Apple confirmed persistent rumors heading into WWDC22 that it would use the developers conference to showcase the upcoming 2022 MacBook Air powered by the M2 chip.
Departing from the current Air’s “wedge-shaped design,” the new version of the world’s best-selling laptop is now “strikingly thin from every angle,” the company said. It has 20% less volume than its predecessor.
Slender new M2 MacBook Air unveiled at WWDC22
Apple took the opportunity to roll out two M2 laptops, actually — the new MacBook Air and an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, as well. But here we’ll focus on the MacBook Air.
“Completely redesigned around M2, MacBook Air is thinner, lighter, and faster with a bigger display, better camera, and all-day battery life, in four beautiful finishes,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Only with Apple silicon can you build such a thin and light notebook with a fanless design, and this combination of performance and capabilities.”
The redesigned MacBook Air, with an all-aluminum unibody enclosure, is just 11.3 millimeters thick — under half an inch — and it weighs 2.7 pounds.
Colorful but not crazy colorful
Speculation that a new MacBook Air might match the 24-inch iMac’s array of colors died down ahead of the event. The iMac comes in blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange and purple. The new MacBook Air will settle for four finishes: silver, space gray, starlight and midnight.
But speculation about white bezels and a matching white keyboard didn’t pan out.
The MacBook Air has been been Apple’s thinnest notebook since October 2010. Its tapered, or “wedge,” design goes from thicker at the back to thinner at the front.
But the new MacBook Air looks more like a slimmed-down version of the MacBook Pro, with rounded edges on the bottom and squared-off edges on the top.
Slightly bigger and brighter display
Apple confirmed the new MacBook Air has an expanded Liquid Retina display, now 13.6 inches.
Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) analyst Ross Young had predicted a bigger display (but not a mini_LED display), and it’s true.
The new display is also 25% brighter than its predecessor, at 500 nits of brightness.
The M2 chip is the first of a second generation of Apple’s M-series chips, which are known for power efficiency and their unified memory architecture.
The new MacBook Air’s M2 features a next-generation 8-core CPU with advancements in both performance and efficiency cores, along with Apple’s next-generation GPU, which now has up to 10 cores — two more than M1.
M2 delivers 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth and supports up to 24GB of fast unified memory, so it can handle even larger and more complex workloads.
M2 also adds a next-generation media engine and a ProRes video engine for hardware-accelerated encode and decode, so systems with M2 will be able to play back more streams of 4K and 8K video than before.
The new MBA adds a MagSafe port for dedicated charging. That keeps the two Thunderbolt ports free for connecting to a variety of accessories.
There’s also an audio jack was support for high impedance headphones.
The latest MacBook Pro models got a 1080p webcam for the first time. With the 27-inch iMac, 24-inch iMac, and the high-end MacBook Pro now featuring a 1080p webcam, it seemed likely the MacBook Air would get one, too.
The new MacBook Air features a new 10MP FaceTime HD camera with twice the resolution and twice the low light performance of the previous Air’s camera Apple said.
Integrated speakers and mics
Speakers and mics are integrated between the keyboard and display on the new MacBook Air to save space, Apple said.
A three-mic array captures clean audio using advanced beamforming algorithms. And there’s a four speaker sound system that achieves stereo separation and vocal clarity.
Dolby Atmos provides support for immersive spatial audio for music and movies.
The Magic Keyboard features a full-height function row with Touch ID and a force-touch Trackpad.
And Apple said the new laptop has 18 hours of battery life.
Apple said the 2022 M2 MacBook Air will sell for $1,199 ($1,099 for education) starting in July. And the M1 MacBook Air stays in the lineup at $999 ($899 for education).