The Temptation is High
I just posted on not upgrading my tech (6 year old MacBook Pro) as what I have “works” but the new MBP’s announced on October 18 are testing that decision.
The uplifted M1 silicon with more cores, more memory, and most importantly, the ability to drive more displays is making it a lot more attractive.
The original M1 based laptops were limited to a single display, and for my current workflow, that is a big negative.
Fast fast fast... Performance is not the biggest factor in my decision process, but it does lead to longevity of the device. Back when I kept laptops 2 - 3 years, upgrading on a regular schedule, it was not a big deal. But this current cycle, I have kept my main laptop for close to 6 years. Either of the two new MacBook Pros will be a similar platform that will last at least 5 years.
The display is gorgeous. I love the high res screen of my current MBP, but that HDR displays are gorgeous. More pixels, less bezel, and amazing dynamic range.
Finally, the Magsafe charger is back. My work Mac is a 2018 vintage MacBook Pro with only USB3/Thunderbolt4 ports, and it is lame.
The Touch Bar is gone. A great idea in theory, but like its predecessor (I am aware that the Lenovo X1 Carbon ultrabook had it before Apple, and it sucked there too). It never felt comfortable to use.
Multiple monitor support. One of the key reasons I avoided the first generation Mac Air with the M1 chip was that it didn’t support more than one external monitor. I most often use my laptops plugged into a Thunderbolt dock, driving a pair of 2K monitors, and that was a deal breaker. The base config supports 3 external displays (plus the built in display) and the big brother with the M1 Max chip can drive 5 4K displays. Wild.
Holy fuck are these expensive. $2K to get in the door at 14”, $2.5K for the 16”, and to bump the memory to 32G (because if you are spending that much money, go bigger), and 1T SSD, they get into stratospheric price range.
Sure, I can afford it, but I don’t need it. Stepping back, knowing this will last a minimum of 5 years, that is $500 a year (for a properly configured 14”) and that doesn’t sound too bad. But reality is that my vintage 2015 13” MBP still works.
It is way overkill for my uses. Sure, I do some video transcoding, and 4K video processing will fly, taking a conversion that would normally take 4 hours, and do it in probably less than 30 minutes. But I don’t do that too often. Some light coding, some video editing, photoshop work (nothing too strenuous), and I will barely scratch what these beasts could do.
The Final Result
Rationality reigns at Chez Sweaty. He will hold onto his vintage MacBook Pro, wait until the second generation of the new Mac Air’s comes out, hopefully with the multi monitor support, and then take the plunge, saving the better part of $1,500.