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Ask HN: Should I buy Mac book Pro now or wait for ARM?
50 points by esseti 15 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 115 comments
Long story short, I've a mac of 2015 (8gb ram). I've been waiting for that keyboard update. Now that there's the new keyboard they decided to change processor.

Thus, should I wait 1 year and get a new mac with ARM or it's better to get the intel one that will last for 3/4 years more? what would be the problem with Intel based processor? that their life span is shorter since app will be compatible for a while, not for long. The problme that I see for ARM based mac book will be that the first sets are for betatester with money :D

a bit of ref: I develop, and the mac that I own is a bit aged and slow. PS: should I move to windows/linux and other manufaturer at this point? (I'm a bit skeptical due to the 10+ years on mac and all the apps/keystroke that I use)




Considering that the 1st generation of each Apple device is a beta version (first Apple Watch, first iPhone, first iPad, ... but also first Mac Book Pro with Core Duo CPUs) and are abandonned quite quickly, the best bet would be to at least wait for the 2nd generation, so at best 2022. A regular mac can last 6 good years nowadays, and more depending on your use-cases, so if you can wait until 2022 you better wait. Otherwise renew now! (I'll likely renew my 2014 MBP this year)


I second this. For pretty much every innovative and new electronic product, stay away from the first version, and Apple is no exception.

Your Intel based Mac will be relevant and working just fine in 2025 even, based on what happened during the PPC to Intel switch, I don't see any huge risks here.

Some people just like having the latest. I tend to buy a new iPhone every 2 years, and a new Mac every 4 years.


> A regular mac can last 6 good years nowadays

I found out I really enjoy working with the latest hardware. I'm enjoying a decent income and now upgrade to the latest base model every 2-3 years.

If you get the 13 inch models, they have extremely good resale value and thus make it (relatively) affordable.


I disagree that they are "beta" versions, although they do sometimes have issues. I got about 3 years out of the first Intel Macbook circa 2005. It ultimately failed due to the plastic yellowing/breaking issue, not anything to do with the CPU change.

The first-gen Apple Watch was also fine.

Personally I'd wait to see what comes out this fall, and buy then. They'll most likely release new Intel Macbooks in addition to any ARM offerings.


What I consider beta is: - the Apple Watch 1 and iPhone 1 didn't have real apps (at least until the second year/generation) - the physical design of iPhone 1/iPad 1/Apple Watch 1 was changed with the second generation - the Core Duo MacBooks were the only Intel non-64 bit devices and there probably are quite a few other examples

So as far as I am concerned, the first Apple CPU in a mac will be a no-go beta device, that will be much better at the second generation.

Also, regarding the OS, we are not really yet aware of all the things that are going to break with the architecture change: it's not a switch to ARM but a switch to Apple. There's a huge lot of possible problems for a device I'll need running at 100% for my work.


agreed, every "new" implementation of apple hardware is cursed with bugs

list of recalls: https://support.apple.com/en-asia/exchange_repair

and there is a lot of bugs that apple don't even admit. (ex, ghosting screen on some macbookpro retina ( first version )


I agree the first iPhones and Intel MBPs and Watches were not betas and were "fine," but the speed improvements in the following generations were just absolutely ridiculous. And at least for the Watch, significant features were added in the OS that the first gen simply couldn't handle.

Support for Macs is certainly longer term, so feature change between years shouldn't be that dramatic, but shipping anything for the first time at Apple's scale means they're going to stumble upon optimizations they missed the first time around. For that alone, I would avoid buying a first-gen Apple Silicon Mac.


The Apple Watch first Generation was so slow and I believe was such a embarrassment to Apple that they did a redo (Apple Watch Series 1).


"Should I wait for and buy an arm64 Mac in 2020?"

If you're developing for Mac, and macOS 11.0 will run on your 2015 Mac, then you should wait and buy an arm64 Mac in 2020. You'll need both your 2015 x86_64 and your 2020 arm64 for release testing.

If you're developing for Mac, but macOS 11.0 will not run on your 2015 Mac, then you need to purchase both an x86_64 Mac and an arm64 Mac in 2020.

If you're not developing for Mac, but you would like to help contribute to the Mac ecosystem by improving macOS/arm64 support for things, then you should wait and buy an arm64 Mac in 2020. You will be at the bleeding edge of Homebrew and CocoaPods and etc. and you will be required to make repairs to things that assume x86_64 or assume "stat DYLIB" or etc. You will be forced to use your old x86_64 device to get your actual task done sometimes, even though you'd like to use your new device. You will find bugs and issues with third-party toolkits that you depend on to get your job done. You will be expected to not only report issues but also to participate in fixing them.

