Take your pick
The M2, the war, the pandemic, the disruption of supply lines, <insert excuse to hike prices>, ...
Apple's new M2 MacBook Air is available to order, but is it just a case of M1 + 1 = $200? Or £250 if one is shopping in the UK. After much fanfare but relatively little innovation at the company's WWDC event in June, the redesigned MacBook Air is here, complete with Apple's latest and greatest processor and a hefty premium …
"The new M2 Model (with 8GB RAM and 256GB of SSD storage) hits the shelves today for $1,199 (an inexplicable £1,249 for UK punters)."
It's basically an entry level (very low end) laptop at 1.2 K, right ? With a wonderful 13 inches screen, aka stamp sized ?
And it can't run any video games without an eye watering upgrade on top (RAM, likely 500 more, etc ...).
It's telling they even bother, in 2022, to offer 8GB of RAM at all, given the prices of RAM !
My macBook pro from 2012 is 8GB as well ! WTF ?
No, it's not worth it at all, even for fans. The Apple bubble will burst soon, and soon, they won't sell a single unit if they keep raising prices to this level of insanity.
People won't simply be able to cope with it.
To paraphrase Alistair Dabbs from about 10 years ago, at that price, it better be the best entry-level laptop in the world. The thing is, it is.
If you want a gaming laptop, don't buy Apple. If you want a really cheap laptop, the cheapest that will get you by and don't care about performance beyond that, don't buy Apple.
But if you are comparing it to Windows laptops that give you similar specs to this, and a similar build quality, you will find that the price is about the same as what Apple charges.
you will find that the price is about the same as what Apple charges
Only if you don't value your own time. Otherwise even the more expensive machines are a fair bit cheaper than comparable device with Windows because usability (UI and UX) is consistent (I'd say better, but that's subjective) and the OS doesn't trip you up frequently by demanding an update or punishing you for not letting it do what it wants by letting others in. And God knows what it's exporting to Microsoft in the process.
This is a fun fact, by the way: as most companies have trouble staffing despite a looming recession, the value of staff time has gone up and so the likelihood of their time making it into TCO calculations. That said, even at home you should value your own time.
Unless gaming is all you do. Fair enough then, Macs are not as good at it.
That 1.2k M2 model with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD is not doing particularly well. Actually, it's even under-performing compared to the last gen 14 inch M1 base model (serious SSD bandwidth bottleneck and thermal throttling). Considering the price of effectively required RAM and SSD upgrade (still no fix thermal issues), I'd call it a dud. Not that I've ever found their M1 models performance particularly exciting in normal use. Whole lot of hype.
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> Whole lot of hype
Yeah, right. Explain to me how my M1 Mac mini is twice as fast as my fully spec’s Intel Mac Book Pro which cost twice as much is “hype”. The reality is, bang for buck, the M1 outperforms Intel.
For kicks and giggles I occasionally do a complete world build of the system I’m developing. M1 literally takes half the time… and that’s on a boring M1 not a M1 Pro/Max/Ultra, where the time would be similarly reduced.
The reality is M1 really does deliver.
I just sold my 11” 2011 Air last year after picking up a 13” MacBook Pro second hand.
I miss the sheer portability of it and form factor but not much else. Its battery was poor and the screen was pretty abysmal with an enormous bezel.
I really do wish the bring out a MacBook Mini in that form factor but doubt it will happen given their move to higher margins.
"My macBook pro from 2012 is 8GB as well ! WTF ?"
So is the one I'm typing on. Perfectly fine for what it's used for. If I am doing real work, I fire up my MacPro or the PC depending on what I'm doing.
It is disappointing for a new laptop to come with a base level of RAM that is less than paltry these days and no way to upgrade it.
There are some other issues that should be considered in the article, such as the fact that only one SSD chip is used in the 256GB version (as opposed to 2 in the M1), which creates some serious bottlenecks. Also, for whatever architectural decision, going from 8GB to 16GB of RAM also seems to have a higher than expected effect on performance.
This article is a nice summary of testing done by Max Tech on the topic (original video linked in the article):
TL;DR rather than a marginal upgrade, at least the base M2 model seems to be a downgrade due to the mismatch between the memory required by the chip and the one offered in the laptop. Whether that is intentional or a very poor design decisions... the issues remain.
Also note the update at the end of the article:
"Update: Clarification added regarding the next SKU up in the M2 MacBook Pro lineup—it still has 8GB of RAM, but a 522GB SSD with dual NAND chips instead of a single NAND chip"
Still, benchmarks with some of the competition do not indicate that the M2 models are particularly shabby (at what they are good at, which is not gaming). As to whether an M1 is still the better option... the main article addresses the conundrum...
