I’m skipping the iPhone 13, and it’s probably a surprise to Apple, given that I’m in the iPhone upgrade program. And it’s not about buyer’s remorse. I’ve used my upgrade opportunities every year since joining, and I’ve always found it fun to get a brand new iPhone that’s faster and better.
So why am I looking right after iPhone 13? Well, it’s because of the upcoming Apple event. This month (or next, we’re still waiting for our invites) Apple is expected to roll out the laptop I’ve been waiting for. Yes, the new 2021 MacBook Pro seems like the first must-have MacBook for me to buy in nine years.
And, no, just to be clear, I’m not going to ask someone to use their Mac as an iPhone, or vice versa. I’m saying it’s time to think of the MacBook Pro as the most exciting thing Apple is announcing this year – which seems almost guaranteed to have a spot on our list of the best laptops.
I don’t need the iPhone 13 because the iPhone 12 Pro Max always impresses me
My desire for a new iPhone happens the same way every year. Apple’s big September event is going on and they show how much better cameras are. And so I’ve had the iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro Max – which have earned their places in our top phone rankings – in years running, and I felt happy. At this point in my life as an iPhone user, his photography is what I always thought could be improved upon.
The lack of really new features is something that keeps me waiting. Something about the MagSafe charging level of the iPhone 12 line (love my MagSafe battery pack), like the rumored Touch ID, or the always-on screen, but the big word about newer iPhones is that everything is. simply better. What if last year’s “best” was good enough? A notch smaller? As Shania Twain sang, “That doesn’t impress me much”.
Yes, for me everything else was good or fairly good. IPhone performance for me had practically plateaued, to the point that I only had one real request for Apple. I have a massive iCloud Photo Library, with 140,661 photos and 3,648 videos at the time of writing. And as you might expect, this huge set of assets would lead to a long load time when trying to access my photo library from any app, such as Instagram or Discord. But with the iPhone 12 Pro Max (and possibly the changes made in iOS 14), it ended.
But photography was the kind of feature where I always thought – especially in low light situations – the iPhone could do better. And it probably still is. But I started to realize that the cameras of the iPhone 12 Pro Max still impress me even a year later. This mostly happens when I cross the Manhattan Bridge (a way to burn calories) on my way to see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema (where I consume a lot of tasty stuff and cancel my job). During this walk, I like to find a hole in the fence and position the sensors of the iPhone 12 Pro Max and take a photo in the Halide app, which provides RAW photos, which has less computing power than ‘Apple.
Here is a nocturnal example from my last walk:
That the iPhone 12 Pro Max can capture so much detail of the water ripple at night, and all the colors and details of the background, impresses me. I’m sure the latest phones from Samsung and Google can do this just as well, if not better. But it’s at a point where I’m still pleasantly surprised at what he can do.
And in broad daylight, it’s even better:
But you know what didn’t really grab me by the collar and impress me? Apple’s MacBooks from 2015 to … 2020.
Waiting on a MacBook Pro that I really want
Using the same laptop for nine years creates both a testament to reliability and a need to upgrade. It is the exact opposite of how I have been an iPhone user for the past few years. But this is not a path in which I wish I hadn’t felt obligated.
The last time I bought a MacBook Pro, it was a whole different time in life as we know it: 2012. Almost everything, it’s fair to say, was different. And at the time, we didn’t know the words “butterfly switch”. The thinner key mechanisms introduced in 2015 with the 12-inch MacBook have proven so controversial for their reliability that a class action lawsuit and redress program have emerged from the ashes of outrage.
But before it got out of hand, the butterfly switch spread to every other MacBook. And while these laptops were more or less great otherwise, I looked up and waited. I have to use a butterfly switch MacBook Pro for work, and its shallow keys are so annoying to use that I only use it with external bluetooth keyboards (even on a work trip I bring keyboards) .
It took Apple four years to change course, when it released the 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2019. With that came the Magic Keyboard and the butterfly switch turned off. But this machine maybe seemed too big for me.
At this point, I had a solid case of Goldilocks Syndrome from the next MacBook I bought. I had held out for quite a long time where Apple was finally giving us the keyboards that felt good and (apparently) had no reliability issues. So I could bear to wait. Yes, the 2020 MacBook Air and Pro released in the fall of this year are excellent; I test macOS betas and other apps on them when I need them. These laptops are equipped with fast Apple Silicon M1 processors. But something in my head whispered “wait” to me. These laptops were good, but they didn’t change anything other than the keyboard and processors, and rumors abounded that Apple had bolder designs on their hands.
The MacBook Pro I’ve been waiting for is due out this fall
Last January, leaks revealed that Apple was bringing back the MagSafe, HDMI, and SD card reader ports with the 2021 MacBook Pro and that it would no longer be so dependent on the dongle. And it will get a flat-rimmed design to match current iPhones and (most) iPads.
More importantly, Apple is apparently going to remove the Touch Bar, the OLED display strip that my fingers keep activating by accident. I will always believe, and you cannot shake my faith in this, that typing on a keyboard or anything near the keyboard, can happen without intention. That’s why I turn off “tap to click” on every new device I test.
Finally, after Apple has spent the last nine years making great iPhones, it is restoring features of the MacBook Pro that we haven’t seen since 2015. If these leaks – which keep coming and seem very real – are true , so Apple is marrying its excellent new speedy Apple Silicon (rumored to be the M1X chip) with all the features we loved from 2012 to 2015.
Oh, and on top of that, there’s also a rumor that the incredible mini-LED display technology from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is coming to the MacBook Pro as well.
How about both the iPhone 13 and the MacBook Pro?
Throughout the comparison process that I’ve had in mind since the iPhone 13 announcement, I’ve been thinking “hey, why not buy both?”
The answer I give to this voice, to silence it, is simple. You can only stretch a budget so far. When the pandemic ended, I finally paid off my credit card debt. Buying a new phone (which I know I don’t need and might not see the difference in) is not responsible when you buy a new MacBook Pro as well.
The other reason I have is that I expect to specify (or equip, as my British colleagues say) this new MacBook Pro with a large, spacious SSD, with more RAM and the fastest CPU option. that Apple offers. Why? Because I made these changes to my 2012 MacBook Pro, and it helped it last so long.
That’s all to say, don’t sleep on the 2021 MacBook Pro. Yes, phones are flashy and awesome, and we’re counting on them. But if the leaks are true, the MacBook Pro was worth the wait.