Updated Jun 6, 2022 - Technology

Apple debuts lighter, M2-powered MacBook Air

Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking at WWDC 2022

Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking at WWDC 2022. Screenshot: Axios, via YouTube

Apple used its annual developer conference on Monday to debut a new MacBook Air powered by an updated M2 chip. It also detailed iOS 16, the next iPhone operating system, as well as updates coming to CarPlay, Apple Watch and Apple Pay.

Why it matters: Apple uses its developer conference to lay out where it is headed with its key products, largely by detailing coming changes to the underlying operating systems for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and other products.

Between the lines: Apple didn't provide any hints about its mixed reality headset, which isn't expected to ship until next year.

  • Here's what Apple did announce:
Mac
  • Apple announced a new, second-generation Apple-designed processor to power future Macs. Apple says the M2 chip can deliver up to 18% better performance or use less power to deliver the same amount of performance.
  • The first Mac to get the new chip will be a redesigned MacBook Air with a larger 13.6-inch display, along with a MagSafe charger and improved 1080p camera for video calls.
  • The 2.7-pound laptop will start at $1,199 and be available next month in four shades. The existing MacBook Air will remain in the lineup at a lower price.
  • The M2 will also be available next month on a new model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and starts at $1,299.
  • Apple also previewed Ventura, the next version of MacOS. Among its features is Stage Manager, designed to help people better manage multiple open windows. Another new feature makes it easier to wirelessly use an iPhone as a Webcam while doing video conferencing on a Mac.
iOS 16

Among the features coming to the iPhone is the ability to edit or recall recently sent messages, along with an improved lock screen with streamlined notifications and easier ways to track live events, such as following a basketball game, listening to music or keeping tabs on an Uber ride.

  • Apple is also offering a "buy now, pay later" feature, allowing people to pay for Apple Pay purchases with four equal payments over six weeks, notably with no interest and no fees.
  • The Wallet app is also being updated to make it easier to share digital keys as well as proof of age and identity. Those who are in a state that supports a digital ID card will be able to share proof to other apps that they are over a certain age, without having to share all their personal information.
  • A new “safety check” feature allows people to quickly disable shared passwords, location and other information, such as when a person is leaving an abusive relationship.
  • A preview version of iOS 16 will be made available to developers immediately, with a public beta planned for next month. The final version will come this fall as a free update for those with an iPhone 8 or later.
  • The iPad will get tablet-specific features in its version of iOS 16, including improved collaboration options in apps like Pages and Keynote. Apple also previewed a new brainstorming app, called FreeForm, coming later this year to iPad (as well as iPhone and Mac). Apple is also bringing over a bunch of features from the Mac, such as systemwide undo and redo.
CarPlay
  • Apple gave a sneak peek at a new version of CarPlay that can control more of a vehicle's features, such as changing the temperature. Automakers will also be able to integrate CarPlay with the main instrument cluster that displays speed and other information.
Apple Watch
  • The watch's sleep tracking app will be able to measure stages of sleep, potentially amping up the competition with dedicated trackers like Google's Fitbit and Oura.
  • Users can also more easily track the medications they are taking, including getting reminders and information on drug interactions. The feature also works on iPhones.

Go deeper: Three things to watch at Apple's developer conference

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