If none of the above apply, do not buy an arm64 Mac in 2020. Either now or later, buy either an x86_64 Mac or an x86_64 Windows. The Mac will be supported for several years. The Windows will be supported for however long PCs are supported.

(Footnote: "in 2020" really should be translated to "within 3-6 months of whenever arm64 Macs are first sold to the public", not including the devkits.)


> If you're developing for Mac, but macOS 11.0 will not run on your 2015 Mac

I don't think there is any such thing. Big Sur supports 2013 MBPs, MBAs and MacPros, and 2014 iMacs and Minis.


> "in 2020" really should be translated to "within 3-6 months of whenever arm64 Macs are first sold to the public"

And I didn't even get the impression that it will be 2020 for anything non-devkit? Can anybody cite some more exact information?


Apple has not published any exact information that could satisfy your request.


The keynote stated first silicon shipping in 2020.


> first silicon shipping in 2020

I've thought that's the Mac mini for devs?

https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-mac-mini-will-be-the-first...


They said that they'd have something for sale by the end of the year. They separately talked about selling the dev kits now.


If you don’t need the mobility, a linux desktop offers vastly, vastly improved performance for the money.

For less money than a MacBook Pro, I got a 24-core threadripper, 64g ram, top speed ssd. Test suite for work went from 45m on a 2017 macbook pro to 9m.


I severely doubt apples arm processor will trouble an i7/i9 for a while.

Why buy a mac at all? Get a cheap ubuntu laptop and move back into mac once it's settled down.

I did this debate recently and went with the mac, but only because work are paying for it. Otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered.


Slightly off topic, but i7/i9 is in trouble right now against AMD Ryzen chips. Laptops with Ryzen 7 4000H series CPUs are faster and cheaper than top of the line Intel chips.


> Laptops with Ryzen 7 4000H series CPUs are faster and cheaper than top of the line Intel chips.

Faster and cheaper - Ok. But what about power consumption and temperature?


Oh totally, I'm pondering going desktop at home and if I did I would 100% go Ryzen 7/9


Or maybe just wait until Linux on the desktop works properly. It should happen any year/decade now.


>Linux on the desktop works properly

What are your problem's? Even my FreeBSD runs better then "properly" (desktop-wise) on my Workstation, and BSD's are not known to be a Desktop-centric OS.


It works fine. It just looks awful after using MacOS for too long.


I would buy the latest Intel Macbook Pro and wait for ARM later. After two years they would have upgraded the ARM processor to something better by that time.

Just don't buy the first version of any Apple product. It is the first to be obsolete like back in 2014, the first version of the Apple Watch for example, ran 32 bit and now 64 bit watches are here.


“don't buy the first version of any Apple product. It is the first to be obsolete”

Not the strongest of arguments. The second version will be the second to be obsolete, etc. A valid question would be whether first versions see shorter support (presumably because teething problems in the new design made supporting the hardware harder)


Not always. The second iPad was supported far longer than the first. IOS 9 vs IOS 5.


Now that I've had coffee, I realise my comment makes no sense. Parent was saying exactly the same.


It depends on your use, you say you develop and so you likely have a number of tools that you rely on for your day to day productivity. While the new Arm processor may well be faster then the Intel it is going to cause incompatibilities for a while.

Going the Intel route now will give you a stable machine which still has a lot of performance (depending on what exactly you develop, web great, Linux kernel not so much ;o)

Getting the first Arm will lead to you spending time dealing with first adopter bugs and learning new tooling due to your existing stack having incompatibilities.


> cause incompatibilities for a while

That strikes me as a huge understatement. I previously used Ubuntu as my main work and home OS for 10+ years before a 'corporate requirement' to move to MacOS for any new laptops.

Suffice to say, there is a big enough developer community running on Mac that almost everything can be made to work but that doesn't mean it will be smooth or easy to do. And that is with fundamentally the same architecture.


I am in the same boat. I think its time to finally make the switch to Windows and/or Linux. Lots of folks on HN recommend Thinkpads.


I made the switch from a Macbook Pro to a Thinkpad X1 Extreme with Linux two years ago, and I'm still pretty happy about it. Some things to consider if you install Linux on a Thinkpad:

- If you use your laptop on the go regularly, you have to know that both battery life and the trackpad are considerbly worse than on a Mac. I personally am not too bothered by this, as I mostly use my Thinkpad stationary.

- If you feel that you don't need a 4k resolution screen, then I would recommend getting one with a regular HD or a Quad HD screen instead. Scaling is still not optimal on X11, and it seems to take at least some toll on the CPU as well (which will also result in your fans spinning up from time to time).

