Well, that was quite an event yesterday, wasn’t it?

Apple has added a splash of colour to the HomePod mini (yawn), introduced a new ‘voice only’ tier for Apple Music (hello, Zane!), and there’s a new set of AirPods which are just like AirPods Pro but without all the cool stuff (get on with it, Tim!).

There was no Mac mini update and not even a whiff of the next-generation massive iMac.

But they did announce two ridiculously powerful Apple Silicon chips – the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. Oh, and the long-rumoured and long-awaited huge update to the MacBook Pro line.

I ordered mine earlier, and I’d like to share with you my reasons for picking the spec I eventually settled on.

The spec I chose

Choosing a new MacBook Pro isn’t easy. If we put the 13-inch M1 version to one side (I really wouldn’t recommend buying that one), we now have two chips on the spec sheets.

The first is the M1 Pro. This has either an 8- or 10-core CPU and a 14- or 16-core GPU (depending on the MacBook screen size you opt for). The RAM comes in either 16GB or 32 GB flavours – regardless of which sized laptop you opt for.

Confused? Well, let’s throw the M1 Max into the mix, too.

This fruity little number is available on both the 14” and 16” variants of the new MacBook Pro and offers a default 10-core CPU and either 24- or 32-core GPU. It also sports up to 64GB of RAM.


However, it didn’t take me long to round on the configuration I wanted. It’s now safely ordered – with an estimated delivery time of mid-November – and runs as follows:

  • 16” MacBook Pro in Space Grey
  • Apple M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU
  • 32GB RAM
  • 2TB SSD

Weighing in at £3,699, it joins the previous Intel generation 16” MacBook Pro as the second most expensive laptop I’ve ever bought.

Why I chose it

I totally understand if you’re confused about what to go for with this new MacBook Pro.

Apple has (hopefully) done a wonderful job at completely speccing the balls out of this thing, and giving us all of the ports most of us have been calling for. They even put the old-style MagSafe back in!

But the presence of two new, powerful chips and multiple options for CPU and GPU cores – not to mention RAM – will confuse plenty of buyers.

That is, unless you know exactly what you need. And, thankfully I sit in that camp.

I edit two 4K, 10-bit colour videos for YouTube each week. This isn’t quite MKBHD production standards, but the footage from my Sony FX3 is starting to make that wonderful M1 Mac mini sweat.

The Mac mini also isn’t particularly portable.

So, the 16” MacBook Pro it is! That additional screen size will finally unleash me from the desk when it comes to editing my videos, and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on it primarily for that reason.

My main requirement beyond screen size is graphics performance. The 24-cores on offer in the M1 Max for an additional £200 seemed like a no-brainer over the M1 Pro. As did the additional £200 to take the GPU to 32-cores.

They’re clever like that, Apple; it’s how they get you.

As for the RAM… I just couldn’t bring myself to spend another £400 on an already expensive laptop for something I simply wouldn’t notice, day-to-day. My M1 Mac mini has 16GB and performs incredibly well; it’s only let down by graphics performance. Moving to 32GB will therefore give me a tonne of extra headroom.

Picking the storage option was slightly more tricky. For £2,200 I could have added 8TB. If I was mad. The 4TB option was also tempting but represented another £1,000. So, 2TB it is, which should be plenty for on-device video editing when I don’t have my external drives to hand.

How to pick your new MacBook Pro

I’m going to dig into these specs more for you – don’t worry. Therefore, if you’re not in immediate need of a new MacBook Pro, I’d hold your pennies and just keep an eye on the reviews.

My hunch is that the base-level versions of both the 14” and 16” laptops will be absolutely perfect for the vast majority of users. The only justification for spending more is when you have specific requirements relating to video work or onboard storage.

And if you’re confused about how to pick between the two chips, among all of the hockey stick graphs shown at yesterday’s event, the underlying narrative was that, essentially, the M1 Max is twice as powerful as the M1 Pro. Simple.

So, if you do need one of these beasts now, just ask yourself if the extra spend for roughly twice the power is going to make a meaningful dent on your happiness, enjoyment, or productivity.

Equally, you may simply be one of those people who wants the absolute best – which is fine and just as good a reason to put down your hard-earned today.

Stay tuned! I’m pretty sure I’ll have a lot more to say about these new MacBooks.