Waiting on the pre-order day was all new to me…exciting & a little stressful, but the M2 MacBook Air is on its way!
Why the hype?
We knew it was on its way…the all-new M2 MacBook Air was announced at last month’s WWDC. It was shown off and paraded, but not actually made available to buy, well, not for us normal folks!
The select and chosen few at the event, were given a few precious, hands-on moments with it, but that was it. The only clue given to when we might expect to be able to buy it, was “available next month – sometime in July”. That was it…no dates, teasers, or clues….just “next month”.
Because of the radical new design, and the M2 chip inside, it’s expected to be one of the hot products of the year for Apple, alongside the iPhone 14 release.
Apart from the fact, for the first time in its 14-year history, it no longer has the famed tapered, wedge-shaped body to it, it also now has colours for the first time. You can order it in space grey, silver, starlight, or midnight.
It is packed with new features, in-keeping with its new facelift. The notch makes its debut on the M2 MacBook Air, on its larger, 13.6-inch display, and its audio improved with a four-speaker set-up. It has two Thunderbolt USB 4 ports for peripherals and MagSafe charging. It will eventually be available with up to 24GB of unified memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage. All in all, quite a radical, and much needed make-over.
Welcome to the tech space
You may have noticed, I have been working hard this year here on Medium, and TalkingTech on the ’Tubes.
When the announcement was made at ‘Dub-Dub’ in June, my mind was set to thinking, shall I become part of the pre-order crowd? Shall I at least try, and order a new M2 MacBook Air on pre-order day?
It was actually, a perfect, synergy, as my first-ever Mac, in 2009 was a MacBook Air. It had not gone un-noticed that I had come full circle.
As mentioned, until now, I had never been in the niche to even consider pre-ordering a Mac on release day. Crazy as it sounds, and as ‘first-world’ as it gets, I was actually a little nervous the night before – I won’t lie! How would it work?
Would the site crash? Would I be too late? Would the US be prioritised? How quickly would I have to order? All these questions were pulsing through my mind last Friday morning, but, I did what I do best, and approached it in a business-minded manor.
I had an idea
As if I were not feeling the stress enough, I decided to throw one more spanner in the works (love that phrase!). I was going to film me waiting for Apple’s site to go live, and then film the whole ordering process as well.
My initial plan had been to use Screenflow and just screen record the entire thing. I use that software when creating tutorials for my YouTube channel, and so am fairly comfortable with it. But, I wanted to avoid stressing the system of my 2015 Intel iMac.
Paramount, in my mind, was not to lose the order on the M2 MacBook Air. Everything hinged on that order going through without a hiccup.
So, then to plan B. I had to be away from my studio on Friday, as I was in my office. I made sure to bring with me all the paraphernalia that I’d need to make an over-the-shoulder video.
All new to me
During the last few months, I have spent hours meticulously making my studio space-set-up look YouTube & camera friendly. I spend ages before shooting any video, making sure everything is just so.
The Mac’s screens are cleaned & dimmed so as not to cause reflections. Any unwanted lightning cables removed from the Studio Display. The desk is dusted, blinds pulled down…I try to leave nothing to chance.
Suddenly, here I was with the lowest grade set-up I had ever used. There were no proper studio lights, instead, natural light from the windows. There was no sound treated studio, with good acoustics and pro-grade mics.
Instead, all that was traded for a boomy, office with wooden floors, windows, road noise and an inexpensive lav mic! It was pretty much as basic as it could get. I did a few dummy recordings to ensure the framing was OK, then I hit record, sat back and waited…
The editing for the video was actually pretty straight-forward as well. No b-roll, just one file, trim out a few bits here and there, add an end-card, and upload.
Just goes to show
And blow-me down…something about it hit the mark! For a small channel of my size, it has done super well – 1700 views to date, and, as importantly, a fair bit of community interaction.
When I was planning and thinking about this video, I couldn’t recall anyone doing this before. I’d noticed some ‘watch-parties’, but not seeing the whole ordering process from start to finish. I thought it may add an extra nuance to the video – a real live vibe – almost as if you were part of the process.
I nearly did mess-up, though. Initially, I had planned to buy this M2 MacBook Air, run it for a few weeks, and sell it to a friend. Then I got to thinking…never a good sign!
At home, in the studio, as you know, I have a Studio Display powered by the mighty M1 Max MacBook Pro.
At the office, however, I rely on my dear-old Intel 27-inch 5K iMac. It’s served me well, but it is getting on now.
So, my plan now is to sell two Macs I don’t need (a 21.5-inch, 2019 iMac and a 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro), and keep the new M2 MacBook Air. I will mirror the screen to my 27-inch iMac, but actually run the M2 as the brains of the office set-up? I figure, the base M2 will probably be quicker than the Intel i7 chip in the large iMac…the progress of time, huh! Out of interest, do you think this is a good idea?
All of which meant, what I was looking for out of this new Mac had dramatically changed. Last Friday morning, as I was waiting for 1pm BST and order time, I decided to spec out what I wanted.
It was to be the 8 Core CPU, 8 Core GPU, but with 16GB of unified memory and 1TB of SSD storage. The old iMac only had 1TB, and it is still fine. As it was to now be a daily, working Mac, I thought I’d sprinkle some ‘extras’ on-top. A lovely thought, but boy, it was nearly my un-doing.
If you watch the video, you’ll hear my voice noticeably drop, as the order page was telling me that my M2 MacBook Air would not be delivered until at least 2nd August! Bugger – not perfect, but then, it struck me what I had done wrong!
I had spec’d up the Mac from the basic two configs on offer. Given the ongoing chip-shortage, that was the stumbling block. Much as I wanted the extra storage in particular, I had to let it slide.
Commercially, I needed the M2 MacBook Air the same day as other creators – Friday 15th July. The 8GB of unified memory I reckon will be fine for most of what I do at the office, and external SSD storage is easy enough to add on. Currently, I have my eye on this for LaCie example.
Thankfully, I realised my mistake just in time, and quickly went back and ordered the base model 10 Core CPU/10 Core GPU version with 512GB of SSD onboard.
So, the take-away from this experience, has been 2-fold.
ONLY order the basic configs, that are on the landing page, on pre-order day. Ordering on that day, is different, to calmly making a purchase for personal use. This is ordering for a reason – to write about it and cover it on videos.
Also, the way I will shoot videos will now change in the light of what I went through last Friday.
I will take no less care, but I won’t be tied to my studio either. Occasionally, the story just needs to be told wherever you happen to be. I will still plan and try hard to make sure the content I upload has context. And may be, the change of scenery, will keep the videos feeling more fresh.
But if it happens to be at the office, a coffee shop or a more laid-back vibe in my living room or even garden, so be it. Roll with the punches will be my mantra from now on.
I need your help
So – the M2 MacBook Air, which is in midnight by the way, is all on track to arrive in just four days time.
I am not going to do a full un-boxing of it, as others are way better equipped at making those videos, but I do intend on making, and uploading, an ‘un-doing’ video.
By that, I mean, I won’t load any of my productivity apps on it, but just first thoughts on design, feel, form, speakers, and keyboard – that kinda thing. So, that said, what would you like me to cover and write, or even make a video about? Let me know, get involved, and I promise to read all suggestions and bear them in mind this coming Friday.
Stress has given way to a little excitement now. I truly should grow-up, right?
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Finally, I keep all my Mac as new with CleanMyMac – my go-to tool for making sure my Mac stays match-fit (affiliate link)