Apple’s 2021 MacBook Pros: The reviews are in (video)

Excerpt from the ones I’ve seen. More as they come in.

Nilay Patel, The Verge: Giving the people what they want. It’s easy to be excited about the new MacBook Pros — it feels like Apple finally listened to everyone and brought back the best parts of the beloved 2015 MacBook Pro, while pushing the display and performance to new heights. I know a lot of people who ordered one sight unseen; the pent-up demand for a great pro Mac laptop has been growing since Apple released the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 chips last year. We’ve had three of these new MacBook Pros for a little less than a week — we’re doing some quick impressions now, but we’re taking our time with the full review since there’s a lot to discuss and a lot of questions about performance and battery life to answer.

Jason Snell, Six Colors: A Mac Pro in your backpack. These new MacBook Pros are a success story not just because of Apple’s custom-built processors, but because Apple has admitted (in deeds, if not words) that the previous generation of laptops were a misstep. When you’re designing a tool for professionals to use—and make no mistake, these MacBook Pros are serious tools for serious jobs and priced accordingly—function should always win out over form. There’s a different sort of elegance to be found in versatility. I’ve spent the last week with a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max processor with 32 GPU cores and 64 GB of RAM. And I’m happy to report, it’s true—all of it. Apple has undone its mistakes of the past few years and created a laptop that’s essentially a Mac Pro you can slide into a backpack.

Todd Haselton, CNBC: The MacBook Pro delivers everything Apple fans have been asking for. I tested the 14-inch model. It’s the nicest Apple laptop I’ve ever used and has way more power than I know what to do with. Here’s what you need to know about it…

John Gruber, Daring Fireball: The 2021 14-Inch MacBook Pro. The first thing I noticed is that it’s thicker than the MacBook Pros of the preceding few years. It feels thicker. It looks thicker. But look at the specs. Last year’s 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro: 0.61 inches thick. The new 14-inch MacBook Pro: 0.61 inches thick.

Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech: Apple’s M1 Pro, M1 Max SoCs Investigated: New Performance and Efficiency Heights. The M1 Pro and M1 Max change the narrative completely – these designs feel like truly SoCs that have been made with power users in mind, with Apple increasing the performance metrics in all vectors. We expected large performance jumps, but we didn’t expect the some of the monstrous increases that the new chips are able to achieve.

Rene Ritchie, YouTube: The MaxBook Pro review! 

18 Comments

  1. Alessandro Luethi said:
    Rene makes me feel… I don’t know… like in 1984?!

    2
    October 26, 2021
  2. Robert Varipapa said:
    My 14″ delivers on Nov 4th 🙂

    2
    October 26, 2021
  3. bas flik said:
    if you read all those positive reviews the mac business will grow years to come. the computer branch of Apple will add more cylinders to the apple engine

    6
    October 26, 2021
  4. Fred Stein said:
    From Rene: “changes everything”, “only the beginning” – so true.

    The photo/video/gaming tech (chips/displays/cameras/software) in these MacBook Pros combined with the iPhone 13 Pros cannot be matched, not close, and likely not ever by any other company in the planet. (Not ever, because Apple raises the bar each year.) Apple, uniquely, gives creators a full mobile toolset because only Apple chips deliver power and long battery life.

    For us investors: This combination of products and tech opens new markets, while taking share from incumbents. Creator/consumers will option-up raising the ASP and margins significantly. Remember there are 23M Apple App developers.

    3
    October 26, 2021
  5. Fred Stein said:
    More on “only the beginning”

    Going beyond content creators and consumers, there’s AI. AI developers will figure out how, what, and when to take advantage of these beasts.

    Next year 3nm, allowing for more circuits, lower power, across the portfolio in some 2 year rollout.

    3
    October 26, 2021
  6. Gregg Thurman said:
    On reflection, I think we may be getting ahead of our selves with regard to share gains. These are “Pro” machines. The average Joe won’t be impressed by either the power, or the price. My daughter, admittedly a sample of one, is still using her 9 year old MacBook mini because it does everything she wants.

    I think there will be a flurry of gamers (as games are ported to Mac), creative pros and scientific users upgrading to M1Max powered Macs, but that will trail off as those sectors near saturation. Of course there will be switchers, but I think the attraction is going to be battery life. Nothing like a dead battery in the middle of a presentation.

    Average Joe will upgrade as before, and be amazed by M’s power, but will mostly wait for age related lower prices.

    The big unknown is what Apple has coming down the pipe, that requires this much power. I also see a significant elongation in the replacement cycle of these machines. All in all I’m not seeing a prolonged unit share cycle as many are projecting (including my own).

    1
    October 26, 2021
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Gregg: I’m not concerned with the unit volume on the new MacBook Pros. I’m focused on revenue share and profit share in the market. These laptops are for professionals and “prosumers” as well as consumers that simply want the “best of the best.” The innovations recently introduced in the MacBook Pros will be incorporated into Apple’s consumer-focused models over the next couple/few years. Until then, the new MacBooks Pros will deliver for Apple out-sized revenue and profit share in the PC market. This provides Apple with a decided economic and strategic advantage over other PC makers.

      1
      October 26, 2021
      • Fred Stein said:
        Robert: Agree on prosumer and those who crave the very best.

        I see a bigger picture that includes gamers, the avid and ordinary, running on all Apple A and M series devices. And this keeps on growing, more so as Apple’s chip expand their lead and lower price points.

        And then there’s AI and other workloads that we can only guess at. First elite developers open up new areas. Later these become ordinary everyday applications.

        2
        October 26, 2021
        • Robert Paul Leitao said:
          Fred: In my view, the “PC wars” are over. Apple won. What’s important is how the new MacBook Pros integrate into Apple’s products and services strategy and portfolio. I do expect PC sales globally to return to the pre-pandemic pattern of declining sales as the paradigm itself reveals it age and other product forms become more relevant. For pros, prosumers, students and scientists, the Mac is increasingly becoming the only relevant product line to meet today’s needs in powerful, productive and intuitive ways. If one’s PC doesn’t synch seamlessly with one’s iPhone, what good is it?

          2
          October 26, 2021
          • Fred Stein said:
            Yes.

            And I’d bet about 1/2 the PCs serve only as terminals in enterprise, hospitals, etc., or as home email/web readers.

            Would love to see the PC/Mac ownership broken out by age demographic, changing over time.

            2
            October 26, 2021
    • David Drinkwater said:
      Hi Gregg.

      I don’t want to just pile on with Robert and Fred, but I think there is also a great deal of importance to the Mac Pros as *development* systems. Not every average Joe will use them, but people who want to get into and onto the Apple User Bandwagon will need to develop for MacOS and iOS. These very powerful laptops will be excellent platform for doing so.

      So I think that these new Macs may not be the big sellers for consumers, but they will create the software that leads to many “lesser” sellers — to consumers.

      0
      October 27, 2021
  7. Gregg Thurman said:
    OT (but somewhat related), today’s first hour of trading totaled 19.6 million shares, well above second hour of trading (~3 million). The same thing happened yesterday.

    Yesterday’s first hour represented about 30% of the days total.

    0
    October 26, 2021
  8. Gregg Thurman said:
    Friend of mine says Apple announced AR headsets. I’ve been unable to confirm. Has anybody heard anything on this?

    0
    October 26, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Forget this query. My friend sent me the link. It’s a speculative rumor meant to get you to subscribe to their service.

      0
      October 26, 2021

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