Trevor’s Tech Thoughts: Why the new MacBook Air is the best Mac for me (and probably, you)

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) started and ended last week. Out of the many software announcements and hardware unveilings, the re-designed MacBook Air featuring Apple’s new M2 chip is the highlight for me.

Somehow, I have a feeling that it will be the next Mac for me too. I did not have the opportunity to be at Cupertino for this year’s WWDC (the first time in a decade), so I did not have a physical hands-on with the new laptop. So why did I conclude that it will be my next Mac anyway?

You see, I have been using a 2012 MacBook Air for the longest time. Its compactness and lightweight was a heaven-send when working during overseas events, like covering Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

My soon-to-be 10-year-old MacBook Air. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

As anyone who covered CES will know, walking for long hours pounding the exhibition halls was a norm. Thus, I really appreciate the lightness of 1.35kg laptop, instead of lugging around the heavy and clumsy company-issued Windows laptop. My shoulders and back thanked me very much.

I still remember filing stories sitting on the exhibition floor of Las Vegas Convention Center with the MacBook Air, while munching a sandwich. Not to mention, it even has a SD card slot for me to easily transfer photos from my DSLR camera (yes, it was those days).

By early 2016, my MacBook Air’s battery has gone flat. Not good when I need the MacBook Air to file stories on the go. So, I went on the Internet to source for a replacement battery and did the “surgery” myself. Miraculously, the MacBook Air has since been working without a hitch ever since (touch wood…).

Of course, through the years, I have also been using an iMac too. But the MacBook Air continues to be a faithful servant, accompanying me to many overseas tech events from E3 to iPhone launches.

My MacBook Air has taken some beatings and seen much of the world. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

However, age has caught up with the machine as it will be nearly a decade old by the end of this year. It can only run macOS 10.15 Catalina. And while it is still usable, it was not able to run as fast as it used to. The replacement battery is also showing signs of deterioration and does not hold much charge.

As such, I have been thinking of upgrading. Yet, I have been putting it off too. One reason is of course the money (cannot lie on that). But most importantly, my MacBook Air is still working fine in all sense and purpose (albeit slowly). It does not have any issues opening files or start programs excruciatingly slowly.

So why do I want to upgrade to the new MacBook Air?

If you look at the entire Mac line-up now, it is probably the best value-for-money Mac computer at this juncture. The fact that it is a portable laptop makes it extra enticing, since you might be working from home today and back in office tomorrow.

The new MacBook Air comes with Apple’s latest M2 chip with up to 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU. Apple claims that working with RAW images in apps like Affinity Photo will be 40% faster than previous generation and up to 3.4 times faster than a Mac without Apple Silicon (or M1 chip). So, you are future proofing yourself for quite a bit.

I also like the new design of MacBook Air with its slightly larger 13.6-inch display. It looks like a downsized 14-inch MacBook Pro without the SD card slot and HDMI port. It might not have the cooling fans of a MacBook Pro. But I think my workflow probably will never stress a laptop that much.

The 2022 MacBook Air with an iPhone. (Photo: Apple)

Not to mention, I particularly like the black (or Midnight) variant. No more boring silver or grey. Of course, with the new MacBook Air, I will only get two Thunderbolt (USB 4) ports and lose the SD card slot. But it is a small price to pay for the latest processor and lighter weight (1.24kg).

Talking about price. If you soup up the MacBook Air to the maximum RAM of 24GB and flash storage size of 2TB, the MacBook Air will cost only S$3,649. It sounds expensive, but my souped-up 2012 MacBook Air cost over S$4,000 back then and since lasted me for almost a decade. Thus, this price tag sounds really reasonable to me.

And if you compare it to the 14-inch MacBook Pro’s upper tier variant that starts from S$3,749, the M2 MacBook Air will look very attractive in terms of pricing.

Perhaps, the only issue is availability. Apple did not specify the local availability of the new MacBook Air. In addition, there are rumours that the MacBook Air will be delayed in shipping due to supply chain issues caused by the recent Covid-19 lockdowns in China.

Maybe, this will give me some time to save money for the new MacBook Air?