- If you get a model with Nvidia discrete graphics, then I would recommend the PopOS distro. They have a version that comes with the Nvidia driver preinstalled, and it also preconfigures NVidia Optimus for you, making it easy to switch between integrated and discrete graphics whenever your needs change (eg. on-to-go vs stationary)


I don't see the logic of this. If you like PC laptops better than the current Mac offerings, then you should have switched already. Otherwise, best to wait and see what Apple come out with in a few months. If the x86 emulation is as fast as they say, and the laptop processors are significantly beefier than the A12, then the whole transition might turn out to be a total non-issue for developers. I'd hate to switch to a big clunky thinkpad and then find that Apple had, say, released a 12" MacBook with good performance.


> then you should have switched already.

Until late last year the option was terrible keyboards or PC. So I waited. Then it was GPU fan issues (16" MacBook Pro). So I waited. Now its a deprecated platform or wait or PC.


You're never going to buy any Apple product if you listen to people whining online. Every time Apple release anything, there is a contingent of people saying that it sucks, it's unusable, etc. etc.

The 4th gen butterfly keyboards work fine. I have two (personal MacBook Air and work MacBook Pro) and have had no reliability issues whatsoever over the past year. I also love the feel of the keyboards.

I don't have any personal experience with the fan noise issue, but I'd advise trying to get some first-hand data on it.

Whatever laptop you switch to is also going to have its issues and imperfections. There just isn't a contingent of people loudly complaining about them all over the internet. So for example, here is a comment elsewhere in this thread about using Linux on a thinkpad:

>If you feel that you don't need a 4k resolution screen, then I would recommend getting one with a regular HD or a Quad HD screen instead. Scaling is still not optimal on X11, and it seems to take at least some toll on the CPU as well (which will also result in your fans spinning up from time to time).


>contingent of people saying that it sucks

It's about the same size as the group of Apple apologists, neck deep in the reality distortion field, claiming that Apple is infallible and that you're holding it wrong.


What relevance does that have? I'm certainly not saying that Apple is infallible. And who cares what extremists on either side think if you're trying to make a reasonable decision about what product to buy?


The relevance is, PC and Apple have their fan-base, but one of them is often completely blind.


That is irrelevant, even if true. If you want to talk seriously about this issue, focus on criticising the products, not the people who buy them.


I would never criticize a apple buyer, always just the product's, i really dont care where you trow your money at.


>big clunky thinkpad

Then don't buy a big clunky ThinkPad. The X series is far from clunky. Plus the devices can actually be serviced if they fail.


It's not huge, but they seem to go out of their way to avoid having clean lines. And of course the trackpad is completely unusable compared to the MacBook.


Don't type that fast...i hear your apple fans spinning up ;)


I am on Thinkpad T480, switched from ubuntu to windows, and finds wsl to be awesome.


I find WSL sits uncomfortably in that space between cygwin and running a fully isolated VM using VirtualBox. My initial “wow” response evaporated quickly - especially the rough edges around accessing filesystems and I quickly went back to Cygwin and Debian running in a VM.


WSL2 (a full blown Linux from what I understand) should alleviate most, if not all of those issues.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/wsl2-index


It's pretty sad when Linux users have given up on the Linux desktop and decided to just use Windows. Having WSL is surely a great advantage so you can get the job done, but it gives a feeling of a cobbled together system that is a reaction to the failure of Linux on the desktop.


There is still no business model for Linux on the desktop, sadly. Ubuntu was the closest we got to having a "Redhat for desktops" and they too bailed to the server/cloud space (and phones, and anything that promised a bit of $$$).


The only "business" model I see is when someone like Musk decides to pour billions into freeing humanity from Windows. Ironically, it could be Gates Foundation's next big charity project!


That's basically what Shuttleworth tried, and it didn't work. Alright, he's no Musk and certainly no Gates, but he did spend a good chunk of his own change.


I switched and I love it. I highly recommend it.


Yes I also love Windows and/or Linux, it are great.


Beware that battery life on linux thinkpads is atrocious, especially if you go for a comparable screen to a macbook.


NoNo that's not true, i have a X250 with OpenSuse and the batteries hold around 12h, with Windows it was about 13-14h, FreeBSD got to 9h and Plan9(9Front) 4h...but 9Front did not see the second battery...and they are old, main-battery 80% capacity, external 70%

Tested with a repeating site load pattern of Firefox (Open Firefox, load 4 Websites, reload them, close Firefox, wait 30 seconds, repeat, on 9Front with mothra)

EDIT: All of them without any tweaks (except FreeBSD with powerd but without special flags), screen on 40%

EDIT2: If i remember correctly when the laptop was new it had power for about 18-20h with Windows


X250 is a 1366 x 768 screen right?

