Of all the M1 Apple Macs available right now, there’s one that sticks out like a sore thumb.
It isn’t the iMac for its absence (thus far) of a large-screen variant. It’s not the Mac mini for being the only M1 Mac that comes with zero peripherals. It isn’t even the M1 MacBook Air whose power belies its ancestors.
No, it’s the M1 MacBook Pro.
That computer does not make sense – particularly right now.
Despite this, I’m aware that the MacBook Pro is an important computer for many people. It’s lusted after, genuinely required for specific types of work and remains Apple’s most coveted laptop.
But there’s a new one on the way. And, if you’re in desperate need (or want) of a MacBook Pro right now, you might be wondering if the M1 version is a good investment.
It may not be. Let me explain why.
In defence of Intel
Woah, what’s this? A guy who has been singing the praises of the M1 for the last few months recommending that you buy an Intel Mac?
He sold his 16” MacBook Pro!
Curious, right? Well, not really.
I recently published a blog and video which considers a few of the reasons people may not be overly keen on the M1 chip. As the title points out, there are even some out there who actively hate it (trust me, it’s true – I’ve read the comments on my M1 videos).
As expected, the response to this was a mixture of people praising the M1 and, curiously, wondering why anyone would ever opt for the Intel version over those containing the new Apple chip.
Then, we have the Justin Long Intel adverts, which are bum-clenchingly desperate. They are a terrible move by Intel and seem to back up the theory that the chip manufacturer is running scared now that Apple has finally released its own silicon for the Mac.
This is a shame, because Apple hasn’t finished with Intel, and nor has its customers. Does that make Apple greedy and those customers daft? Not at all.
Intel Macs are still readily available from Apple for several very good reasons.
The M1 isn’t for everyone (yet)
I’m acutely aware that there are many businesses, freelancers and institutions out there who need very specific tools at very specific times. For instance, some still rely on software that simply will not run on the M1 platform at this moment in time.
If you sit within that camp and need to upgrade your MacBook Pro today in order to meet customer demand or undertake a specific project which requires intense work for the next few months, you’ve hit upon the reason you can still buy Intel Macs on Apple’s website.
Apple isn’t daft. The team behind their product line-up knows that there’s still a demand for ‘older’ Mac configurations. It’s why I can guarantee they’re still selling Intel Macs by the bucketload. It’s also why they inexplicably keep some of their most ancient configuration options on the table.
Remember how long it took for the non-retina MacBook Air to die?
This approach is also why I found it relatively easy to resell my 16” MacBook Pro. Someone (several people, actually) wanted it, badly.
At the time of writing, you can still buy a 13” MacBook Pro with an Intel chip in it. Unlike the M1 variant, it can be upgraded to 32GB, and you can boost the processor speed if you wish.
Need more grunt? Not happy with the M1? Want a bigger MacBook? There’s still the Intel-based 16” MacBook Pro that can be configured up to a whopping 64GB of RAM and 8TB of storage. You can even throw in an 8GB Radeon Pro discrete graphics card if you need it.
That makes for one hell of a computer. For the in-demand creative who is currently losing time and clients to an ageing 15” MacBook Pro, it could be a lifesaver.
But what about the rumours?
At the time of writing, we’re a little over a month away from WWDC, and the rumours about new MacBook Pros appearing at the event are intensifying.
They’re just rumours, though. I think we probably will see something MacBook Pro-related at WWDC, but we still don’t know what that means for the people and businesses who need one now.
A bezel-free screen, inclusion of an SD card slot (yay), the next generation M-series chip; it all sounds incredibly exciting. But we don’t know when these MacBooks will be made available.
Sure, they could be announced at WWDC, but pre-orders might not follow until later this year. Apple has form for this, remember – they’ve used WWDC in the past as a vehicle to preview hardware releases such as the iMac Pro and ‘trash can’ Mac Pro.
“Coming soon,” they’ll say.
What does that mean?
If the same approach is taken at WWDC this year, it’ll be pretty useless if you’ve got a genuine need for a MacBook Pro now. Waiting for the announcement could lose you seriously productive and profitable time.
The moral of the story? If you need an Intel MacBook Pro now for whatever reason – buy one, and don’t feel bad about doing so.
If it’ll offer you a return on investment or will simply enable you to do something that your current machine will not, you’ve made a super smart decision. After all, it’s clearly a personal or commercial imperative – who are we to judge?
Don’t be blinded by Apple’s M1 chip. We’re still at the very start of this exciting journey, and the early train isn’t for everyone.