The computer market has recovered with the pandemic, but in the last quarter, growth begins to slow again. Applies to all manufacturers except Apple and Chromebooks. And the reason is simple: the M1 chip of the Cupertino company, in its many variations, is today a step ahead of all the others. So we will not enter the usual Windows or Mac diatribe: the choice between the two operating systems, which have many differences but also many similarities, is not always free, especially if you use the computer in a business environment. On the other hand, with the rise of the cloud, software is relatively less important than it once was.
Goodbye Intel, Apple puts the brain of the iPhone in the new Macs
by Bruno Ruffilli
November 10, 2020
Under Steve Jobs, the Apple catalog was very simple: two categories (portable and stationary) and two intended uses (consumer and professional). Today the situation is a bit more complex: laptops still have two names, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, but the first series includes only one model, the second three.
The desktop offer is even more varied. There is the iMac, which inherits the name and concept of the computer that saved Apple from bankruptcy 25 years ago, but it is a completely different device, and then there are: Mac Mini, Mac Studio, Mac Pro, in various models. and configurations.
Here are the strengths and weaknesses of the various models, with a caveat: Apple, like all competitors, is constantly updating its products, and it is widely expected that MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13-inch, Mac Mini and iMac with a processor will soon be presented. new (which could be called M2) and changes in design. For these models, therefore, the advice is to wait, or at least to look in the used or refurbished market.
It is the most popular of Apple computers, and one of the first to feature the M1 chip. Not too different in design from the original 14 year old model, it has a good display, a solid and precise keyboard, a battery that lasts a whole day. It’s perfect for emails, for browsing, for writing, for watching a movie. But thanks to the power of the M1 chip, it tackles even the most demanding tasks without difficulty, from photo editing to unprofessional video editing. Lightweight and thin, it is the cheapest Apple laptop, and the price list starts at 1159 euros. Among the downsides we point out the limited supply of ports and the fact that it is not expandable, like almost all Macs nowadays.
The Mac for everyone and for every day
MacBook Pro 13,3
Another of the first Macs available with an M1 processor. Identical to the Intel model in design, now somewhat dated (although actually more recent than the MacBook Air), it is the latest with TouchBar instead of function keys: introduced in 2016, it was not successful, especially among professionals, but actually in emoji times it has its why. As powerful as the Air, it has a slightly better screen, and perhaps that is why it still bears the Pro name. It weighs a little more, because it has a larger battery capacity, which guarantees up to 17 hours of wireless operation. Again only two USB-C ports
For those looking for maximum autonomy
MacBook Pro 14 and 16 inches
Here we are already in a decidedly professional field: the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro, presented in autumn 2021, offer even too high performance for a normal user. Those who do not work with 3D software, video editing or grind thousands of lines of code will hardly need the M1 Pro chip and even less the M1 Max. They will still be able to take advantage of the 4 ports, the SD card slot, the fantastic display, extremely bright and color-accurate, excellent keyboard, lightning-fast hard disk with denominations up to 8 GB. Available in different configurations, with prices starting at 2349 euros, the MacBook Pro is a demanding purchase, which makes sense especially if you also use it in the studio or at home, connected to an external monitor.
For those who want to replace their desktop computer with a laptop
It is the cheapest Mac, with a starting price of 819 euros. Very small, powerful, quiet, with a good amount of ports and connections, it is the perfect desktop for anyone. The choice is simple: the mini is available in only one version, with two different Ram cuts (8 GB is enough, but it is always better to opt for 16 GB, if possible) and hard drives up to 2 TB. The version with Intel i5 chip is still in the catalog: we do not think there is a single reason to recommend it, also considering that it is the most expensive (1359 euros). In addition, keyboard, mouse and monitor, as always, must be purchased separately.
For those on a budget and need a desktop Mac. For small and medium-sized offices
The Mac that wasn’t there before is now there. It’s called Mac Studio, it’s Apple’s most powerful computer, but it’s not the most expensive nor the biggest. The size of a Mac mini (19.7cm), it’s nearly three times as tall: 9.7cm instead of 3.6cm, and even so it can fit under almost any monitor. The basic model with M1 Max chip (2349 euros) already offers all the power necessary for those involved in video editing, 3D modeling, code compilation, even at a professional level. It’s hard to imagine that anyone today could squeeze the 114 billion transistors of the mighty M1 Ultra processor, but in a few years, when it is overtaken by new computers, the Mac Studio will not have aged in performance, solidity, efficiency, variety and speed of connections. .
A Mac designed to last for years
It shares the processor with the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13.3 and Mac mini, but actually looks like a big iPad. The iMac M1 has a bright, natural-colored 24-inch screen for long-lasting work, the MagSafe connector to prevent accidental drops if you trip over the power cord. Excellent audio, very good microphones; the built-in webcam is better than the one on other Macs, but still not exciting. Available in different colors, with a matching keyboard and mouse or trackpad, it’s a sleek and rugged computer that’s more than enough for the average user’s needs. The price starts at 1499 euros, but it is better to choose the version with 4 Usb / Thunderbolt ports (from 1719 euros).
For those who are attentive to style
We include it in this list for completeness, aware of the fact that there are very few reasons to buy it. It is in fact the latest available Intel-only Mac, and Apple has already announced that it will soon be replaced by an all-new model. Designed for real professionals, it is modular, expandable, but also bulky and very expensive: it starts at 6599 euros, to which of course the monitor, keyboard and mouse must be added. It’s still very powerful, but in many cases the Mac Studio offers comparable, if not superior performance at half the price and a quarter of the footprint.
For those who need an expandable Mac and don’t have a budget problem