But this time, everything is very different.
The M1 MacBook Air’s specification sheet was largely unaltered and was clearly an update to the internals only. The fundamental parts that power the processing did change.
Apple arguably should have done more for the M2 release than it did. Apple has seized the chance to completely redesign the look of its most portable notebook rather than providing the performance advantages to users in a worn-out and outdated package.
The first notable aspect of the MacBook Air’s design is that it no longer resembles a MacBook Air at all. The old design’s distinctive appearance was created by a wedge that tapered from a thick side to a thin edge.
The MacBook Air no longer adopts the tapered appearance for the M2. Instead, we have a uniformly flat aluminum enclosure that appears to borrow heavily from the design of the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
Even though the footprint is slightly larger, it is still nearly identical to that of the previous model at 11.97 inches by 8.46 inches. However, the 0.63-inch to 0.16-inch taper has been replaced by a flat, straightforward 0.44 inches.
It is still Apple’s smallest, thinnest, and lightest MacBook, weighing in at just 2.7 pounds. More so than the previous model, it is lighter.
The updated display is one feature that has been carried over from the Pro models to the MacBook Air, which is both a blessing and a curse.
A 13.6-inch Liquid Retina screen has replaced the previous 13.3-inch Retina display on the device. Complete with a slightly taller 2,560 by 1,664 resolution, it has a 224 ppi pixel density.
The MacBook Air now has thin bezels on the side and the top as part of Apple’s campaign against large bezels. But this latter component introduces the divisive feature of contemporary MacBook displays: the dreaded notch.
Although it reduces the display area, that notch makes it possible for the FaceTime HD camera to be placed correctly. This isn’t really a problem because it only affects the desktop menu bar, and for fullscreen apps, it’s discreetly hidden by helpful blacked-out sections.
M1 to M2
The inclusion of the M2 system-on-chip, the first of a new generation of Apple Silicon chips, is the primary driver behind the changes. Although it is still probably the entry-level model in the M2 line, the M2 is expected to offer many enhancements over the M1.
It runs about 18% faster than the M1 while maintaining the same 8-core configuration of four performance cores and four efficiency cores.
The GPU has also been updated, so you now have the option of an 8-core or 10-core GPU rather than just a 7-core or 8-core version. Once more, Apple asserts that the GPU alone has a 35% performance improvement.
Additionally, the M2’s memory bandwidth for the Unified Memory has increased from the M1’s 68.25GB/s to 100GB/s. Although it’s a nice upgrade, it falls short of the 200GB/s of the M1 Pro in some ways.
There are now three memory options totaling 24GB, joining the previously available 8GB and 16GB options. Although it’s not quite the 32GB we would have expected, this new addition is still appreciated.