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Buying a MacBook in 2020? Here's Why You Might Want to Wait

Published:

Apple MacBook
Image credit: Farknot Architect / Shutterstock.com

Executive Summary

  • Apple is moving away from the use of Intel processors in their MacBook line, and will instead be using their proprietary “Apple Silicon”, as used in their iPhone and iPad mobile devices.
  • The switch in architecture has consequences on the apps which will run on the MacBook, as well as performance factors such as heat production.
  • We’ll look at the facts and ask the question, should you wait to buy a new MacBook in 2020?

Introduction

How often do you buy a new MacBook?

That’s a question which is going to be critical to your decision about whether or not to buy a new MacBook in 2020.

Why? Because, as Apple announced in June 2020, the company has initiated a transition away from the Intel-based processors (CPUs) they’ve been using in Mac computers since 2006 – and towards their own “Apple Silicon”.

Let’s take a look at what this transition means if you’re considering buying a MacBook in 2020 – and why you might want to hold your horses.

The switch away from Intel – a quick summary

Okay, so there are big changes afoot in the MacBook camp – but what does it really mean for the end user, and businesses who run on Mac?

In a nutshell, Apple will no longer be used third-party Intel processors in their Mac line of computers, and will instead move to “Apple Silicon”. This is the same technology which powers iPhones and iPads and is usually referred to as the A-series of chips. Essentially, after the two-year transition period is up, all of Apple’s computing products will be powered by self-developed chips.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, despite this planned transition, Apple has already released brand-new MacBooks in 2020: the 13-inch MacBook Air and 13/16-inch MacBook Pro – all powered by Intel processors.

The question: if the tech inside these new machines is to be made obsolete, why should you buy one now?

How will Apple Silicon change the MacBook experience?

Making the move to Apple Silicon is a big deal, because Apple’s chips run on a different architecture to Intel’s.

For the more technically minded, Apple’s A-series are built on ARM architecture.

In plain English, it’s like they speak a different language – meaning apps will have to be updated to be used on the new machines. In terms of user experience, you wouldn’t notice a thing – but this relies on developers updating for the new processor. Apps that aren’t updated will probably be run via emulation, meaning bugs and stability issues could occur.

All that said, Apple has been keen to prove that its Apple Silicon chips are just as powerful as Intel’s. In fact, at WWDC 2020 in June, they showed Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Lightroom running on an Apple Silicon machine just as smoothly as an Intel.

So… should you wait to buy a new MacBook in 2020?

With all of this said, what’s the bottom line here? Should you wait to buy a new MacBook with Apple Silicon under the hood, or take advantage of the current deals for the latest Intel-based 2020 revisions?

It’s not easy, but here are a few things to consider which may help:

  • Apple has stated that the entire transition will take two years, so if you’re a frequent upgrader, a current Intel-based model is still an excellent choice.
  • There’s no doubt that Apple’s processors will be more power-efficient, so if battery life on the current Intel line is a concern, you know what to do.
  • If you use a lot of existing apps, especially ones which are less supported, it may be worth sticking with Intel for now. The switch to the A-series chips will require developers to update their apps for full compatibility with the new system, which could take a while.
  • Intel-based MacBook processors are notorious for running hot (and with plenty of fan noise), whereas Apple’s A-series architecture is designed for a fan-less mobile environment. If fan noise or heat bothers you, it might be worth the wait.

Mac or Windows, we’re here to help

Here at Get Support, we’re proudly non-partisan IT experts.

So, whether you’re using a Windows or a Mac, we can help your business make the most of your IT infrastructure. Want to know more about upgrading your company’s Mac-based systems? Or just need some advice on the best Mac machines for business?

Call the team today on 01865 59 4000 and we’ll explain all of your options in plain English.

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