During its introductory keynote at the WWDC developer conference, Apple showed off its all-new MacBook Air. A new more compact and lighter design, but above all more power inside with the new M2 chip. First round of the newcomer.
It’s not necessarily when we expected it, but it’s nevertheless good for WWDC 22, the annual developer conference, that Apple has decided to launch its brand new MacBook Air into the arena.
Nearly two years after the advent of the model boosted by the in-house M1 chip, the first of its name, it is its successor which in turn opens a new era by becoming the spokesperson for the M2 chip. Three months after presenting the super-powerful M1 Ultra chip, Apple is already launching its 4th chip into the arena in just over 18 months. But this time, if the Apple Silicon chip has been unveiled and dissected, it already has a framework for judging its performance.
Design: all new, all beautiful
And for the occasion the MacBook Air has decided to get a makeover. It retains its 100% recycled aluminum frame, but makes it more compact. Exit the slightly triangular aspect on the side, this time it is straighter and also thinner (1.13 cm thick closed, almost half a centimeter gained).
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A finesse combined with a lighter weight to fall to 1.24 kg (barely less than before) which makes it completely justify its name of Air. And in hand, the weight well distributed over the entire surface is felt, almost better than for the M1 model while it sports almost the same dimensions (30.41 x 21.5 cm against 30.41 x 21.24 cm for version M1).
The design is particularly elegant. We admit a very big weakness for the new Midnight color, a mixture of dark and bluish hues which thus melt the keyboard as a whole, just like the very large trackpad which is always very practical with its Force Touch capacity to allow different levels of pressure and so different functions, multi-touch, etc.
The keyboard has definitely done away with the very divisive TouchBar to make way for the function bar at the top. The function keys are also now more square whereas they were rectangular on the MacBook Air M1. On the far right, we find the fingerprint reader on the power button. And it has been redesigned to reveal a circle to better signal the sensor.
The new fingerprint sensor on the start key // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS
The MacBook Air M1 fingerprint sensor // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS
The MacBook Air 2022 marks the return of the MagSafe socket for recharging, this magnetic socket which makes it possible to avoid tearing the cable if you ever have to trip over it. The magnet system is still strong and snaps on quickly. But he also knows how to detach himself without taking the computer on board if necessary. Small design touch: the charging cable now matches the color of the device (with the white USB-C side to match the mains adapter which remains standard).
Next to the MagSafe port on the left of the MacBook Air, there are two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, while the M1 model had two Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB 4 and USB 3.1), one of which was used to charge the computer. On the right, Apple has retained a jack unlike its iPhone and iPad. But on the other hand, no trace of an SD card port which remains the prerogative of the latest MacBook Pro.
Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS
Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS
In terms of connectivity, the MacBook Air M2 can obviously rely on its compatibility with Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
It’s really the finesse and lightness of the new design that impresses. The MacBook Air gets a facelift without really upsetting the deal or breaking Apple codes. We have a product flocked with an apple on the back and which respects the aesthetic codes of the brand. New look for a new life in power especially.
The screen sees bigger
The MacBook Air M2 has a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina screen in a chassis that therefore remains at or near the same dimensions. That’s more than the previous MacBook Air’s 13.3 inches and that’s thanks to thinner bezels.
And yet, the device has a little coquetry already seen on the MacBook Pro 14 and 16 inches: the notch. Don’t expect to use it for facial recognition, it still doesn’t host the iPhone’s TrueDepth system. But this time it relies on a 10 Mpex FaceTime HD camera to film you in 1080p. That’s twice as good as the previous model. Nevertheless, it is discreet with certain software by hiding in a black band if necessary.
Amazing little thing: while Apple is constantly touting its Center Frame feature that allows the camera to follow you to always leave you in the center of the image, this one isn’t advertised on the MacBook Air like it isn’t. didn’t exist on the latest MacBook Pros. It remains the prerogative of iPads, iMac M1s and the Studio Display.
In terms of brightness, the M2 model gains 100 nits to now go up to 500 nits. This will make it easier to use in direct sunlight, which was a point to improve on the MacBook Air M1. It also still relies on True Tone technology to adapt its white balance to ambient light.
Audio: the hidden sound
On the audio side, the MacBook Air has 4 speakers and 3 microphones, especially there to improve the FaceTime experience and your videoconferences, but this time they are hidden between the screen and the keyboard whereas they were on the side and visible on the Previous MacBook Air. But Apple promises that this does not prevent spatial audio from being handled perfectly. And above all, this has the advantage of contributing to the overall volume reduction while integrating a larger 13.6-inch screen.
To improve the sound quality, the device also relies on its befoarming technology to optimize everything and in particular the speakers which promise stereo sound, support for Dolby Atmos in addition to spatial audio.
Interface: macOS Monterey while waiting for Ventura
While the next macOS Ventura has been announced, including Stage Manager to better have its applications on the screen, a redesign of the Mail application, more complete Spotlight search, etc., the MacBook Air M2 will ship macOS Monterey upon his arrival in July.
All in power
The new MacBook Air embeds the new M2 chip which announces 20% more power compared to the MacBook Air M1 and 38% faster at the GPU level. For this, it relies on a chip with an architecture similar to that of the A15 Bionic chip with an additional GPU core (8 CPU cores + 8 GPU cores). There is also a configuration with 8 CPU cores and 10 GPU cores (with 512 GB of SSD storage).
In particular, this makes it easier to run and edit in Final Cut Pro with multiple ProRes 4K video streams (up to 11) and even up to 2 ProRes 8K streams. Admittedly, these are formats created by Apple and therefore better managed by its products. But until now, even the MacBook Air M1 could stick its tongue out with so many resource-intensive demands. Our first tests with several 4K and 8K video streams, several applications open at the same time, showed a certain fluidity in use. But the M1 chip was already difficult to fault, except in extreme cases. Suffice to say that for office automation, photo editing or light games, there will probably be no problem.
In terms of configurations, the MacBook Air M2 can carry 256 GB to 2 TB of SSD storage, accompanied by 8 to 24 GB of unified memory in order to more easily manage the multiple opening of applications simultaneously and multitasking. That’s 8GB more than the M1 chip could handle.
The MacBook Air M2 does not announce a huge gap compared to its predecessor, as could be the case between the M1 and M1 Max or even M1 Ultra chips. It is above all a performance update on a new generation of SoC, and one would tend to say “in the entry-level version”, while waiting for the M2 Pro, Max or other.
Autonomy: fast charging finally (but)
Apple announces an autonomy similar to that of the MacBook Air M1 which was already gargantuan and easily approached 20 hours in standard use. But it is at the level of the load that it progresses. It is now possible to recover 50% autonomy in 30 minutes thanks to the optional 67 W charger.
However, it’s only a 30W charger that comes with the base MacBook Air. If you opt for the 8-core CPU + 10-core GPU version, then you will have the 35W dual USB-C charger in the box (20 euros otherwise optional). However, its date of availability in France remains uncertain.
MacBook Air 2022 M2 price and availability
The MacBook Air M2 will be available in July in four finishes (Space Gray, Silver, Midnight and Stellar Light) on the Apple Store from 1499 euros.
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