The 5 Coolest Features Of The MacBook Air M2

Apple introduced the 2022 MacBook Air with M2 at WWDC 2022, giving consumers their first look at the next installment in the company's ultra-slim line of laptops. The new MacBook Air retains the same svelte ultrabook form factor consumers have come to expect, but with key changes that may make the model an appealing upgrade for existing Air owners. 

There's a lot to like about the MacBook Air, not the least of which is its relatively small price tag — though, keep in mind the $999 starting price only applies to the M1 version of the model, while the M2 variant is a bit pricier with a starting price of $1,199. Given that Apple also presented a newly updated 13-inch MacBook Pro and both must compete with the tantalizing iPad Pro with the soon-to-launch iPadOS 16, it may be hard to decide which model is best for your needs. What does the MacBook Air bring to the table that makes it worth the purchase? 

Apple's M2 chip

If nothing else, Apple's decision to launch the 2022 MacBook Air with the M2 chip gives buyers a good reason to consider the laptop when it's time for an upgrade. The company boasts performance across the board with its new silicon, including 50% more memory bandwidth, a CPU that's 18% faster than the M1, and a GPU that's up to 35% faster. The M2 chip has a 16-core Neural Engine, as well, which makes it capable of crunching through up to 15.8 trillion operations every second. Users will also be able to connect the M2 MacBook Air to up to a 6K external display.

There are other things to like about the M2 chip, including its support for up to 24 GB of LPDDR5 memory and the use of second-generation 5 nm tech. Also included — and perhaps most important to visual professionals — is the ability to encode and decode Apple ProRes. While the M1 MacBook Air remains available with a slightly cheaper starting price, the new M2 option is no doubt the most appealing for buyers who want the best performance possible from Apple's slimmest laptop.

Robust audio system

Ultra-slim laptops are usually designed with many small compromises intended to help facilitate their lighter weights and slimmer profiles, and lackluster audio systems are often part of that compromise. That's not the case with the M2 MacBook Air, according to Apple, which says it managed to pack four speakers into its newest Mac ultrabook. In order to do this, the speakers have been built into the laptop's display and keyboard — the same is true for the model's triple-microphone array, as well, which makes it easier to participate in video calls without having to pop in a pair of AirPods.

The company says its new MacBook Air features support for Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio, plus the hardware is paired with the company's algorithms related to a technology called beamforming. The combination of features will, Apple claims, result in "great stereo separation," and other people should be able to hear you talking clearly even when you're using the machine's built-in microphones instead of an external headset. Though these aren't unique features by any means, it is great to hear that Apple didn't sacrifice audio quality for the sake of keeping its latest Air model exceptionally thin.

Long battery life and new charging options

If you're considering buying an ultrabook, it's probably a safe bet to assume that you're interested in long battery life and minimal downtime when working outside of the office. As with the audio system, Apple has given the 2022 MacBook Air's battery and charging system substantial focus, the result of which is up to 18 hours of runtime on a charge, according to the company. Though consumers expected the newest MacBook Air to continue offering long battery life, it was a bit surprising and exciting to hear that this model will come with additional charging options. 

In addition to sporting a MagSafe charger (the kind that magnetically attaches to the laptop), Apple says it will release a 35-watt compact power adapter that is designed with two USB-C ports. With this, someone could, for example, charge their MacBook Air and headphones at the same time. As well, the 2022 MacBook Air will be the first in the line to support fast charging, which means users can expect to recharge the battery to 50% in half an hour or so, Apple says. This, though, will require you to buy the optional 67-watt fast charging adapter. Consumers may be annoyed to hear that the fast charger isn't included with the laptop, but that's not a surprise considering the company doesn't include a fast charger with the iPad Pro, either.

A design crafted with professional needs in mind

Anyone who spends a considerable number of hours working on a laptop knows the importance of a solid keyboard and trackpad, otherwise, the user experience can end up as frustrating as it is fatiguing. According to Apple, the 2022 MacBook Air will pack their officially branded Magic Keyboard layout, which means users can expect a full-height function row. The company has also included its "Force Touch" trackpad with the machine, the most important aspect of which is its large size, meaning you won't have to strain your wrists to hit it in the right spot.

Unlike the company's tablets and smartphones, the new MacBook Air does retain the 3.5 mm audio jack, which means you'll be able to quickly connect your favorite wired headset or use the laptop for presentations with older projectors that lack Bluetooth connectivity. Rounding out these features is Touch ID, which means users will be able to secure their device and all of its content with biometric (fingerprint) data. Though these are smaller features when looked at individually, they do improve the overall user experience by ensuring the professionals have all the trimmings necessary for getting work done anywhere.