At its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple unveiled a brand new MacBook Air and an upgraded MacBook Pro. They are Apple’s first computers to be powered by the highly anticipated M2 processor.
Unlike the MacBook Pro that Apple unveiled yesterday, the new MacBook Air is much more than just a speed bump. For the first time in a long time, the design (light) was overhauled. It resulted in a larger and 25 percent brighter 13.6-inch (previously 13.3-inch) Liquid Retina display, the return of the MagSafe charging connector (leaving the two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports always free), a 1080p Full HD camera (720p HD on the M1 model) and a few new colours, of which the dark ‘Midnight’ stands out in particular.
The most important improvement, however, remains the M2 chip that Apple has developed in-house and that gives the MacBook Air a boost in several areas. For example, the M2 offers a next-generation 8-core CPU with improved performance and efficiency cores, which is combined with an Apple GPU now equipped with ten cores (two more than the M1).
The M2 chip supports fast central memory of up to 24 GB with a bandwidth of 100 GB/s. According to the manufacturer, this should ensure the smooth processing of even larger and more complex workloads. The new chip also adds a media engine and a ProRes video engine for hardware-accelerated encoding and decoding, allowing M2 systems to play more 4K and 8K video streams than before.
As an example of the speed boost, Apple cites the compute-intensive program Final Cut Pro. The performance of that video software is said to be almost 40 percent higher than the previous generation, and even up to 15 times higher for users who still use an “Intel-Mac”. Applying filters and effects in Adobe Photoshop would then again be up to 20 percent faster, and up to five times faster for customers who had not yet switched to an Apple silicon power source.
Other specifications of the MacBook Air M2 are the sound system with four speakers, three microphones, a battery that lasts up to eighteen hours and a weight of only 1.22 kilograms. According to Apple, the volume of the device decreased by twenty percent. For the first time, the MacBook Air also supports fast charging, providing up to a fifty percent charge in just half an hour (with an optional 67W USB-C power adapter).