That's not comparable to a Macbook screen e.g. 3072×1920(!) on the latest 16 inch screen, and at 40% brightness you'd struggle out and about (which is where you need battery life, and again has no comparison to the macbook 500 nits)


No i have the 1920x1080 12.5", why is that not comparable?

Bigger laptop 16" more space for battery's, and yes in the Sun i struggle at 40% brightness. But 40% brightness is what i use 99% at time.


Ignoring the transition stuff, iMacs are due a revamp at the moment, so if you need one of those I would wait for September. Laptops are nearing the end of their cycle too but I suspect they will come next year.

If you only care about the transition: Apple tends to support their hardware for about 10 years. Big Sur is the first OS to drop the 2012 models, and they support the previous OS version for 2 years from release of the new one, so a 2012 model will effectively stop getting security updates in 2022.

When they made the previous arch transition, they announced the switch in 2006 and dropped support for the last OS to run on the old chips 5 years later. I suspect they will be gentler this time around, tbh, since the current arch is easier to support in concert with the new one than PPC was with amd64.

That means anything you buy now will likely be "compatible" with MacOS for 5 years or so, probably more. Applications will likely be supported for longer (Rosetta was dropped 7 years from announcement).

So I wouldn't worry too much. If you need a new one now, buy it regardless of architecture.


I just got a new 16" mbpro a few months ago and now am very glad since I'm not interested in being a beta tester for Apple or dealing with shit not working because of the new arch, which is absolutely inevitable as a developer, even as a web developer. That said, I only got this because Lenovo didn't ship me a Thinkpad 6 weeks after I had ordered it and at that point, 6 weeks in, they still didn't know when it would ship (their customer service is absolute shit). Dell has a refurbishing fee for returns and since I wanted to run Linux, those are the only major vendors of durable laptops that I see will be durable and run Linux smoothly (system 76 etc don't count as the hardware is shit). Linux does everything I need and is slightly cheaper (a few hundred dollars on a $4k machine). I did not pay for the laptop or Apple would not be a consideration at all. The only advantage it offers is stability at the expense of everything else (though for work that is a big deal).

ARM macs will not be a consideration at all unless there is heavy adoption of ARM in the industry and all the tools currently available get ported. That will take quite some time, I imagine, if it's even doable at all. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple starts locking down their OS and only allowing apps they approve. They've been doing it for years, tightening the restrictions every year. I'm just waiting for the 'allow apps to run from anywhere option' to be completely removed. It gets reset to 'allow apps from app store and certified developers' now as far as I can see on a constant basis, not even just upon OS upgrades.

Frankly, what it boils down to, is that the future of Apple laptops as general purpose computing devices is questionable (and has been for years) given the iOSization of the OS. And I'll be damned if I pay thousands of dollars to only run what Apple approves. But if others are paying, why not?


> should I wait

When somebody asks the question like that I always answer: wait.

If somebody even asks something like this, it means to me that he/she doesn't need that at the moment. Otherwise he/she wouldn't even doubt, the need would be completely obvious.

So it's straightforward: once you need it, you'll know it and will not even have to ask.


I guess in this case it's a little different though, as the question is about either buying something now (which isn't really needed as you say), or being in a position that you need to buy a semi-experimental machine that could potentially break half your workflows.


It depends on what exactly you develop.

If you develop macOS apps, wait to buy the ARM model because you'll have to test on both platforms anyway.

If you develop iOS apps, also wait to buy the ARM model because your apps will become available to macOS-on-ARM users through the App Store, and you want to be able to test on that platform in case users have issues.

However if you develop anything else cross-platform (web, Unix, open source whatever) — buy an Intel Mac (or switch platforms). x86-64 is the architecture that everybody else uses on both clients and servers. ARM hasn't been a priority in the development of any of your current software stack. Why spend your money to be a beta tester on the bleeding edge? There's no advantage to you in being the unlucky one to discover obscure only-on-ARM bugs in some open source tool. Let someone else sort out Apple's v1.


Get the Intel one. At least then you can switch to Linux or even windows if they make a mess of the Intel support.


I would buy the ARM one only if I was developing native apps for macOS. I don't believe there is any other scenario I would advice doing that.

