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Never Too Much – does Apple face a dilemma?

We are now used to crazy good Apple gear, but what next?

Apple Mac Pro
image courtesy of author

Patience is a virtue

Apple had us waiting like kids on Christmas morning just a few weeks back. The long wait after WWDC was over, as we anticipated the September Far Out event.

I think, we can all agree, that they didn’t disappoint either. Apple Watch Ultra, iPhone 14, AirPods Pro 2 – all great new products were released and added to their already stellar lineup.

But, you know what it’s like…enough is never enough. It still never ceases to amaze me, just how greedy we all are. Almost the very moment the previous event dust settles, we are looking for our next fix.

It’s all going quiet

iPhone 14 is barely a fortnight old, but already it’s old news. Apple Watch Ultra has a little mileage left in it yet, and AirPods Pro, although met with a great reaction, aren’t very sexy.

Never mind was the collective thought, there is another event coming in October – we can prime ourselves for that. Over the past weekend though, in his Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman broke the news that, in his opinion, that’s it, no more events this year!

It came as quite the shock, as we had been expecting Apple to announce new, M2 Mac Mini’s, M2 MacBook Pro’s and, of course, the much anticipated Apple Silicon Mac Pro.

Gurman seems to think that whatever Apple have left up their sleeve due for this year, will all be done via press releases. Indeed, he goes on to say, that the Mac Pro, may not even be seen until next year.

Which, leads me on to my point, who needs more powerful Macs?

It is core to Apple

The Apple Silicon, Mac Pro, was trailed at spring’s Peak Performance event. We are all curious, to see what Apple are going to do with their flagship machine, as niche as it’s doubtless going to be. But, as of now, Apple aren’t in a position to shock us with a boot load of more grunt and performance. The M1 & M2 chipsets have been developed to their upper limit, and for Mac Pro, they require something special. I believe they will now sit back, and instead show us the new Mac Pro at the 2023 spring event.

The Mac Studio Ultra, is about as much that can be squeezed out of the current Apple Silicon chips, which means Apple have taken the view to wait longer. There is no rush.

Who is a pro?

We have grown used to Apple’s moniker of ‘Pro’ adorning their higher end products, but what makes a pro?

Years ago, I think there was a pretty clearly defined line in the sand, as to who required a pro level Mac, and who didn’t. But, with the release of Apple Silicon, Apple have shot themselves in the foot. The power and durability of these new Macs has muddied the waters, and broken the preconceived beliefs.

When the M1 MacBook Air was first released, it was widely regarded as pound-for-pound, the best Mac, or even, laptop out there. The work you could carry out on it was certainly Pro level. Thanks to Apple Silicon, there was no thermal throttling and battery power had been redefined. The M2 MacBook Air that I have, has built on that legacy. I have edited complete Premier Pro projects on it, exported movies and created multi-layered Photoshop documents. All this on a Mac that weighs next to nothing, and is the lowest tier of the Mac lineup.

I am uncertain whether I am a Pro or not, but my daily workflow is sure more than just using Word & Google docs or online web searches.

I have two great, and powerful Macs at my disposal in the shape of the aforementioned MacBook Air, and the 16-inch M1 Max MacBook Pro. Earlier this year, I considered the Mac Studio before buying the MacBook Pro, but thought it too much for me. And that was only the Mac Studio, not the Mac Pro.

Too good

Are Apple Silicon Macs now, just too good?

The historical reason to trade-up, had always been that our workflow, had outgrown the Macs we were using. Video & audio plug-ins, and timelines, outpaced our hardware for a good many years. That is no longer the case, though.

When I export a video from Premiere Pro because of the improved hardware accelerators, I am no longer punishing my Macs CPU or GPU’s. It can handle it in a breeze. My timelines have, overlays, adjustment layers, graphics and transitions, yet still the fan never whirrs up.

I’ve heard people try to argue that hardware is somehow boring or stagnating. They need to look at what Apple are giving us. These Macs are faster, longer lasting and have more performance than I am likely to ever, fully utilise.

Status quo

It is our workflows that are standing still, not the hardware. How much more complicated can a video’s timeline become? How many more effects can I use on a podcast export?

I’m a heavy Adobe user, and their Creative Cloud suite of apps has become ever more integrated and quick to use with my Macs. For instance, where I once had to use exhaustive plug-ins to enhance some poor audio, Adobe has now launched Shasta. Although I have no direct knowledge of Apple’s own Final Cut & Logic, I’m led to believe they are even quicker than their Adobe counterparts.

Where once I had to launch CPU hungry apps, often times now, I can use a cloud-based service such as Descript. All the heavy lifting is done their side, with a minimal amount left for my Macs’ processor to do.

Wrapping up

The future is bright, that’s for sure. If you are a creative, or a ‘pro’ type of user, the need to change Macs regularly, will soon to be a thing of the past.

If you have an Apple Silicon Mac, any Mac – from a Mac Studio to a Mac mini, then, in all likelihood, you have all the computing power you are going to need for years to come. Ask yourself, has your workflow really become that much more complicated and onerous over the past few years?

When I traded from a 2015 Intel iMac, to Apple Silicon, it was a quantum leap, and quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime jump. A typical export time of a 10-minute 4K video was slashed from 40 minutes to 6! Any improvements, thereafter, are incremental. Saving 35 minutes per export is pretty game-changing. Saving another 30 or 60 seconds after that, really won’t achieve much for me.

Sure, when Apple release the Mac Pro, I’d love to have a play on one, and see what it is capable of, but will it be for me? Probably, sadly not. The bar of who actually requires such high-end Mac’s has now been raised so high, that few of us need be concerned.

We are now in a position where we can create high-end projects in the blink of an eye, without pushing the Mac’s we already have.

Has Apple, oddly, dug their own grave?

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