Should You Buy a New Mac Now?

With some new M1 Macs out, and other updates to the Mac line coming in 2021, I'm being asked by many people if they should wait and buy a new M-class Mac, or pick up an Intel Mac now. I'm going to change my advice on buying new Macs in this special situation.

Comments: 45 Responses to “Should You Buy a New Mac Now?”

    Ron Melzer
    2 months ago

    If the expense of a new Intel Mac can be written off as a business expense then if you need an upgrade just do it. A Mac for personal use is a balance of need and expense, so it depends.

    Will
    2 months ago

    Thanks, Gary. I wonder if the Intel macs will be discounted because they are becoming old stock and old technology?

    2 months ago

    Will: I doubt it. Apple (and Tim Cook) are masters at supply chain. They probably have just enough to satisfy demand.

    Rudy Rugebregt
    2 months ago

    Something else to consider is the Trade-In program. In my case, I’m trading in a well-spec’d 2018 mini for $690. That makes my cost for a 8GB/256GB mini $9. I upgraded the storage to 512GB and paid $299 to switch to the M1.

    Granted, I paid nearly $1,900 for the mini new and I could probably get more if I used Ebay or CraigsList but the Trade-In program makes it very easy to get into a new machine.

    Jane Galbraith
    2 months ago

    Our son is buying a MacBook Air with the new chip. He will have to also buy Word(2011) as the version on his very old MacBook Pro (El Capitan) won’t work with the OS. Will buy with lots of GB of storage so this lasts a LONG time. I appreciate your comments. anything else we should consider?

    Howard Brazee
    2 months ago

    I agree with your normal recommendations (with my phone, etc). But this is a special case. I’ve been planning for a year to go ARM to replace my late 2013 iMac. It’s a race though with a program I need being converted to 64-bit. I boot to a SSD for Mojave to run it now. Both upgrades may be ready in 1st quarter of 2021. That’s what I’m hoping for.

    Douglas Mattingly
    2 months ago

    I’m trading in my 2013 15″ Macbook Pro for the 13″ Pro. I figure waiting for any improvements on M1 processor is a waste of time because Apple will always be improving it.

    Paddy
    2 months ago

    Worth bearing in mind that non-Apple vendors are likely to defocus their Intel Mac versions and concentrate on their Mn processor versions, so if you are a heavy user of non-Apple apps and new features and enhancements in your non- Apple apps are important to you, then you might be best waiting until your choice of Mn-powered Mac is available.

    2 months ago

    Jane: The current version of Word runs fine on the M1, though it should run even better soon as Microsoft has said they have a native version coming in an update.

    Jane Galbraith
    2 months ago

    Thanks Gary – when they buy the 64 bit Word program I’m sure there won’t be a problem – I had to do that when Catalina came out. I don’t know what a native version means… (sorry) I am wondering if they should load the new Word when they get the new Air before using the Time machine back up to load the computer with their stuff…

    2 months ago

    Jane: Native just means it is compiled to run directly on the M1 processor, instead of Intel processor. Doesn’t matter if you get the new Word now or later, but might as well get it now. You can get it right from the Mac App Store, which I recommend. And then you just need your Microsoft subscription to unlock the features.

    Jean Winchester
    2 months ago

    For a start. let customers know that when buying a Mac with an M1 chip, tell them beforehand that they need a WIRED KB and mouse to get the machine up and running. Secondly, plain instructions telling the customer to plug in their wired KB and mouse instead of looking at two lines and tiny green spot. It took me over an hour to work out what it was. Apple has now taken the minimalist view to the extreme and it is frustrating. Not everybody is intuitive. As to the main problem? I was unable to i

    Dan Bajuk
    2 months ago

    Thank you Gary for the great review. I do use Parallels for running some Windows programs and I read they are actively developing an M1 compatible version.

    2 months ago

    Jean: Why do people need a wired keyboard and mouse? I don’t understand what you are referring to there. Did you buy an M1 Mac mini and then have trouble with your existing bluetooth keyboard? The situation varies depending on the keyboard, I’m sure, but it should look for it and give you some options.

    2 months ago

    Dan: Keep in mind that Parallels for M1 doesn’t mean Windows for M1. Parallels just means you can run virtual machines. Windows would have to be compatible with the process to then work in one of those virtual machines. Either that, or Parallels would need to emulate an Intel processor. I haven’t heard that they are working on that.