As for the switching to Windows/Linux, I am in similar position (developing on Mac Pro for 8 years) and my next hardware will be definitely not made by Apple. I don't find new models/macOS changes really "pro"-friendly. The most positive thing that happened recently was that they restored a working keyboard (just wow). Otherwise it just gets worse with every generation (both hardware and software).


If you develop apps for the Apple ecosystem, I'd suggest you wait a bit for some extra clarity. The next Apple event is in September, right? IIRC the first product will be an ARM 13 inch MBP.

Otherwise, I'd suggest you get a Mac beefy enough to carry you for a couple years. 32 GB of RAM should be enough for a while (remember you'll want to have space for emulators) and Apple will support Intel for a while. Remember they kept the 13 inch with optical drive selling for a good couple years after the first Retinas were launched.


If your keep your next Macbook also for 5 years, I don't see a significant change in the ecosystem in this time due to the amount of existing Intel macs.

I'm guessing you're not a Mac-only developer if you're contemplating switching to Linux, so deploying to ARM is not enough of a concern that would necessitate an ARM Mac at launch.

The resale value after 5 years may be less than your current one due to people being less interested in Intel macs by then.


I bought a 16" MBP a couple of months back and I'm confident that it will continue to do it's job for many years to come. Apple computers generally have excellent longevity on the software side. My last laptop was a 2010 Macbook Pro and that only stopped getting updates last year (and still functions perfectly today, sitting on a shelf above my desk with a big HD attached functioning as a server of sorts).


I'm in the same boat (but with an ancient late-'13 13" MBP), and I'm going to purchase a new Macbook Pro in the coming weeks.

It's going to a better-specced model (32gb/i7 13") so it should allow me to ride out the ARM transition until the kinks are ironed out. I guess if there are compelling arguments to upgrade earlier, it should still have ok-ish resale value (there'll always be people who need to stick with Intel for a while longer, and there won't be any Intel big refreshes anymore, I guess...)

I'm not confident Apple will keep selling Intel Macs for long once they have an ARM replacement for a model; will there still be a 32GB Intel 13" once they have a 32/64GB ARM 13"? Or will they just keep offering the base models? Or none? Anyone's guess and not something I want to depend on.

Switching to Linux is not an option for me. "Linux is only free if your time has no value", as someone on this site recently put it, and I've found that to be true, plus, even in the best case, the "minor issues" that still remain are dealbreakers for me.

Switching to Windows is something I've looked at, but I just don't "get" Windows, and even with WSL2, while there now is a happy path to work with Linux that is quite comfortable, anything outside that happy path quickly gets painful. It's just nowhere near as versatile as macOS with its UNIX underpinnings or native Linux, maybe it'll get there eventually.

And besides, I'd hate to lose muscle memory and a ton of apps and workflows that I'd have to relearn and rebuild and that's quite an investment. I like the new keyboard a lot, so my main gripe with Apple laptops has disappeared.


> "Linux is only free if your time has no value", as someone on this site recently put it

Lol @ "recently", that line has been around for 15 years or more...

(as a line, it's a bit dim: by using and improving Linux you are basically helping humanity at large more than any given corporation, so the net result is not necessarily a loss)


I've read it for the first time recently, I was not aware this was such an old hat. It did resonate very much with me, though.

I have a bit of a problem with that "helping humanity" statement, though. What contribution can I realistically make, with what I'm able and willing to do, and is that worth it, considering it's frequently a very bad time for me?

Like, if I have to spend a weekend of spare time to fix a crazy dependency mess so that I have a working computer on Monday, that's a definite big net loss for me, because I'd rather spend my spare time doing things I enjoy. It's also a net loss if I can't properly do the presentation I need to do because I can't get scaling on this particular 4k projector to work right now; it's a net loss for me if I have to do a reboot and lose time, terminal state and state of running applications, because I forgot to do the USB-C unplug-wakeup-replug dance and now wifi is broken. I don't really see how humanity benefits when I struggle away my spare time without success on a sound chip that should really work, but maybe not with that exact kernel version, or maybe it's alsa? then give up and switch back to my Macbook. I'm definitely not going to learn C and systems programming and write my own drivers or do a deep dive into dependency resolution and make a better apt.

And I've spent evenings and weekends on such things, time and again, over almost 20 years now, with Suse, RedHat, CentOS, several Debians, X/K/Ubuntu, Knoppix, and a couple of smaller ones, because in principle I really like the idea of running this super customizable, secure, flexible, versatile, nerdy OS everywhere. I've spent a lot more time fixing Linux than I ever did for Windows or MacOS, and I got the least utility out of Linux by far, not counting servers and raspis and things like that router I built from a 200MHZ PC in the early 2000s, where I rarely run into issues.

