Ever since Apple made the announcement that they will be transitioning their entire lineup to their own personalized silicon, WWDC has become almost as popular an event to cover as their main iPhone event, which comes a bit later in the year and mostly focuses on the smartphone segment only.
In fact, this year’s WWDC was even more exciting than last year, when they actually unveiled the first generation of devices that featured the much-awaited M1 chip. Mostly because, we didn’t really expect Apple to have a lot under their sleeves, considering everything that they already announced last year, plus the recent introduction of the M1 Max, M1 Pro, and M1 Ultra chipsets.
Most of us assumed that all we would get would be some much-needed software tweaks and updates, that will help take advantage of the new levels of performance and efficiency unlocked by Apple Silicon. But what we got was so much more; with the highlights being the launch of the new M2 generation of Apple silicon, as well as two new laptops that feature this new architecture. But, before we delve into what is new about the new laptops, let us take a look at M2, and what it means for the future of Apple silicon.
New M2 Chip
The M2 has been designed to be the successor of the original M1 chip, with the promise of better performance as well as increased battery life with this new design. In fact, Apple says that the new chip can deliver up to 25 percent better performance with the same power level. Thus, resulting in an exponential increase in battery life, with the company claiming almost 20 hours of video playback on a single charge.
The chip is still manufactured according to the 5nm process, with the CPU featuring 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. This is further supplemented by a new neural engine and new media engine, which supports 8K editing and 6K playback. In total, the M2 comes with almost 20 billion transistors, and up to 100GB/s unified memory performance, which is easily 50% more than the M1.
Another addition to the design is the new GPU, which now has 10 cores. This change, in addition to the other tweaks, ensures that the M2’s CPU is 18 percent faster than that of the M1, while the GPU is 35 percent faster in regular use. You can even pair the faster performance cores with a larger cache, for up to 24GB of unified memory.
However, that is a feature that is limited to the M2 Pro laptop, which features a dedicated heat-sync system for sustained performance. These improvements provide the machine with 40 percent better performance in CPU figures, and up to 30 percent increase in gaming performance as compared to the previous generation Pro laptops. Still, even with these extra performance figures, the real showstopper remained the new MacBook Air, which received a lot more updates than just the new chip.
The new MacBook Air features a brand-new design, which abandons the signature wedge look in favor of a flatter profile. Even with the extra thickness, the body still only goes at thick as 11.3 mm. The Pro model gets the same look but retains all the other internals from the previous generation.
The Air, on the other hand, gets a much more serious internal upgrade, which starts with a vibrant 13.6-inch liquid retina display that can reach up to 500nits of brightness and display 1 billion colors. It features slimmer bezels, with a more pronounced, if smaller notch that hosts the new 1080p camera, designed for better low-light performance and high-quality video calls.
The new model also gets MagSafe support, which not only improves the safety of the charging cable and laptop but also brings fast charging to the system, with up to 50% battery delivered in just 30 minutes. This, in addition to the increased battery life, makes the new Air a truly portable powerhouse.
Considering people on the go, the company has also included a high-quality 3.5mm headphone jack with the machine, so you can easily connect to a whole host of wired and wireless devices, without worrying about compatibility. To keep the device secure during your travels, TouchID has been built into the keyboard, for easy accessibility and utmost safety.
All of this and more, make the new MacBook Air a truly versatile tool in the arsenal of the modern traveler. Both of these will ship next month, at a starting cost of around $1,199 and $1,299 respectively.