Apple’s October Event: Are These MacBooks Accessible Enough for an Upgrade?

Apple’s October event took place near to a month ago, and to sum up what the event was about, it overwhelmingly concentrated on Macs. Yes; different colours of HomePod Minis were announced, as well as the Apple Music Voice Plan — which I’ll publish my views on in a few weeks — and as well as that, we also found out about the third generation AirPods. But as the title says, this blog is only concentrating on the new MacBook Pros — which come in 14inch and 16inch — and if they’re worth the upgrade from the tech and accessibility standpoint.

Coming with Apple’s M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, these new macs come with improved performance and better battery life. As well as the Liquid Retina XDR display, we also get the same camera and audio performance as we saw in the new iMacs earlier this year, which let you shoot in 1080p, and as well as that, we have ports.

So getting all of the nerd stuff out of the way, these MacBooks come with 3.7 times faster CPU performance, with up to 13 times faster graphics performance. As well as that, you also get up to 11 times faster machine learning, and up to 21 hours of battery life.

The chips these MacBooks come with make them extremely faster than anything else currently on the market, with the 14-inch coming with up to 10-core CPU, the same as the 16-inch. Moving on to graphics, the 14-inch comes with 16-core in GPU, while the 16-inch gives up to 32-core GPU. Lastly, the 13 inch comes with up to 32GB of unified memory, with the 16 inch coming with up to 64GB of unified memory, and the 14 inch getting up to 200GBs of memory bandwidth, with the 16 inch having up to 400GBs memory bandwidth.

This makes it possible for you to do things with Mac that it could never handle before.

To emphasise how much faster these MacBooks are, they offer a faster project build if you’re working with Xcode for us Logic Pro users, with up to 3.7 times better speed in the M1 Max in the 14-inch model, with the 16-inch model coming with 2.1 times better speed. For those of us who are interested in graphics, they offer faster 4K render speed when working with Final Cut Pro or Maxon Cinema 4D, with up to 13.4 times faster speed in the M1 Max chip in the 13-inch model, and up to 9.2 times faster with the M1 Pro Chip. We also get faster 8K render speed in the 16-inch model, with the M1 Max chip coming with 2.9 times better performance, while the M1 Pro chip will give less ay 1.7 times faster.

Some other features coming to this mac include ProMotion, making everything such as scrolling through a webpage or gaming super-fluid and responsive, while reducing power. With refresh rates up to 120 herts, the technology automatically adjusts to match the movement of the content. Apple also claims that ProMotion video editors can also choose a fixed refresh rate. The camera on the macs also uses a wider aperture that lets in more light, and mixed with the larger image sensor, it offers two time better low-light performance.

The new three studio-quality mics means your mac can capture even the subtlest of sound, and add in the three-mic array, and you get directional beamforming, meaning your voice always comes through nice and clear.

Add in the six-speaker sound system, and you’ll get sounds much deeper and filling the room with up to 80% more bass, along with much clearer, fuller vocals. This is also what’s making the Mac support spatial audio when playing music or videos with Dolby Atmos, creating a three-dimensional soundstage. But the only thing I don’t think I like about the way Apple is doing this, is that the connecting experience only works with Apple-based products, while other headphones like Skullcandy — which as you know, I’m a fan of — do connect, but you’ll have to connect them in a different way other than just putting them in front of your phone, iPad or Mac.

The ports you get with these macs is a 3.5mm headphone jack that automatically adjusts for high-independence headphones. You also get 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, and as well as this, you’ll get a quick-releasing MagSafe 3 port. The other two ports you’ll get is one for a SDXC card, and one for an HDMI.

These Macs also let you connect up to three Pro XDR Displays, and a 4K Apple TV with M1 Max. Or you could connect any of your displays with an M1 Pro, if you have one.

The new keyboard brings a full-height functioning key row, with the same feel of mechanical keys we’ve fallen in love with over the last few years. It’s been updated with new keyboard shortcuts for Spotlight, Dictation and Do Not Disturb, with the Touch ID feature having a ring around it to guide your finger.

So is it worth updating to one of these new MacBooks, even if you currently have an older model? Well I would argue it is and it isn’t. Speaking as someone who still has a 2015 MacBook Pro, I saw myself getting one of the new iMacs earlier this year, as my 2015 MacBook just can’t put up with large film and audio files anymore, though it is ok for everything I do with writing. Although Apple has introduced Touch ID to their Mac Lineup, I can’t use it because I can’t use anything other than my head, and so I will be waiting until they introduce Face ID into Macs, to even consider upgrading my laptop.


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