And I'd like to think I'm not at the very bottom of the Linux learning curve by now, and I know my way around a Linux server well enough for most purposes. But seeing how coworkers who run Linux sink a lot of time in it because it's a bit of a hobby, really, and still struggle with things like the above, it does seem to be very expensive in terms of time if you don't enjoy this sort of thing – a huge lot more than, say, using a Macbook, if your needs aren't wildly incompatible with the defaults there. It might be really not for you if you need animations to be exactly 2.5 times as fast and can't live outside of i3; personally, I like the Windows and especially MacOS defaults more than anything I ever got put together myself in Gnome, KDE, Xfce, Fluxbox, Openbox, ... still have to give i3 a shot.

Might be that's all wrong now and there is a combination of distro and hardware that is really foolproof and straightforward and where the wifi never breaks, and the displays scale well (all windows uniformly, across multiple displays with different dpi, even!), and USB-C is a walk in the park, and dependencies never go to hell, and you never have to copy-paste unintelligible stuff into config files and pray, but based on coworker anecdata and my (frustrating) experience getting a HiFiBerry sound card to work under Debian recently, I don't feel like Linux is there yet.


I recently decided for a refurbished MacBook Pro 2015. Fast, great display, great keyboard, lots of ports, and relatively affordable. I'm really happy with it. I'd wait for at least one iteration to invest a lot of money into an ARM machine… just to be sure.


Even when i am kind of a past-jobs apple hater, i love when people refurbish hardware and are happy with it.

I love my HP Z600 (10 or 11yo) buy d a second cpu (15$) and additional 32GB of ram (60$) a radeon rx580 and i really dont see any point of buying a new workstation (left out power-consumption), its just great!


Absolutely. A great read on the subject:

https://drewdevault.com/2019/01/23/Why-I-use-old-hardware.ht...


hi,

i think this article sums it up quite good:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3563892/why-apples-move-from...

* don't buy a new/arm one - you will be some kind of a "beta-tester" for many years, lots of errors, low performance due to emulation etc. but with the steep apple pricetag attached to it...

* don't buy an old/intel one - you will loose software-maintenance (security!) faster than you are able to spell out the company-name ... :/

imho.

* keep your old system as long as possible

* if you need a new one, go hackintosh 8)

* buy something else - linux, winX, ...


The intel transition went very well and all indication is that this one will go better. Apple has been shipping lots of code for this architecture on the Apple TV, iPhones, and iPads. They’ve been sharing more code and frameworks between the platforms. It’s quite mature I’d say.

Also, fewer people use native apps as the browser is a bigger focal point these days.


My advise would be; if you have the funds and the need now, then get it now. You've been going 5 years on 8GB RAM, and so for dev purposes you'll notice a good improvement going to a machine with 16 or 32GB RAM. If you can, get more RAM and make the machine last. I'm quite excited about ARM Macs, and I suspect they will be excellent in many ways, but there is always new hardware on the horizon. If you keep waiting for the next promise, you'll be suffering in the mean time. Get a decent Mac now, and get another one in 5 or 6 years time.


I also have a question if someone could help me please, althought it might be a little off topic.

Currently I am developing mobile apps (or at least trying to) in Flutter, and I am using a Lenovo running Windows, and I love it, I cannot stand Linux or MacOS. The problem is, while I can make 1 codebase for Android and iOS on Windows, I still need XCode to deploy and test my app.

So does anyone have any recommendations or advice on what to do? I would like to avoid paying $2000 for a Mac which I will only use to use emulator and deploy. Thanks


In addition to sibling suggestion of Xcode on the cloud (which is the cheapest option to start with), you can also buy a refurbished/second-hand Mac, which goes for less than $1000, and you can definitely find some around $500.

You don't even need a powerful Mac to use as a build server: I got great use of a Late 2014 Mac mini (be careful to buy a somewhat recent Mac though, to avoid being locked out of next MacOS versions) as a build server. Full builds takes up to 2 hours, but who cares? It's running nightly.


Get the entry-level mac mini, or a secondhand one (but maybe stay away from the 4gb models). Set it up as a build and test server that you use remotely. You can also rent it from macstadium if you don’t need it for very long.


You can rent a cloud xcode vm for quite cheap. Its legal. Never done it myself but hopefuly you have the keywords for your search.


Thanks all for the answers, to summarize a bit:

- I don't develop for mac/ios: so there's no need of arm for me - Switching to windows/linux is an option that I consider. In the company there are some XPS that are fairly good. The thing that stops me are the tool and the habit i developed with mac, and the fact that i've part of the file made with keynote/pages.

