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18 hours and counting – it’s nearly here – M2 MacBook Air

Hopefully tomorrow, my M2 MacBook Air should arrive. Time to evaluate where it will fit in to my workflow

M2 MacBook Air
image courtesy author

Like a kid on Christmas Eve

I haven’t felt like this in a long, long while.

Honestly, even though it is still a good few hours before I get the all new, M2 MacBook Air, I keep having to resist the urge to pull back the curtain, and look out for a DHL van.

This whole pre-order fever is new to me. I was always the guy who watched the videos on release day, keen to find out about the latest offering from Cupertino. Well, tomorrow, I will be on the other side of the fence, or camera!

Yup, assuming that there are no delays with the despatch, I should be getting my M2 MacBook Air tomorrow. I have given some pretty careful thought as to how I am going to try to cover it, and the kind of vibe I want to bring to the video that I will upload tomorrow. Don’t fret, I will be writing about the day as well, and the first of those articles will be up Monday, latest – my promise to you!

Since the idea of being part of the M2 MacBook Air pre-order frenzy dawned on me, my thoughts, goals, and aims for it have changed greatly.

Maybe I should keep it

What you may not know, is that many smaller creators don’t keep the products they buy and review. Their sole purpose is to get clicks, and earn some Adsense money. I am in no way decrying that, in fact, I entirely understand it.

Creating content in the tech space is a costly business, particularly, if, like myself, you are not monetised. When I had decided to order this M2 MacBook Air, I had to evaluate its cost and purpose.

Initially, I was going to take advantage of Apple’s no questions asked, 14 day returns policy. It felt sort of wrong, but I know everyone does it, and also, Apple is a trillion-dollar company after all! I was sceptical as to if it would be as easy as it seemed, so then I arranged plan B.

A close friend had said they wanted it. Their daughter is off to uni, and this would be the perfect laptop to see them through. Great – problem solved, and I also felt it was more ethical too.

But then I had yet another thought…what if I actually kept & used it! I know, the most obvious choice came to me last, and here is why.

Size matters – well to me at least

Some context and background is required here.

If you read my blog from a few days back, you’ll know that my first, ever Mac was a 2010 11.5-inch MacBook Air. I still have it, and today, a replacement charger should be on its way to me. Hopefully, it will still boot-up! In my mind, that is the size I think as a MacBook Air – misguided, know.

Add to that, I also have a 16-inch M1 Max MacBook Pro. A brilliant machine and, undoubtedly, the quickest and most productive Mac I have owned. Rarely do I use it alone, though, as for most of its life, it is married to the Studio Display.

All that goes to the fact I have an issue about screen size! Most of the work I do is creative and at least moderately involved. Be it Photoshop work, editing videos or exporting podcasts. All those tasks are easier on a bigger screen. Put it down to my age if you must!

If I am to keep this new M2 MacBook Air, it could not lead the life of a pretty show-pony! I could not afford for it to be a background prop in videos. Nope, if I intended on keeping it, then it would have to roll-up its sleeves and get some work done. But what about that 13.6-inch panel?

I expect it to be gorgeous, of that I have no doubt. Probably much like yourself, I have become accustomed to retina displays. Although the M2 will be lacking the 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate of my MacBook Pro, it retains the same 500 nits of brightness, has True Tone tech and Wide colour (P3) as well.

But it is too small?

Workarounds

Assuming none of you fancy giving me a Studio Display, then how am I going to make this M2 MacBook Air work for me?

The lovely 27-inch Mac is coming to the end of its working life, and it is not the fault of the Mac itself. This 2015 iMac will not be able to run macOS Ventura this fall. That will cause issues with security, and updates from Adobe and various apps I use daily.

Other general ecosystem functions work more seamlessly on the Macs all running the latest OS as well – Universal Control, Handoff, and AirDrop for example all come to mind.

Sadly, it is now an old Mac. It is in beautiful, almost showroom condition, but it is old tech. At its heart is an Intel i7 Quad-Core chip, and that is slow by modern standards. I notice it too. Working at home in the studio on the M1 Max, it is so noticeably quicker in everything it does. From opening tabs & apps, to editing workflows in Photoshop, and of course, exporting videos.

Yes, I could bring the M1 laptop with me, but I would rather not keep moving that one about. The M2 MacBook Air is a different beast, though; it is made and designed to be mobile and portable. The MacBook Pro in my mind, is intended as a static machine that can be moved if needed.

So, I will have the newest Apple Silicon sitting here on my desk each day, and I think it only right that it is used for more than just for emailing and browsing.

In one of my articles this week, I had thought the answer would be to mirror the new Airs display to my 27-inch iMac. Great theoretically, but having now tried that out, I doubt it will be a ‘go-er’. There is too much latency and degradation in quality. I do have a spare Dell monitor, but it suffers when compared to a retina display. Sadly, I don’t happen to have a spare £1500 for another Studio Display…not that you can actually buy them!

The answer

I’m not sure yet – but all I can tell you is that my new M2 MacBook Air, will be working.

My initial thought is to get used to a smaller screen for the time being. Most of the highly demanding work can wait until I am back home with the M1 Max 16-inch and Studio Display.

I think I need to wait until tomorrow, and get my hands on this new Mac, and truly get a feel of what I am dealing with. These newer screens do tend to be larger than I give them credit for. So give me the weekend, and I will come back to you as to how it is playing out.

M2 MacBook Air
image courtesy of author

The specs

You may recall, that the Mac I am getting (above is the confirmation it has been despatched), is not the one I was after. I’d really wanted a little more ‘juice’ on it. I had tried to buy the 8-core CPU/8-core CPU version, but with 1TB of SSD and 16GB of unified memory. But, to get that model, would have pushed delivery back until sometime in August.

I have ended up with the 8-core CPU/10-core GPU with 512GB of storage. I chose this model over the base, as by purchase time, I had already decided that I was going to be keeping it. 512GB was the most storage I could lay my hands on for delivery tomorrow.

Since then, there has been a lot of spicy stuff published about the base version 256GB storage and the M2 chip. According to the YouTube channel Max Tech, M2’s with 512GB of storage are around 15% faster than the base, 256GB models.

It is all to do with the base models only having a single NAND chip, which affects their storage channels and in turn the virtual RAM swap. The Apple Silicon architecture is centred around that ability to virtually swap RAM. Maybe my choice to go with the 512GB model has turned out to be a good decision in every respect, then!

Not long to go

Around this time tomorrow, I’m hoping to be deep in to making my video covering the arrival of the M2 MacBook Air.

In due course, I will be comparing it not only to the i7 iMac in front of me now, but perhaps more pertinently, the M1 Max MacBook Pro. There is a price difference of around £2000 between those two Apple Silicon Macs – let’s see how they compare.

I’ll not be doing any benchmark tests, others are way better at that than me. Nope, instead, I will be honestly looking at the M2 MacBook Air, in real, day-to-day meaningful tasks.

And if that 13.6-inch screen can win me over, then we really are on to something!

I think I have a busy weekend ahead!

Getting involved

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