Apple Reveals All-New MacBook Air with More Powerful M2 Chip, MagSafe

MacBook Air (M2)
(Image credit: Apple)

An all-new, next-generation MacBook Air with new Apple Silicon has been rumored for well over a year. Today, Apple finally unveiled its latest MacBook Air, and it features a completely redesigned chassis. Instead of the wedge shape worn by the MacBook Air since its inception, Apple went with a more traditional, uniform thickness from front to back.

While the old MacBook Air was 16mm thick at the "fat part" of its wedge, the new model measures a consistent 11mm. Because of this, Apple says that the MacBook Air features a 20 percent overall reduction in volume. Overall weight is also down slightly from 2.8 pounds to 2.7 pounds. In addition, the MacBook Air is now available in four colors: Silver, Space Gray, Starlight (light gold), and Midnight (blue).

MacBook Air (M2)

(Image credit: Apple)

Like the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, the new MacBook Air features thinner display bezels all around. That allowed the company to boost the size of the Liquid Retina display (10-bit panel with maximum 500 nits brightness) from 13.3 inches to 13.6 inches diagonally. However, it also means that a notc now sits at the top-center of the display to accommodate the webcam. At least Apple upgraded the webcam from 720p to 1080p while delivering a claimed 2x uplift in low-light performance.

Perhaps the most significant addition to the MacBook Air -- besides its all-new look -- is the inclusion of Apple's new M2 SoC. The M1 kicked off the Apple Silicon era for the Mac, and the M2 pushes the envelope using a second-generation 5nm process node. The new M2 features 20 billion transistors, a 25 percent boost compared to M1. In addition, M2 supports up to 24GB of unified memory, delivering 100 Gbps of bandwidth.

MacBook Air (M2)

(Image credit: Apple)

Like its predecessor, the M2 features an 8-core design (4 performance cores, 4 efficiency cores). The performance cores now share 16MB of cache, while the efficiency cores share from a 4MB cache pool. Apple was able to increase core clocks all around while keeping power consumption in check. As a result, Apple promises an 18 percent boost in CPU performance and a 35 percent increase for the 10-core GPU, while maintaining a fanless design.

So how does this translate into real-world performance? According to Apple, the new M2-equipped MacBook Air is 20 percent faster at churning through image filters and effects than its M1 counterpart and up to 38 percent faster in video editing. However, despite the overall increase in CPU and GPU performance, Apple still promises the same "all-day" battery life of 18 hours.

MacBook Air (M2)

(Image credit: Apple)

Speaking of the battery, you can opt for a 67-watt fast charging adapter for the MacBook Air that will juice you from 0 percent to 50 percent in 30 minutes. Apple also offers a new compact power adapter that can charge two USB-C devices at once. And in case you were wondering, just like the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, the new MacBook Air also supports MagSafe power adapters. 

According to Apple, the new M2 MacBook Airs will launch in July, priced from $1,199. This is a $200 increase over the M1 MacBook Air, which is still available at the $999 price point. If you're an education customer, you can knock $100 off those prices.

MacBook Pro (M2)

(Image credit: Apple)

Not to be left out, Apple also revealed that the 13-inch MacBook Pro with its legacy design will also receive the new M2 processors. Customers will be able to opt for an 8-core M2 equipped with up to a 2TB SSD and 24GB of unified memory. Compared to the new MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 processor last 2 hours longer per charge (up to 20 hours).

The new M2-packin' 13-inch MacBook Pro also lands in July priced from $1,299 ($1,199 for educational customers).

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • Petko00
    Honestly the MacBook Pro feels like a massive mod edit you from Apple. It still has a 720p camera so what makes it pro compared to the air which has features that are actually useful day to day? The touchbar? Honestly a joke move from Apple as I was expecting a redesign for both
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    $1300...When I was in college that money got an AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-82 (2.20GHz), 4GB Memory, 320GB HDD, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3850, with a 1680x1050 resolution screen, and a battery life so short it took 3 batteries to get though most of a day...
    Reply
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    Petko00 said:
    Honestly the MacBook Pro feels like a massive mod edit you from Apple. It still has a 720p camera so what makes it pro compared to the air which has features that are actually useful day to day? The touchbar? Honestly a joke move from Apple as I was expecting a redesign for both

    CPU and RAM configurations possible really, only the new one has the bar again, and it has more ports for higher data bandwidth transfer.

    Although to be fair to Apple, Pros usually don't use the built in camera, and you're right, for most users the Air makes more sense right now, it will absolutely be very popular.
    Reply
  • jacob249358
    Can we just get some damn ports on these things?
    Reply
  • peterf28
    jacob249358 said:
    Can we just get some damn ports on these things?
    What ports do you need?
    Reply
  • Giroro
    It's amazing how hard Apple's marketing is working to try and hide the fact that the Macbook air's screen has clipped corners has a giant, offensively-ugly notch for the camera. In over half of the publicity photos, they literally are just drawing a black bar across it so it looks like the top of the screen is just a bezel. So even Apples photoshop experts understand that people would rather have an overall smaller screen than one with parts of it missing.
    Plus, the base model MacBook Air is still in the "worse than a phone" tier of 8GB memory, and 256GB storage, despite a 20% price hike. This is an absolute embarrassment from a company that is actively trying to market its silicon as "high tech".

    I also want to point out that Apple's web design is some of the worst I've ever seen. When you try to scroll down the page, it just animates a slideshow full of ultra-close images and giant text, neither of which can fit on the screen. It's like being lost in a maze, the relevant information impossible to find. It makes me tense in the back of the neck just to look at it.

    Not that any of this is worth complaining about. Macbooks are basically the 'Zune' of computers, so I'll never have to worry about ever seeing one out in the wild.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    peterf28 said:
    What ports do you need?
    All those fun ports that are completely essential for creative people to do work.
    Things like USB-A, HDMI, DP, Ethernet, Line Audio. Probably a Memory card reader, if you work in photo/video.
    Even if you can accept the limitations of being forced to use a USB-C adapter dongle for everything - this laptop only has 2 USB-C ports, and I'm reasonably certain Apple doesn't sell a Macbook dock. So you're going to have to make some hard choices when you're sitting at your desk trying to figure out what combination of mouse, keyboard, monitor, and iphone get to be plugged in today.
    If you don't need ports, then why even buy a laptop? Content consumption and zoom will work just fine on your phone.
    Reply
  • Heat_Fan89
    The Midnight color on the new Air looks absolutely sick.
    Reply