Earlier this year, Apple announced a major update for its high-end MacBook Pro models, adding the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, better battery life, Wi‑Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, and an HDMI 2.1 port. In 2022, Apple updated the MacBook Air with a complete redesign and the M2 chip, followed by an all-new 15-inch model this year, so how do the two product lines compare?

M2 MBA vs M2 MacBook Pro Buyers Guide Feature
Despite now being similar in appearance, the ‌MacBook Air‌ and the MacBook Pro are very different machines, so should you consider purchasing the 13- or 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌, which start at $1,099, to save money, or do you need one of the higher-end 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro models, which cost at least $900 more? Our guide helps to answer the question of how to decide which of these two popular Apple silicon machines is best for you.

This guide focuses on the high-end, 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with the ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max chips rather than the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the ‌M2‌ chip. See our other buyer's guide to understand the differences between the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 14- and 16-inch models.

Key Differences Overview

‌MacBook Air‌ MacBook Pro
13.6-inch or 15.3-inch display 14.2-inch or 16.2-inch display
LCD Liquid Retina display display Mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion
500 nits brightness Up to 1,000 nits sustained (full-screen) brightness and 1,600 nits peak brightness
Apple ‌M2‌ chip Apple ‌M2‌ Pro chip or Apple ‌M2‌ Max chip
8-core CPU with with four performance cores and four efficiency cores Up to 12-core CPU with eight performance cores and four efficiency cores
Up to 10-core GPU Up to 19-core GPU with ‌‌M2‌‌ Pro and up to 38-core GPU with ‌‌M2‌‌ Max
100GB/s memory bandwidth Up to 400GB/s memory bandwidth
8GB, 16GB, or 24GB of unified memory 16GB or 32GB unified memory with ‌‌M2‌‌ Pro and 32GB, 64GB, or 96GB unified memory with ‌‌M2‌‌ Max
256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB of storage
Passive cooling Active cooling
Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6E
Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports Three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports
HDMI 2.1 port with support for multichannel audio output
SDXC card slot
Four-speaker sound system (13-inch) or six-speaker sound system with force-cancelling woofers (15-inch) High-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-cancelling woofers
Three-mic array with directional beamforming Studio-quality three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming
Integrated 52.6-watt-hour or 66.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery Integrated 70-watt-hour or 100-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
Up to 18 hours battery life Up to 18 or 22 hours battery life
30W, 35W, or 67W USB-C Power Adapter 67W, 96W, or 140W USB-C Power Adapter

Design

Both the ‌MacBook Air‌ and MacBook Pro share the same basic design with a flat top and rounded edges on the bottom, but they do have several minor details that differ. For example, while both MacBooks have displays with a "notch" at the top to facilitate the built-in webcam, the MacBook Pro's bezels are noticeably slimmer. The keyboard area of the high-end MacBook Pro is also all-black.

macbook air design
The ‌MacBook Air‌ and MacBook Pro are available in Silver and Space Gray, but the ‌MacBook Air‌ is also offered in Starlight and Midnight color options, so if you are looking for a particular aesthetic with one of these finishes, you will need to get the ‌MacBook Air‌.

‌MacBook Air‌ (13-Inch) ‌MacBook Air‌ (15-Inch) MacBook Pro (14-Inch) MacBook Pro (16-Inch)
Height 0.44 inches (1.13 cm) 0.45 inch (1.15 cm) 0.61 inches (1.55 cm) 0.66 inch (1.68 cm)
Width 11.97 inches (30.41 cm) 13.40 inches (34.04 cm) 12.31 inches (31.26 cm) 14.01 inches (35.57 cm)
Depth 8.46 inches (21.5 cm) 9.35 inches (23.76 cm) 8.71 inches (22.12 cm) 9.77 inches (24.81 cm)
Weight 2.7 pounds (1.24 kg) 3.3 pounds (1.51 kg) 3.5 pounds (1.60 kg) 4.8 pounds (2.16 kg)

Dimensions are also a key area of difference between the ‌MacBook Air‌ and MacBook Pro. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is considerably larger and heavier than the 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌, but it is important to not understate the difference between the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌. While the 14-inch MacBook Pro offers a larger display than the ‌MacBook Air‌, its marginally larger footprint, added thickness, and an additional 0.8 pounds of weight do make for a noticeably less portable machine if you prefer to travel light.

Even so, the 14-inch MacBook Pro offers a very good balance of portability and performance, so if you need its added capabilities, its size and weight should not hold you back. The 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ should offer a good balance of portability and display area, but users weary of its size should opt for the 13-inch model.

