Will the M1 Macs Sway Me Over?

Mac M1

The tech community is going crazy over the newly released M1 “Apple Silicon” Macs, and there’s a good reason why. They perform amazingly well, and even when using x86 emulation, are surprisingly usable.

Looking a bit closer though, at least not for a few years, I don’t think the M1 Macs are the best fit for me. I’ll go into why below.

Poor Multi-Monitor Support

Yes, there are various hacky ways to get past the limitation of only being able to use one external monitor. But for people like me who depend on a reliable multi-monitor setup for productivity, this isn’t something that can be overlooked so easily.

Driver Support

This is something that will surely improve over the coming years, but right now, drivers for more specialised hardware like audio interfaces and graphics tablets will require developers to completely overhaul their driver implementations. This will take time, and if you’re using something relatively old that doesn’t receive updates anymore, you’re probably out of luck.

Non-Upgradable Memory and Storage

I’ve always been the kind of person to build my own computers from scratch. Perhaps in the past it was seen as more of a kind of geeky thing to do, but nowadays things are so simple it’s more akin to “adult LEGO” rather than something that requires you to be highly technically literate.

And for that reason, the thought of a completely non-upgradable device (I’ve given up on my phone) feels absurd. Many of the ultra-thin laptops coming out nowadays do come with soldered-on RAM, but apart from tablet-like devices like the Microsoft Surface, at the very least storage is something you can upgrade if you find out you want more breathing room in the future.

Limited Port Selection

This is a thing that has been present on Apple Mac laptops for a fair while anyway, but only two Thunderbolt ports? Even on the Pro? I’m still not ready for dongle life, unfortunately.

No Touch Screen Display Option

As an avid user of a 2-in-1 Windows laptop, loosing touch feels like a step backwards. Want to watch a quick YouTube video while doing the washing up? If all I had was a MacBook Air/Pro, well, that’s not going to be very practical. And if I want to do some quick sketches or write some notes a la Surface-style? Nope.

The Good Stuff

But everyone is raving about the M1 Macs, surely they can’t be that bad? You ask.

True. And here’s why.

Native Apple Silicon Apps Are Crazy Fast

Are you a Final Cut or Logic Pro user? If so, you can expect performance out of this world – in Final Cut, being able to edit 4K footage in a fanless laptop like the MacBook Air? Absolutely crazy.

And once third-party developers get their native apps out, performance will skyrocket for those apps too.

Extremely Long Battery Life

Thanks to the Apple M1 chips being based on the ARM architecture rather than x86, battery life has been given a massive boost. These new laptops boast runtimes that will most likely keep you running for days if you’re a casual user, and for more power intensive workloads, a laptop where you can leave the charger at home.

Great Build Quality (Although The Design is Starting to Get Stale)

Apple’s hardware quality is among the best, and it shows. If you buy a MacBook Air or Pro, you can look forward to a respectively well-built machine that will last you many years. And thanks to their high resale value, when you’re ready for an upgrade it won’t be too difficult to get some money back selling used as well.

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