The Apple MacBook Air 2022 is finally about to hit the shops. Apple's announced the release date and the date that orders will open for the much-anticipated updated MacBook Air with its new M2 chip. The last MacBook Air was released in 2020 with the M1 chip and has been one of our favourite laptops ever since, so we have high hopes for the new model.
Apple's says orders will open for the MacBook Air 2022 on Friday, 8 July at 5am Pacific Time / 1pm in the UK. It says deliveries and in-store availability will begin next week, on Friday 15 July. Where will this new laptop fit into the MacBook family? Well, Apple updated its top-end MacBook Pro 14 and 16 last year, turning what are its most powerful laptops yet with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. It's since released a new 13in MacBook Pro with an M2 chip, that comes below them in terms of power.
The new MacBook Air 2022 will remain the "value" MacBook option, below all of them in terms of specs. However, it's expected to offer a significant boost over the MacBook Air 2020, which was already a very zippy lightweight and portable laptop. This is partly thanks to the new M2 chip, which doesn't beat the power of the M1 Pro and Pro Max, but does offer a performance upgrade on the M1. It offers a new, super slim design and a larger screen than the previous model.
Read on for more details of what's coming in the M2 MacBook Pro 2022. If you can't wait a few more days, see the best Apple deals for top prices on the current Apple range, and see our guide to the best Apple Prime Day deals to find a bargain.
MacBook Air 2022: design
The MacBook Air 2022 features an all-new design, ditching the longstanding tapered shape for a flat body with uniform thickness. It does, however, maintain the 'Air' concept - thin, lightweight and portable with a super slim design, and its fanless like the previous mode. It measures 11.3mm thick and weighs just 1.22kg. Apple says that gives the device a 20% smaller volume than the previous MacBook Air, and we'll take its word for it for now. There are four feet on the bottom of the machine, borrowing a characteristic of the MacBook Pro.
The body is made of durable-looking aluminium and the laptop boasts a slightly larger 13.6in Liquid Retina display compared to the 13.3in 2020 model. Resolution is 1080p and the laptop sports an HD camera and a four-speaker sound system. It comes in four finishes: Silver, Space Gray, Starlight and now a dark blue called Midnight (rumours that we might see an iMac-style colour range haven't materialised).
The display is surrounded by black bezels like the previous model (it also keeps the notch – something that had been rumoured to be on the way out). The Magic Keyboard maintains the same scissor switch mechanism and features a large Force Touch trackpad and no Touch Bar. There's a Touch ID fingerprint sensor next to the function keys. On the sides, there are two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports on the left, plus a MagSafe charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
MacBook Air 2022: tech specs
The MacBook Air 2022 will ship with the same new M2 chip as the 2022 MacBook Pro 13. This promises improved performance on the M1, with a next-generation 8-core CPU offering advancements in both performance and efficiency cores. It will also benefit from Apple’s next-generation GPU, which now has up to 10 cores — two more than M1 (Cupertino's finest is now rumoured to be working on an Apple M3 chip, presumably for the next generation of the MacBook Air).
The M2 promises 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth and up to 24GB of fast unified memory, which means it should be able to handle even larger and more complex workloads with ease. The last MacBook Air was already a great performer but could buckle under demands for heavy video editing or 3D rendering. This upgrade might make the new MacBook Air more of a value alternative to the MacBook Pro. The new chip also adds in a new media engine and a powerful ProRes video engine for hardware-accelerated encode and decode, which means the laptops should be able to play back more streams of 4K and 8K video than before.
As for the display, as well as being slightly larger, it's also slightly brighter – up to 500 nits from 400. We get a 2560 x 1664 resolution with 224 pixels per inch and support for P3 Wide colour and 1 billion colours. True Tone should allow the display to adapt to ambient lighting brightness and temperature using the laptop's sensor.
We've mentioned the return of MagSafe. This is a MagSafe 3 charging port the same as that on the MacBook Pro 14 and 16. The other ports are two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C for transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s. There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones.
As for battery life, Apple says the 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery should give us 18 hours of video playback. The base model of the MacBook Air 2022 will ship with a 30W USB-C power adapter, with the higher-end 10-core GPU configuration coming with a 35W Dual USB-C Port Compact Power Adapter. The laptop will be able to fast-charge with a 67W USB-C adapter.
MacBook Air 2022: pricing
The base configurations of the MacBook Air 2022 start with the M2 with 8-core GPU, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD at $1,199 / £1,249 – closely comparable to the previous generation on release. The other base option is M2 with 10-core GPU, 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD at $1,499 / £1,549.
Various upgraded configurations will be available – you'll have to pay an extra $200 / £200 to boost RAM (unified memory) up to 16GB, or $400 / £400 to take it to 24GB. A more capacious SSD will cost you +$400 / £200 for 1TB or +$800 / £600 for 2TB.
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