Ports and Connectivity

The selection of ports is an area of major difference between the two machines. The ‌MacBook Air‌ features just two Thunderbolt 4 ports. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, on the other hand, have three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI 2.1 port, and an SDXC card slot. Both machines feature a 3.5mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones, but the 13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ can support only one external display, while the high-end MacBook Pro model can support up to four displays in total with the ‌M2‌ Max chip.

2021 macbook pro ports
All in all, the MacBook Pro is much more versatile in terms of connectivity, even possessing newer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi specifications, offering useful features for professionals who use SDXC cards from digital cameras, multiple external displays, or even simply more USB peripherals.

Display Size

The smaller ‌MacBook Air‌'s display is 13.6 inches in size, which is a little smaller than the 14.2-inch MacBook Pro, and markedly smaller than the 16.2-inch MacBook Pro. 13.6 inches is still bigger than the largest iPad Pro model, which comes in at 12.9 inches, and even all of the previous ‌MacBook Air‌ and smaller MacBook Pro models, meaning that it should be adequate for most users. The 14.2-inch MacBook Pro simply offers a little bit more screen real estate to those who need high-end capabilities.

The 15.3-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ and 16.2-inch MacBook Pro's displays will be better replacements for a desktop machine and provide much more screen space to arrange multiple windows and use professional applications that benefit from additional display area.

Display Technology

The display technologies of both machines are significantly different. Like most MacBooks in recent years, the ‌MacBook Air‌ has an LCD panel, but owing to its slim bezels and rounded corners, Apple calls it a Liquid Retina display. The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models feature Apple's more advanced mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR technology for deeper blacks, better dynamic range, and improved color accuracy.

macbook pro display
The XDR display can get much brighter, reaching as high as 1,600 nits of brightness at its peak when showing HDR content. The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models also have ProMotion displays, allowing them to vary their refresh rate up to 120Hz. The ‌MacBook Air‌ does not have a display with a variable refresh rate.

It will be worth getting the high-end MacBook Pro models for viewing and editing HDR content, as well as watching high-framerate video such as sports. The display of the ‌MacBook Air‌ is sufficient for most users and some may not even notice a drastic difference. The MacBook Pro's deeper blacks and smoother on-screen motion simply offer a slightly better experience.

Chips

The ‌MacBook Air‌ contains the ‌M2‌ chip, while MacBook Pro customers can choose between the ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max chips. The ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max are scaled-up versions of the ‌M2‌ chip that offer additional CPU and GPU cores. See the ‌M2‌, ‌M2‌ Pro, and ‌M2‌ Max's Geekbench 5 scores below:


Single-Core Scores

  • ‌M2‌: ~2,000
  • ‌M2‌ Pro: ~2,000
  • ‌M2‌ Max: ~2,000

Metal GPU Scores

  • ‌M2‌: ~30,500
  • ‌M2‌ Pro: ~52,700
  • ‌M2‌ Max: ~87,000


Multi-Core Scores

  • ‌M2‌: ~9,000
  • ‌M2‌ Pro: ~15,000
  • ‌M2‌ Max: ~15,000

The ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max provide CPUs with up to four additional cores and GPUs with up to 28 additional cores. The ‌M2‌ chip in the ‌MacBook Air‌ is just as powerful as the ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max in single-core tasks, but the ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max are considerably better in multi-core and graphics tasks.

m2 m2 pro chips
With significantly more transistors, performance CPU cores, and GPU cores, the ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max are powerful chips designed for professionals with demanding workflows. The ‌M2‌, on the other hand, is more of a consumer-oriented chip focused on delivering surprisingly impressive performance and excellent efficiency to keep temperatures down and prolong battery life.

It is also worth noting that the ‌MacBook Air‌ is passively cooled and contains no fan, which can slightly constrain peak performance compared to the MacBook Pro, since the high-end machines have large fans to actively cool the system and push the chips harder.

Memory and Storage

The ‌MacBook Air‌ can be configured with up to 24GB of unified memory and up to 2TB of storage, which should be more than enough for the vast majority of users. For those who need even more memory and storage, the MacBook Pro can be configured with 72GB more memory and 6TB more storage than the top-spec ‌MacBook Air‌.

The ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max chips in the MacBook Pro also provide 200GB/s and 400GB/s memory bandwidth respectively – an enormous increase over the 100GB/s memory bandwidth with the ‌M2‌ chip in the ‌MacBook Air‌.

Buyers should also be aware that the 256GB ‌MacBook Air‌ and 512GB MacBook Pro base models have up to 50 percent slower SSDs than configurations with more storage. This is because the base models only have a single SSD module inside, whereas models with larger amounts of storage have two SSD chips, significantly increasing the overall speed of the machine's storage.

