Apple MacBook Air 15-inch preview: Portable power | Engadget

    In addition to a slew of Macs, new Silicon and a compelling new Vision Pro headset, Apple also introduced a 15-inch MacBook Air at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) today. The larger MacBook Air not only offers a bigger display than its 13-inch counterpart, but it also comes with a more sophisticated sound system and battery life that’s rated for hours longer. I was able to pick one up to see how it feels here at Apple Park today, though I wasn’t allowed to do much else with it. 

    I do like how thin and light the new MacBook Air is — at 11.5mm (0.45inches) thin and 3.3 pounds (1.49 kgs), it beats the Dell XPS 15, which is both heavier and thicker. Apple’s machine has a slightly smaller 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display, though, whereas Dell’s comes in at 15.6 inches.

    The 15-inch MacBook Air’s screen can get up to 500 nits of brightness, and though I never got a chance to view it outdoors, the photos and interfaces I did see were lovely and crisp. Colors were vibrant and rich, and when an Apple rep showed me photos of long-haired dogs and a woman in a red dress in front of some cliffs, the details were tack sharp.

    I also got to see how the laptop handles tasks like photo-editing and gaming, which thanks to its M2 chip happened impressively quickly. An Apple rep used Photonator to erase multiple kayaks from a topdown photo of canoes on a river, and also changed the colors of certain parts of the image. Everything happened instantly and accurately. They also showed me part of a game called Stray so I could see how the laptop handled the graphics rendering of things like light reflecting off a puddle. These were very controlled demos, so while they all did perform well and without lag, I would rather evaluate the MacBook Air based on our own realworld testing.

    I did get to check out the new six-speaker sound system with spatial audio when a rep played some songs for me, including Beyonce’s Cuff It. Unfortunately, because the demo space we were in was fairly noisy, it was hard to gauge how well the audio sounded. I stuck my ear right next to the machine and was only barely able to hear the song. This is another feature we’ll have to wait for a review unit to test for ourselves.

    I wasn’t able to do much else with the new laptop, really, but here’s a quick recap of some of its features. It has the same notch design from the 13-inch MacBook Air that houses its 1080p webcam, but unlike the smaller model, this year’s device comes with a 10-core GPU across the board instead of 8 cores. It also ships with the dual-port 35W charger by default and has a larger trackpad. 

    If you’re intrigued, you can order the 15-inch MacBook Air today, starting at $1,299, and it’ll be available in stores on June 13th. 

    Follow all of the news from Apple’s WWDC 2023 right here.

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