After years of rumours, they’ve finally done it: Apple have released a 15” MacBook Air. And it’s potentially an absolute world beater!
So, Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) was yesterday (Monday 5th June 2023) and Apple wasted absolutely no time whatsoever in releasing what we’ve all wanted forever - a 15” MacBook Air with an M2 chip. And when I say forever, I really mean forever. Apple fans and Mac users have wanted a “budget” large screen MacBook for as long as MacBooks have been around. Until literally yesterday, if you wanted a big-screen MacBook, you were forking out absolute top-dollar for the largest MacBook Pro 15, 16 or 17.
The 15” MacBook Air
But not anymore as this new MacBook Air 15” starts at just €1649. For that you get the full-fat 8Core CPU & 10Core GPU M2 chip, 8GB Unified Memory and 256GB SSD. Bearing in mind the 13” comes as standard with the binned M2 chip; if you spec them identically, this 15” is only about €150 more expensive. This is also the exact same price as a new Dell Latitute 5540 but, with the Dell you get diminishing performance thanks to an overheating 13th Gen Intel chip, absolutely UNBEARABLE fan noise, and about 8-10 hours worse battery life!
For that extra €150 over the 13” you’ll get the 15.3” Liquid Retina display - no, not Mini-LED, obviously, that’s saved for the Pros - and better speakers, but all other specs like battery life, screen brightness, etc are all identical to the 13”. What you’re paying for is essentially just that bigger screen. But when put that way, this is absolutely insane value. The only screen bigger than this is the 16” Pro which starts at €3,099!!! Nearly TWICE the price! If you just want a larger screen for productivity, there is nothing better on the market!
15” Air for Business
Which brings me nicely onto the point of this article - why the 15” MacBook Air is the new king of work laptops! Last year on the launch of the M2 13” Air I did a video on why IT would be the best laptop for business users. And, having used one for work for more than 9 months, I can indeed confirm it is a near-perfect work laptop - IF it’s docked to a large desktop screen.
Granted, that is a personal preference for me, but 13” is still too small. Working remotely, my iffy eyes struggle to be productive on a small screen for long periods of time - particularly the odd time I’m performing video or audio editing tasks. I still usually default back to my 16” MacBook Pro for this. Not because the Air can’t handle the tasks power-wise, it absolutely can, but the larger screen is infinitely more comfortable to work from without an external monitor.
Apple have now fixed this problem completely! The 13” with the M2 chip was already the best business laptop in the world. Powering through literally every single office task with ease - document & spreadsheet creation, website design, CRM management, graphic design, light video editing, Podcast production, etc - all without making a single sound thanks to its lack of fan.
There is literally nothing more annoying to me when in the office than when my colleagues’ Dell Latitudes spin up their fans while IDLING and sound like jet engines! It’s so distracting even from opposite ends of the office! MacBook Airs have no such issue - for that matter, neither do modern MacBook Pros since even with fans they never make a sound.
And now you get that incredible whispered power with the benefit of a larger screen. No longer will you actually need an external monitor to be as productive as possible. 15”s allows for much more lines of data on excel doc, more lines of code in XCode, more audio or video streams in Logic or DaVinci Resolve, an easier time consuming content. All for just €150 more than the 13”. It’s a total no brainier.
All that, and it’s still light as a feather, just half .28kg heavier than the 13” which is already completely unnoticeable in a backpack. And even with that slightly larger footprint this should still comfortably fit in most backpacks rated for 13 or 14” laptops.
The Nitpicky Stuff
Any negatives? Naturally, yes! The biggest being it still only has 2 USB-C/Thunderbolt ports. Personally, that hasn’t bothered me once since getting the M2 Air (mostly since my desktop monitor connects with USB-C) but others might be annoyed by a lack of USB-A port for accessories like mice, or a HDMI port; but both of these can be solved with a cheap hub from Amazon.
The other big gripe which HAS bothered me is the starting SSD still only has 256GB, far too little storage in 2023! Again, an easy enough solve with a cheap external hard drive; but realistically if you only ever need to do document/spreadsheet creation on this, 256GB is perfectly fine - especially since most businesses operate 90% of their activities from cloud-based systems like OneDrive these days.
Which 15” Air Should You Buy
So which one would I recommend? Honestly, the base model version will be perfect for 99.9% of people! I have had the base 13” for nearly a year and while storage has been a slight issue, I’ve never once wanted for more power or ram. If you can swing the extra few hundred, the 1 upgrade I would recommend would be bumping up to the 512GB SSD. Leave it at that though - once you start adding RAM AND storage for fear of needing more power, you might as well get a 14” Pro.
(Oh, and avoid the Midnight colour! Yes, it is gorgeous, but the fingerprints get disgusting, and the paint wears away at the USB-C ports way too quickly!)