    Cube
    2 months ago

    Am eager to snag an M1 mini but my guts tell me to wait because first gen apple releases are always sure to get orphaned faster than other models. All the same am chomping at the bit so question for me is do I get a simpler model expecting to upgrade sooner or pony up for full horse model and suffer gladly.

    John Scully
    2 months ago

    Hi Gary. Thank you for your very balanced advice. I’ve ordered an Air for my wife and a Pro for me.
    I agree with buying a new machine when you need it but one should always have a quick look at where the machine your considering is in the average lifecycle for that model. Nobody wants to buy a shiny new machine only to see it upgraded the month after. No point in waiting forever but a couple of months could sometimes be prudent.

    Missy Caulk
    2 months ago

    I’m trying to decide, really don’t want to spend the money right now. Traveling and my battery is lasting about an hour. I went through the test and it says needs attention. I have a MacBookPro 15″ mid 2015 and except for the battery runs great. Should I try the new battery first?
    Happy Thanksgiving Gary.

    2 months ago

    Missy: That’s up to you. You definitely need to do something if it says your battery needs attention. So you need to price a battery replacement from a local shop and weigh that price against putting them money toward a new MacBook instead.

    Ginny Rodgers
    2 months ago

    Greetings, Your input please! I have a 2015 MacMini — the OS is no longer “updatable” and TurboTax 2020 will not run on it, according to TurboTax. Originally I was going to buy an Intel iMac, but decided against that at this time for all the reasons Gary states. So I think, just to go with the new MacMini . . . Does the new MM come with the M 1? Also, any suggestions on the best place to purchase the new MM? Thanks in advance!

    Rob Wyder
    2 months ago

    Hi Gary
    I’m running a MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012) running Catalina which means I’m at the end of the upgrade line. I’m still very happy with the performance but what are the security concerns of not being on the latest OS release? Will Apple release patches to Catalina as vulnerabilities are discovered in the future?

    Tony Bober
    2 months ago

    Got my newest Mac Desktop 4-6 weeks ago. Prior one was still working but barely at 10 years of age. LOVE the new one other than my Office for Mac Suite doesn’t work – slowly figuring the work arounds – don’t care for Microsoft 360. You are 100% correct about transition from 32 bit to 64 bit by developers. Already found some of the older apps that were struggling to work on new Mac Desktop are now working fine w developer changes. As for M1, I’ll worry about it in a few years.

    Jared
    2 months ago

    @Ginny Rodgers

    Your 2014 Mac Mini can run Big Sur, so feel free to update it. TurboTax 2020’s minimum requirement is Mojave.

    Geoff Sheddick
    2 months ago

    Hi Gary – ret’d old geezer running 20″ mid 2007 iMac, stuck on iOS 10.9.5 – was about to buy new iMac until M1 chip launched – 1st thought = wait for MI chipped iMacs – 2nd thought – buy MI Mini & use old iMac as monitor = apparently not possible – don’t want massive monitor – can you point me at any quality compatible 21/22″ monitors?

    2 months ago

    Ginny: You can get a new Mac mini M1 or Intel (but the whole point of my video is you shouldn’t buy an Intel Mac anymore). Isn’t TurboTax online? Seems odd to be using a local app for something like that. Purchase from Apple.

    2 months ago

    Rob: Apple usually releases security updates for old version of macOS for a few years, so you are OK for now on that front.

    2 months ago

    Geoff: All computer screen sold today will work with Mac, Windows, Linux, etc. You don’t need anything special. But I would get something that us UHD (AKA retina). 4K screens seem to be the standard today. They usually run $250 or so. Anything smaller and you’ll be getting less from your Mac mini. And connect it with a standard USB-C to (mini) DisplayPort cable. Don’t use HDMI.

    Sean M Kennedy
    2 months ago

    Many thanks for this Gary. I’m ready to replace my iMac 21.5 in., but will wait. It’s a late 2009 model, 8 GB memory, 1 TB HD with 2/3 space available, but I can’t upgrade past High Sierra, and it’s getting slower though it runs smooth. Will I be able to migrate my data from the old machine to the new one by blue tooth, or will I have to hardwire them?

    2 months ago

    Sean: I don’t think Bluetooth is an option. Cable or from Time Machine backup is best, if you aren’t just using iCloud.

    Sean M Kennedy
    2 months ago

    Supplementary: Looking at the Mac Mini M1, I’m wondering if I’d be wise to buy it and hard wire it to my 2009 iMac. It’s got more RAM and is available with 1TB SSD storage. That would make my previous question about migration moot. But, would I still be able to use the camera, speakers and mic on the old display, and would you recommend instead I just buy a 4K display?