Speakers and Microphones

The ‌MacBook Air‌ has a four-speaker sound system that is surprisingly full and balanced for such a small, slim device. The MacBook Pro takes things to the next level with a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-cancelling woofers for dramatically bigger and deeper audio – something that may be invaluable to users who work in professional audio production or simply listen to a lot of music out-loud.

macbook pro speakers
The ‌MacBook Air‌ has a three-mic array with directional beamforming that is perfect for activities like video calls and voice notes. The MacBook Pro has what Apple calls a "studio-quality" three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming. While they are not as good as a dedicated microphone, the MacBook Pro's microphones are impressive and, at a push, are suitable for production purposes like podcasting.

Battery Life

The ‌MacBook Air‌ has an 18-hour battery life, offering the same battery life as the 14-inch MacBook Pro and four hours less than the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Other MacBook Options

If you are looking for a more affordable Apple silicon MacBook, there is the M1 ‌MacBook Air‌, which sports a 13.3-inch Retina display, Touch ID, two Thunderbolt ports, and more, for prices starting at $999. For users on a strict budget, the ‌M1‌ ‌MacBook Air‌ is still a good option.

For $200 more than the base model ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌, there is the ‌M2‌ MacBook Pro – an entry-level MacBook Pro model that has a 13.3-inch display and uses the same design that dominated all of Apple's MacBook Pro models from 2016 to 2021. It has the same chip as the ‌MacBook Air‌ but can push it slightly harder due to having a fan for active cooling, and offers a brighter display, the Touch Bar, better microphone and speaker quality, and two extra hours of battery life. If you cannot afford the 14-inch MacBook Pro's $1,999 price tag, but you think you will need slightly more than what the ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌ has to offer, the ‌M2‌ MacBook Pro offers a good middle-ground option for some.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the ‌MacBook Air‌ is the best option for most users, offering an excellent balance of features and performance in a highly portable design. The ‌MacBook Air‌'s $1,099 starting price is much affordable compared to the MacBook Pro, and with an education discount or an offer from our Apple Deals Roundup, it is possible to get that price down by at least $100. The additional $900 to get the MacBook Pro likely is not worth it for most users, and on the contrary, many will prefer the slimmer, lighter design of the ‌MacBook Air‌ and perhaps even its additional color options.

macbook pro sizes space gray
Professionals who require larger and more accurate displays, additional ports, more memory and storage, and a very high level of performance should look to the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, and the $1,999 and $2,499 price points of these machines reflects this. These high-end MacBook Pros are not targeted at everyday consumers, being clearly tailored to creatives and professionals who rely heavily on the capabilities of their machines. As such, the MacBook Pro should only be a go-to option if you are a power-user or professional who can make use of its advanced features.

Alternatively, if you are a tech enthusiast who can afford to pay a lot more to get the MacBook Pro, aspects like its larger Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion can be enjoyed by almost any user. If you simply want the best possible performance, connectivity, display technology, and speakers, the high-end MacBook Pro is the best option. The 16-inch MacBook Pro, in particular, is also potentially a good desktop replacement machine due to its large display.

If you configure the 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage to build a configuration that is closer to the 14-inch MacBook Pro, it costs $1,699 – $300 less than the MacBook Pro. At this point, it may be worth paying the extra cash to get the 14-inch MacBook Pro, since that machine's added performance, larger mini-LED display with ProMotion, additional ports and memory bandwidth, and better speakers and microphone deliver a big upgrade.

In iOS 17, Apple has made a small but notable change to the App Store app so that it now tells users how long an app download will take once it's started.

app store download time
When the "Get" app button is tapped in an app listing and the circular download symbol appears, the time remaining for the download to complete is displayed beside it in minutes and seconds. If the installation is likely to take only a brief moment, the time remaining is not shown.

Obviously the time it takes for a given app to download will depend on the user's internet speed and the app's file size, which is why users might only see how long it will take once the download has been initiated and the ‌App Store‌ server connection is established.

Still, it gives users a more accurate idea of how long a download is likely to take than a circular downloading symbol does, and users can always opt to cancel the download by tapping the cancel button within the circular icon if the remaining time is considered to be too long.

(Thanks, Dimitri!)

Related Roundup: iOS 17

Apple made a wide range of hardware and software announcements during its WWDC keynote on Monday, introducing its long-awaited AR/VR headset Vision Pro, new Macs, iOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and much more. As always, there were many rumors leading up to the event that gave us an idea of what to expect, but not all of them were accurate.

WWDC 2023 Rumor Report Card
Below, we have recapped some of the bigger hits and misses from the WWDC rumor mill.

