Apple’s 2022 MacBook Air, which was unveiled at the company’s 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), resembles a portable MacBook Pro more than anything else. Furthermore, just as the Apple Watch 3 is still sold alongside the Series 7, the 2020 MacBook Air will be sold alongside the latest version.
While the 2022 MacBook Air won’t outperform MacBook Pros, it does include several features that were previously only available in the higher-end laptop: the M2 processor, a brighter FaceTime webcam, and more.
With a starting price of $1,199, the 2022 MacBook Air is expected to ship in July, and these are the five coolest features that might persuade you to upgrade.
The M2 is a System on a Chip (SoC) processor with a central processing unit (CPU), graphics processor unit (GPU), memory (RAM), and other components.
The M2 has a new CPU that is 1.4 times faster than the previous model, thanks to a 25% increase in transistors. It’s also designed to run more apps at once, with 50 percent more maximum RAM bandwidth — from 16GB to 24GB — though 2022 MacBook Airs will still start at 8GB.
The M2 is up to 15 times faster than Intel Core i5 processor-based machines for anyone with a MacBook Air older than 2020. However, those figures are for the 24GB RAM, 2TB model; the base Air will be slower.
Liquid Retina display
Apple provided a larger Liquid Retina display to the MacBook Air, which was long overdue. Instead of a single large backlight panel, the screen uses multiple LEDs to create a brighter display with deeper blacks and more vibrant colors.
Because of the smaller bezels, the screen jumps from 13.3 to 13.6 inches, leaving no room for the traditional FaceTime camera. The camera notch that debuted on the iPhone X and later on the MacBook Pro is here, but the most exciting part is that the screen real estate has increased overall.
A significant redesign
The M2, like the M1, does not require a fan to keep cool, which means it takes up less room. The 2022 MacBook Air has been redesigned around the fanless processor, giving it the appearance of a smaller MacBook Pro without the wedge up front. It is both thinner and lighter than its predecessor.
The top row of keys on the keyboard is now the same height as the rest of the keyboard, as opposed to the previous generation’s shorter Function keys. This also expands the Touch ID module’s size.
Because MagSafe charging is back for 2022, one of the two Thunderbolt (USB 4) ports is no longer used for charging. The $1,499 Air with the 10-core GPU comes with an extra plug, USB-C, so you don’t need a second wall adapter to charge your iPhone.
Lastly, the 2022 MacBook Air comes in four colors: classic silver, Space Gray, Starlight (a pure gold), and Midnight Black (black).
1080p FaceTime camera
The built-in FaceTime webcam has been upgraded to full HD, with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. This is a significant improvement over 720p, providing more detail for clearer video calls.
With four spatial speakers — two more than the previous generation — FaceTime calls should sound better. High-impedance headphones can now be used with the headphone jack. That means the port is powerful enough to support studio-quality wired headphones.
Is it worth the upgrade
Intel-based Mac owners could easily justify upgrading to the 2022 MacBook Air from pre-2020 models, thanks to speeds up to 15 times faster. If your old MacBook Air is slowing down, this upgrade will give you a significant performance boost.
While the 2022 M2 model has numerous improvements, the difference between the M1 and M2 models is not as large. Most 2020 MacBook Air users won’t find the 1.4x speed boost sufficient to justify the extra cost.
However, video editors may be tempted, especially with the upgraded screen, faster ProRes transcoding speeds, and improved audio. Users who have outgrown 8GB RAM will find that 24GB is a significant upgrade.