Apple Silicon Macs- Should you Wait?

WWDC 2020 brought the announcement of Apple Silicon. We didn’t get a product running Apple Silicon, but we should be getting some soon. Should you wait for them?

Apple Silicon (Credit: MacRumors)

Advantages of an Intel Mac

If you want to run Bootcamp on your Mac, you must have an Intel Mac. Apple Silicon will not support Bootcamp anymore, and Apple is pushing Virtualization, like Parallels. In my opinion, after using both, I really think that Bootcamp gives more a feel of having Windows than something like Parallels. Gamers will also regret this decision because a lot of gamers use Bootcamp to run games on their Macs.

You can also buy an Intel Mac today, and this is something I cannot say about Apple Silicon Macs. Tim Cook, on stage, said that the transition to Apple Silicon would happen in 2 years, but that doesn’t give us a specific on when exactly the products are coming. So if you want a Mac today, Intel will be the one powering it.

Advantages of Apple Silicon

The power is the definite advantage of Apple Silicon. We have seen how the iPad Pro performs so closely to the expensive MacBook Pro lineup, and keep in mind, that’s an iPad. Expect close to double the performance on the 13" MacBook Air and Pro laptops, and 50–70% on the higher end 16" MacBook Pro, since that’s already a high-performer.

This is all on the CPU end, but we don’t exactly know how the GPU’s will be on these models. The growth of Apple’s processors are also much better than Intel’s, and we could see a 20–30% annual increase in performance.

The battery life on these Macs would definitely be better, since the processor doesn’t use as much power as the Intel ones do. Some people are estimating it to be close to 20 hours for the ultrabooks, but I think it will be closer to 17–18 hours, which is still insane. These new processors could also create a fan-less design for the MacBook Air, and the 12" MacBook if that makes a revival. This would reduce thickness and weight as well.

The prices of these Macs should also be coming down, since a Quad-Core i5 costs $320, and an A13 Bionic only costs $30. However, Apple could go the daunting route and keep all the extra profits to themselves, which would be unfortunate.

16" MacBook Pro running MacOS Big Sur (Credit: Apple)

What will happen to Intel Macs?

Intel Macs will definitely get software updates for years to come, but how many years is the big issue. Usually, we get around 8–9 years of software updates for the Macs, but I think that this will be cut down to around 4–6 years of software updates. Knowing Apple, they could most definitely use this as an excuse to drive people to go upgrade to their newly-made, Apple Silicon Macs, which will get the latest and greatest software updates.

If you recently bought an Intel MacBook, not iMac, don’t regret your purchase. These MacBooks are at their prime in the product cycle, and Apple has really perfected this design. Without a doubt, Apple Silicon will be better, but you’re getting a Mac today, and we don’t really know when the Apple Silicon ones are coming!

The Transition Process

Rosetta 2 is the key part of the transition from the x86 architecture to ARM-based architecture. Rosetta 2 translates the current apps that were built for Intel and translates it to work for the new Apple Silicon. We currently don’t know if the transition will be smooth or if it’ll have roadblocks like the 2006 transition from PowerPC to Intel.

Another aspect of the transition process is how long it could take for the whole transition to happen. On stage, Tim Cook said that the whole Mac lineup would be running Apple Silicon in 2 years. In 2006, Apple said the same but changed all the Macs in just a year. In this case, I think that the iMac Pro and the Mac Pro would be at the end of that 2 year period, since they are pro machines and it’ll take a while for Apple to get to that level. The MacBook lineup will be pretty fast to switch, and by next summer, we should see all of these MacBooks running Apple Silicon.

Rosetta 2 for Mac (Credit: Apple)

Who Should buy an Intel Mac?

If you simply need a Mac today because something unfortunate happened to your old one, or it just broke down, your only option is to get an Intel Mac. Also, if you are a student who is shopping for a laptop for college, the Intel Mac is still a great buy, and as I said is at its prime. Don’t be hesitant to purchase these Intel Mac’s for school, because they’re really good! If you’re laptop is also really old, almost unusable, and you need a new one, these Intel Macs are for you, and they will last you the next 4–5 years.

Video Editing on the 13" MacBook Pro (Credit: Apple)

Who Should wait for Apple Silicon?

Anybody who didn’t fall into the categories I said earlier should probably wait for Apple Silicon. Even though we might face some roadblocks on the way, these processors will be still night-and-day faster than the current Intel Macs. If you were in the market for a new 13" MacBook Pro (like me) or an iMac, there are some strong rumors that we will be seeing Apple Silicon in these in Q4 2020 or Q1 2021. I personally wanted to buy the $1800 MacBook Pro, but I am now waiting for the redesigned Apple Silicon one rumored to come out in a couple of months.

If you can squeeze out any possible value out of your current computer, so that you can get the latest technology, Apple Silicon. This will be the future of computing on Macs, and it’ll be good to be a part of that crowd, since you will get the latest software updates and there will also probably be Apple Silicon-Only features in the future coming up.

To sum up, if you can wait a couple of months for an Apple Silicon Mac, it will be worth it. In the long run, these processors will be much faster and more optimized than these current Intel ones will be.




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I’m Sai Koppu, a 16-Year-Old Technology Reviewer who is the founder and CEO of 24/7Tech, aimed to educate people about the latest and greatest technologies.

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