The original MacBook Air was a shock to the laptop market when it was pulled out of a manila envelope.
Theatrics aside, the little machine was fairly capable for its size. As a filmmaker who did his own editing and dabbled in VFX, I used a 2012 MacBook Air for writing screenplays, grad school work, Final Cut Pro X, and Blender. That little guy took everything I threw at him, and when I got tired, all he said was, “I didn’t hear no bell.”
I even spilled coffee on him once, and he only got faster. (This is a joke. But I did spill coffee on him. He was fine and didn’t need any repairs.)
The MacBook Air with Apple M2
Whether you loved it or hated it, the "wedge" is gone.
Apple’s new MacBook Air borrows from the Pro family and has the same thickness throughout the machine. Measuring just 11.3mm, this computer is thin.
11.3mm is super thinCredit: Apple
How this will affect rigidity remains to be seen, but Apple laptops have always been solid, especially when compared to their PC counterparts.
Apple’s design is also unbeaten. While at times that is subjective, the new MacBook Air integrates its components so efficiently that it results in a 20% reduction in volume. This may mean better cooling, especially since it has no fans and is passively cooled.
Now if four different finishesCredit: Apple
The 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery will give creatives up to 18 hours of movie playback and up to 15 hours of web browsing.
These wireless web tests were measured using 25 popular websites (whatever those are, Apple won’t tell us) with the display brightness set to 8 clicks from the bottom. Even with a bigger battery, this isn’t an increase over previous models, which shows us that this MacBook Air is sucking a bit more juice.
It's compact, sure, but those USB-C ports are too far away.Credit: Apple
You’ll also get new charging options with a new 35W compact power adapter that has two extra USB-C ports (which is an odd design choice) and an optional 67W USB-C power adapter that will finally bring fast charging to the MacBook Air. Apple states that users can get a 50% charge in just 30 minutes, which is nice in a pinch.
But most importantly, MagSafe is making a return to the MacBook Air, so you can finally go back to tripping over your power cables without worry.
Externally, the MacBook Air will have two Thunderbolt ports and a 3.5 mm audio jack with support for high-impedance headphones.
50% in 30 minutes? Nice.Credit: Apple
The Magic Keyboard will also feature a full-height function row with Touch ID, which is a nice touch. (Yeah, another joke.)
Digging deeper, there is a new 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display with smaller bezels. While it’s an increase over the original models, it has rounded corners at the top. The actual viewable area is a bit smaller, but it should be negligible, even though it may still annoy some folks.
Moving on, the display will be 25% brighter at 500 nits and will support 1 billion colors, offering 2560 by 1664 native resolution at 224 pixels per inch with Wide Color (P3) and True Tone.
Not a lot of ports, but just enough.Credit: Apple
Users can finally rejoice as the new Air includes an updated FaceTime HD camera with a larger image sensor, giving you 1080p resolution and better low-light performance. There’s also a new four-speaker sound system, which should bump fairly well, as Apple is known for getting amazing sound out of little laptops. This will also support Spatial Audio for music and movies with Dolby Atmos.
For creatives on the go, Apple states that the new MacBook Air with M2 will give you 40% faster performance in FCPX and a 20% improvement in Adobe Photoshop. When looking at the fine print, these tests were done with Apple M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD.
This is a nice boost, but...
Bright and colorful, for all your creative needs.Credit: Apple
Is the Upgrade Worth It?
If you’re upgrading from a 2022 M1 MacBook Air, the new update probably isn’t for you, even if you do like the redesigned chassis. While there is an increase in power, it’s just a slight increase.
However, if you’re coming from an Intel MacBook Air, then this might be the time to upgrade, as first-generation hiccups are usually ironed out by now. It'll also come in four different finishes, which include silver, starlight, space gray, and midnight.
If you’re wondering what kind of oomph the M2 has over the M1, check out our article on the new chip. It’s a darn good chip and worth the jump from Intel if you’re a creative looking for a small but compensated machine.
Is it a dream machine? That’s for you to decide. But whatever you do, don’t spill coffee on it. It won’t make it run faster. For me, however, this might finally be time to move on from my Intel-based MacBook.