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If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on Apple’s new MacBook Air, you won’t have to wait much longer. If the reports we’ve heard are accurate, Apple’s next M2-powered MacBook will go on sale in retail stores on July 15.
These dates come from a retail source that spoke with the folks at MacRumors. If Apple follows its usual convention, pre-orders for the new MacBook Air should open on July 8. However, the sources appeared to have no specific details about this part, as that’s entirely on Apple’s side.
The completely redesigned M2 MacBook Air was arguably the most significant announcement to come out of last month’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). However, like so many things announced that day, eager customers have been forced to wait for it to arrive. The only date Apple offered at the time was a rather vague July timeframe.
During the event, Apple also unveiled an M2 MacBook Pro that was considerably less inspired. This one was little more than the 2020 M1 version with an M2 chip inside. Besides the extra performance, higher memory capacity, and ProRes media engine offered by the M2, it’s spec-for-spec identical to the M1 version. Same screen, same camera, same design.
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So, it’s probably no surprise that the M2 MacBook Pro landed first, with pre-orders opening on June 17 and the new MacBook arriving in customers’ hands on July 24. With the new M2 MacBook Air looming on the horizon, there isn’t much of a reason for most folks to opt for Apple’s M2 MacBook Pro; the only things it offers over the upcoming MacBook Air are the same as before: an active cooling system that should help it run at peak performance for more extended workloads and the love-it-or-hate-it Touch Bar.
The M2 MacBook Air
On the other hand, the M2 MacBook Air is a significant upgrade not only over its predecessor but even over its so-called “Pro” counterpart.
It’s somewhat perplexing how much better the M2 MacBook Air is. While the 13-inch MacBook Pro likely earns its “Pro” designation by its ability to handle heavier sustained workflows, thanks to its active cooling system, there’s no doubt that this year, the M2 MacBook Air is the entry-level Mac to buy.
For $100 less than the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro, the M2 MacBook Air offers a slightly larger screen, with the notched design of last year’s 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro providing extra space for the menu bar at the top. There’s also a higher-resolution 1080p webcam, a four-speaker sound system, and Apple’s new MagSafe connector that offers fast-charging support.
As with the 2020 M1 models, Apple’s M2 MacBook Pro and M2 MacBook Air feature the same M2 chip, which means you’ll get the same performance. The only catch is that the entry-level model only features an 8-core GPU instead of the standard 10-core — likely for the same reason the most affordable M1 MacBook Air had a 7-core GPU.
This means you’ll need to step up to the $1,499 model to get the same 10-core GPU included in the base $1,299 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro. However, this will also get you a 512GB SSD, which puts it on par with the $1,499 M2 MacBook Pro.
Unless you plan on gaming or doing complex graphics rendering on your MacBook Air, you won’t likely miss the extra two GPU cores. However, more storage space is always a good thing. Plus, the base model doesn’t include Apple’s new 35W Dual USB-C Power Adapter, only the older 30W single-port version.
If you want fast charging, you’ll need to opt for Apple’s 67W USB-C Power Adapter, but it appears that Apple is offering this at the same price as the 35W Dual USB-C adapter: a $20 add-on for the $1,199 base model or a free substitution for the $1,499 model.
A configure-to-order (CTO) version to add either of these power adapters and take the base model to a 512GB SSD will leave you only $80 shy of the $1,499 standard model — and, as with any CTO purchase, you’ll likely have to wait longer to get your hands on it. So, unless you’re on a tight budget or are sure you only need 256GB of storage, you’ll be much better off with the $1,499 model.
If you’re looking for an even more powerful MacBook Air configuration, it’s worth noting that the M2 chip can now be maxed out to 24GB of unified memory, although the maximum SSD size is still limited to the same 2TB as the M1.
Besides swapping out the 35W Dual USB-C power adapter for the 67W version, memory and SSD are the only two upgrades available. A maxed-out M2 MacBook Air will set you back $2,499. That’s the same price as the second-tier 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip, 16GB of unified memory, and a 1TB SSD.
For those looking to spend as little as possible on a new MacBook, Apple is still selling the basic M1 MacBook Air for $999, with a 7-core GPU, 8GB unified memory, and a 256GB SSD.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]