Apple’s WWDC keynote brought a new Mac Pro and Mac Studio, software updates around iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS, and even a “one more thing” moment. However, the newest Apple product people are likely to buy is not a mixed reality headset but the forthcoming 15-inch MacBook Air.
For the first time since Apple phased out the 11-inch model, the Air is now offered in two distinct sizes and three different models: a 13-inch model with an M1 chip, a 13-inch model with Apple’s newer M2 chip, and a new 15-inch configuration with an M2 chip (which is available June 13th for $1,299). It’s the most crowded lineup of MacBook Airs ever, so allow us to help you sort out the differences and determine which laptop might be right for you.
What’s new in the 15-inch MacBook Air
The biggest feature of the new MacBook Air is, obviously, that it’s bigger. The new model sports a 15.3-inch notched display with a higher resolution of 2880 x 1864, putting it at 224 pixels per inch and about even with the other MacBook Air models. It shares the same M2 processor as the redesigned 13-inch MacBook Air from last year, and the physical design is nearly the spitting image of it — complete with matching colors. Where the new 15-inch model differs, aside from its size and weight, is that it comes with two additional GPU cores standard (they cost extra on the 13-inch model) and a six-speaker sound system instead of a four-speaker array.
While the new 15-inch MacBook Air is a little bigger and heavier than both 13-inch MacBook Airs, it’s only 0.01 inches thicker than its 13-inch M2 counterpart, meaning the larger laptop is quite thin for its size.
13-inch MacBook Air (M1) vs. 13-inch MacBook Air (M2) vs. 15-inch MacBook Air (M2)
Given the 15-inch MacBook Air comes in at a competitive price of $1,299, it’s probably an easy decision if you’re shopping in this price range and want the biggest screen size available. That said, the 13-inch M2 Air’s new lower price of $1,099 means it’s still worth considering if you want the conveniences of a 1080p webcam and MagSafe charging but don’t require the larger size or want to spend as much. The 13-inch M1 MacBook Air from 2020 is also still a viable value option at $999 if you just need something that can handle everyday computing tasks, especially since it’s often discounted to as low as $799.
We’ll see just how well the new 15-inch MacBook Air performs and stacks up in real-world use when we do our full review, but in the meantime, here’s the full spec-by-spec rundown for you to compare the finer details and differences on paper. Which would you choose?
Apple’s 2023 MacBook Air lineup
|Specification||MacBook Air 13 (2020)||MacBook Air 13 (2022)||MacBook Air 15 (2023)|
|Display||13.3 inches||13.6 inches with a notch cutout||15.3 inches with a notch cutout|
|Resolution||2560 x 1600||2560 x 1664||2880 x 1864|
|Pixels per inch||227 PPI||224 PPI||224 PPI|
|Brightness||400 nits||500 nits||500 nits|
|Dimensions||11.97 x 8.36 inches||11.97 x 8.48 inches||13.4 x 9.35 inches|
|Thickness||0.63 inches||0.44 inches||0.45 inches|
|Weight||2.8 pounds||2.7 pounds||3.3 pounds|
|Quoted battery life (video)||18 hours (Apple TV app)||18 hours (Apple TV app)||18 hours (Apple TV app)|
|CPU||Apple M1 8-core||Apple M2 8-core||Apple M2 8-core|
|GPU||Apple M1 7-core or 8-core||Apple M2 8-core or 10-core||Apple M2 10-core|
|RAM||8GB or 16GB||8GB, 16GB, or 24GB||8GB, 16GB, or 24GB|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB|
|Ports||2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support||2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, MagSafe 3 Port||2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, MagSafe 3 Port|
|Number of speakers||4||4||6|
|3.5mm headphone jack||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Biometrics||Fingerprint reader||Fingerprint reader||Fingerprint reader|
|Power adapter||Type-C, 30W||Type-C, 30W or 35W dual (fast-charge with 70W power adapter)||Type-C, 35W dual (fast-charge with 70W power adapter)|
|Wireless options||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3|
|Operating system||macOS Ventura||macOS Ventura||macOS Ventura|
|Colors||silver, space gray||silver, space gray, starlight, midnight||silver, space gray, starlight, midnight|
Correction June 6th, 1:25PM ET: The table in this post initially listed the 13-inch MacBook Air (M2) price as $1,199. Its price is now $1,099. We regret the error.