In the end I'll make my mind of buying a XPS (or thinkpad) or go with the today's MBP


I would wait a good few years to buy an ARM model. So I don't think you should wait to upgrade, the new keyboards are sweet and 8GB is super limiting (for me anyways).


Wait until the first ARM Macs in the form factor that you want (which might be less than a year). At that point you can see if the features of the new models convince you that they are worth it. If not you should still be able to buy a nearly new Intel model for a good price.

That way you'll have no regret at possibly missing out on new features and have the maximum choice of options.


My guess is only the lower end macs will move to ARM till atleast the Apple 14z or most likely Apple A15z. Macbook Pro will be as is for a while. This is about 2 years too far out.

Also intel should be supported for a couple of years once the new ARMs are out, and you wouldn't be obsolete till the lifetime of your laptop. At the end, you may even end up with a Apple memorabilia.


I'm not so sure about this. Apple have waited a long time to make this transition. I wouldn't be surprised if they've been waiting for pro-level chips to finish development. I doubt they'd risk doing this if they didn't already have most of their silicon ducks in a row.


I feel like right now is a good time to buy a new one, because you would still get the intel processors. I believe that Apple will do a great job with their ARM but usually the first versions of any product are not that good.

I would wait a few models before making the change so that most of the bugs are solved.


I got a 2015 Air with 8 gigs of ram. I'm wondering whether to pull the trigger on the 16" or endure more pain for the next several months to see what else comes out.

Has anyone upgraded from an older Air to a 16"? Is the increase in performance more like a "OMG" or "Not bad"?


Not from the air... but I hate the 16”. It’s fan is noisy and always powers up under any load. The thermal throttling is horrible. It gets hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch. The cable has coil whine as does the Mac itself. Touchbar... I’m not a fan and generally never used it. The GPU seems flakey and the wifi hates connecting to 2.4 networks, although that could be a software issue. Battery life is far worse than expected.

The screen is wonderful and the new keyboard better than the old one. Touchpad is still good.


I have a MBP 16. 32GB RAM, i9 8-cores. Yes it's powerful, but it does generate a lot of heat, and the fans spin up easily. I run mine with Turbo Boost Switcher Pro, and that helps a lot to keep the fans off.

I do wish it was more power efficient, but I'm also glad to have upgraded from my dual core 2013 MacBook Pro 13".


I had a 2014 retina 13” MacBook Pro and upgraded to the 16” last month. To me the difference is “OMG” fast.

Anecdotal evidence: I have a build script that used to take 30 seconds and now runs in 6 seconds.


My wife recently upgraded from a 2015 (14?) 8GB MBA to a 16GB Pro (don't know processor, 2 USB-C ports) and had a OMG experience, mostly when running R stats analyses.


I have mid 2012 MacBook Pro and I am about to change my workstation. I stopped looking at MacBooks - in my opinion nothing justifies such high price. In mid July new Thinkpads with Ryzens 4000 will be available, I'm going to get one.

All depends on your disk tolerance. Several have mentioned first gen with signifigant new tech can be brittle.

I bought a new 16" MBP in January; it's FAST, does a much better job with heat dissipation than the previous version, and finally has a decent keyboard again.


There's always something new next year. If you feel you need a new laptop buy it now. Not sure about moving to other system. Personally, I find them all ok and work with Linux, Apple and Windows machines equaly both for dev and business apps.


The Macbook Pro 16 is a fantastic machine, I would buy it again in a heartbeat


Are you seeing any fan noise issues when using multiple displays?


My 16 does run the fan when connected to external displays but I wouldn’t call it loud. You wouldn’t notice it over any environmental background noise. Even in a completely quiet room, it’s easily tuned out.

When the machine is idling, with no display connected, it is inaudible. I think people are freaking out On forums because no noise to a quiet noise is a more noticeable difference than some noise already to a bit more noise as is the case with many other machines.

That said, the 16” does have the capacity to run the fans very loud. I tried running a game (I’m no “big” gamer but was curious to test the discrete graphics card). Graphics were smooth and the FPS was relatively high. The machine sounded like it was really working hard though!

I guess if other 16s are running that loud all the time, I can understand why they are peeved. That just isn’t the case with my workload though.


Thanks for the info, tbh you just validated my decision not to buy it. My 2015 iMac 5k has become really loud since the Catalina update when running an external display, even after replacing the fan and power unit. The fan noise is biggest reason I'm looking for an upgrade. It's a shame really because it is running otherwise flawlessly. I don't even mind a little noise, but when I can hear it with noise cancelling headphones it's problem!