Hits

Misses

With so many rumors shared leading up to WWDC, this list is far from comprehensive, so feel free to discuss other hits and misses in the comments section.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2023

Apple in iOS 17 improved the image recognition capabilities of the iPhone, which means the Photos app is now able to recognize pets in addition to people.

ios 17 pets photos
The "People" album is now the "People and Pets" album, because the ‌Photos‌ app can detect animals, and specifically, animals that are important to you because of the number of photos that you have of them.

Animals that you have one or two photos of won't show up in this section, but if you have multiple images of the same animal, you'll see the pet listed in the album. You can add a name for the pet and confirm additional photos.

In this album, you'll see all of the images you have of that animal, which is handy, and this function also allows specific memories of the pet to show up in the For You section.

The pet recognition feature seems to be accurate, and it is able to tell pets apart that have the same coloration. It was able to distinguish between two white cats, two orange cats, and two tabby cats with no issues and no mistakes.

Pets are now denoted by more accurate icons with the Look Up feature, and the app will try to better determine a specific species.

Apple has also improved the ‌iOS 17‌ ‌Photos‌ app with Visual Look Up for food items, which brings up recipes for similar dishes, and an option to look up information about the subject of a photo when you remove it from the background. Visual Look Up also now works in videos.

The changes to the ‌Photos‌ app are available to developer running the ‌iOS 17‌ beta, with Apple planning to release an ‌iOS 17‌ public beta next month.

Related Roundup: iOS 17

The Messages app on the iPhone and iPad has supported stickers for several years now, but Apple in iOS 17 is overhauling the sticker experience to make them more important.

ios 17 stickers create
All emoji are now considered stickers and can be used in the Messages app like stickers, with emoji listed right alongside Memoji stickers and sticker packs that you've downloaded from the App Store.

In addition, you can make your own stickers using the remove subject from background tool that Apple added for images in iOS 16.

In any of your images in Photos (or images from Safari or another location), you can long press on the subject of the photo to highlight it and to bring up an options interface.

ios 17 stickers messages
Choosing the "Add Sticker" option ports the selected subject into the sticker interface. From there, you can add an effect or delete it. Effects include adding a white sticker outline, a "puffy" sticker effect, a glittery effect, and more. Subjects pulled from Live Photos have the option of animating.

Stickers that you have created can be used through the sticker interface in the Messages app, accessible by tapping on the "+" button and then "Stickers." You can insert stickers as single images, or add them to messages and photos, which is how stickers have worked since the feature was introduced.

Related Roundup: iOS 17

Apple Vision Pro is a standalone hardware device that has its own processors and does not require a connection to a Mac or an iPhone to operate, but it is able to interface with other Apple devices. With the Mac, for example, the Vision Pro can serve as a Mac display.

apple vision pro mac
Apple says that there's a Mac Virtual Display feature that works wirelessly with the Mac. You can bring your Mac's display into Vision Pro and "place it anywhere in space." You can see each of your Mac apps individually, arranging them in a way that works for you.

According to Apple, the Vision Pro is meant to serve as a "private, portable 4K display" when used with a Mac. Connecting is as simple as looking at a compatible Mac while wearing the Apple Vision headset.

apple vision pro mac desktop
You can connect Mac accessories to the Vision Pro, including the Magic Keyboard and the Magic Trackpad for input purposes. Attaching Bluetooth accessories allows for a typical Mac workflow to continue to be used, with the display replaced by Vision Pro.

Vision Pro is set to launch in early 2024, so we won't know more about how it functions as an actual Mac display replacement until closer to that date. The headset is priced starting at $3,499.

Related Roundup: Apple Vision Pro
Related Forum: Apple Vision Pro

Starting with iPadOS 17, the built-in camera on the Studio Display and other external displays can be used with iPads for FaceTime calls and other video purposes. This functionality is available on any iPad model equipped with a USB-C port.

iPadOS 17 External Camera
As it turns out, this feature actually goes beyond external displays. In its Platforms State of the Union video for developers, Apple revealed that any USB-C webcam can now be used with iPads on a plug-and-play basis, as demonstrated in the video below from Stephen Robles. USB-A webcams are also supported with an adapter.


iPadOS 17 is available in beta for anyone with an Apple developer account, and the update will be publicly released later this year.

Rumors about Apple's Vision Pro headset have been circulating for years, but something that was never quite clear was how it would be controlled. There were some early rumors of control devices, which eventually faded away as leaks focused more on gesture control, and as it turns out, that's the way Apple went.

visionOS Virtual Keyboard
The Apple Vision Pro uses hand gestures, eye movements, and spoken commands for navigation. You can choose something on the display by looking at it, for example, and then select it by tapping your fingers together. Scrolling is done with a quick flick, and only small movements are required. You can look at the microphone button in a search field and then start speaking in order to dictate text, and Siri voice commands can be used to open and close apps, play songs, and more.

