WWDC 2023: The MacBook Air Gets Bigger & The Mac Pro Gets M2 Ultra!
WWDC was such a huge blast with Apple announcing numerous updates that kept us on the edge of our seats. Of course, the most iconic of all the announcements has got to be the new Apple Vision Pro, Apple's first foray into the mixed-reality scene and it was certainly jaw-dropping. But let's not forget everything they announced right at the start. The Mac lineups get a well-needed refresh and new hardware to boot!
MacBook Air 15"
The first major product launch would be the MacBook Air 15". Take what you loved about the MacBook Air 13" and supersize it. Literally. That's what the MacBook Air 15" is.
The design of the MacBook Air 15" is in line with that of the smaller 13", featuring a robust aluminium frame that's just 11.5mm thin and coming in at 1.49kg or 3.3 lbs. In terms of ports, you'll get MagSafe 3, two Thunderbolt 4 and the 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack. Colours remain the same as what's available on the 13", which includes both Midnight and Starlight. The Midnight is certainly a stunner in our opinion and we simply love it.
But the biggest difference would certainly be the display itself. You'll now get a 15.3" Liquid Retina display that sports a resolution of 2,880 x 1,864 with a max brightness of 500 nits and can support both 10-bit and P3 colour. Similar to the 13" and the Pro siblings, you'll still get the notch at the top, which we don't really mind all that much by this point in time. The notch will house a 1080P camera and the frame will have a three-mic array alongside a six-speaker sound system for great audio quality in both calls and entertainment.
In terms of battery life, Apple does claim up to 18 hours with the 66.5W battery that's inside it and similar to the smaller sibling, the MacBook Air 15" will have the option to be paired with either the 35W Dual USB-C Port Power Adapter or the 70W USB-C Power Adapter. Only the latter will provide fast-charge capabilities, as usual.
We then come to the hardware under the hood and it's no surprise that Apple went with the base M2 to power this 15" machine. The Air is meant for light workloads on the go and M2 is going to power that lifestyle extremely well. The fanless design also provides total silent usage and given the track record of the MacBook Air 13", we're all for it.
So how much might you be forking out for this brand new 15" laptop you might ask?
The new MacBook Air 15" will retail with a starting price of US$1,299 or S$1,899 and that will net you the M2 chip, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. If you're interested in the smaller 13"; however, you'll also be delighted to know that it got a slight price drop as well and now starts at US$1,099 or S$1,599.
Mac Studio with M2 Ultra
Right after the MacBook Air 15", Apple turned their focus to the professionals and we're now introduced to the refreshed Mac Studio, now available with M2 Max and the all-new M2 Ultra. We've to say... we probably already saw this coming from a mile away. The Mac Studio was certainly a powerhouse of a desktop computer and when the Mac Mini was released with M2 and M2 Pro, it was no surprise that the Mac Studio would eventually get the refresh.
If you've any experience with the MacBook Pro 14" or 16" with M2 Max, you'll now basically be able to enjoy all that performance and features, but in the Mac Studio!
The more interesting option would definitely be the M2 Ultra. Just like the M1 Ultra, the M2 Ultra is built by combining two M2 Max chips and this combo takes the processing power to new heights. For instance, M2 Ultra can support up to 22 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video playback and you'll be able to hook up to eight 4K 60Hz displays or six 6K 60Hz displays with no issues at all. This is no less thanks to the 24-core CPU comprising 16 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores alongside a 60-core GPU which can be further upgraded to a 76-core GPU.
That is insane. Oh and did we mention support for up to 192GB of Unified Memory? Whew. Of course, you also do get quality-of-life upgrades such as HDMI 2.1 alongside Bluetooth 5.3 and WiFi 6E, which is nice.
The new Mac Studio with M2 Max will start from US$1,999 or S$2,999 while the M2 Ultra configuration will start from US$3,999 or S$5,999.
Mac Pro with M2 Ultra
But let's put aside Mac Studio and now let's talk about the Mac Pro.
Apple has finally done it and we're extremely excited. Ever since the Mac Mini and Mac Studio were released and equipped with Apple silicon, the Mac Pro based on Intel Xeon became pretty much obsolete. A M1 Ultra Mac Studio outperforming a maxed-out Intel Xeon Mac Pro...for a fraction of the price, no less. It was incredible and it really just goes to show how much better Apple silicon is.
Well, the Mac Pro finally gets the upgrade as well.
You're still getting the same beautiful chassis that's available in either tower or rack mount enclosures. The key difference however would be the fact that a professional user would be able to utilise additional components by use of the PCIe slots.
There's a total of seven, with six of them of the PCIe Gen 4 standard. Additionally, the new Mac Pro now sports eight Thunderbolt 4 ports, two HDMI 2.1 ports, two USB-A ports, two 10Gb Ethernet ports and of course, the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Now, the only downside might perhaps be the maximum configurable RAM that you can have with the Mac Pro. With the previous Mac Pro, you could opt to install up to 1.5TB of 2,933MHz DDR4 ECC RAM. A ridiculous amount. With the integrated design of the M2 Ultra, there's now only the option to outfit it with up to 192GB of Unified Memory.
Needless to say, it's plenty.
The new Mac Pro with M2 Ultra in the Tower enclosure configuration will start from US$6,999 or S$9,999 while the Rack enclosure configuration will start from US$7,499 or S$10,999. This two-base configuration will feature the m2 Ultra with the 60-core GPU, 64GB of Unified Memory and 1TB of SSD storage.
Apple introduces the new MacBook Air 15" with M2 with a starting price of US$1,299 or S$1,899 and will be available in 4 colours including Midnight and Starlight.
The Mac Studio gets the M2 to refresh with the M2 Max and brand new M2 Ultra, capable of powering six 6K 60Hz displays and handling 22 streams of 8K ProRes 422 playback.
Professionals rejoice with the latest Mac Pro, now equipped with M2 Ultra. A chip that boasts a 24-core CPU, 76-core GPU and up to 192GB of Unified Memory.