The Apple MacBook Air has enjoyed its time in the sun over the past few years, but while its M1 model is very deserving of being one of the best laptops you can buy right now, that doesn’t mean it’s without flaws. In fact, I’m a little annoyed that one of their biggest issues still hasn’t been addressed in their just-announced model update.
The M2 SoC (System-on-a-chip) was finally revealed at WWDC on June 6, along with the announcement that an updated model of the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro would be the first two Apple products to feature the new silicon. . Both laptops were highly anticipated, especially with all the talk surrounding the possibility of a retro-inspired throwback to the series that would feature a selection of colorful chassis options.
Sadly, that hasn’t come to light (although don’t discount it happening just yet), so while I may joke about being pretty bitter about not being able to buy a shiny new MacBook Air with M2 in orange or green (or purple if you’re ours) computer editor John Loeffler), there’s a genuine reason why I’m still hesitant to start saving the money I find tucked away on my couch.
While the beefier 14-inch MacBook Pro models with an M1 Max can support up to three external displays with up to 6K resolution and an additional external display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz, devices that used only the base version of the M1 chip support a single monitor with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.
This is something that has yet to be expanded upon, despite all the claimed performance improvements of the M2 chip when compared to its predecessor, and frankly not quite enough to keep up with my productivity demands.
You’re holding me here Apple
I’ll admit I’m a display junkie – the more screens I have in my setup, the more productive I’ll be, and while the number varies for each person, I like to use my two 27-inch monitors alongside the smaller integrated screen of any laptop I’ve plugged in. them to use as a trio.
Limiting the MacBook Air to a single external display is an odd decision and not one I imagine Apple made to intentionally thwart the device, but it still looks like the fruit-themed tech giant could have developed a way to expand on that. natively.
Instead, if you’re completely set on buying a MacBook Air M1 and running two displays on it, you’ll need to buy a third-party Thunderbolt hub or docking station, and even then you’ll need to download the correct drivers to make your laptop recognize the additional screens. It can be frustrating to set up, especially if you’re not very confident with the technology, and using multiple monitors and cheap MacBooks is far from uncommon in office environments.
Was it really that hard to have the MacBook Air M2 support two external displays? Not everyone will need something as powerful as a 6K display and would instead be better off with 1080p or 1440p resolutions, especially since the Air is Apple’s most budget-friendly laptop offering (well, budget for Apple) and tends to to be popular with students and young professionals who may not have the funds to buy bigger, more premium screens.
Apple stated during its June 6 keynote that the MacBook Air is the best-selling laptop in the world, and its placement on our own list of the best laptops certainly confirms that claim, but I can’t limit myself to just using a single display. My overall productivity would drop and I feel I’m not alone when I say that this was a particular disappointment when digging through the device’s specs.
Hopefully this is something that can be fixed later, even if it requires Apple to release a specialized docking station that will almost certainly come with a famously eye-watering price tag. For now, I’ll go back to hoping we’ll have a range of rainbow color options for the upcoming 16-inch MacBook Pro update, so I can enjoy a tangy orange laptop next to the existing wall of screens.