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Apple's new MacBook Air M2 brings back a controversial feature

A new MacBook Air is coming, and the headline-worthy feature is, of course, the inclusion of the M2 chip. But there are a whole host of other redesigns and tweaks set to hit the new model, and one of them has given us quite a surprise.

With a drastically updated body design, new colour range and the reintroduction of MagSafe charging, there's loads to like here. And we know you're expecting us to counter that with a paragraph moaning about the controversial feature. But we're not(ch) going to, because the biggest design shock that Apple has managed to make us glad to see the notch return. Let's take a look at the new features and decide if the new MacBook Air M2 is heading for our best laptops for graphic design roundup.

01. Notch camera

Apple MacBook Air M2

(Image credit: Apple)

We'll deal with this part straight away, then we promise not to mention it again. The notch is back. Honestly, we expected to hate it, as so many in the design community do. It's true, the black rectangle does still interrupt our flow, and we'd rather have nothing there at all. But when comparing it to the ever-so-annoying uneven bezel thickness of the MacBook Air M1 (so ugly), we think the notch wins out. 

Thanks to the notch, we get a vast improvement to the low-quality camera that came before. Now, there's a 1080p FaceTime camera so you can kiss goodbye to that washed out version of yourself who's been attending your meetings for the last two years. Hurrah. Plus, the screen is bigger. We think the trade-off it worth it – at least until Apple figures out a behind-screen camera.

02. Updated body design and display

macbook air m2

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has given the Air a somewhat-extreme makeover, shrinking it by 20 per cent and giving dressing it up in new colour range. With silver, grey, starlight, and 'midnight' (dark blue, basically), they're more muted than we hoped (we would have loved an array of rainbows, much like the latest iMacs – see this dreamy render for how that could have looked), but they do look swish – and very serious indeed.

The display is bigger (13.6-inch) and is 25 per cent brighter than the previous model (with 500 nits, up from the previous 400). And anything bigger and brighter, with more colour (it supports up to one billion colours) is going to go down a treat with creators.

03. MagSafe charging

macbook air m2

(Image credit: Apple)

MagSafe charging is also back, which is unequivocally a good thing. We've missed the feel of the snap of the magnet in the slot, and very much appreciate having that Thunderbolt port back for plugging in accessories.

04. M2 processor

Apple's introduction of its own processor changed the game, and we've been expecting great things from the second-generation chip. There's going to be an 18 per cent performance increase for starters, and the lack of fans mean working on it will be a totally silent experience. Plus, there will be more memory – an increase from the current 16GB to 24GB. A clear win for creatives with resource-heavy projects.

macbook air m2

(Image credit: Apple)

So those are the highlights for us. Given the Air has been treated to such a lot of external design changes, we're pretty disappointed that the MacBook Pro has been left out. Yes, it'll run on the M2 chip – which will be delightful, we're sure – but it still has the disliked touch bar, no MagSafe and the same old screen (with the divisive notch, of course). We await the redesigned Pro with bated breath, but kinda wish both buses had come along at once.

Apple's MacBook Air M2 starts from £1249/$1,199 and you can get yours from July 2022. 

Can't wait for the MacBook Air M2? Get a great deal on the M1 instead:

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Georgia Coggan is a regular freelance contributor for Creative Bloq, who has also worked on T3 and Top Ten Reviews. With a particular interest in branding and retro design, Georgia writes about everything from logo design to creative technology, enjoys hunting down genuinely good deals and has even used her knowledge as an ex-teacher to create buying guides on products including children's books and bookcases.