Apple did not reveal any new Macs during its WWDC 2021. Seven months after the arrival of new laptops and desktops equipped with the M1 processor, there is still no sign of a Mac Pro with this new chip, larger-screen MacBook Pro or 27-inch iMac.
At the end of 2020, Apple unveiled the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and a new Mac Mini on M1 processor. Last April, it was the smaller of the two iMacs that got a makeover with a larger 24-inch screen, an M1 chip and a new colorful chassis. The latest new Intel-based Mac to be announced is the 27-inch Intel Core i9 iMac in summer 2020, which mostly stood out with the addition of an excellent 1080p webcam.
The first two Mac M1 series did not include systems aimed at creative professionals who use the more powerful 16-inch Mac Pros or MacBook Pros. Mac M1s are currently limited to 16GB of RAM and do not offer the AMD graphics cards available on some Intel-based Macs.
New MacBook Pros, potentially in 14- and 16-inch versions, are still a possibility for this summer or later in 2021. Taking into account new macOS updates and potential upcoming hardware announcements, here’s where each of the Macs currently in the lineup, and who should consider buying now and who should instead wait.
With the latest M1 version, introduced in late 2020, the MacBook Air has once again become one of the most universally useful laptops you can buy. It has the same M1 processor as the 13-inch MacBook Pro and 24-inch iMac, as well as excellent battery life combined with a thin and light design. The biggest performance differences between M1 systems come from the seven or eight-core graphics chipset built into the M1 and cooling system like that of the 24-inch MacBook Pro and iMac that allows them to ramp up without overheating.
Apple MacBook Air 2020 (M1)
Of the three new Mac M1s, the 13-inch MacBook Air is the one that differs the most from its predecessor. The fan cooling system has been removed in favor of an aluminum heat sink. A major development made possible by the highly efficient operation of the M1 processor which produces less heat and outperforms even high-end Intel Macs. The M1 chip of the MacBook Air is also almost identical to that of the MacBook Pro. That’s a huge argument for the MacBook Air over the Pro if you’re looking for the best performance for a low price. The most recommendable MacBook this year.
For students, homeworkers, and most everyday users, the MacBook Air is a great option.
With essentially the same performance as the Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 offers a slightly brighter display, Touch Bar, and fan cooling. Unless you’re a Touch Bar fan, you might as well stay on a MacBook Air.
Apple MacBook Pro 13 M1 (2020)
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is changing and is available in an Apple Silicon version with the promise of more performance and better autonomy. A promise made possible by the implementation of the Apple M1 chip, an 8-core SoC of which 4 will be dedicated to performance while the other 4 will allow autonomy to be preserved by performing lighter tasks. The graphics part is not left out and Apple risks announcing that its SoC has the most powerful integrated GPU in the world. Compared to the MacBook Pro 13 under Intel, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 is 2.8 times more powerful on the CPU side and 5 times on the GPU level. The autonomy is in tune, it is even the MacBook with the best autonomy so far. Allow almost 17 hours of web browsing and 20 hours of video playback (compared to 10 hours of web browsing or video playback for the current Intel version MacBook Pro).
The 16-inch MacBook Pro remains an Intel-only system that can mount up to 64GB of RAM with an AMD 5600M GPU, which makes it much more suited to true “pro” users while waiting for an M2 chip.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro succeeds the 15-inch MacBook Pro. He finally abandons the butterfly keyboard for the “Magic Keyboard”. It also promises better thermal management.
The Mac Mini is the cheapest solution to have both a macOS system and an M1 processor. In our testing, we found that it performed on par or slightly better than the MacBook Pro M1, which costs almost twice as much. But the Mac Mini is also a niche product.
Apple Mac mini M1 (2020)
Aimed at developers and creatives, the new mac Mini arrives with Apple’s new ARM chip called M1. Thanks to it, we benefit from a CPU 2.8 times more efficient and a GPU 6 times faster. The Mac mini also promises to consume less energy. The mac Mini is only a tenth of the average size of a traditional tower. On the connectivity side, it houses an Ethernet port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports in USB-C format, an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB-A port and a 3.5 mm mini-jack port.
It is ideal if you are working on not too demanding videos or podcasts and want to use your own display and input devices. It’s an ideal computer for small production studios because it can fit almost anywhere.
The 24-inch iMac is the first Mac to be built from a blank slate as an M1 system, and also the first major design update in about eight years. While it doesn’t improve performance or options over previous Mac M1s, its excellent webcam, much lighter weight, and more compact and sleek design make it a great home or telecommuting computer.
The iMac 2021 has an M1 chip, offers a 24-inch screen and sports a more minimalist and refined look. Another novelty, the power supply is no longer integrated into the device.
The Mac Pro is equipped with Intel Xeon processors and offers various AMD Radeon GPUs and up to 1.5TB of RAM. For now, if you’re expecting a new professional-level Mac equipped with AMD, your best bet is to pick the Intel versions that are still available, which will be supported for years, or wait to see what happens later in 2021. .
Article from CNET.com adapted by CNETFrance
Image: Apple, Dan Ackerman / CNET