Apple has unveiled a new 15-inch MacBook Air at its 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple claims that the device will be “the world’s best 15-inch laptop.” It’ll come with Apple’s M2 chip, with an eight-core CPU, a 10-core GPU, and a 16-core neural engine.
The new model is 11.5mm thick, which Apple says makes it the world’s thinnest 15-inch laptop, and it will weigh just over three pounds. It has two USB-C Thunderbolt ports (supporting up to a 6K external display at 60Hz), a MagSafe charging connector, and a headphone jack and will come in midnight, starlight, space gray, and silver colors.
Its 15.3-inch LED-backlit IPS screen (sporting five-millimeter bezels) has 500 nits of brightness and 2880 x 1864 resolution. There’s also a 1080p FaceTime HD webcam, three microphones with “advanced beamforming algorithms”, and six speakers (two teeters and two sets of force-canceling woofers) with spatial audio and Dolby Atmos.
The new model starts at $1,299 ($1,199 for education) and will be available next week. Meanwhile, Apple is updating the price on its smaller model. The 13-inch MacBook Air with M2 now starts at $1,099, and the base M1 Air remains $999.
Apple claims that the new Air will be up to 12 times faster than the fastest Intel MacBook Air models and will deliver up to 18 hours of battery life. It’s claimed to be 25 percent brighter, 40 percent thinner, twice as fast as, and half a pound lighter than “a best-selling 15-inch Intel Core i7 PC laptop”.
Like previous MacBook Air models, the new 15-incher will have a fanless design. It will run macOS Ventura now, followed by macOS Sonoma when it rolls out this fall. Memory is configurable up to 24GB, with storage up to 2TB.
The new laptop represents a midrange release for Apple, which previously had a fairly large price gap between its 13-inch MacBook offerings and larger premium-priced models. The 15-inch Air will likely serve an audience that wants a large screen but doesn’t need the extra computing power (and cost) of 14-inch and 16-inch Pro models.
The 15-inch size may also serve as a convenient middle ground between Apple’s current 14-inch and 16-inch offerings. Fans of macOS haven’t had a compelling 15-inch option for several years. A 14-inch screen is often considered too small to use some creative programs comfortably, while the 16-inch Pro can be hefty to carry around alongside peripherals and camera gear. A lightweight 15-incher may find a home with users who have been caught between the two for the past couple of years.