Very happy to help :)

FWIW, I definitely can’t hear the fan with headphones on in non-gaming usage.


I found plugging the power into the right usb c port reduced fan noise


Keep in mind Apple will most certainly sell Intel based Macs for at least two years. The transition to ARM will take time. It’s really not a different decision then it was last week - buy one if you need one.


This is the place to find out: https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#MacBook_Pro_16


I have decided to get a second-hand Macbook Air. Hopefully it will last for 2-3 years, and by that time I can probably replace it with an ARM-powered Macbook of some kind.


Yes please move.

And even when i say take Linux or FreeBSD, you should probably consider Windows with WSL2.

If you had no contact with windows for a longer time here you can test it out (virtual machine)

https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/virt...

EDIT: The downvote shows that apple really is a fanboy-company and not the revolutionary Macintosh/Jobs era stuff anymore


I still don't understand why people would recommend going away from a true UNIX with a decent UI, to switch to Windows. Windows remains an abomination in my personal experience, and sprinkling a Linux subsystem on it doesn't sound like a truly great argument to switch.


I'm NOT a Windows Fan, in Fact i use BSD, but if you want "a no problem solution" where you can develop and everything else..windows is your goto.

That true Unix sentence is getting old...i really means nothing


> "a no problem solution" where you can develop

You'll have to jump through some hoops to develop web stuff on Windows (unless you do it The MS Way ™). The fact that WSL exists is testament to this fact.


In what way will you have trouble developing “web stuff” on Windows? I develop on Windows and deploy to Linux all of the time.

Admittedly, I stay away from the clusterf%%% that is the modern front end environment like the plague. But I code in Python, C# (.Net Core) and Node all of the time.


You said it yourself: you do the part that actually matters NOT on Windows. That's a big hoop.

You do Python - so you likely have to do things like remembering venv/bin vs venv/Scripts, or you're using containers exclusively. Those are hoops.

The fact you got used to it and MS tried hard to lower that friction in recent years, is fundamentally irrelevant. The web stack is Linux-first.


As far as Python. I don’t have to remember to do anything. I use pip install from the command line. I write and debug my code locally, push it and my CI/CD pipeline build either my Lambda zip file or Docker container and push it.

The same is true for .Net Core and Node.

When would I ever build directly from my computer and push to another computer? This is 2020. We have CI/CD pipelines.

If I did actually deploy to a VM, the only difference would be that pipeline would do that instead.


> my CI/CD pipeline build either my Lambda zip file or Docker container

I guess you've already forgotten how long Docker took to work decently under Windows.

Pretty much all those magic CI/CD tools you are effectively forced to use, are written on (and for) Linux first. Linux/Mac/BSD users get first pickings and can always choose to ignore this or that tool if they feel like it. You don't.


My CI/CD pipeline doesn’t run on Windows. When I’m writing my code in any of the three languages I mentioned, I am running them straight on my Windows box.

I push the code and my Linux based build server, pulls in the dependencies, builds the artifacts - either Docker container or Lambda - and deploys it.

I first played with Docker on Windows in 2014. I didn’t really start using it for anything in production until 2019.

But talking about who did it first is about like Mac nerds bragging about having long file names before Windows. No one cares.


That's what i mean, develop on Linux, Play/work on Windows ;)


> Thus, should I wait 1 year and get a new mac with ARM

I bet on a Macbook 12" with ARM processor at the Iphone event. (September/October 2020)

I would say wait for it if you can. It will be a game changer.


I would love to see that. The Macbook 12" is by far my favourite mac form factor. Needs a bit more under the hood though.


I´m in the same position right now. But I think I will get the last Intel version. I´m not so confident about the 1st gen of the ARM version. Even the 2nd gen of the "butterfly" keyboard was a fail. On the other hand, Apple could do a lot better with their own silicon and have much better performance than the last Intel version.

TL;DR => Now to be safe and have a working Mac for the next 5+ years => Later to have the newest "thing" but maybe with 1st gen problems


Not sure why you are being downvoted. You are adding to the discussion with your optinion, and giving reasons for it.

I don't happen to agree. But I won't down vote for that.

I think the meme "all apple first gen products are bad" is old and tired. I was a reasonable mantra back in the mid-naughties, but these days it's not.

It's true that second gen products are usually improved. But there are not always second gen products.

Airpods were greate first gen. Second gen is a higher product tier.

Touch ID was good in first gen. First apple A-series processor was good, first T2-Mac was good. First Face-id was good.

So I would say no point in waiting for something you need now, but not because of 'first-gen' issues.




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