Image: Apple

Image: Apple

End of Laptop Era: No more Intel for Apple

A historic computer moment is happening. Fourteen years of Intel processors. Over. Apple decides to use its own self-designed processors called the M1 for their computers. This could potentially affect the industry for at least the next 10 years if not more.

Let me tell you simply: Apple’s M1 chip is going to give us 2 – 3x performance increase at the same cost of current machines. It’s going to allow us to do things with computers that we couldn’t do before.

Now, you can edit a damn 4k video with the cheapest of Apple’s laptops. Just think about the things we can do with a phone now that we couldn’t do 10 years ago. It’s that kind of change.

Huge.

My Computer Setup with My New 2020 13" Apple MacBook Pro

My Computer Setup with My New 2020 13" Apple MacBook Pro

I just recently upgraded from a 2013 15” MacBook Pro to a 2020 13” MacBook Pro. My new machine is only 25 – 30% faster than my older machine. Which is perfectly fine. I bought it for its size and I know I’m going to get a fire-breather of a desktop in a year or so for my daily work.

The new M1-based Apple MacBook Air, the lowest model in their line-up, is .25lbs lighter than my new laptop and 200 – 300% faster in processor, internal storage and has superior video performance, at almost half the price, of my newest laptop. The Youtubers testing the new processors confirm the improvement.

200 – 300% faster. Half the price. Am I sorry I bought my new laptop? Not at all.

Me on a typical, late Saturday night: editing photos. The life of a photographer!

Me on a typical, late Saturday night: editing photos. The life of a photographer!

Professionals are slow to upgrade. We depend on our equipment. It’s our life. Our income. If our machines need a reboot every hour or performance is poor, it just kills us.

I’m quite daring with my own equipment. I’ll almost always upgrade an operating system or new application version as soon as it comes out. Sometimes I wait. It just depends. But when I was doing IT consulting, I wouldn’t upgrade a client’s systems for months. As long as their computers were performing well, they didn’t care. They got their work done.

It’s going to be a while for 3rd party software makers to catch up with Apple. Smaller, simpler apps will be onboard quite quickly. But optimization for all but the basic software applications will take months. If not longer.

Adobe said Photoshop will be optimized for M1 in 2021. Based on history, I think it will be 2022 when Photoshop is truly optimized and solid. Capture One, which is central to my workflow, is a big mystery. But I don’t think they’ll have an optimized and solid version of the software until early 2021. Capture One, which is crucial for my work, is the big mystery. Will they have an optimized version soon or will it be in 2021? I think it's a 50/50 chance for either.

And all this is fine.

Capture One Catalog - Image: Ricardo Gomez Photography

Capture One Catalog - Image: Ricardo Gomez Photography

It’s why Apple released the M1 for all the low-end computers. To give time for the higher-end software makers to get ready for the professionals. I plan on buying my powerful, desktop computer around the end of 2021 or early 2022. About the same time when software makers should have their software ready optimized. This is all a good thing. I heard an M1-based Mac Pro is in development and is half the size of the current version. Basically, I’m going to get the same performance at hopefully half, or maybe even a third of the price. I can wait for that! I wouldn't even think of upgrading my laptop until 2022 and more likely, 2025 to be honest. Even the Intel version is still that good. When I hear someone upgrading every year or two, I just think they are compensating for their lack of skill or talent. Seriously.

When I think about the M1 chip, it sorts of reminds me of when photography went from film to digital. I came onto the scene a few years after the transition. But I heard plenty about it from the old-schoolers. What digital photography did was make it much more available to people. It made photography more accessible. It also gave people many more opportunities and options for creating new and bleeding edge work.

We're living in an incredible time and you can't rest on your laurels if you want to be a part of it!

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Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in editorial and commercial photography.
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