We don’t understand why Apple sold the MacBook Pro M2 ahead of the MacBook Air M2

The first two computers with the Apple M2 chip were the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. Surprisingly, only the former is entitled to a new design with a larger screen and the return of the MagSafe port.

On the occasion of WWDC 2022 on June 6, Numerama will have a chance to play the new MacBook Air M2 in preview. Apple’s new laptop, with more symmetrical bezels than ever before, larger screen (with notch), enlarged keyboard, 1080p webcam, magnetic charging port and new colors available, let’s face it , especially attracted. We look forward to further testing of this MacBook Air which, if all goes well, could quickly become the benchmark computer on the market. We can only hope that the M2 chip is as good as the M1 chip, especially in terms of battery management.

At 1,499 euros, the only drawback of the MacBook Air is that it costs more than its predecessor the M1 chip (1,199 euros, 1,129 previously). Its more direct competitor is the new MacBook Pro, also equipped with an M2 chip, but sold for 1,599 euros. Despite this higher price, the MacBook Air M2 seems to be superior to the MacBook Pro M2 in every way.

A “Pro” MacBook just in name

In a month, if the new Mac M2 is sold, consumers can easily imagine being deceived by the names of the two devices. The ‘Pro’ is better than the ‘Air’, which may attract some newcomers to go for a more expensive engine. What exactly is this?

Already, keep in mind that the MacBook Pro M2 doesn’t really belong in Apple’s Pro range. As for many years, Apple separated the “MacBook Pro” family into two categories:

  • Entry-level MacBook Pros, which are less powerful and have fewer ports (like the new MacBook Pro M2 or MacBook Pro M1).
  • The MacBook Pros are really cut for professionals, being more powerful, benefiting from new advanced technologies (mini-LED screen) and having multiple connectors (like the MacBook Pro M1 Pro).
Here’s Apple’s most expensive MacBook Pro, with a new design and M1 Pro or M1 Max chips. The M2 version uses a design from 2016. // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

Buying a MacBook Pro M2 is like buying a computer that looks like a 2016 MacBook Pro, but has an Apple Silicon chip from 2022. It might be a very powerful and very robust device, but that’s not all. it belongs to the “pro” category. Especially since the MacBook Air has the same chip.

A clearly better equipped MacBook Air

Let’s go back to the MacBook Air 2022 which, for once, introduces a new design. Farewell to the 13.3-inch screen emblematic in this range, we now go to 13.6 inches thanks to the reduction of the borders on the sides. This MacBook Air is also entitled to a more symmetrical chassis. Its thickness is now 1.13 cm anywhere, while it is 0.41-1.61 cm in older models, which is not completely flat. It’s also Apple’s lightest computer (1.24 kg), ahead of the Air M1 (1.29 kg) and the Pro M2 (1.4 kg).

In addition to this new design, the MacBook Air M2 is entitled to a 1080p FaceTime camera, while the other two entry-level MacBooks remain at 720p. It also benefits from four speakers, while the MacBook Pro has only two. Its keyboard is also larger due to the actual function keys, while the MacBook Pro retains the Touch Bar that Apple discontinued on the MacBook Pro M1 Pro and M1 Max.

MacBook Air M2 Usa
We tested the MacBook Air M2 at Apple Park. // Source: Numeroma

In terms of autonomy and recharging, the Air M2 and Pro M2 each have their own arguments. The MacBook Air is the only one compatible with MagSafe magnetic charging (it also has two USB Type-C ports), but the MacBook Pro has a higher battery capacity (58.2 Wh, compared to 56.2 Wh). On paper, it’s likely that the Pro M2 will be more robust than the Air M2, but the difference shouldn’t be huge. The Pro M2 also has the advantage of coming with a more powerful charger (67W, compared to 30 or 35W depending on the Air you choose).

Macbook Air M2 MacBook Pro M2
Screen size 13.6 inches ✅ 13.3 inches ❌
LIGHT Up to 500 cd/m2 Up to 500 cd/m2
Keyboard Big function keys Touch Bar
Thick 1.13cm 1.56cm
Weighted 1.24kg 1.4kg
Webcam quality 1080p 720p
Number of speakers 4 2
Ports MagSafe + 2 USB-C + jacks 2 USB-C + jacks
battery size 56.2Wh 58.2Wh
Charger in the box 30W or 35W (two ports) 67W
year of design 2022 2016
Number of colors 4 2
Fans not yea
Price From 1499 euros From 1599 euros

As our table shows, the MacBook Air wins almost everyone in the game of difference. The only advantage of the MacBook Pro is that it has a slightly larger battery and a cooling system that is usually very small to use.

We haven’t compared their performance on our chart since, as you already know, the components inside the MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Pro M2 are the same. So they did the same thing.

Are MacBook Pro fans useful?

The big difference between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro is the presence of a cooling system inside the MacBook Pro. If you have a lot of work done on your computer and its chip heats up, only the MacBook Pro will be able to run the fans to reduce its temperature. The MacBook Air will hold its performance until it returns to normal temperature.

The MacBook Air is closed
The MacBook Air 2022 is closed. // Source: Numeroma

Does that make the MacBook Air too limited to an everyday machine? We may have thought of this two years ago, but our experiences with Apple Silicon chips lead us to believe this is a wrong argument. To tell you the truth, the author of this article has been using a MacBook Pro M1 since it was released in November 2020 and has yet to hear its fans spin. Apple Silicon chips, by design, do not cause overheating issues. I mean, unless you spend a lot of time editing 8K (but why would you get an Air M2 and not a Pro M1 Pro then?), We think a fanless computer isn’t a problem for you.

The existence of a MacBook Pro M2 without any aesthetic new things still leaves us speechless. Faced with a MacBook Air M2 designed to crush everything in its path, we don’t understand why Apple kept an entry-level MacBook Pro in its catalog. Our MacBook Air M2 tests will tell you if our first impressions are correct.

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