Why You SHOULD Buy a Macbook Pro Right Now, if You Really Need It
Following Apple’s announcement of the development of their own processors that they’ve been referring to as “Apple Silicon”, there has been a lot of intense rhetoric warning consumers to delay their purchase in time for these new machines. These perspectives might make sense at first glance for a wide section of the consumer market — they act more as a warning to otherwise unsuspecting consumers who would purchase a new Macbook rather than wait the extra year for a more future-proofed model.
But this perspective also fails, in many ways. As discussed by Marques Brownlee, or MKBHD, in his 2020 iMac review, the 2021/2022 version of the machine is likely to bring some important updates to performance and power consumption, and they’re likely to come in a more attractive form-factor. But for hard-core tech fanatics, the more minor upgrade to the 2020 model might be a good one. Getting the latest features in the latest iMac is important to a subset of the consumer base. Perhaps these folks will then go on to sell their 2020 iMac in favor of its updated Apple Silicon replacement in the next couple of years.
Those who aren’t quite as tech-savvy are those that are probably the target for the deluge of news articles and YouTube videos warning consumers to hold on to their hard-earned cash in anticipation of a greater refresh from Apple. But this same market, as described by MKBHD, is likely not going to care much about the upgrade in performance or in design. At least not as much as hardcore fans. So then, this subset of consumers likely isn’t even paying attention to all of this news.
So if one subset of the market is so interested in tech that they want the latest and greatest even if it’ll be outpaced in a year, and the other subset doesn’t have much interest in the improved technology, then who is this advice for?
Maybe iMac users really do represent the primary audience for all of these warnings. Those casual iMac purchasers are likely to be holding onto their machines for a long time. People buy these computers to last upwards of 7 or 8 years. If this advice gives them pause enough to wait it out for another year, so they’ll likely have a far more future-proofed machine.
Where the rhetoric becomes troublesome is in convincing consumers that they should wait to purchase the newly updated Macbook Pro lineup of 13 inch laptops. There is a massive subset of consumers who would be discouraged by this intense rhetoric from buying a very capable machine that will serve them well for years. Those who have an older computer may want to upgrade to the newest Macbook while they wait for the kinks to be sorted out with the first couple rounds of Apple Silicon Macs. All of this is to go without mentioning the software conversion process that will be somewhat aided by Apple’s conversion technology, but that will almost certainly fail to produce a completely problem-free outcome, at least in the beginning of the transition period. So that means that a lot of folks who don’t want to deal with the headache of a large hardware shift will be buying the current Macs.
It also means that those who love their tech have already bought their 2020 Macbooks and likely aren’t concerned that there is something better on the horizon as they will just update their setup accordingly in just a year or two.
So then, what is the purpose of all of this? Who does this messaging benefit? Sure, there may be a handful of potential iMac purchasers who could benefit from this. Or maybe there are some Macbook Pro customers who can bare to wait another year or so to upgrade their model, but for so many people with five and six year old laptops, those who are actively looking to upgrade their machine because of slow performance or poor battery life that is becoming a hindrance, the better option is probably to buy something now. The current suite of Apple laptops and desktops is full of machines that are more than capable for consumers. So for those who need something sooner rather than later to replace their current dying laptop, don’t read too deeply into the attention-grabbing articles saying “If you’re thinking about upgrading your Macbook, read this first” or “You’d have to be crazy to update your Macbook now”. If you need something better, get it. At worst the upgrade cycle might be cut a little short for you next time around. This means it’s far from being unsafe to upgrade to a 2020 Macbook Pro right now. I’d advise to listen to the level-headed consumer advice coming from YouTuber creators like MKBHD and The Everyday Dad rather than the sensationalistic headlines warning the impending end of the world that comes to every purchaser of pre-Apple Silicon Macs.
To be clear, the content coming from these cautionary YouTube videos and news articles is not false. Apple Silicon will radically change the way we look at Apple computers and it could change the way we look at computers as a whole. But to go so far as to put a blanket statement on warning consumers that they should hold back on their purchase of an Apple product is taking it a step too far. All technology will be outdated as soon as something new gets released; if you’re like me and you’re constantly waiting for the best thing to be released, you’ll never end up actually buying anything.
If your productivity is being hindered by your technology, in a way that would benefit from something new, that upgrade to improve current productivity is worth the chance of having an outdated machine in a shorter timeframe. The current suite of Macbooks can all hold their own in tasks as basic as text-editing and email-sending to as advanced as video editing. While technology might push that ceiling higher in the near future, whether you’re a tech fanatic or a casual user, you have nothing to fear by buying a 2020 Macbook Pro.
Since writing this, I’ve found additional level-headed advice in the form of the following YouTube video which does well to temper expectations for an upcoming product shift while still emphasizing how exciting it is.