WWDC 2022: M2 Apple Silicon comes to new MacBook Air

Apple’s latest MacBook Air is thinner and lighter than ever, yet it packs quite a punch thanks to the first appearance of the new M2 Apple Silicon chip.

Unveiled overnight at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in California, Apple’s M2 system-on-a-chip is based on second-generation 5-nanometre technology. With a faster CPU, GPU and Neural Engine, the M2 chip outguns its M1 predecessor unveiled in late 2020. 

The M2 chip sits at the heart of Apple’s new MacBook Air, along with an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The new MacBook Air is only 11.3 mm thick, featuring a larger, brighter 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display and a sharper 1080p FaceTime HD camera with improved low light performance.

The MacBook Air also sports a four-speaker sound system, with the M2 chip bringing support for spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. Spatial audio support was lacking on the original M1 chip and was previously limited to the M1 Pro, Max and Ultra.

Apple’s new M2 chip features an 18 per cent faster CPU, 35 per cent more powerful GPU and 40 per cent faster Neural Engine. It delivers 50 per cent more memory bandwidth compared to the M1, and up to 24 GB of fast unified memory – with the memory controller delivering 100 GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, 50 per cent more than M1. 

The M2 chip is slightly larger and has 20 billion transistors, 25% more than the M1

Designed to dramatically speed up video workflows, M2 also adds a next-generation media engine and a powerful ProRes video engine for hardware-accelerated encoding and decoding, so systems with M2 can play back more streams of 4K and 8K video than before.

The new MacBook Air and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro will be available in July, starting at $1,899 and $1,999 respectively.

Apple also unveiled macOS Ventura, coming later this year and optimised to make the most of the new M2 Apple Silicon. New features in macOS Ventura include Continuity Camera and Handoff in FaceTime, along with the Stage Manager organiser for managing open windows.

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