New M2 MacBooks signal Apple is moving full-steam ahead with its computers

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CUPTERTINO, Calf. — How do you make something both a surprise and not a surprise at the same time? Well, if you’re Apple, you announce something most everyone expects you to do at a much different time than most people thought you would.

No, I’m not talking about the highly anticipated (but still only rumored) AR headset (that’s likely something for next year). This week’s announcement belonged to the new M2 chip-based MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, which the company unveiled at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). The WWDC event is usually focused almost exclusively on software advancements with things like feature updates to iOS, MacOS, watchOS, and iPadOS taking center stage.

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In fact, the company did address software updates this year, with iOS 16 promising features like lock screen customization and text message recall or post-send editing, iPadOS 16 offering significantly more Mac-like productivity features for collaboration and multi-app windowing, and MacOS Ventura (the next version’s name) scheduled to enable things like Continuity Camera for using a paired iPhone as a high-quality webcam and passwordless log-ins via new Passkeys.

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In addition to the expected software refinements, however, Apple also took the wraps off its highly anticipated second-generation M2 chip for Mac and the first two machines to support it – updated versions of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Even casual Apple observers all figured the company would eventually do this, but most everyone tracking the news from WWDC was surprised it happened now.

What it illustrates is that Apple is moving forward even more aggressively on its roadmap for making custom Arm-based chip designs (at the heart of the M series processors) than many realized. At the same time, it’s becoming clear that Apple’s M line of silicon is quickly becoming a more complex and nuanced set of offerings than many had originally thought.

As you would expect based on the name alone, the M2 is a more advanced version of the original M1 chip first…

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