Apple Announces M2-Powered MacBook Pro and Redesigned MacBook Air

Posted on June 6, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Apple, Hardware, Mac and macOS, Mobile with 24 Comments

Apple unveiled today its new MacBook Pro and redesigned MacBook Air powered by the company’s brand new M2 chip. This second-gen Apple Silicon chip follows the introduction of Apple’s M1 Pro, Max, and Ultra chips in the new 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pro and Mac Studio.

Apple’s new M2 chip uses a second-gen 5nm technology to include 20 billion transistors, which is 25% more than what’s on the M1 chip from 2020. Apple’s M2 keeps the same unified memory architecture, but with 59% more memory bandwidth and a maximum of up 24GB of memory.

The M2 chip once again comes with an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, and Apple promises up to 18% greater multi-core performance compared to the M1. The GPU on the M2 supports up to 10 cores (that’s more than the M1 GPU), and Apple promised up to 25% higher GPU performance at the same power level compared to the M1 GPU. Additionally, the M2 chip includes a next-gen secure enclave and neural engine.

Apple said today that its redesigned MacBook Air has been completely redesigned around its new M2 chip, and it looks very much like a smaller version of the 14-inch MacBook Pro. It brings back the Magsafe port for charging, and its battery will deliver up to 18 hours of video playback. It will also come with a power adapter that includes 2 USB-C ports, and the new MacBook Air will support Fast Charge and be able to reach 50% battery in just 30 minutes.

With its thinner bezels and rounded corners, the new MacBook Air will come with a slightly bigger 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display that’s 25% brighter than before. The notch hides a new 1080p Facetime HD camera that delivers better low-light performance, and consumers can also expect a triple mic array and a four-speaker sound system that supports spatial audio.

This new MacBook Air keeps its two Thunderbolts port on the left and the audio jack on the right, and the Magic Keyboard also still comes with a Touch ID sensor. Just like the M1 MacBook Air, this redesigned M2 MacBook Air is fanless and completely silent. Thanks to the M2 chip, Apple says that it provides 38% faster video editing performance compared to its M1 predecessor.

In addition to this new redesigned MacBook Air, Apple has also refreshed its 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a new M2 chip. Unlike the fanless M2 MacBook Air, all configurations of this new MacBook Pro come with an M2 chip with 10 GPU cores, and Apple promises up to 39% faster gaming performance compared to the previous M1 model. Compared to the M2 MacBook Air, the M2 MacBook Pro will also have slightly better battery life with up to 20 hours of video playback.

The design of this new 13.3-inch MacBook Pro is unchanged, and the main difference with the M2 MacBook Air is the presence of a cooling system allowing the M2 chip to run at maximum power for longer periods. If you were expecting a new Mac Mini model powered by this new M2 chip, you may have to wait until later this year.

Apple’s new M2 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are available for pre-order today and they will start shipping next month. The redesigned MacBook Air starts at $1199 and is available in four colors, while the new M2 MacBook Pro starts at $1299. The M1 MacBook Air from 2020 also remains available at $999.

Tagged with , , , ,

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (24)

24 responses to “Apple Announces M2-Powered MacBook Pro and Redesigned MacBook Air”

  1. fishnet37222

    In all honesty, I wouldn't mind thicker bezels if it got rid of that gosh-durned notch.

    • Jeffsters

      I don’t get this whole “notch cabal” sentiment. I just messed around for a few min and couldn’t get my current MBP to use the center space of the menu bar even though I use a crap load of 3rd party menu items. You can use something like Plain Old Menu Bar to make the entire menu black and you will not see the notch and further it won’t get in your way.

      • fishnet37222

        I have the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro, and I have the icons in my menu bar running into the center.

    • wright_is

      The notch on the Mac isn't as much of a problem as on Windows, for example. It is in the middle of the menu bar and that is rarely filled up, so it means the menu bar "moves up into the bezel", leaving the normal screen space purely for applications. The Windows equivalent would be sinking the taskbar into the bezel, with notches for the hinges, for example, to allow applications to have more screen space.


      I agree, on Windows, putting the notch at the top doesn't make a lot of sense and would be distracting, but for macOS it actually makes some sense. I haven't tried a notched-Mac, so I can't say whether it is a problem or not, but macOS would be the OS where it is least intrusive.


      Having an iPhone SE (big bezels), an iPhone 13 Pro (notch) and a Samsung Galaxy S20+ (pinhole), I can say that the thick bezel is the worst case and in day-to-day use, I can't see any real difference between the pinhole and the notch, neither is really intrusive and you don't really notice them after a while.

      • arjay

        After using my iPhone and MacBook Air for about a day, I stopped noticing the notch.

      • mattbg

        Agree on the notch. I don't notice it on my iPhone. The UI flows around it. I don't really care whether they eventually eventually remove it or not - more interested in whether the functionality it supports continues to work as well as it does.


