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Apple M2 MacBook Air Hands-On: Bigger Screen, Higher Price – CNET

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This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET’s complete coverage from and about Apple’s annual developers conference.

Apple’s new M2-powered MacBook Air adds a lot of new features, but it also brings back my least favorite: The laptop’s starting price is over $999. 

For much of its life, the MacBook Air sat at a comfortable $999, but in 2018 a redesign bumped up the price by $200. By 2020, the starting price was back to $999, and I felt that things were as they should be. 

Guess what? It’s now 2022, and with another redesign, the MacBook Air starts at $1,199… again. 

I harp on this just because that significant jump for a very mainstream laptop will put it out of reach for many of the students and artists who could get the most out of it. Other than that, I do like just about everything else about the new version. It’s also worth noting the late-2020 M1 MacBook Air remains available, for now, at $999. 


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After Monday’s WWDC 2022 keynote, I had a chance to get some limited hands-on time with the new MacBook Air. It wasn’t a lot of time, so I focused mostly on the new physical design and how the system looked and felt. 

The M1 MacBook Air, one of the first sets of Macs to move from Intel to Apple Silicon, is not a bad-looking machine, but it’s based on a design that launched in 2018, which is approximately forever ago in computer terms. The new version moves from the traditional soft, tapered design to the boxier, blockier look of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops from late 2021. It’s a more modern, more constructivist design (in that it largely rejects decorative stylization). 

M2 MacBook AirM2 MacBook Air

Dan Ackerman/CNET

But the new MacBook Air goes beyond the Pro models it copies in one important respect: It adds a new color to the usual gray and silver (and the M1 Air’s gold) — a new Midnight color, which appears as a matte-black finish. It’s hands-down the most striking new MacBook look in a long time, and reminds me of the old matte-black polycarbonate MacBooks of the mid-2000s. 

Its footprint is a hair smaller than before, as is the weight, at 2.7 pounds versus 2.8 pounds for the M1 MacBook Air. But the new model felt even smaller and more portable than that when I picked it up — largely because it’s thinner, at 11.3mm. The M1 version tapers down, but it measures 16mm at the rear hinge. 

The new M2 MacBook Air isn’t going on sale until July, so it may be some time before I’m able to give it a more in-depth, hands-on testing. I’m especially eager to see how its 1080p-resolution webcam works, which is probably the single most important upgrade for a lot of people who’ve tired of the never-great 720p webcam in previous MacBook Air laptops, up to and including the M1 version. 

M2 MacBook Air touchpadM2 MacBook Air touchpad

Dan Ackerman/CNET

I’m also very interested in spending more time with the new, slightly larger 13.6-inch screen (versus 13.3-inch), which Apple says is 25% brighter, at 500 nits. It also adds MagSafe, which returned in last year’s new MacBook Pro systems, and its touchpad is, according to Apple, slightly larger, but it wouldn’t put a number or percentage on it. 

Interestingly, almost none of these improvements are available in the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, also announced at WWDC 2022. It lacks the larger screen, better camera, MagSafe connection and new colors. It’s, on paper at least, the exact same as the late-2020 13-inch MacBook Pro, just with the new M2 chip replacing the M1. It does, however, remain the only way to get your hands (or fingers) on the nearly extinct Touch Bar.

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Quebec-area game devs are worrying about impact of new language laws – Game Developer

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A recently-passed law in the Canadian province of Quebec called “Bill 96” is starting to worry those in the local game development community. As several of them explain to the CBC, the law’s restrictions on access to English-language government resources might hurt development studios trying to hire international talent.

If you haven’t heard yet, Bill 96 is a piece of legislation that aims to mandate the use of the French language when accessing government services (with the exception of healthcare). 

Enforcement of the bill is complicated, because there are two groups of Quebec residents (“historic” English-speakers who were educated in English, and immigrants who’ve been in Quebec for less than six months) who are still allowed to access English-speaking services.

That means that on paper, game developers headed to Quebec from other regions or countries will have six months to get caught up on la langue Française after moving to the area. That’s not an easy task, made harder if they have to do so while helping build games with primarily English-speaking teams.

Bidding Quebec adieu

Some developers (like an anonymous one named “Remy”) told the CBC that they accepted employment at Quebec-area studios because they were told that learning French was “optional,” and that their coworkers would mostly be speaking English. He says that he knows several developers making plans to abandon the region.

Unity senior partner relations manager Osama Dorias (formerly of WB Games Montréal) explained that he’s been advising colleagues only to take jobs in the area if they speak French. “It’s like night and day. I shifted from being an advocate for people to move here, to warning people away,” he stated.

