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MacBook Air – 15 years old, and possibly the BEST it’s ever been

Another week, another anniversary…

MacBook Air

Macworld has a lot to answer for

MacBook Air – there’s a very good chance that at some point you have owned one…and probably loved it.

MacBook Air was the first Mac I ever owned. It was a 2010 model, and was oddly, as it turns out, the reason that I now sit writing every day about Apple & Macs. It pulled me in. Even with that tiny screen, it was brighter, sharper, and offered a better user experience than I’d come across with my PCs.

The MacWorld conference was a big thing for Apple way back when. The January event was responsible for delivering us the Mac mini in 2005, and the iPhone in 2007.

It was at Macworld in 2008, that possibly one of Steve Jobs most iconic moments occurred. He came on stage with a small, manilla envelope, and delivered these immortal lines;

“We’ve built the world’s thinnest notebook—without sacrificing a full-size keyboard or a full-size 13-inch display. When you first see MacBook Air, it’s hard to believe it’s a high-performance notebook with a full-size keyboard and display. But it is.”

That’s right, this was the dawn of a new era – it was the time for MacBook Air to shine.

A new era

The keynote speech at Macworld, San Francisco, 2008, was a busy one. Not only did Jobs announce the MacBook Air, but also the first time capsule, and updates to iPhone and iPod Touch too.

But, obviously, there was only one star that day – the 13-inch MacBook Air.

This Mac was available to customers only a few weeks later, and was pretty well spec’d;

  • 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy display
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • Multi-touch TrackPad
  • 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM and a
  • 80GB hard disk drive

For its day, they were not shabby specifications, for a laptop of any dimensions, let alone one that was only 0.16-inches thick, at its thinnest point. Overall, the reviews were mixed once customers had some time using it. The design was favoured – the battery-life, not so much.

But, the MacBook Air was clearly responsible for showing us the vision the Jobs had for the MacBook brand, moving forward. It proved so popular, so quickly, with a wide audience, that it didn’t take long for the improvements to start filtering through to the MacBook Air.

Within a year, there were numerous specification & performance tweaks, and then in 2009, the 11.6-inch MacBook Air was unveiled. Pretty much, every year, MacBook Air was in some way improved. In 2017, the smaller, original 11-inch model was culled.

Although there were periods where the MacBook Air was a little neglected from Apple, it had found its place in the Mac line-up, and was a perennial good seller for the company.

If they could see me now

If only Steve Jobs could have been around to see Apple silicon come to the MacBook Air. It was a match made in heaven. It was as if this were the chip that the MacBook Air had always craved.

Apple silicon offered the MacBook Air more power, efficiency, and a better battery life. The Air was to be the first of Apple laptops to transition to Apple silicon in 2020.

Last year, the now iconic, tapered body was replaced by a unibody, square-edged design. It came in a choice of colours for the first time, and MagSafe was re-introduced, freeing up the two USB-C ports for peripherals.

Living with the M2 MacBook Air

Depending upon your workflow, the M2 MacBook Air will easily see you through your working day.

My M2 Air has 8GB of memory, and only 512GB of SSD storage, and even in those fairly lowly specs, it will see me through a day – a day that could even include some light video or podcast editing.

The keyboard is light, responsive, tactile, backlit, and fairly ‘clicky’. You’ll be able to work and type on the MacBook Air fast! You once again have a full row of function keys, and a trackpad that is the equal of the larger Macs.

The 13.6-inch screen is big enough to work on when on the fly. The slimmer, black bezels on the M2 MacBook Air, means the screen feels deceptively large.

The battery life is everything you’ve heard, and then some. The only drain I have found is running the screen on full brightness for too long, apart from that, the battery life is simply stunning.

There are ample ports, and the notch is nothing you need to concern yourself with – pretty soon, you forget it’s even there.

In good hands

And, the MacBook Air’s legacy, will live on, so it seems, in the form of a new 15-inch version, due for release later this year.

Other than the size, there will be no major design changes to the 15-inch MacBook Air. The changes, however, will come from the Apple silicon inside. We are expecting to see it ship with the basic M2 chip, which would be sold with Apple’s dual-port 35W power adapter, and an M2 Pro chip model, which will ship with a 67W adapter. The speakers, too, will be improved.

I/O is yet to be confirmed, but there will be multiple USB-C ports, MagSafe, and may be even space for an SD card slot too on the M2 Pro models.

Prices are expected to start at around $1500.

Wrapping up

The MacBook Air, now, more than ever, is an outstanding machine.

Light, quick, forgiving, portable, and powerful. The days of the MacBook Air being left to languish by Apple, are a thing of the past. They know when they are on to a good thing – and this latest iteration sure is that.

Whether it is to be your first Mac, or just another Mac in your line-up, the M2 MacBook Air, delivers on every level.

Would a 15-inch MacBook Air tempt you?

Keep an eye out today on Twitter – we are expecting the first product announcements of the year from Apple, which could include new M2 MacBook Pros, and an M2 Mac mini as well

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