Apple will keep the prices for the M1 to rundown inventory. After that it will be M2's only and these devices are aimed at those of us still on Intel hardware until we're confident that Apple has ironed out most of the bugs related to changing CPU architectures.
For most people who buy an Air, weight and battery life are more important than oomph. And even those who like oomph are, generally, not transcoding video or compiling all the time. Mag-safe will tempt more over, because it's basically a great idea to have a physical connection that will not be damaged when the power cable is jerked, which happens far more often than it should because most people don't know how to route power cables.
If similar restrictions exist on the M2 MacBook Pros then I'd expect greater hesistancy. As it is, I'm not planning to move from Mac on Intel for at least another year, not least because my spare (2016 MBP with new battery) loses OS support this year.
I like the hairdryer idea :).
In my experience it never quite gets that hot. I've had a machine chew through a directory worth of movie files with Handbrake and I can't say it goets that hot - the fans actually do their job well.
That bodes well for overall machine life.
Ironed out M1 issues....
Yeah, at some point I'll figure out how to get our java Web application to build/run on M1 without absolute fits of borkage because of trying to get Rosetta to play nice enough for long enough to keep stuff going (right now I've got most of it, bar our authentication so mostly borked rather than fully).
On my old Intel mac... Yeah that's now developing issues of its own by slowing to a crawl then refusing to start various services after a restart (now with more random security restrictions that killed nginx etc etc).
So it's either using a spoon or a fork to gouge my own eyes out (yes I know there's windows and Linux, but windows Corp machines are crippled and Linux has no VPN application that security are happy with so we can't access code repositories so no cutlery available use your hands instead).
Anon because who wants to admit to building Java apps on a mac?
Magsafe attracts me because I can connect it to a charger and still use the Thunderbolt ports for actual USB and Thunderbolt devices.
Having said that, mostly I connect to a USB-C monitor with a USB hub on the back of it, so I get pretty much everything including power from a single cable.
On a related note, this one does a great job and it’s earned the title of “my favourite cable”. That’s a tall order considering all the cables I’ve bought in my lifetime.
Not a spam/affiliate link so go for it :)
Display port with an in for power at the monitor end, and the laptop end provides power. Pretty nifty as it’s essentially my docking station in just one cable. May or may not suit your use case of course.
I'll bet they're planning on doing like they do with iPhone, where they keep selling older models at a discount. Today you can buy the iPhone 13 line at full price, the iPhone 12 line at $100 less than it sold for last year, and the iPhone 11 (just one model) at $200 less (a little above the "low end" iPhone SE)
So I'm betting they'll keep selling the M1, not running down inventory. And when M3 comes out it'll be priced where the M2 is now, and the M2 will drop to where the M1 is now. Whether they'll have an even lower priced M1 or only sell current and previous instead of a previous+1 for an even lower price like iPhone remains to be seen.
"Frankly, it's amazing that journalists still appear unaware that price tags in the US are without tax "
It's not required to include in advertising and not uniform across the US. Why make the price look higher if you don't have to? People in the US already know it doesn't include tax and when you are buying something expensive, you find the region with the lowest tax due. You don't don't buy online where they will charge you the 10.25% that applies to your address.
@big_D "The M1 Model (with 8GB RAM and 256GB of SSD storage) goes for $999 (£999 in the UK store). The new M2 Model (with 8GB RAM and 256GB of SSD storage) hits the shelves today for $1,199 (an inexplicable £1,249 for UK punters)."
The UK price with Vat 20% has increased by 25% while the US price without sales tax has increased 20%. That extra 5% increase has nothing to do with Vat being added. Take the Vat off both UK prices there is still a 25% increase.
So it is inexplicable that Apple have increased the UK price before local tax (Vat) is added by 25% but have only increased the US price before local tax (sales tax) is added by 20%.
@werdsmith "It's a dollar based company so there is also a cushion to absorb exchange fluctuation."
Now that is a very likely reason. ^
I was just pointing out that the tax being included in the UK price and not the US price is not the reason that the UK price increase is a larger percentage.
"It's a dollar based company so there is also a cushion to absorb exchange fluctuation."
Yes and no. Apple ships its products from factories in China to warehouses located all over the world. They also hold funds for non-US purchases outside the US so that money isn't subject to certain taxes. There is so much margin that they could charge $1,200 in the US and $1,200 in the UK (plus VAT) and it wouldn't radically change their bottom line. I expect that other factors affect the bottom line even more.
