“You dont [sic] mess with a render if you are an experienced videographer,” explained one viewer on my three-week M1 Mac mini review.
I could not disagree with this statement more. I’m building a fast-growing YouTube channel and have edited its most successful videos on an M1 Mac mini.
I even edited a couple of them on the base-spec M1 MacBook Air (yes, the one with ‘only’ 8GB of RAM).
Does that make me any less professional simply because I’ve opted to use machines that don’t boast Apple’s ‘Pro’ moniker? Is the author sat in Starbucks tapping away on a ten-year-old MacBook Air somehow crippled by her choice of technology?
Of course not. And this is why Apple’s use of the word ‘Pro’ has really bothered me for quite some time. It’s completely inaccurate, inconsistent, and creates far too many purchasing headaches for people who just want a Mac on which to undertake their work.
This needs to stop. Today.
’Pro’ is inconsistent throughout the Apple lineup
Let’s take a look at the current list of Apple’s ‘Pro’ devices:
- MacBook Pro
- iMac Pro
- AirPods Pro
- Mac Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPad Pro
Can a pair of noise-cancelling headphones really be described as ‘pro’? More importantly, how on earth can a smartphone be deemed ‘professional’?
These questions are worth asking because those two products follow the same product identification as the Mac Pro – a computer which can be specced up to cost more than a family car and which is arguably designed for high-end, time-sensitive work.
It really doesn’t make any sense. The Mac Pro has just the right name – until you discover that there’s also an iPad to which Apple has also decided to add the word ‘Pro’, and the only discernible upgrades you get for that level of prestige are a higher refresh rate, larger screen, and Face ID.
This begs the question: what does the word ‘pro’ mean to you, Apple?
’Pro’ is a very subjective term
I consider myself a professional computer user. I create videos, produce audio, write blog posts and undertake business calls on my Macs.
For every single one of those tasks, I can either use the base-level M1 MacBook Air, my old mega-spec 16” MacBook Pro, or my 2017 iMac (complete with aging internals).
However, more often than not, the device I use for all of those tasks is the brilliant M1 Mac mini. And guess what? It doesn’t have the word ‘Pro’ plastered onto the end of its name.
You might be a software developer writing applications for a large corporate employer. You could be the CEO of a startup. You might even be a bedroom music producer who creates tunes for nothing more than your own enjoyment. Perhaps you’re a hobbyist photographer who shoots landscapes during the weekend.
If you fall into any of those categories and consider yourself a ‘pro’, that is absolutely accurate. No one can – or should – tell you otherwise. And the device you choose in order to undertake your work will be equally personal to you – whatever form it takes.
I built my business on the cheapest MacBook Pro
Remember the ‘Escape’ MacBook Pro? It arrived with the redesign back in 2016, and the tech elite scoffed at it for not being “pro enough”.
It lacked power, the Touch Bar (no, really), and an acceptable number of ports. Some even suggested that it only existed in order to occupy a price gap in the MacBook line-up.
Regardless of these apparent shortcomings, I managed to build my entire business on that computer. I opted for the absolute base-spec, too – the cheapest MacBook Pro you could buy at the time with a snail’s pace Intel chip and just 8GB of RAM. But it saw me through thick and thin and (inevitable replacement keyboard aside), never let me down.
That un-pro MacBook Pro was about as professional as it could ever be for me. It holds a very special place in my heart.
I’m also acutely aware that the exact same machine is still being put to use within a friend’s very successful marketing agency. Do they view it as a pro device?
Of course they do.
The M1 Mac mini is breathtaking
Now that the M1 Mac mini Bluetooth issues have been fixed, I feel like I can finally use the word ‘breathtaking’ to describe this incredible little machine.
Because it really is.
Once again, I’ve had a number of viewers on YouTube point and laugh at the fact I’m using a Mac mini for professional work. But I am, and I’m proud of it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve used a better machine for that purpose – £3,500 16” MacBook Pro included.
It breezes through every single task I throw at it, from 4K video editing to audio processing. It has never, ever let me down (aforementioned Bluetooth problems aside), and I cannot make it sweat. The fans never kick into gear, I can never max out the CPU cores and it remains stone-cold all day.
The M1 Mac mini runs my entire business. It doesn’t include the word ‘Pro’ in its name, but it is the most professional machine I own.
What can Apple to do change this perception?
The MacBook Pro isn’t a professional laptop. It’s whatever you make it. The same goes for the iPad Pro, the MacBook Air, and that wonderful M1 Mac mini.
I think, deep down, Apple knows this. Much of their advertising (in which we see the world’s top professionals using Macs) appears to suggest that it’s ok to still be using an Apple computer with a glowing logo. But their pricing strategy, inconsistent naming conventions, and weird spec options (the 7-core versus 8-core GPU thing on the M1 MacBook Air is biblically stupid) force a particular way of thinking.
There’s an air of arrogance among those who assume they have a more professional computer simply because it reduced the size of their bank balance considerably more than yours. Those same people will pour over benchmarks for hours and argue until they’re blue in the face about how quickly an SSD drive will meet an untimely death because you opted for 8GB of RAM rather than 16GB.
Trust me – that best-selling author in Starbucks couldn’t give two hoots about any of that stuff. And neither do I.
What if Apple dropped the ‘Pro’ title altogether? I’m serious. What if it was just a ‘MacBook’, and you created your own professional machine by deciding on the form it takes in terms of internal specs, screen size, and form factor?
I don’t really have any allegiance to the ‘Pro’ moniker. In fact, I think it causes more issues than it’s worth. Without it, perhaps we could all live a slightly more harmonious life where each person’s level of professionalism was self-appointed and fully respected by everyone.
Need help buying?
If you’re struggling with the decision of which Mac to buy next, start by ridding your mind of any perceived need for a ‘Pro’ computer, and instead use my buying guides to find the perfect machine for you.