I’ve been sending out warnings to our Mac users that they will receive notifications from the macOS that an update is available and Big Sur is poised and ready to download in System Preferences. I still find this unbelievably irresponsible of Apple and that they should return to releasing their annual updates from the Mac App Store.
One reply came back asking whether they should return the Intel MacBook Pro 16” purchased last week and I thought some may find my reply below of help/interest:
“ Some crystal ball gazing needed here.
First the MacBook Pro 16” is a brilliant computer with a proven track record where everything will just work on it. Buying it just before the new buggy macOS release is perfect timing, as you get all the benefits of a year’s set of updates and bug fixes before the next unproven release is enforced upon you.
A new MacBook Pro 16” will be released within 12 months, maybe in the first half of next year. It will be advertised as faster, better and the future. In reality, many things may not work. You can guarantee that all Apple’s software, Mail, Photos, Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro will work brilliantly. Although, Microsoft have already announced that they are ‘working on a native version of Office for Apple Silicon’ the reality at the moment is shown in articles like this: Microsoft warns of slower first launches of Office apps on Apple Silicon Macs - Neowin
There is no doubt that the Intel versions of Macs will give good service and continue to work for at least 3 to 5 years, at which point most of us would be looking to update them anyway.
I’ll have a far better idea next week after our own Apple Silicon MacBook Pro 13” should arrive. We’re pretty sure that we’ll have major problems with Windows virtualisation using products like Parallels and we’ve no idea how good or bad Apple’s Rosetta 2 translation software for older apps will work (I went through Rosetta 1 when they swapped from PowerPC to Intel, and before that from Motorola 68000 series to PowerPC).
The short answer is that nobody knows. If you want a Mac that will work out of the box and run everything reliably, then keep the 16” MacBook Pro. If you want the latest and greatest in technology, but potentially are prepared for some interruption to your day-to-day work, then consider returning it.
There is one more proviso to the above. Apple have, as they have previously, taken the safe route and used all the existing body forms and just updated the internals, which is the safest thing to do.
No doubt, while we guinea-pigs are using these and finding all the problems that never appear in a test environment, they will already be working on brand new models with exciting new options that we’ve never seen before (for example, the new models all, allegedly, have fantastic performance and battery life, but imagine having that performance with battery life along current expectations, imagine how thin and light a MacBook could be, maybe face ID in the future, maybe even touch screen, who knows). Whether the next MacBook Pro 16” falls into the current ‘same outside, new inside’ or ‘unbelievably cool new model’ takes us back to the crystal ball.
Certainly I will be using my Intel 2019 MacBook Air for day-to-day and using the M1 MacBook Pro when I can. Currently, I can’t see beyond that.