2 year warranty is for defects present at the time of manufacture, like those dodgy keyboard a while back.
If there is a unique case of a component failure after 370 days, you are going to have your work cut out proving it was a fault present when the product was manufactured.
"(an inexplicable £1,249 for UK punters)."
A mystery! I like mysteries!
The trail led to apple.co.uk, where a small-fonted, grey-hued line says: "Total Payments for your device include VAT of approx. £209.00.*"
So the price that can be compared to USD1199 is actually GBP1040.
Converting that amount to USD using xe.com gave a rounded value of 1246, so a difference of less than GBP40.
The working hypothesis at this point is that a price tag of 1209 would just not look good in Apple's rigidly fashionable world.
Seems there is _someone_ with real OCD. Probably hiding under the table when I mentioned 10GB or 20GB RAM.
I actually have an old MacBook Pro with 10GB. Bought the cheapest model with 4GB, two chips, replaced one with a third party 8GB, making it 10GB. Hope that doesn’t make anyone’s head explode.
Preliminary results from the M2 MacBook Pro 13, where the chassis hasn't been redesigned, suggest the M2 runs hotter than the M1 and is encountering thermal throttling. Now the MacBook Air has been redesigned and may have better thermal design, but it still doesn't have a fan so it's an open question as to whether it can sustain the performance before throttling occurs.
On the M2, the highest possible performance is higher than on M1 with higher power usage. But it can also deliver the same performance as the M1 with lower power.
So if you run M1 and M2 at full power, the M2 will run faster and throttle earlier. But throttled it can still produce the same performance as M1 for longer.
Science officer: I am not familiar with these instruments, Apple. You are using an entirely new type of control mechanism. However, it appears to me the M2 unit is drawing more power than before.
Apple: Quite right. As the M2 is called upon to do more work, it pulls more power to enable it to do what is required of it, just as the human body draws more energy to run than to stand still.
Science officer: This unit is not a human body. The computer can process information, but only the information which is put into it.
IMO, If they had doubled the storage capacity at the same pricepoint...
As it stands, it's questionable at best.
It finds itself in a stupid place sandwiched between the M1 and the Pro/Max chips.
Anyone who really needs performance will get a Pro/Max
Anyone who doesn't will be more than fine with an M1.
The only edge case for an M2 is someone who wants the lightest possible computer available with the most performance.
"The only edge case for an M2 is someone who wants the lightest possible computer available with the most performance."
thats enough to sway it for me - having kids running about the place, the rate my USB-C based MacBook Pro has ended up on the floor is measured in 'times per day' as the most useable unit sadly. Its not going to its as long as its MagSafe predecessor, simply for that reason.
I would gladly pay an extra 200 quid for MagSafe, as it will pay for itself over the long term, Simple as that.
[ oldest kid is about to start secondary school in September, and needs a laptop. Was looking at the two Air's, and then realised that theres no contest give then chaos in an eleven year olds bedroom. Its the MagSafe one ]
You need to think a little bit further.
Apple created a family of chips, named M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra. Each a lot more powerful, bigger and expensive than the previous one, using the same technology. The Ultra is twice as powerful, twice as big, and twice as expensive because it’s literally two Max chips.
Now they started a new family. The first one, the M2, is ready. It’s a slightly improved low-end chip (and low-end is very relative). The technology is a bit better, all in all about 25%. Nowhere near the M1 Pro. But the next chips will be M2 Pro, M2 Max and M2 Ultra.
And then they will release a slightly improved chip and call it M3 (with M3 Pro, Max and Ultra following), and so on.
I got the base M1 but only when the price dropped to 879 euros last november. I like the hardware, just close the lid and the battery isn't drained after a week. 8GB seems enough (more was way to expensive) and qemu with an x86 operating system is way to slow. The SSD size of 256GB is sad when a 1TB M2 disk is below 100 euro. The webcam is pisspoor or really bad. Two ports only, one for charging one for an USB-A, RJ45, HDMI dongle which gets warmer than the Mac itself.
So for you the answer is no at any price. You do not represent the entire world though.
Personally I have an M1 based Mini, and I’m happy with that for what I use it for (it will transcode 1080p video to h265 at around 200fps, while running near silently for example). I’m not the target audience either.
There are however many people for whom the answer is Yes. If there aren’t enough then expect the M2 models to be discounted or dropped to that of the M1 and the M1 discontinued.