    Paul Hixson
    2 months ago

    Thanks, Gary, for this very timely update. I’m now trying to decide whether to get the M1 powered MacBook Pro (with its 13″ monitor and 2 USB-C ports) or to wait @ 1/2 year and get a 15″ M1A or M2 powered 15″ MacBook Pro with 4 usb-c ports. Any guess as to what a Mx powered 15″ MacBook Pro might offer over its 13″ M1 MacBook Pro, other than monitor size, 2 more usb-c ports, bigger speakers, and faster speed? I ask because you’re closer to more sources of the latest info than I am. TIA.

    Andrea Grasselli
    2 months ago

    Thank you very much Gary, very useful!

    2 months ago

    Sean: So use your iMac as a screen? It could be possible if your iMac model has that feature. But I wouldn’t do that. A 2009 iMac would be an old display. Get a modern UHD (retina) display. They are cheap and much more energy efficient than using your iMac. Plus it will look much much better. Be a shame to cripple your new Mac mini with a old 2009 non-UHD display.

    2 months ago

    Paul: I can only speculate. But in addition to 4 ports, we may get higher memory options and a faster M1a or M2 processor. Maybe with more cores. Your guess is as good as mine.

    Sean M Kennedy
    2 months ago

    Gary, you’re the best. Thanks for your great advice, and insights.

    Geoff Sheddick
    2 months ago

    Many thanks, Gary – I will explore your recommendations!

    Ginny Rodgers
    2 months ago

    Thank you, Gary and Jared. For some reason, I thought my MacMini (Late 2012) could not be updated and thus thought I needed to get a new computer! (I don’t/won’t do TurboTax online). So I’ll just update my MM – and get a new iMac (the one I really want) whenever they are released with the M1. Thanks again!

    Jamie Dobbs
    2 months ago

    I bought a 27″ 3.8GHz iMac about 3-4 months ago and when the new M1 Macs were released I regretted it for a short time but then I realised I have a power house of a machine that I can easily run Windows VMs on (which I need) plus I can attached 2 extra screens to the iMac for a total of 3 screens which I don’t think you can do with the M1 Macs. In a couple of years I will look at the M series machines again and probably look at getting a laptop to replace my current 2012 MacBook Pro

    Gregg
    4 weeks ago

    I have a mid July 2011 Mac Mini. My Mac OS is High Sierra and I cannot upgrade to Mojave.I use TurboTax Deluxe CD version. In order to use 2020 TurboTax Deluxe the minimum Mac OS is Mojave. I will need to purchase a new Mac Mini. I would very much like to buy the Mac Mini using the M1 chip. However, Intuit has not issued a press release stating that TurboTax has issued a version that can run on an Apple Mac Mini using the M1 chip and Mac OS Big Sur like it did for Quicken 6
    Intel or M1?
    Thank

    4 weeks ago

    Gregg: I thought TurboTax as a web-based thing. Even you use the CD version, can you not use the web-based version instead? No CD-ROM on a new Mac anyway. Have you tried reaching out to their support to ask. Rosetta 2 should make it work on the M1 even if the company has done nothing to support it.

    Gregg
    4 weeks ago

    Hi Gary

    You are correct Turbotax is web based. I prefer using the CD version rather than online. I have an external CD drive connects thru USB port. I have called TurboTax Deluxe support and was told minimum hardware requirements multi core Intel processor with 64-bit support. When I asked if Turbotax Deluxe can run on Mac Mini using the M1 chip the representative did not know. Can Rosetta 2 emulate successfully TurboTax Deluxe using M1 processor? With Intel chip Turbo Tax Deluxe will work

    4 weeks ago

    Gregg: My guess is yes, but since their support isn’t helping you may just need to try it to find out.

    Gregg
    4 weeks ago

    Hi Gary

    Thank you very much for your input.

    Gregg

    Ray L.
    3 weeks ago

    Hello Gary, I am a senior and totally ignorant when it comes to technology. I am using an iMac that I purchased in 2010. I use it for basic stuff like reading articles, Facebook, maybe a Words With Friends type game or two. I do have 10,000 plus photos on it, all family related for the most part. My iMac is now giving me problems with viewing certain email photos or seeing for sale items on certain retailer sites. What do I replace this unit with?

    3 weeks ago

    Ray: That’s up to you. Apple has a variety. If you like the iMac, get a new iMac. I expect Apple to come out with newer models this year at some point, but the models they have now will work fine for your needs too.

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