Apple has taken the wraps off its newest MacBook Air. After giving it a fresh look in 2018 and converting it to an ARM-based M1 chip in 2020, the company’s thin-and-light notebook has once again received a major overhaul with a new design, a new chip, and a new price: $1,199. It’ll go on sale next month alongside a new 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The redesign essentially makes the MacBook Air a thinner and lighter version of the 2021 MacBook Pro. It has a larger 13.6-inch display that has the same slim bezels and notch as the more expensive Pro laptops, as well as a similar flat-edge design that bucks the wedge-shaped trend of every other MacBook Air’s design. It really is striking in the renders Apple provides, at just 11.3mm thin and 2.7 pounds.
The new Liquid Retina screen offers 500 nits of brightness which is 25 percent brighter than the previous model. It also now supports one billion colors, although it’s locked at 60Hz. In the notch above the display, Apple packs in the same 1080p FaceTime camera as the MacBook Pro which should greatly enhance video call quality. There’s also a new four-speaker sound system, a three-mic array, and (drumroll please) a MagSafe charging port on the left side.
Under the hood, the MacBook Air is powered by Apple’s all-new M2 chip, also announced onstage during WWDC. The 5nm chipset is comprised of 20 billion transistors, 25 percent more than the M1 processor, and it delivers 100Gbps of unified memory bandwidth, 50 percent more than M1. With the faster CPU and new 10-core GPU, Apple says users can expect an 18 percent general performance upgrade over the M1, as well as 25 percent better graphics and 35 percent more performance at max power.
The laptop will come in two base configurations: one with 256GB of storage and one with 512GB. Both come with 8GB of RAM by default. Everything can be upgraded, of course, with up to 24GB of RAM and 2TB of storage if you’re willing to spend more.
According to Apple, the new MacBook Air should last “all-day” on a full charge, with up to 18 hours of video playback. That’s the same as the previous Air. For charging, you get the same 30W power adapter as the previous Air with the base 8GB RAM/256GB storage configuration, while the 512GB model automatically gets an upgrade to Apple’s new 35W dual-port power adapter. Both models can also be configured with a 67W power adapter if you want the fastest charging possible.
Meanwhile, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro was also announced, and it too ships with an M2 processor. However, it sticks with the same design as the older model, which also means the Touch Bar lives to see another day. I’m not entirely sure how many people are actually gonna buy this laptop since the Air is so new and shiny, but I suppose Apple sees enough demand to ship it again. It’ll start at the same $1,299 price as before as well.
It’s also worth mentioning that Apple will be keeping the original M1-based MacBook Air in its lineup for $999, all to ensure that below-$1,000 price point is filled.
The M2-based MacBook Air will come in four colors: Space Gray, Silver, Starlight, and a striking Midnight.