Apple unveiled the long-rumored 15-inch MacBook Air at WWDC and I was on hand at Apple Park to take the new portable laptop for a spin.
The larger MacBook Air doesn't look dissimilar from the existing MacBook Air. Just, you know, larger.
The screen size has grown from 13.6 inches to a more substantial 15.3 in the new model. Apple scaled the resolution proportionally, going from 2560 by 1664 on the 13-inch to 2880 by 1864 on the 15-inch.
With the increased resolution, Apple kept the same pixel density of 224 pixels per inch. Since the screen is bigger, I felt more comfortable sitting slightly further away while typing on, which made the screen look even better than on the 13-inch.
Apple touts the same specs on the screen like 500 nits of brightness and support for the P3 wide color gamut. What mattered though was how great the screen looked while using it.
Sure enough, Apple had lots of vivid photography and sample video loaded up on the MacBook Air I could peruse which made the display absolutely pop.
There was lots of sun in Steve Jobs Theater as you can see in some of the photos which did make the screen hard to see at certain angles. Like the 13-inch, the 500 nits of brightness will be tough in exceptionally bright outdoor environments.
Unsurprisingly, the 15-inch MacBook Air is larger and slightly heavier than its smaller bretherin. It measures .45 inches tall compared to .44 inches on the existing model.
When you hold it in your hand, you can't discern this at all. Matter of fact, because it is wider, it decieves you into thinking it feels thinner.
There wasn't much of a change in weight, only increasing half a pound from 2.7 to 3.3 pounds. I'd have no problem sliding this into my backpack over a pro, especially the comparatively-sized 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Interally, Apple expanded the audio system. Instead of a four-speaker array, there are now six speakers with force-cancelling woofers.
Steve Jobs Theather is a bit acoustically challenged for testing the Spatial Audio, but they did sound impressive for their size. Notably, Apple still didn't add the tiny perforations alongside the keyboard like they do with the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Audio still escapes from behind the keyboard. It's effective and I'd say sounds better than what comes out of the 13-inch MacBook Air. I'll do more testing once I have them both in the studio.
The rest of the machines are the same. They each sport Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6 — sorry, no Wi-Fi 6e here like Apple;s other recent products.
Powering the new ultra-thin notebook is Apple's M2 chip. It comes with an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of storage.
Of note, the 13-inch only starts with an 8-core GPU. You have to pay for the 10-core version that the 15-inch comes with standard.
I edited some light video, moved around split-screen applications, and everything felt fluid and smooth with the M2. THis is no surprise as the chip has been a beast on the other machines we've tested it on.
I also didn't notice the laptop getting hot. It seems the larger design has helped Apple with the thermals to keep the temperatures low.
Finally, Apple keeps the same 18-hour battery life as the 13-inch.
Available in Midnight, Starlight, Space Gray, and silver, the new 15-inch MacBook Air is a great looking machine. It operates quick, feels incredibly portable, and has a screen that is perfectly-sized for being productive on the go.
AppleInsider will have a full review the week of June 12.