Upgrading from the M1 MacBook Air to the M2 MacBook Air requires a fair bit of thought.
Firstly, if you’ve not long had your M1 MacBook Air, there really is no need to make the switch. More importantly, you can retrieve your once-loved laptop from the garbage and wipe off the discarded banana skins and sticky tea bags; it’s still an absolutely awesome laptop.
Secondly, the new MacBook Air is considerably more expensive and, at the time of writing, has only been out in the wild for a couple of weeks. There’s still a chance for hardware issues to be discovered and new ‘gates’ to be started.
Put simply, if you’ve got an M1 MacBook Air, now probably isn’t the time to make the switch to a shiny new one… unless you just like shiny new things (which is, as I always say, fine!).
I’ve made the switch, obviously, because I’m a tech YouTuber. And there are five things I’ve learned already.
1. I don’t miss the wedge
I loved the wedge design of the previous generation MacBook Air. It was – and remains – timeless.
This is presumably why Apple was able to get away with keeping it around for so long; the wedge was so far ahead of its time and spawned so many imitators that it had every right to enjoy extended time in the sun.
Unfortunately, we humans are rather fickle, and when you get your hands on the latest thing, your head can quickly be turned. That happened to me as soon as I unearthed the M2 MacBook Air from its packaging. It felt right – immediately.
This new laptop really is a beautiful thing. It’s akin to a mini MacBook Pro and feels like the perfect evolution for the MacBook Air.
Sorry, Mr Wedge!
2. They feel pretty much identical
Mentions of SSD speeds and thermal throttling on these pages will become as rare as mutterings of “Voldemort” at Hogwarts, but I can’t help but reference them today.
That’s for one simple reason: they’re not evident at all on the M2 MacBook Air – even on the base model (the version I have).
I’ve been switching between the M1 and M2 MacBook Air consistently over the last couple of weeks for beta testing purposes (macOS Ventura is installed on the M1, you see), and they don’t feel any different. If anything, the M2 feels slightly snappier throughout macOS.
We are now far beyond the realm of diminishing returns, Dorothy.
3. The notch STILL doesn’t matter
It just doesn’t. At all.
I genuinely forgot it existed until I had to think of a number 3 for this list.
4. Tiny changes – a massive difference
The biggest change to the MacBook Air in the latest version is the chassis, followed closely by the M2 chip. These add up to a wonderful little laptop in its own right, but it’s the small things that often make the biggest difference.
I think there are three elements of the new MacBook Air that stand out, but they’re unlikely to make headlines.
The first is the full-sized function keys. You’d be surprised by how big an impact they have on the overall feel of the device, but we MacBook Air owners have been used to the half-height keys for so long. To have a full, no-holds-barred set of function keys makes this feel like a far more purposeful laptop.
Secondly, we have the Touch ID button, which matches the new function keys in size. Gone is the tiny square that was so easy to miss on the M1 MacBook Air, and in its place, something borrowed from the new MacBook Pro. It looks much smarter and far less tacked on.
Lastly, there’s MagSafe. This had a far more rapturous entrance during the launch of the new MacBook Pros last year, but it also deserves special mention on the M2 MacBook Air. Having it back is like welcoming an old friend after too many years apart. It feels so right and completes the device.
5. Apple knows exactly what it’s doing
All of the aforementioned hullabaloo we’ve endured over the last few weeks about the base model M2 MacBook Air is totally irrelevant. That isn’t a popular opinion, but I don’t care.
Apple knows exactly what it is doing with the MacBook Air. The new one, although undeniably expensive, is made for a tightly defined audience who will absolutely love it and not think twice about how its internals are configured.
It will sell like hotcakes.
Equally, keeping the M1 MacBook Air in the lineup was a stroke of genius. I would have loved to see £100/$100 shaved off the asking price, but… well, this is Apple.
There has never been a better time to buy a MacBook Air, whether you’ve got the budget for the new kid on the block, or if you desperately want that classic wedginess.