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Another New Laptop

I find myself with another new laptop, this time only 1.5 years later. It turns out I bought previous one at basically the worst possible time. This is now "officially" my fourth Macbook in 12 years, further solidfying my ties to the Apple ecosystem. Although, the Asahi Linux project looks very promising for running linux here in the future!

The 2020 MBP I got towards "the start" of the pandemic (which is weird to say, considering it was May 2020 which felt deep-pandemic at the time). I got it at a time where the 2017 MBP keyboard failed me and I needed a functional one for work. Little did I know, a short 3 months later, Apple would release practically the same form factor 2020 MBP but with an M1 chip rather than an Intel one!

It's sad because this again means that not only did the 2017 MBP not last very long, but neither did the 2020... Although to be fair, it's still usable in the future since it has a trustworthy keyboard. I really don't want to get in a position where I'm buying Macs every year, but as I do more macOS and iOS developing I will at least need to be on Apple Silicon.

I'm fortunate to be in a position that my early-upgrade in mid-2020 isn't going to set me back too much, and that I will get mileage out of the new architecture. It does seem like a pretty deliberate move on Apple's part however to announce a fixed and working keyboard in the Intel line first... then wait 3 months and announce the same form factor with the M1 chips. If they announced them at the same time, of course they wouldn't have sold as many Intels.

Then again, then I'd just be upset about the M1 Pro/new form factor coming the next year. It's a cycle. But also... it's totally in Apple's controls. They obviously knew they were going to have the new 14-inch design, it was being leaked forever, but still made M1 Macs with the 13-inch design. I don't know, it's hard to watch these things come out on a yearly basis like the phones, knowing that certain moves are definitely decided in advanced.

Table time!

Spec 2009 2017 2020 2021 14-inch
Screen 1280x800 2560x1600 2560x1600 3024x1964
Processor 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 3.1GHz Dual-Core 7th gen i5 2 GHz Quad-Core 10th gen i5 Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
Memory 8 GB DDR3 16 GB DDR3 16 GB DDR4 16 GB LPDDR5
Storage 250GB + 750GB HDD 512 GB 1 TB 512 GB
Weight 4.7lbs 3.0lbs 3.0lbs 3.5lbs
MagSafe Yes No No Yes
"Magic" Keyboard Yes No Yes Yes
Fingerprint No Yes Yes Yes

The actual laptop is very nice. It's a bit heavier, but a lot cooler to the touch. I use my computer on my actual lap/body very frequently so this is a pretty important quality. Getting burned because I have too many apps open made comfortably using the old laptop pretty difficult.

The real important bit though is the M1 Pro processor. I got the "base model" of the 14-inch to make it easier to re-gift and part ways with down the road. I don't expect to buy another one soon, but with the crazy performance jump from Intel -> M1 -> M1 Pro within not even two years, I'm just hedging my bets.

Even something like 512GB storage is not the end of the world, as I have other fast network storage available now. What solidified my decision further was realizing that half of my 1TB storage on the 2020 model was filled with a backup of my 2017 model! So obviously I haven't been as starved for storage as I have been in the past.

MagSafe is also a very nice return! HDMI and SD card I find less important. They are nice to have, but for me, I'd rather have a USB-A or Ethernet port. The Framework laptop solves this problem in an elegant way. But Apple's new architecture is pretty hard to compete with, especially for laptops. Framework does seem to be heading that way!

The last thing worth mentioning is this is the first Macbook in a while to not contain glued down batteries, and have other more-modular parts. It's still very far away from what Framework has done, however.

Welp, here's to hopefully not continuing to get a new Mac in the near to mid future! Probably!

PS. Wait! I forgot about the notch! I hate the notch!... in theory. But, I have it hidden on my MBP (via a black bar on the wallpaper) and that area of the screen also isn't very active in macOS.