Reviewers have said that the Vision Pro navigation experience takes time to get used to, so there will be an adjustment period. Most other headsets on the market use some kind of handheld control mechanism, so the gesture-based control system will be unfamiliar to almost everyone.

Typing can be done with a connected iPhone or Bluetooth keyboard, but there's also a virtual keyboard to type on, and dictation can be used as an alternative as well.

The interface won't be easy to get used to for many, but on the plus side, the app layout and navigation will be immediately recognizable to those who have used an ‌iPhone‌ or an iPad. Apps are arranged in a "Home View" that's similar to the Home Screen so not everything will be unfamiliar.

Related Roundup: Apple Vision Pro
Related Forum: Apple Vision Pro

Apple's developer betas have historically been limited to developers who have a paid account that costs $99 per year, but with the launch of the most recent betas, that's changing.

apple developer banner
Anyone can now enroll in the free version of the Apple Developer program and get access to beta releases. All that's required to download betas is an Apple ID.

"OS beta releases" is now listed as an available resource even for those who are not members of the Apple Developer Program.


This change means that anyone with an ‌Apple ID‌ can download and install the iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma betas without waiting for the public betas to launch.

Of course, it is not a good idea to install these betas on a main device as there can be notable bugs and issues with early software. More information can be found on Apple's membership page.

Apple's decision to make betas free follows a beta installation change introduced in iOS 16. Apple began requiring an ‌Apple ID‌ linked with a developer membership to prevent people from using profiles and other means of getting the beta without being a registered developer. Apple will now be able to keep track of everyone who is installing the developer betas with the ‌Apple ID‌ link.

With watchOS 9 on the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple introduced a new battery feature called Optimized Charge Limit, which uses on-device machine learning to analyze your daily usage and dynamically set a maximum charge limit for your watch.

apple watch optimized charge limit
Available now as a developer beta and coming to all users later this year, watchOS 10 will extend this Optimized Charge Limit to additional Apple Watch models, including Apple Watch SE, Series 6, Series 7, and Series 8. Any new models released later this year alongside the public release of ‌watchOS 10‌ will undoubtedly also support the feature.

Optimized Charge Limit is an extension of the Optimized Battery Charging feature that waits to fully charge your battery until just before your device expects you to need your Apple Watch, in order to limit battery degradation due to overcharging. Optimized Charge Limit augments this by predicting how much battery life you are likely to need on any given day and only charging up to a level sufficient for your expected needs.

As a result, on some days your Apple Watch may charge all the way to 100%, while on other days it might charge to only 80% or 90%. The feature is optional but on by default, and it only engages in locations where you spend a lot of time such as at home or at work, recognizing that less frequently visited locations are more likely to have unpredictable impacts on your watch usage and charging patterns.

You can also manually override a planned Optimized Charge Limit by tapping the open charging icon after connecting to a charger and selecting the "Charge to Full Now" option.

For more details on how to manage Optimized Charge Limit, check out our how-to on the feature.

(Thanks, @aaronp613!)

Related Roundups: watchOS 10, watchOS 9

Just a day after Apple debuted its Vision Pro headset, The Verge reports that Apple has acquired AR headset startup Mira, a firm most known to the public for providing headsets used on Mario Kart rides in Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood.

mira mario kart ride universal
The Verge says Mira CEO Ben Taft shared a private photo on Instagram showing a number of Apple employee badges with the comment "Excited for Mira’s next chapter, at Apple :). 7 year journey from dorm room to acquisition." At least 11 Mira employees have reportedly joined Apple, which essentially confirmed the acquisition by issuing its standard press statement to The Verge, saying only that "we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

In addition to the Mario Kart ride partnership, Mira has also been involved in military contracts and has promoted its headsets for use in manufacturing and mining settings, but it's unlikely most of these efforts will continue under Apple's ownership.

Apple has obviously already developed significant expertise in augmented and virtual reality, so it's unclear exactly why it has acquired Mira, but it's likely to be related to continuing to bolster its talent in the area or perhaps intellectual property rights.

It looks like Apple's Vision Pro headset is only going to come in silver, despite rumors of multiple color options, but some level of customization will be available through the headset accessories.

vision pro components
There is a "Light Seal" that attaches magnetically to the headset display, creating a tight fit between the device and the wearer's face in order to block out light, and there's also a headband that fits at the back of the head to hold the headset in place. Both are removable and can be replaced.

Apple plans to offer the Light Seal in a wide range of size and shape options. The magnets in the Light Seal adhere to the curved display, and it's important to have the right size. The Light Seal needs to fit firmly against the face to keep light out.

