Last year saw the first Mac laptops with Apple’s own ARM-based processors go on sale. The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro caught the imagination of the market with the benefits of Apple Silicon on show in every test. Yet there is more untapped potential than what the current macOS laptops offer. If you are looking to buy a new MacBook Pro, here’s why you should wait.
A member of the media walks by a display advertising the new MacBook Pro computer during a product … [+]
With two new MacBook Pros expected in the coming months (I’d suggest a launch in mid- to late-October with availability from in November) there will be a lot of improvements. The move to a 14-inch display for the smaller of the two top-end MacBook Pro laptops will be one of the most visual changes – especially as Apple is moving to the more vibrant and power efficient miniLED technology.
But there are three significant changes that should make you stop and consider waiting for this refreshed hardware, no matter the deals that you might find between now and their release on the original MacBook Pro.
First up is the expected uprating of the Apple Silicon chip. The presumptively named M1X system on chip will offer more computation power to the entire system. That’s going to be noticeable across all of your apps, but the biggest difference will be in the Rosetta 2 emulation layer. While many developers have moved their apps over to the ARM codebase of the Apple Silicon, countless others are still running Intel-based apps.
Apple has worked hard to ensure these run under emulation on the Apple Silicon Macs, but there are some speed bumps in the road – speed bumps that are going to be smoothed out with more power. The new MacBooks are gong to be better emulators of older Macs than the current M1 machines.
And you can add utilities such as Parallels to run Windows on the ARM-based Macs; they’ll be thankful of the extra grunt as well
Then there is the companion to the expected increase of CPU cores in the M1X chip, the increase in GPU cores… with some sources suggesting a 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU option may be available (that might cost a bit more than your budget, though).
Given these MacBook Pro laptops very much put the ‘Pro’ in the MacBook Pro, the target market is going to feature a lot of creatives, where the extra power will make editing and outputting media faster. It’s going to be those working in visual media that will feel much of the benefit of the extra GPU power, reducing render time and making the whole process more efficient.
Finally, all of this power is going to need a lot of room to work in. Even with the increased efficiency of macOS, the first generation of Apple Silicon MacBooks were limited to 16GB of RAM. For many that’s going to be enough, but again these late-2021 MacBook Pros are all about putting as much creative power into the hands of consumers, and creative power needs as much memory as possible during the process.
So the news that Apple will be pushing the MacBook Pro specs up as high as 64 GB of RAM will be welcome news. No doubt options for 32 GB and 16 GB will be offered, although I would expect the entry-level high-end models to start with 8 GB of RAM; which will match the entry level on the low-end MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.
The current Apple Silicon MacBooks are some of the best consumer level laptops Apple has ever produced, but by design they occupy the lowest rung on the performance ladder. With the upcoming 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops, Apple is launching the first macOS machines that offer a significant step up in performance.
If you’re on the lookout for a new MacBook Pro, these are the machines to wait for.
Now read the latest headlines in the weekly Apple Loop column…
I am known for my strong views on mobile technology, online media, and the effect this has on the public conscious and existing businesses. I’ve been following this space
I am known for my strong views on mobile technology, online media, and the effect this has on the public conscious and existing businesses. I’ve been following this space for over ten years, working with a number of publishers, publications and media companies, some for long periods of time, others for commissions, one-off pieces or a series of articles or shows. As Scotland’s first podcaster, I continue to be a prominent voice in the rise of podcasting and new media online, and picked up a British Academy (BAFTA) nomination for my annual coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, alongside contributions to Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, presenting Edinburgh local radio’s coverage of the General Election. You’ll find me on Twitter (@Ewan), Facebook, and Google Plus.