally, I find that to be quite limited, but if you heavily rely on cloud storage, you might manage with just 256GB of drive space. Additionally, many individuals can make do with 8GB of RAM. Just like all MacBook models nowadays, the MacBook Air initially lacks some configurations and becomes more expensive as you add specifications.
Bottom line, if you feel like you need a memory or storage upgrade, and you can afford it, in my opinion, you should buy the M2 model. It offers tangible benefits such as an improved display, faster overall system, prettier design, and the addition of MagSafe charging. However, everyone has different budget considerations, so if you just need a great laptop with plenty of power for everyday use, the M1 Air is still a fantastic option. Plus, you can save a couple hundred dollars by buying it.
I used the two-port charger from Apple to keep my iPad Pro and MacBook Air fully charged over the weekend. It’s attractive and compact, making it a nice option for buyers of higher-end Air models. While there are plenty of third-party charging options available, I don’t really need fast charging or the ability to charge multiple devices at once. Your mileage may vary. The other option is a 35W charger with two USB-C ports. With Apple’s 67W USB-C charger, you can get up to 50 percent battery back on your MacBook Air in just 30 minutes. A friend of mine recommended this charger, which enables fast charging. For models of higher-end Air, you can choose between the two pricier options. You have the option to pay an extra $20 for the pricier charger, which comes with a single-port 30W USB-C adapter. When you buy a MacBook Air, you will be offered a choice of power adapters.
The upcoming generation
It seems likely that the new MacBook Air will be a huge success. Instead of being a product of Apple’s past, it marks a refined language design and the added power of the extra M2 processor, as well as the addition of MagSafe. With an upgraded camera and a bigger display, the MacBook Air M2 follows the same approach as those light and thin low-end laptops. The MacBook Pro 16-inch and 14-inch were also huge successes.
In 2018, Apple brought back an old friend, Air Retina, which was introduced when some design decisions caused catastrophic consequences for its victims. The replacements were underpowered, overpriced, and the Air stagnated. Then, things got weird in the mid-decade. When people asked me what Mac they should buy, I recommended the MacBook Air, which was the most recommended choice in the 2010s.
Finally, the Mac of the 2010s has entered a new era with the arrival of the definitive Mac of the 2020s. It will certainly become Apple’s best-selling Mac, and if you choose the Midnight color option, it’s almost like selecting something blue. The design of the MacBook Pro 2021 borrows something from the past, and the M2 processor brings something new. The MacBook Air of 2022 is not quite the same as its old friend.