The headband snaps on to the Audio Straps that include speakers that provide spatial audio. Apple designed the headband from a flexible, 3D knitted material with a ribbed structure that is designed to be comfortable to wear. It is breathable while offering stretch, and a fit dial customizes the size to each individual's head.

Apple when introducing the Vision Pro said that the headband can be removed and exchanged for a different size, indicating headbands will also come with size options. Apple also said a "different kind of band" could be used, so there is an open possibility for Apple to make other Apple Vision bands in the future.

There are also opportunities for third-party manufacturers to create seal and band accessories for Apple Vision, and we've already seen some third-party band options. In the future, Apple Vision may work a lot like the Apple Watch, with a multitude of bands to choose from.

Related Roundup: Apple Vision Pro
Related Forum: Apple Vision Pro

Apple this week previewed macOS Sonoma, the latest version of its Mac operating system. Launching later this year, the software update includes several new features, but not all of them are available on Intel-based Macs, according to Apple.

macos sonoma feature green brown
On the macOS Sonoma features page, fine print indicates that the following features require a Mac with an Apple silicon chip:

  • Presenter Overlay, a feature that displays the user on top of the content they are sharing in any video conferencing app.
  • Game Mode, which prioritizes CPU and GPU performance while gaming by limiting the performance of background tasks.
  • A new high-performance mode in the Screen Sharing app.
  • The ability to pair Made for iPhone hearing devices directly with a Mac.
  • The ability to invoke Siri by saying "Siri" instead of "Hey Siri."

Apple does not indicate why the features are not available on Intel Macs, but it likely relates to performance considerations, and only Apple silicon Macs have a Neural Engine for machine learning tasks. The last Intel Macs were released in 2020, and Apple has since moved to its own custom-designed processors. The transition to Apple silicon is now complete following this week's introduction of a new Mac Pro with the M2 Ultra chip.

macOS Sonoma will likely be released to the public in October and is compatible with Macs released in December 2017 and later.

Apple's new Vision Pro headset is equipped with an array of cameras for everything from eye scanning to gesture tracking, but it also has an external camera for capturing photos and videos.

vision pro video recording
The 3D camera on the Vision Pro takes 3D photos and records 3D videos that can be viewed back on the headset. Apple says that the feature is designed to allow users to relive their memories like never before. Standard photos from an iPhone or another device can also be viewed on the headset, but the 3D images will be much more immersive.

vision pro 3d video
Spatial videos and photos are designed to have "incredible depth" according to Apple, which lets the user "see into a moment." They can be expanded and zoomed in just like a regular photo.

There is a button at the top of the headset that is designed to let users capture spatial videos or photos, and while recording is ongoing, the headset's external display flashes with an animation that lets the people around you know that video is being recorded.

vision pro camera button
With the recording indicator, no one will be able to use Vision Pro record video or take images in secret, which is a problem that prior headsets have faced. Google Glass, Google's now-defunct AR smart glasses, allowed for surreptitious photo and video recording in public spaces. Google came under fire for its capabilities, and some businesses even began banning the use of Google Glass.

It is not clear if Apple will face some of the same issues with Vision Pro, but it at least makes it clear when a video is being recorded thanks to the unique external display. It's also not as lightweight and wearable as Google Glass, so it is unlikely many people will be wearing the Vision Pro out in public.

Related Roundup: Apple Vision Pro
Related Forum: Apple Vision Pro

With the release of the first iOS 17 beta in the hands of developers, early adopters continue to discover smaller changes in the new version of Apple's mobile operating system. Below are some of the more notable differences that have come to light since Monday's WWDC keynote.

General iOS 17 Feature Orange Purple

Ping Apple Watch

If you have an Apple Watch paired to your iPhone, Apple has added an optional button in Control Center that enables you to ping your watch if you have misplaced it. (H/T Aaron.)


Improved Spotlight Siri Suggestions

When pulling down on the Home Screen to access search, you'll see some neat new contextual tricks have been added to Siri Suggestions, like the suggestion to create a timer or a new note if you've used those apps recently. When you search for a specific app like Photos, you'll also get app shortcuts to your next action, allowing you to jump right into your Favorites album, for example.

siri suggestions ios 17
You can now also toggle certain system settings directly from within ‌Siri‌ Suggestions results. You can, for example, enable a Focus, turn on Airplane Mode, or disable your iPhone 14 Pro's Always On Display.

Multiple Timers

It's taken this long, but iOS finally supports multiple timers.

multiple timers
Each timer you set can be given a label, which helps you identify it in a list. For added convenience, the list will also include any recent completed timers that you used. When several timers are running simultaneously, all of them will be listed on the Lock Screen, and the last one you set will appear in the Dynamic Island.

