Mac’s dilemma with Apple Silicon: buy a computer now or wait for the first ARMs

The announcement of new Apple operating systems also prompted the rollout of the company’s plans with the future of the Mac. Apple has given it a few brush strokes, enough for developers and other professionals and consumers to plan too. And what many consider the most immediate: Is it a good idea to buy a Mac now? Should I wait for the launch of the first Apple Silicon Macs?

We will try to resolve these doubts in the best possible way.

What do we know about Mac plans with Apple processor

We are truly facing a historic day for the Mac. Our vision for the Mac has always been to embrace breakthrough innovations and have the courage to make bold changes. Every time we’ve done this, the Mac has gotten stronger and more efficient. And I’ve never been more confident in the future of the Mac as I am now.

This is how Tim Cook finished the section dedicated to the transition from the Mac to Apple Silicon processors. Then, listed the few things the company has made public on the immediate future of this platform. More precisely, they are:

  • This week: Developers who wish can request the Developer Transition Kit to run and make their applications compatible with the new architecture.
  • The first computer with an Apple Silicon processor will be released later this year. Model not specified.
  • Apple hopes to complete the transition in 2 years. Again, no distinction is made or teams are excluded. It can therefore be deduced that all Macs, including iMac Pro and Mac Pro, will have some variant of the Apple processor.
  • Macs with Intel will have software support “for years”.
  • Apple still contains several models of Intel-based Macs. pipeline, although we don’t know his schedule.

This is the official information that Apple has released. Now is the time to work with her.

What assistance can you expect from a Mac with Intel

Perhaps the most important question in this whole transition. What about equipment that is sold now or has already been sold. Judging by Cook’s words, we can expect several years of macOS support. If we look at the compatibility of macOS 11 Big Sur, we will see that the teams are divided into three groups:

  • Laptops: MacBook Air and MacBook Pro will be supported starting in 2013.
  • Office: Mac mini and iMac are compatible from 2014.
  • Rest: Teams without a consistent timeline are also updated. MacBook from 2015; iMac Pro from 2017; Mac Pro from 2013.

If you’ve just bought a Mac from one of the first two groups, it’s safe to assume that they’ll have roughly the same macOS support as they do today. That is to say, 7 years on laptops and 6 years on desktops. At least we can wait 5 years in both categories for Macs purchased right now. The main argument for Apple Silicon processors over Intel is superior performance in relation to power consumption.

Now, third-party apps are another matter. While developers will be able to make current applications compatible with the ARM architecture thanks to Rosetta 2, there does not seem to be a reverse path. In other words, applications created specifically for new processors will not work on Mac with Intel.

The superiority of Apple’s processors over Intel’s is evident, judging by the company’s claims

Unless the developer decides to create a specific version for Intel. Which can be complicated, given that devs generally optimize resources and focus on growing platforms and not the reverse. Small or modest studio applications will have little incentive to create new versions of applications for Intel. It makes more sense to take advantage of this platform failure to focus entirely on Apple Silicon and try to get ahead of other established competitors.

The transition from Mac to Apple Silicon: questions and answers

Between Apple and the developers, it is clear that the latter will be the fastest push towards the new platform. We also can’t ignore the value of a platform like the Mac with Intel, which currently has around 100 or 120 million base units installed. Users who will continue to need software.

The big question: buy an Intel Mac now or wait for Apple Silicon

With all of this on the table, it’s time to decide what to do. Apple is certainly exposing itself to an Osborne effect that we discussed a few weeks ago. Something that happens when a company announces a next-gen product long before it becomes commercially available. The user prefers to wait for the new equipment and the current models start to stop selling, maybe put the business in financial difficulty. Fortunately for Apple, the company is in an enviable position.

In technology, it is often said that if you can wait for a new product, it is convenient to wait. But If you need something now, better buy now. There are two options on the table:

  • Your equipment works perfectly and you don’t need to change it for a few years. The decision is simple: wait. By the time you need to renew it, Apple Silicon Macs will be installed and the developers will have changed almost all the applications. Not to mention the innovations that will be ready to take advantage of it.
  • Your Mac can no longer support it. You need to renew the equipment as soon as possible because your workflows also require a reliable environment that gives you confidence. In this case, the best option is Renew now Or wait for one of the latest Intel-based Mac models to arrive in the next few months.

Opting for a Mac with Intel will now give confidence to those who need it for business reasons, giving them time to see how teams work with Apple Silicon

This last case is the most complicated, because it is the one that generates the most confidence in the short term, but its future is more uncertain due to software support. Here we can adopt different strategies, like acquiring a base model now and selling it later. So when we find one that has the most suitable Apple processor, the expense will be lower.

Another option is to look for used equipment but more modern than what we have now. To help us overcome the first months or years of uncertainty until we see things more clearly and choose a Mac with ARM (these machines can be useful, as they can still run Windows through Bootcamp). 24 months of transition to Mac with Apple Silicon is not that long in relative terms.

A Mac with ARM and the risk of the Osborne effect

What is clear is that Macs with Apple Silicon processor and ARM architecture are a reality. Now it is the professional or domestic user who must make a decision according to your current and future needs.