It's time to whip out the good old fashioned linkblog back-and-forth commentary made famous a decade ago. Here's Greg Morris yesterday on his fun blog:

These Pros are for those that need serious power on the go, yet I have a feeling I will see these all over the place in a few weeks. Apple devices have always been a status thing for some. Like designer clothing the enjoyment comes from brandishing something just for the cost – or so I am told. I can’t wait to be able to pick those notched screens out with not too much trouble and have a look at what tasks are being done on a machine that is at least a thousand pound more expensive than required.

I wear designer clothing quite regularly. I’m wearing a new swacket this morning, in fact. There is a very distinct line between enjoyment due to cost and enjoyment due to quality of materials. In fact, I think enjoyment greatly diminishes after a certain price. At this particular price, you know you can buy equal-quality garments but for less money.

Matt Birchler wrote up a bit of a response as well:

What's great is that the M1 processor is so impressive that it makes the consumer-grade devices some of the best money can buy period. If you buy a MacBook Air today, you're getting one of the fastest laptops on the market, and you're getting it in a thin, fan-less body. You're not getting some throwaway, slow machine, you're getting something awesome. Do you need the extra-awesome new Pros? Maybe, but I think the non-Pro Apple lineup will make more people very happy than ever before.

I think comparing the M1 MacBook Air to the incoming M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro works very well in the MacBook Air’s favour. The MacBook Air may be the highest value notebook Apple has produced ever. It outpaces my 2019 six-core Intel iMac in every Geekbench test at less than half the purchase price. Checkmark in the MacBook Air box, to be sure.

But the M1 MacBook Pro is an entirely different story, if you ask me. There’s an $800 CAD difference between the M1 MacBook Pro and the baseline M1 Pro MacBook Pro. For that $800, here’s what you’re buying:

  • An inch of extra screen real estate
  • Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Six more GPU cores
  • An extra 8GB RAM
  • Faster RAM
  • An extra 256GB SSD storage
  • Faster SSD storage
  • ProMotion
  • A better 1080p camera
  • An improved sound system
  • A better headphone jack
  • Expanded I/O including an SD card slot
  • No Touch Bar

Really, the only thing you gain with the M1 MacBook Pro is the better battery life. The M1 MacBook Pro boasts up to 20 hours of battery life to the M1 Pro MacBook Pro’s boasting of 17 hours of battery life.

I think this might be some of the most consequential $800 you can spend on Apple’s entire store right now.

Of course, Morris’s original point is always going to be correct — you probably don’t need one of the shiny new MacBook Pros. The best value Apple laptop in the last decade is the M1 MacBook Air after all. Despite being a year old, I’d still recommend this laptop to any consumer looking for a laptop.

But the other question I think needs to be asked is whether it’s worth buying the shiny new MacBook Pro. If you’re earning dollars with your computer, then the extra investment is 30% cheaper because you can deduct the amount on your tax return and it buys you more of Apple’s best features than ever before.

So, no, if you aren’t a demanding user, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the M1 Pro MacBook Pro. This recommendation should continue to be the M1 MacBook Air.

If you’re a user who has eyed the M1 MacBook Pro for the last year though, you really should consider what that extra $800 is going to buy you.

In my mind, there should be just about nobody buying an M1 MacBook Pro at this point. Unless you absolutely, undoubtedly, unabashedly need an extra 3 hours of battery life beyond the 17-hour mark.