Apple on Wednesday said that it would start taking pre-orders on its next-generation MacBook Air laptop, starting this Friday, July 8th. And will start actual sales of the systems on July 15th. The new machines will be available this month worldwide, so time will soon tell if the company produced enough PCs to meet initial demand.
Apple and its retail partners will offer the M2 SoC-based system in midnight, starlight, silver, and space gray shades, starting at $1,199 for a machine equipped with 8GB of LPDDR5 memory and 256GB of solid-state storage.
For performance-demanding users, the biggest improvement of the new MacBook Air is of course its M2 SoC featuring four high-performance Avalanche cores operating at up to 3.49GHz and four energy-efficient Blizzard cores, as well as an integrated GPU with up to 10 clusters. The chip can support up to 24GB of RAM, with 100GBps of peak bandwidth, which will improve performance in bandwidth-hungry applications, such as graphics-intensive games.
The new Apple MacBook Air powered by the eight-core M2 SoC will be the company's most significant redesign of this machine ever (or at least in several years), as it gets a completely new chassis with a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display. The new chassis is a major departure from the wedge-shaped form factor introduced in 2008. The design improves the internal architecture of the machine to allow for higher performance, longer battery life, and enhanced durability due to improved airflow within the case. In addition, the new machine gets an all-new 2560x16640resolution display with up to 500 nits brightness, Display P3 color gamut support and a dynamic refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The new MacBook Air also supports one external display up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.
Other changes include a new 1080p webcam, a revamped audio subsystem with more speakers and microphones, as well as a 3.5-mm headphone jack that supports high-impedance headphones. As for input/output capabilities, the new MacBook Air features a Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0 radio, two Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports, and a MagSafe port for charging. The machine also comes with a 52.6Wh battery, which is comparable to that of 13-inch MacBook Pro. Apple says the battery will last for up to 18 hours.
Perhaps the biggest surprise about the new MacBook Air is that Apple will start its sales immediately worldwide. Traditionally, Apple debuts its systems first in the US and select Western European countries, leaving other parts of the world for later. This time around the company has apparently managed to produce enough MBA systems for a global launch, which is good news for those planning to buy one.