By the end of 2020, Apple starts rolling out Laptops and Desktops Built using the company’s own ARM-based processors, similar to those it already uses in its phones and tablets. It’s a huge shift since Apple is still selling Intel-based Macs. If you’re looking to upgrade your computer, you have an important choice: Should you choose a Mac with a new processor, or Intel for now?
Update January 2022: After a transition period of over a year, we’ve updated this guide based on our comments and experience.
Why Apple’s custom processors matter
Longtime Apple fans will remember that Apple made a similar transition from PowerPC processors to Intel chips in 2005.Among the benefits at the time, using the same processor architecture as a comparable PC meant it was easier for developers to bring popular Windows applications to the Mac (or at least emulate those without direct ports), ushering in The Boom Era of Mac User Compatibility and Development.
Macs are more common these days, and it’s not hard to convince large developers to build apps for Apple platforms (some even Fighting for Privilege in Court). But Apple’s other devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, use Apple’s own custom processors. Therefore, they live in their own separate world. Developers developing applications for the Mac and iPhone have to do extra work to make their applications available on both platforms. Switching to Apple’s own processors allows you to write your application once and run it on most Apple devices with minimal modifications.
Not to mention the speed and battery life enhancements.Before Apple M1 processor After it came out, there was some uncertainty about whether Apple could offer better speeds than the Intel processors it left behind, but in all of our reviews — including MacBook Air, iPad Pro, and MacBook Pro– we were Processor for the M1 platform– especially the recent M1 Pro and M1 Max.
Many major apps have been updated to run on the new processors soon, and most apps that haven’t been updated will still work with the Rosetta Stone 2, albeit with occasional performance hits. Overall, Apple has largely (so far) delivered on its promise of better performance while simplifying the development process for all Apple products.
The only problem we’ve seen is that MacBooks with M1 processors can only output to a single external display — that’s not the case with Intel-powered Macs. If you have a dual monitor setup right now, this won’t be for you. That said, the pricier 14-inch and 16-inch MacBooks with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips fix that, supporting up to four external screens.
Will my Intel Mac become obsolete soon?
If you need to buy a Mac now, and the only one that fits your needs is an Intel-based Mac, you might reasonably wonder if it’s going to be obsolete any time soon. This is unlikely to be the case. (at least, not more than Every Computers are out of date the moment you buy them. ) Apple says it will support Intel Macs for years, reportedly still some Unreleased Intel-based Macs.
if you Buy AppleCare+ with your Mac, then you’ll get at least three years of service support from the date of purchase, which means that even if you buy one of the Intel-based Macs Apple currently offers, you won’t be stranded without support for a while. However, this only applies to accidental repair damage and priority technical support. After that, you can continue to use your Mac with generally few issues. In addition, Apple provides service and parts for up to five years after the Mac is discontinued. In other words, even if you buy a new Intel-based Mac today, it’s likely to still receive OS updates, be eligible for service, and have spares available in 2027.