The M2 MacBook Air is a Terrific Product

    The first several laptops I bought all came from Sony. In the early 2000s, VAIO produced the highest of the high-end, with top-of-the-line silicon, carbon fiber cases, fingerprint scanners, wireless connectivity , ultra-ultra-light form factors years before the competition. And they cost $3000+. But at the time I was in the Navy, working 100hrs/week with paychecks just piling up in the bank, so the outrageous prices weren't a concern for me. Then I got out of the military and went to college. I broke my super cool VAIO TZ and bought what I could afford, a low-end Sony, as a replacement. It was very disappointing. An injection molded plastic case that creaked and popped, a mediocre display, unimpressive computational performance, and none of the innovative features found on the more expensive versions. I kept it for a few months and then decided to spring for something better.

    I had heard good things about the MacBook Air, so I got one and was quite pleased. Good performance at entry-level, construction quality that I as a perfectionist mechanical engineer found to be extremely satisfactory, and HMI that was several quantum leaps ahead of the competition. A week after I bought it, I dumped a freshly opened beer straight across the keyboard. It didn't turn back on. I brought it in to the Apple store for repairs and told the person there what I had done. They smiled and told me that happens all the time, that people usually lie about it and say they have no idea why their laptop stopped working so suddenly, that they appreciated me not wasting their time, and that they would replace the entire machine for free. So that was really nice. That was an outstanding machine.

    Since then I've bought several more Apple laptops. A MacBook Pro. Then a 12-inch MacBook which I absolutely adored, aside from the not so great keyboard that stopped working after a spec of dust blew onto it. And then I bought a 2019 MacBook Pro. I did not like it. I'm an HMI nerd. I like really good keyboards, mice, and touchpads, and Apple hardware always had the best interfaces by far. But somewhere Apple strayed off the path. I guess they ran out of good ideas so they started pushing bad ones. The Touch Bar was Apple Narcissism at its worst. It didn't improve the user's experience at all; it just made the Apple designers feel clever and gave the Apple marketers something to crow about. No computer user in history has ever requested that buttons be slower, less precise, and more difficult to activate. No one has ever wanted adjusting the volume to be a process that interrupts and consumes 100% of their attention for 5-10 seconds. The next time Apple wants to add something useless for the sole purpose of claiming innovation and differentiation, they should make sure it's optional and doesn't eliminate important features like a row of functional function keys. I started looking at other brands to replace my MacBook, but was disappointed to see that other brands were still far behind Apple in terms of construction quality and HMI overall, even including how obnoxious the Touch Bar was. So I waited, occasionally checking the news and enthusiastically reading that many other people hated the Touch Bar as much as I did. And several years later Apple finally eliminated that piece of junk on new models.

    So I bought the new M2 MacBook Air. Wow. Once again, construction quality is the best I've ever seen. Apple is so far ahead of the competition in this category it's absurd and now they've raised the bar again. The power and energy efficiency of the silicon is outstanding. I was thrilled years ago when I upgraded laptops and found that now they lasted four hours instead of two. So my new MacBook lasting more than a day is amazing. Not having to carry a charger with me because there's no way I'm going to drain the battery today is a paradigm shift, another quantum leap. I'm glad they brought magsafe back, though after using USB-C charging for the past several years I do kinda wish I could charge either side of the machine; that was nice. The keyboard is the best I've ever seen on a laptop. It's quieter and feels better than the keyboard from even the 2019 MacBook Pro. The touchpad is the best I've ever used. The function keys are back. The camera notch ... I honestly don't even notice or care about. The fingerprint scanner is always welcome and its design language has improved a lot since earlier implementations. I do notice that the screen and sound aren't quite as good on the Air as on the Pro models. The screen isn't as bright, the blacks aren't as deep, and the sound is thinner and colder. But I'm not big on watching movies or listening to music on my laptop anyway so that's not a big concern for me. Apparently it's a good idea to splurge and buy it with 512GB or more of storage, which greatly improves overall speed. I bought it with 1TB. Overall, this is the best laptop I've ever used and I highly recommend it. Apple hit another home run.