Bigger Apples – The Wait is Over.  Kind of.

A few months back I was asked should one buy the M1 or wait and my advise was to wait.  Now here we are 3-4 months later and new toys have arrived as expected.

The good news if you wanted a new MacBook Pro your wishes have been granted.  If you wanted a new 27″ iMac then you are out of luck, that will no doubt come next year as we are half-way through a 2-year transition to Apple Silicon.

This time around Apple have launched two new CPU’s, or system on a chip processors with GPU and all the other gubbins in a single chip.  The M1 Pro and the M1 Max.  Both have 10 CPU-cores, and with the difference between them being the number of GPU cores and the amount of RAM for the most part.  The Pro supports 32GB RAM and has 16 GPU cores, while the Max support 32GB cores and 64GB RAM.  And it’s this 64GB RAM limit which has stopped Apple using these in the new iMac – the last one had 128GB so the new one has to have more, or at least the same, it can’t be worse.

Two new laptops have been announced, if you’e not already seen the various videos, etc online, a 14″ and a 16″, with both chip combinations available in each.  Bigger brighter screens, tons more ports, including HDMI, an SD slot and mag-safe, and loads of battery capacity.  You can also get up to 8TB of internal SSD if you need it.  Multiple monitors are supported – up to 3 x 6K monitors plus a 4K TV on the M1 Max.

Performance is claimed to be better than anything else on the market and given first-hand experience of the M1 I’d believe them.   My M1 MacBook Air has become my main computer and I use it for everything.  My PC gets powered on only for games, but it’s an expensive thing for that so it will be stripped down for parts and put on eBay.  When I do switch it on though it seems old, tired and is very noisy.  It’s a thing of the past and the whole industry is now rushing towards ARM processors and away from x86.    Apple are killing the competition in terms of performance and doing it with considerably less power – the new 16″ MacBook Pro has a 21 hour battery life and weighs just over 2kg! And it now has ports.

I would wait for the reviews to come out to confirm Apple’s claims before pulling the trigger, but they look brilliant.  And for those of you waiting for the new iMac.  Just be patient.  It will be worth the wait.

************ EDIT. ********

Here’s an afterthought.   These new laptops have been announced and yes they are very fast, but the entry-level models are 8-core, with a 14-core GPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD and there are no performance figures for this yet.  Yes it still has a fantastic screen, ports, etc and the entry level works out around £900 more than a MacBook Air.  But do you need it?  It’s very easy to think you need more than 16GB RAM and you need at least 1TB of storage and you are quickly at £2500, then you think that’s a lot for an 8-core CPU, I’d prefer the 10-core which is an extra £200, but then you should future proof it and get the 32-core GPU, adding £700 instead of the £200, which takes it over £3k and then perhaps 1TB isn’t enough you should have 2TB and all of a sudden you are over £3500.  Again do you need it?  Here I am on my little MacBook Air (okay I upgraded the RAM, which is needed, and the SSD which is a nice to have), but it is more than fast enough for any photo tasks and would be for casual video editing too.  I’ve once had it complain about lack of RAM (I have 16GB), but I was running Photoshop, LR, Photo Mechanic, Topaz DeNoise and had a few Chrome tabs open too.  I might have even had Capture One running too (might have been running and update).  So basically loads of stuff.  So other than this one occasion where I ran out of memory there has been nothing that has made me want something bigger and faster.   It only supports 1 external monitor, but I use the internal screen and an external 27″ screen and it is fine for everything I do.  I mostly edit off the big screen and make selections on the smaller one.  The reason I am mentioning this is that is is easy to get carried away with ‘bling’ – I do it all the time – but the majority of Buzzers don’t need anything more than a MacBook Air.  Honestly you don’t, they perform that well.  And there is soon to be a lot of them appearing second-hand or on the Apple refurb store as everyone sells up to get the new one.  So unless you really need more than 16GB RAM or really need the bigger screen, just get the Air.  And if all you need is just the bigger screen while at your desk, get an external monitor.

Published in Member Blogs, youzify_media

  1. Thanks for this Shaun, I am going to try and translate this into my understanding of tech tomorrow. I only use a laptop and need to replace that, so this has given me some very timely food for thought. I may come back with questions. But this is great. 🙂

  2. Thanks Shaun, as ever a great insight into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the current state of computing. The “do you really need it “ element is particularly relevant!

  3. Thanks Shaun, very informative 👍

  4. Thank you for this excellent and lucid assessment, Shaun – very useful and much appreciated!

  5. Thanks Shaun. I watched the presentation yesterday (always enjoy the quality and energy of them), your summary and thoughts very helpfully. I always end up over specing things, oh it’s only another ££ then another ££ adding unto ££££££££ but as you mention future proofing is always on my mind, my 2010 iMac was over spec’d at the time but still going strong (ok can’t upgrade to use latest LR &PS but do I need the extra bits?). Will follow your advice and wait to hear the reviews and check no first edition snags. Thanks again.

  6. I need to replace my Mac book 13” pro with only 256 Ssd. New new M1 Pro 14” looks just the job. Good pointers on what is really needed Shaun. Thanks for your summary.

    • Hi Paul, FYI I got 16GB RAM and 2TB SSD in my MB Air and while RAM is a bit tight the SSD is the right size. 1TB would have been too small to keep many live projects on, but 4TB would be overkill. I tend to copy stuff to a NAS drive in LR when I’ve finished working on stuff. If I were buying now or if I were doing any video projects I would probably go for the 10-core with 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD. Much more than that and it starts getting expensive for stuff you won’t use most of the time. Upgrading to 64GB RAM isn’t actually too much on these new laptops, but the SSD prices are quite high so be careful not to overcook the storage.

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