Even though many game developers pass through Montréal’s university system, Dorias says that they’re likely to leave the city if they get better offers from developers in the United States or Sweden.

The Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec, a nonprofit organization representing Canadian studios, says that it supports the spirit of Bill 96 but is also worried about its impact. Representative Christopher Chancey told the CDC that the organization fears the bill’s passing will send a message to international game developers that other cultures aren’t welcome in the province.

The CBC has also reported on the broader tech industry’s worries over Bill 96.

It’s worth noting that Quebec-area game studios appear to have not previously emphasized the need to learn French among international hirees. Part of the issue being faced by game studios may be that they have not built up any services to help developers learn French despite it being the official business language of Quebec since 1977.

Francophonic conflict

The repercussions of Bill 96 are causing headaches for Quebec residents in all walks of life, as the bill also changes the rules for filing contracts, access to 311 services, and more. 

Developers not familiar with Quebec or other Francophone countries may not be aware of the cultural conflict that surrounds the French language. In both France and Quebec, many French speakers take extreme effort to allow the language to be overtaken by English language usage. These actions range from specialized language for video game industry terms (mostly harmless, also charming) to public condemnations of multiculturalism (possibly harmful, tacking too closely toward xenophobia).

Part of this conflict even manifested during revelations about allegations of abuse at Ubisoft’s Canadian studios. In 2020, associate producer Stephane Mehay was accused of refusing to speak English to some colleagues in order to exclude them from conversations. He even would allegedly insult them in French, thinking that they could not understand his words.

It isn’t fair to cast the English language as a victim in this scenario, (it’s still the most-spoken language in the world, only rivaled by Mandarin and Hindi). However, Canada’s game development boom over the last decade has been partly centered in the Montréal area, and such growth could be impacted if the region is unable to attract English-speaking talent.

The Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec and other developers hope that the government will recognize the potential damage, and are open to the idea of extending the timeline for new immigrants to learn the French language. Hopefully the architects of Bill 96 will heed their warnings and work to adjust the impact on immigrants, rather than dictate a six-month timeline to learn a whole new language.

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Sony introduces two Inzone gaming monitors (4K 144Hz and FHD 240Hz), three headphones too – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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Today Sony unveiled a new series of gaming hardware – Inzone. The launch products are two monitors and three headsets. Inzone products are designed for an immersive gaming experience be it on PC or on a PlayStation 5.

Sony Inzone M9 and M3 gaming monitors

Both are 27” gaming monitors with IPS LCD panels. The Inzone M9 has 4K resolution and 144Hz refresh rate (120Hz over HDMI). For improved dynamic contrast, it uses Full Array Local Dimming. It peaks at 600 nits brightness and has a VESA DisplayHDR 600 certification. Additionally, this monitor has 95% DCI-P3 coverage.


Specs: Sony Inzone M3

Specs: Sony Inzone M9 • Sony Inzone M3

The Sony Inzone M3 drops down to 1080p resolution, but increases the refresh rate to 240Hz (including over HDMI). The panel is edge lit and has a peak brightness of 400 nits (DisplayHDR 400). This display offers 99% sRGB coverage.

Full Array Local dimming on the Sony Inzone M8
The Inzone Hub PC software can control all settings for the monitors

Full Array Local dimming on the Sony Inzone M8 • The Inzone Hub PC software can control all settings for the monitors

Both displays are calibrated at the factory to hit their color accuracy goals. They also support HDR10 and HLG types of HDR. As for the refresh rate, they support G-Sync and HDMI 2.1 VRR for variable refresh rate (24Hz minimum). They also boast 1ms gray-to-gray transition times.

Both monitors are equipped with two HDMI inputs, one DisplayPort 1.4. Additionally, they have a built-in USB hub – one Type-B goes in, three USB Type-A come out. These are perfect for connecting keyboards, mice and controllers as the built-in KVM functionality will switch the USB connection along to follow the video input.

Sony introduces two Inzone gaming monitors (4K 144Hz and FHD 240Hz),  three headphones too

This will allow you to connect both a PC and a PlayStation 5. There are some PS5 specific features like Auto HDR tone mapping and automatic genre picture mode (e.g. switching to Cinema mode when you put on a movie). There are PC features too, like dedicated PC software that lets you tweak every setting of the monitor.

Sony introduces two Inzone gaming monitors (4K 144Hz and FHD 240Hz),  three headphones too

The stands of both monitors let you adjust the height and tilt for maximum comfort. The central pillar works as a cable channel to keep things neat. The M9 also has an RGB LED strip on the back to match your lighting setup.

