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M2 MacBook Air – nearly here! Exciting times ahead!

What do we know and what do you want?

M2 MacBok Air
image courtesy of author

Get ready!

The wait is nearly over, well, so we are led to believe.

This coming Friday, at the time of writing, the long-awaited M2 MacBook Air will finally be released on pre-order. First shown off at WWDC, it is about to be released in to the wild.

If it is available on pre-order this week, given Apple’s history, that would mean it will go on sale one week later – 15th July.

If your heart is set on a new M2 MacBook Air, then best be ready and waiting is my advice to you. Once these first units are snapped up, which they will be, you can expect to be waiting until October or even November for more to be available.

The chip shortage continues to wreak havoc with new releases from Apple, and the Air is likely to be the hottest ticket of the year – save for the new iPhone.

So, the important carry-away from this blog, is, be waiting with cash in hand, by your Mac at 1pm BST (8am ET for my stateside readers) on Friday 8th July.

What’s on offer?

M2 MacBok Air
image courtesy of author

We are not sure what the supply chain allows for, but there should be two M2 MacBook Air’s on pre-order this Friday.

The base model, which I hope to buy, comes with an 8-Core CPU, 8-Core GPU, 8GB of unified memory (think of that as RAM in old english), and 256GB of SSD storage. That config will set you back £1249.

Next up the daisy-chain will be a M2 MacBook Air that has 10-Core GPU and 512GB of SSD space. The cost of that beauty will be £1549. If you tick all the boxes on that MacBook Air – 24GB of unified memory and 2TB of storage…then you are at a price-point of…£2549! Oof!

Interestingly, there are now two power adapters you can choose from at checkout; a 35W dual USB-C version or the quicker, more powerful 67W brick.

I am torn on that, but think, on balance, as these things charge pretty quickly anyway, (and hold charge so well), I will be picking the dual port option. One charger for two bits of kit. I like!

The body is all different on these, 2022 M2 MacBook Air’s. The iconic wedge shape, that we have all come to know and love so much, is resigned to history.

These new Airs’ will look like the current MacBook Pro’s…but after a hard summer diet! It weighs only 1.24 kg compared to the 2.2 kg of my 16-inch M1 Max MacBook Pro. Guess which one I will be taking out to the coffee shop with me?

Colours have come to M2 MacBook Air for the first time – a range of 4 to be exact. Silver, Space Grey, Starlight, and the one everyone seems to want – midnight. Going by those that actually touched and handled it at WWDC, it’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet. That said, it is still the one I want!

All about the media

M2 MacBok Air
source Apple

Which ever model M2 MacBook Air you chose, it will handle video editing with ease. I am not convinced how much editing I will be doing on the 13.6-inch screen, but the media engines will be up to it!

Both models come with Hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW media engines and ProRes encode & decode engines as well.

Just a few years back, even thinking you could edit video, let alone an 8K one, on a notebook would have been beyond our wildest dreams. We are living in amazing times!

Display, audio & camera

The display receives a meaningful increase, jumping up from 13.3-inches on the M1 MacBook Air, to 13.6-inches on the M2 variant. This year’s model is also 100 nits brighter at 500 nits.

That 100 nits makes a significant difference. My older 2015 5K iMac is 100 nits less bright than my Studio Display, and it is surprising how much you notice it. The M2 display has support for 1 billion colours, has True Tone Technology and Wide colour gamut P3.

If my MacBook and Studio Display are any benchmark, don’t expect too much from the 1080p HD camera. No Centre Stage option here – but considering the damage that did to my Studio Display camera, that is possibly no bad thing.

Audio has been a true trademark of these new breed MacBooks. My MacBook sounds chuffing amazing! Although a smaller body and enclosure, I am sure the four-speaker sound set-up on the Air will be up to the task. It will support the mystical, Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos.

A three-microphone array and a 3.5mm headphone jack rounds out the audio side of this M2 MacBook. That ‘jack by the way, supports high-impedance headphones.

Ports, power & memory

M2 MacBok Air
image courtesy of author

The power delivery, and battery life of these ‘M’ series Mac’s has redefined what we come to expect from laptops.

My M1 MacBook Pro has amazed me time after time, and the claims for the M2 MacBook Air don’t look too shabby either! Up to 18 hours of TV or video playback, or around 15 hours of web browsing, are claimed.

Although you’ll only have two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, the good news is, MagSafe is back! So, at least, that means both USB ports will be available for peripherals.

You’ll find three memory options to choose from; 8GB, 16GB or 24GB. As ever, when it comes to memory, buy as much as you can afford. It will pay you back in the long run. If I have suffered any buyers’ remorse over the years, it has been over storage & memory. I will only be buying the base model (hopefully!), as it will very much be a back-up & browsing Mac for me.

The most desirable spec?

image courtesy of author

If this is to be your main Mac, or replacing an older MacBook Air, let’s look where I’d guide you.

I think the sweet-spot would be the base model, but with 8-Core CPU/10-Core GPU. Stick with 8GB of unified memory – it’ll be plenty. Assuming you won’t be looking to be edit 8K video regularly, then the 8GB will still give you plenty of headroom. I would absolutely upgrade to at least 512GB of SSD storage, though. 256GB of storage these days, with more apps & an ever swelling OS, just does not cut-it any more.

I’d pick the dual port charger, with a midnight body. And for that config, you’ll be paying £1549.

Are there troubles ahead?

M2 MacBook Air
image courtesy of author

The first, ‘hands-on’ look we have had at M2, has been with the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro.

Some ’tear-down’ YouTube channels have reported slower SSD read/write speeds, compared to equivalent M1 models. When the 256GB M2 MacBook Pro was tested, using Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test, speeds were about 30% down on the M1 iteration.

The reason for that dip seems to be that in the 256GB M2 MacBook, there was only one NAND flash storage chip, compared to two which were found in the M1 Mac.

The reason these slower speeds were not detected in the videos we saw about the M2 MacBook, was because Apple only sent out 1TB models for review. The problem seems to be solely in the base 256GB model.

Slower SSD speeds can impact common tasks such as transferring files to external drives. Overall performance can also take a slight hit since Macs temporarily use SSD space as virtual memory when physical RAM is fully used.

We are yet to discover if the base model, 256GB M2 MacBook Air will also have a single NAND set-up, and thus slower read/write speeds.

Are you looking forward to Friday?

M2 MacBok Air
image courtesy of author

So, will you be joining me this Friday in trying to buy an M2 MacBook Air? If so, what model will you be plumping for?

Or, will you let the dust settle, see what the reviews say, and buy one later in the fall?

My first-ever Mac was an Air. It almost feels like I am going back to my routes with the M2 MacBook Air – and I can’t wait.

I know I always ask for you to keep in touch with me, and you are great at doing just that…but please, this Friday at 1pm BST, leave me alone!

Fingers crossed then – you’ll be the first to know if I got lucky – promise!

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