Apple’s move to ARM-based computing has pushed the limits of personal computers. While many have been following the company’s progress, others hope to follow it in the future. If you are looking to upgrade to the new MacBook in 2021, it is better to wait. Apple is the best.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has the latest on the release schedule and the lack thereof: “For Apple, all attention is focused on the fall. So the next few weeks will be light on product information. The next iPhone and Apple Watch models will be available in three months. This is also the time for the release of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and watchOS 8. Stay tuned for more information on these releases after the summer slump.
This should not be surprising in one way. Apple’s iPhone/iPad announcements are tightly tied into an annual launch cycle. While the ages of products may change year-to-year, the September refresh is a date that geekerati can use to place bets on. The late March slot is the home for the iPad.
Apple Silicon is now the exclusive source of processors for Mac families (with Apple still using the entire line to move it over by the end of 2022), so Apple doesn’t have to rely on Intel’s roadmap. It can bring its rhythmic perfection to the release calendar.
This means that the traditionally preferred slot in late October should be as important as the slot in early September for iPhone users. This view is supported by Apple’s focus on these ‘Fall Announcements’.
This is great news for Apple’s speediness, but it also means that consumers face an awkward decision.
Despite Intel’s somewhat unpredictable schedule, Apple’s Mac team delivered many mid-cycle updates throughout the years, particularly around core specs like memory and storage. Many Apple watchers expected something similar in 2021… after all, the first Apple Silicon-powered MacBook Pro laptops were aimed at the lower tier of MacBook Pro models.
Although the M1 processor provides more power to the end-user than an equivalent Intel chip and the MacBook Pro laptops launched in November 2013 would have tangible advantages over the previous Intel-powered MacBook Pros, these MacBook Pro laptops still represent the lowest end of the Mac platform.
The Mac platform will remain on the indecision island for six more months. You can either buy into the technology of last year without any improvements that could have been made at WWDC or wait until November to see if Apple’s next-generation design will be available with a better display, longer battery life and a thinner design.
This assumes that stock will be readily available. The current silicon shortage is affecting the entire consumer electronics sector. Production on minLED screens is still increasing at a rapid pace. It’s impossible to determine how much stock Apple has on its M1 machines… Apple may be holding back upgrades for as long as it can to protect the stock.
The new MacBook Pro is expected to last for many years. I think the wait for the M1X machines with all their improved design options and longevity makes it worth it.