Apple showed that the sky’s the limit with its innovation of the M1 chip last year, and it isn’t about to stop its hot streak anytime soon. At WWDC 2022, the industry giant announced the highly-anticipated all-new M2 chip, which made its debut alongside a refreshed line of MacBook Air and Pro 13 models.
Building on its predecessor, the M2 features Apple’s next-generation GPU and up to 10 cores for a graphical and performance boost while running at the same power level as the M1. On paper, this combination is set to deliver 100GB/s of bandwidth and 24GB of LPDDR5 memory — marking a 50 percent increase — with twice the performance speed of a 10-core PC laptop chip at a quarter of its power.
The M2 will additionally offer a next-generation secure enclave and neural engine, alongside an updated media engine that supports 8K H.264 and HEVC video. What this means is that multiple streams of 4K and 8K video can be played simultaneously.
The MacBook Air is the first in line to welcome this new chip. Measuring 11.3mm thin and weighing in at 1.2kg, the laptop has been redesigned to come closer to the overall look of the 14-inch MacBook. It boasts a 13.6-inch display with smaller bezels, a fan-less design, two Thunderbolt ports, an audio jack, and the magic keyboard with Touch ID. The MagSafe charging port makes a return here, with new features taking the form of a 500-nits maximum brightness, support for one billion colours, a three-mic array, a four-speaker sound system, and finally, a 1080p webcam resolution with improved low-light performance.
Under the hood, the laptop is expected to be 20 percent faster than before, with a 40 percent performance boost for GPU-intensive tasks, such as editing videos on Final Cut Pro. Armed with 24GB of memory, 2TB of storage, and an 18-hour battery life, it comes decked out in four different finishes: Silver, Space Gray, Starlight, and Midnight. More notably, the MacBook Air M2 will be priced from a reasonable US$1,199 (S$1,699), and is slated to launch sometime in July 2022.
Let’s not leave the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro out of the equation. An upgrade to its predecessor, the 2022 model pairs an 8-core CPU with a 10-core GPU, and offers up to 20 hours of battery life, 24GB of unified memory, and 11 streams of 4K playback or two streams of 8K ProRes video. Performance wise, users can expect an improved cooling system and a near-40 percent boost when playing games like Baldur’s Gate 3.
Likewise, the MacBook Pro M2 will arrive in July with a fairly affordable price tag (by Apple’s standards) in tow. It is set to start at US$1,299 (S$1,879), with more information on local pricing and availability coming in the near future.