Safari "Listen to Page" Feature

In Safari, Apple has added a new "Listen to Page" option to the aA menu in the address bar. Tap it, and ‌Siri‌ will read the contents of the currently loaded webpage out loud.

safari listen to page
When ‌Siri‌ is reading it to you, the same option changes to "Pause Listening," and if you choose to pause, it switches to "Resume Listening" so you can pick up where you left off.

Visual Lookup for Meals

When viewing photos, Apple has enhanced Visual Look Up in a few ways, the most notable being the ability to find recipes for similar dishes when meals are recognized in the picture.

visual lookup recipes
In addition, you can now look up information from a subject you just lifted from a photo, and you can also pause video on any frame to look up info on a subject.

Fitness+ Custom Plans

Fitness+ includes a new feature called Custom Plans, where you can create your own weekly workout and meditation schedule to enhance your motivation.

fitness plus custom plans
Plan options include the ability to set a total workout/meditation time per day, set a plan length, and choose your activity types. You can also select preferred Fitness+ trainers and the type of music that you want in your plan.

Other Features and Tidbits

  • Apple News+ crossword puzzles
  • New Control Center slider animations
  • Interrupt ‌Siri‌ and make back-to-back requests without reactivation
  • Enhanced spam call filtering
  • Dark Mode version of AirPods popup card

Developers are still discovering what's changed in ‌iOS 17‌, so be sure to check back with more coverage here on MacRumors.

Related Roundup: iOS 17

Apple announced many new features coming to iOS 17 during yesterday's WWDC keynote. Although Apple Music was only mentioned briefly, today we have a better grasp on all the new features coming to the Music app thanks to the developer beta of ‌iOS 17‌.

Crossfade

The first major update is the ability to crossfade between songs, which Apple says will let you smoothly transition between songs so your music never stops. ‌Apple Music‌ iOS users have been waiting for this feature for a while now, making it one of the headlining additions to the Music app in ‌iOS 17‌.

apple music crossfade
Anyone on the current developer beta should be warned that enabling crossfade under the Music tab in the Settings app will cause the entire app to crash. Users are reporting that this happens every time they try to tap on the Music tab in the Settings app.

UI Changes

Similar to iOS 16 last year, ‌iOS 17‌ is bringing a few slight tweaks to the user interface in ‌Apple Music‌. The most notable update is found within the music player, which now features full-screen animated artwork for albums that support animated artwork.

apple music ios 17
With this change, these albums seamlessly blend into the bottom of the music player where the controls are located. This compares to the current ‌iOS 16‌ style, where the album art is in a traditional square box with color-matching gradient surrounding it.

Lastly, the minimized version of the music player now has a hovering style over the ‌Apple Music‌ interface. This provides a depth effect to the minimized player as you browse through the Music app, and it still has play/pause and skip buttons.

Collaborative Playlists

Apple briefly mentioned in its press release that ‌Apple Music‌ is gaining Collaborative Playlists in ‌iOS 17‌, but as of yet there are not many details on the feature. In a screenshot, we can see four friends working on a "Game Night" playlist, which shows a song and a profile picture of the person who added it, similar to how ‌Apple Music‌'s current Friends Mix looks.

apple music collaborative playlist
There's also a button at the top of the playlist that appears to be an option for adding and removing people from the playlist, and the playlist text mentions a way to "react" to your favorite songs. Apple said that Collaborative Playlists will be available in an update later this year, so this feature likely won't launch on the same day as ‌iOS 17‌.

CarPlay Update

There's a small update to ‌Apple Music‌ in CarPlay with ‌iOS 17‌. Using SharePlay in the car will allow all passengers to contribute to what's currently playing, letting friends and family add music to up next or play/pause and skip the current song.

Other Small Updates

Previously on ‌Apple Music‌, lyrics that weren't synced had a very small font that some users found difficult to read, especially compared to the songs with lyrics that played along to the music. In ‌iOS 17‌, these songs with lyrics that aren't synced have a bigger and more legible font.

There also appears to be a new star button on the music player in some images shared by Apple, although we haven't seen this for ourselves in the current ‌iOS 17‌ beta. This button looks similar to the star button found on artist pages in the current iteration of ‌Apple Music‌, which lets you favorite an artist to stay up-to-date on their releases.

This new star button on the music player may simply be a quick way to favorite the artist currently playing, or it could be a new feature entirely.

If you're looking to learn about all of the features and updates coming to ‌iOS 17‌, be sure to check out our post from yesterday. We've also recapped every single thing that Apple announced during its WWDC 2023 keynote.