Sony introduces two Inzone gaming monitors (4K 144Hz and FHD 240Hz),  three headphones too

The Sony Inzone M9 is available for pre-order at $900/€1,100/£1,000 (coming this summer). The Inzone M3 will launch by the end of this year with a price of $530.

Sony Inzone H9, H7 and H3 gaming headphones

These three share the same external design, but offer different capabilities to match your needs and budget. The first two are wireless, the H3 is a wired headset.

When you heard “wireless” you may have winced and while the H9 and H7 do support Bluetooth, they are best used with the included USB dongle that enables low-latency connection over 2.4GHz. The headphones can be connected to both the dongle and your smartphone (over Bluetooth), so you can easily answer an incoming call.

Sony introduces two Inzone gaming monitors (4K 144Hz and FHD 240Hz),  three headphones too

The boom mic offers great audio quality for voice chats in game and is easy to control – flip it down to talk, flip it up to mute. There is a hardware button that changes the audio balance between game audio and voice chat.

Sony introduces two Inzone gaming monitors (4K 144Hz and FHD 240Hz),  three headphones too

All three headphones support 360 Spatial Sound. This can be activated by the Inzone Hub PC software, which also includes algorithms to turn 2 channel stereo into 7.1 channel surround sound. There is a 360 Spatial Sound Personalizer app for smartphones.

Sony introduces two Inzone gaming monitors (4K 144Hz and FHD 240Hz),  three headphones too

The Sony Inzone H9 supports Active Noise Cancellation and have a dedicated button to toggle Ambient sound mode (100Hz-8,000Hz). With ANC off, the headphones can last for 32 hours of play time.

The Inzone H7 do not have ANC. On the plus side, they have longer battery life of 40 hours. Both the H9 and H7 feature 40mm drivers (EDCCA Voice coil with neodymium magnets) and 5Hz-20,000Hz frequency response.

Sony Inzone H9
Sony Inzone H9
Sony Inzone H7
Sony Inzone H7
Sony Inzone H3
Sony Inzone H3

Sony Inzone H9, H7 and H3

The Inzone H3 don’t have to worry about batteries. These headphones also have 40mm drivers (CCAW Voice coil with neodymium magnets, 35Ohm impedance) with 10Hz-20,000Hz frequency response.

All three headsets are available for pre-order now, you can find them on Sony’s official site, Amazon and Best Buy. The Inzone H9 cost $300/€300/£270, the H7 are $230/€230/£200 and the H3 are $100/€100/£90.

Here is a showcase of the new Inzone product line and more details about the monitors and headphones:

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The Xiaomi 12S Ultra Smartphone Will Use a Full Sony 1-Inch Sensor – PetaPixel

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Xiaomi has announced that it’s upcoming 12S Ultra will use the full size of Sony’s IMX989 1-inch sensor. The phone, which is also co-developed with Leica, will be announced on July 4.

Xiaomi made the announcement on its Weibo account, which was spotted by Android Authority. The company says that its new 12S Ultra will use Sony’s largest mobile phone sensor that it currently offers resulting in better low light performance, faster focusing, and better dynamic range than is expected of the small form factor of smartphones.

Sony sensors

This isn’t the first smartphone to use a 1-inch sensor. Last year, Sony announced the Xperia Pro-I, which was the first smartphone to feature a 1-inch phase-detection-equipped sensor. But in that case, the phone doesn’t actually use the full size of the sensor and is instead a center crop of it.

While this does result in better quality since the sensor is larger, it felt like a stretch to say it was using a 1-inch sensor when it really couldn’t take advantage of it due to the physical restrictions Sony was dealing with when it comes to the thinness of a smartphone, the size of the sensor, and optics.

But Xiaomi’s Lei Jun says that the 1-inch sensor that is coming to the 12S Ultra, crucially, won’t be cropped. How the company plans to deal with physical issues Sony came up against in its phone isn’t clear.

Jun also says that Xiaomi didn’t just buy the sensor, but that it was co-developed between the two companies with a total investment cost of $15 million split evenly between them. The fruits of this development will first come to the 12S Ultra before being made available to other smartphone manufacturers, so it’s not exclusive to Xiaomi forever.

Xiaomi one inch sensor

Of note, only the 12S Ultra will feature a 1-inch sensor while the 12S and 12S Pro will feature the Sony IMX707 instead.

That means that the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is co-developed with both Leica and Sony in some capacity. The German camera manufacturer struck a deal with the Chinese smartphone company is May and promised a long-term strategic partnership.

Other than the promise of a one-inch sensor, the only other details of the Xiaomi 12S series are that it will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor.

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