    • rob_segal

      Actually, including a notch and using that space for the menu bar makes sense. It leaves a little more height for app content.

      • fishnet37222

        And what happens when the icons in the menu bar run into the area where the notch is?

        • jimchamplin

          You have too many icons in your menubar. :)

          • michael_babiuk

            I just finished viewing the Keynote video. And after reading fishnet's comment, I have to admit a chuckle escaped me. But you almost nailed the perfect response. IMO, you might have dusted off an old trope and stated, "You are just using the menu bar the wrong way." Grin.

  2. MTrimmer

    Has Apple started hiring the same people who produce Microsoft Surface ads. That MacBook Air video is annoying.

  3. dallasnorth40

    Meh. I would never buy a phone with a notch. And I certainly would never buy a laptop with one. If it doesn't bother you, by all means have at it. I just know It would drive me nuts.

  4. matsan

    Typo: "20 million transistors" should be mind-boggling "20 billion transistors".

  5. michael_babiuk

    The nice feature about macOS Ventura is the ability to utilize an iPhone as a super web cam option for our Apple laptops. This one feature sort of mutes all the criticisms directed against past and current Apple laptop web cameras - and the Apple Studio Display web cam for that matter as well.


    Note: I do use the new Apple Studio Display coupled to my 2018 Intel MBA augmented by a Blackmagic design eGPU. That combination still has plenty of useful years left in it but next year I will replace that MBA with an Apple Silicon based Mac. By that time, the M2 MBA will have been reduced in price somewhat thru third party vendors - just thinking out loud - all Keynotes seem to tempt me in that way. Grin.)

  6. michael_babiuk

    From past reviews of Apple's M1 based 14 and 16 inch MacBook Pro models, 24 GB of unified memory seem to represent the "sweet spot" for current M1 and M2 class laptops and I am pleased to note that the "Low End" new MacBook Air can be configured for that amount of unified memory.

  7. rob_segal

    If you have that many, you can always install Bartender.

  8. scovious

    I'm not sure I would be excited to buy a high end computer whose Processor and GPU shared the same silicon. Then again, people who buy Macs aren't looking for the literal "high end" unless we are talking about paying high end prices.


    Also, is anyone confused that a processor called "Max" is considered less powerful than "Ultra"? Does "Max" not stand for "Maximum"?

    • wright_is

      It depends on what you want. My last 6 "high-end" computers either had built-in graphics or a low-to-mid-range graphics card, that was passively cooled.


      I do a lot of processing, but need very little AI, so the onboard graphics chip is more than powerful enough in most cases. My current Windows laptop uses onboard graphics and that is powerful enough to drive a 4K display and the internal FullHD panel.

    • Greg Green

      Apple does a great job optimizing things. They’ve got the best ARM chips, they know what they’re doing.

    • wright_is

      The other thing about the Apple M1/M2 chips is that they don't just share the silicon (CPU and GPU), but the memory is also on that silicon, making it much faster. There is also no restriction on how much memory the GPU can access, if you have a huge dataset, the GPU and neural processors can access "all" the memory (memory not used to host the OS), so on an Ultra, the GPU or neural cores can access all 128GB (minus OS Kernel).


      For the sort of workloads that video editors or graphic editors are doing, when the software is optimised for the M1/M2, it can be much faster than an Intel CPU and dedicated graphics card. But that comes down to your workload and the software you are using.


      c't magazine in Germany did a very nice comparison of the M1 Max and Ultra and the Intel 12th gen Core i7 and i9 and the Ryzen 5th generation processors. For audio, if you use the right software, the M1 (even on the Mac mini) was streets ahead of the Core i7 and i9, but if you are using audio software not optimised for M1, then some Windows versions with an i9 or Ryzen 5900 could be faster, under certain circumstances.


      The same was true with video editing and photo editing, depending on what tools you are using, the Mac was either a little slower (Adobe tools) or much faster (Serif or Apple tools). Interestingly, Lightroom on the Mac was faster than Lightroom on Windows, but the rest of the suite was slower.


      So the discrete graphics chip or not is not the important decision with the Apple Silicon, it is really which software tools you are using and whether they have been optimised for Apple Silicon, if the tools you rely on haven't been optimised, you are probably better off getting a Windows PC with discrete graphics, if the tools have been optimised, the combined silicon of the M1 is the winner.


      But it just shows how differently the Apple silicon works, compared to traditional CPUs and GPUs and that the software really needs to be configured properly to use it to its best advantage.


      German and links 2 & 3 paywall:

      https://www.heise.de/hintergrund/Systemvergleich-Apple-Macs-mit-M1-gegen-Windows-Rechner-7096383.html

      https://www.heise.de/select/ct/2022/12/2209013172780695778

      https://www.heise.de/select/ct/2022/12/2209013172780695778

  9. will

    Outside of the notch, Apple has made one good looking laptop. They will sell a $&@^ of these if the supply chain holds.