Apple on Monday unveiled the Vision Pro, its long-awaited AR/VR headset. While the headset is not launching until early next year, some media outlets and YouTubers received a 30-minute guided demo of the device and shared their first impressions. The testers were not allowed to take photos or videos of the demo experience.

Apple Vision Pro at Steve Jobs Theater
In a tweet, tech columnist Joanna Stern described the Vision Pro as "by far the best headset out there." In a report for The Wall Street Journal, she elaborated that "the interface and hand gestures are intuitive, 3-D movies are finally making sense and a huge dinosaur felt like it really broke through a wall right in front of me."

Stern did point out some negative aspects, including the headset feeling heavy and making her feel a bit nauseous when switching between virtual reality and augmented reality modes. And while the Vision Pro has some innovative features to reduce feelings of isolation, such as showing the wearer's eyes through the front glass, Stern said it will still be a challenge for Apple to convince customers to wear the device.

In a video, well-known tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee said the Vision Pro has some features that are "the best I have ever seen in any VR headset, by a mile," including eye tracking and hand tracking. These advanced technologies do not come cheap, of course, as the Vision Pro will be priced at a staggering $3,499. Brownlee also pointed out that the headset lacks haptic feedback since it does not have controllers.


TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino said Apple has "delivered nothing less than a genuine leapfrog in capability and execution" with the Vision Pro.

"Every bit of this thing shows Apple-level ambition," said Panzarino. "I don't know whether it will be the 'next computing mode,' but you can see the conviction behind each of the choices made here. No corners cut. Full-tilt engineering on display."

MacRumors is in attendance at WWDC and will be publishing our own first impressions of the Vision Pro soon. In the meantime, check out our first in-person look at the headset. For more details about the Vision Pro and its visionOS operating system, check out our coverage of Apple's announcement from Monday.

Related Roundup: Apple Vision Pro
Related Forum: Apple Vision Pro

Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Air joins the 13-inch model introduced last year, offering almost all of the same hardware with a significantly larger display, yet there are still some key differences that are important to consider when purchasing one of the machines.

MacBook Air Multiple Sizes Feature
The 13- and 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ models are almost exactly the same in terms of feature set and design, both sporting high-resolution Liquid Retina displays, the M2 chip, Touch ID, two Thunderbolt ports, and much more. Both machines can be configured with the exact same amounts of memory and storage, and they are both available in the same color options. This simplifies purchasing decisions to just a few important aspects.

Key Differences

13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌
13.6-inch Liquid Retina display 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display
Starts with 8-Core GPU Starts with 10-Core GPU
Four-speaker sound system Six-speaker sound system with force-cancelling woofers
Integrated 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery Integrated 66.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
30W USB-C Power Adapter (with ‌M2‌ with 8-core GPU) or 35W Dual Port Compact Power Adapter 35W Dual Port Compact Power Adapter
Starts at $1,099 Starts at $1,299

It is important to note that while the 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ has a battery that is 13.9-watt-hours larger than the 13-inch model, both machines have the same 18-hour battery life. This is likely due to the increased power consumption of the larger display.

If you plan to heavily use your laptop's built-in speakers, the 15-inch model offers a worthwhile reason to get the larger model, offering two extra speakers inside the larger chassis. The smaller ‌MacBook Air‌ also misses out on the force-cancelling woofers that are present in the 15-inch model.

Since size is the main difference between the two ‌MacBook Air‌ models, prospective customers may wish to drill into the specific dimensions and weight of the machines. The 15-inch model adds 0.6 pounds (0.27 kg) and may be more difficult to get into a bag or backpack due to its larger footprint.

Dimensions

13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌
Height 0.44 inch (1.13 cm) 0.45 inch (1.15 cm)
Width 11.97 inches (30.41 cm) 13.40 inches (34.04 cm)
Depth 8.46 inches (21.5 cm) 9.35 inches (23.76 cm)
Weight 2.7 pounds (1.24 kg) 3.3 pounds (1.51 kg)

While the 13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ starts at $1,099, making it $200 cheaper than the 15-inch model, if you choose the 13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ with a 10-core GPU, this price difference shrinks to $100. If you add the 35W Dual Port Compact Power Adapter, the difference shrinks to just $80. With this in mind, most users should opt for the 15-inch model since it provides much more screen real-estate and better speakers.

You should only buy the 13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ if you specifically want a lighter, more portable device and are concerned about having to carry a device as large as the 15-inch model around. Likewise, the 13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ is a better buy if you are price-conscious and don't need anything more than an 8-core GPU and the 30W USB-C Power Adapter. The $1,099 13-inch model is still quite a bit more affordable than the 15-inch ‌MacBook Air‌, with virtually no compromises in terms of features.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)
Related Forum: MacBook Air