Well, I got that wrong, didn’t I?
“There’s no way they’re going to do that.”
“It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Why would they steal WWDC’s thunder with an announcement like that?”
That was me, incessantly rambling on about the unlikelihood of an M2 MacBook Air announcement during the WWDC keynote this week.
One hour into the presentation, that’s exactly what John Ternus did. Striding confidently across a screen displaying the newly unveiled M2 logo, the SVP of Hardware Engineering revealed that their newest chip would arrive first in the “most loved Mac”.
Well, spin my nipple nuts and send me to Alaska, as Red Dwarf’s Kryten would say. The M2 MacBook is now a thing and will be available next month. I couldn’t have been more wrong if I’d really, really tried.
When I get my hands on one of these new MacBook Airs, I will give you my full opinion, but at first glance, there are some glaring problems we need to address.
The M1 version is still an option
Apple isn’t killing off the M1 MacBook Air, which is very good news indeed.
I’m sitting here using mine now. Just like pretty much every blog post I’ve published for this brand, the M1 MacBook Air plays a central role in the most important part of my business. Without it, I’d be lost.
As I’ve said numerous times before, this is the best laptop Apple has ever made, which means anything that follows it needs to be equally epic – at the very least. And that’s a damn tall order.
The fact that Apple hasn’t ditched the M1 version makes the buying decision for the new M2 MacBook Air rather tricky. Unless you’ve been waiting for it and have a specific disinterest in the M1 edition, the new MacBook Air is far from a no-brainer.
I’m willing to be proved wrong, but I think the continued presence of the M1 MacBook Air really is going to be a thorn in the M2 MacBook Air’s side.
Oof. The M2 MacBook Air starts at £1,249/$1,199. That’s £250/$200 more expensive than its wedge-shaped sibling. Spec it up as far as it goes, and you’ll pay an eye-watering £2,649/$2,499 – you can buy a base-spec 14-inch MacBook Pro for a good few hundred less than that!
So, what do we get for that extra spend? Well, it’s a faster machine than the M1 version – around 40%, according to Apple. It’s also capable of packing in more unified memory (up to 24GB, versus the previous generation’s maximum of 16GB), and has a few tasty extras including MagSafe, a larger screen, and a better FaceTime camera.
But as soon as you go beyond that $1,000 mark with a laptop, you’re in trouble. It becomes a head-scratcher. It’s no longer a ‘chuck-it-in-the-basket-and-check-out’ purchase. This is, of course, pricing trickery at play, but $999 is one digit less and immediately feels more comfortable as a result.
Is the new MacBook Air really £250/$200 better? We shall see, but I know which version I’d go for right now.
A big opportunity missed
While I’m on the subject of price comparisons, I think Apple missed a huge opportunity with the M1 MacBook Air.
They left it at the same price. There’s an education discount, sure, but why can’t we have a smidgen chipped away from that full retail price now that its big brother has arrived?
Dropping the M1 MacBook Air by $100/£100 would have been a stroke of genius. It’s a tactic that would have made Apple’s ‘cheapest’ laptop even more of a no-brainer than it already is. I’m pretty sure there’s enough margin to play with, isn’t there, Tim?
One of the greatest things about the 24-inch iMac is the colours on offer. They are vibrant, and exciting, and give the machine a shed load of character.
Leading up to the launch of the M2 MacBook Air, we’ve been treated to countless renders and rumours of an equally colourful lineup for Apple’s favourite little laptop. It seemed to make sense; why wouldn’t they carry that playful iMac aesthetic across to their non-pro laptop?
Well, they haven’t, I’m afraid. Instead, we get four utilitarian colours – Silver, Space Gray, Starlight, and Midnight. The latter is my favourite and looks very smart indeed, but there’s no escaping the fact that the M2 MacBook Air looks a bit… well, suit-and-tie.
I’m aware that the M1 MacBook Air is even less colourful, but I was convinced Apple had adopted an entirely new design direction for certain products following the 24-inch iMac launch. I can’t quite work out why the M2 MacBook Air doesn’t fit within that bracket – it really should be far more colourful than it is.
I’m excited to get my hands on the M2 MacBook Air. I have a feeling it is going to feature considerably within the pages of this blog and on my YouTube channel.
This is partly why I created the Mark Ellis Reviews brand – I want to unpick tricky buying decisions, and some of the toughest lay within Apple’s new Mac lineup.
I like figuring this stuff out for you.
Why would you go for the M2 MacBook Air over the M1 version? And if you do fancy the former, would it not make more sense to stretch a little further and get a considerably better laptop in the 14-inch MacBook Pro?
All will be revealed – stay tuned. Oh, and do let me know what you think about the M2 MacBook Air in the comments section, below!