It Was Always Going to Be This Way

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2023-01-23 17:00:11

Today’s embargo day for Apple’s new M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pros, as well as the M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini, but last week David Price wrote a column for Macworld that has been bugging me all weekend.1

It’s hard to stay excited for two and a half years, especially when the start was so strong. There was a noticeable leap forward once the MacBook Air was released from the constraints of Intel’s underpowered Y-series processors, as noted in our review of the late-2020 model that called out its “dramatically better performance and battery life,” and conceded that “the hype is real.” The same was true for the M1 Mac mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro.

But that progress hasn’t been sustained. There’s nothing wrong with this week’s releases, but they’re incremental speed bumps rather than big steps forward. Perhaps the initial M1 speed bump was exaggerated by the eccentric or overcautious choice of Intel chips towards the end of the companies’ relationship, and like Intel and AMD, big gains only come around once in a generation. Benchmarks will likely show decent-enough gains, but this week’s Mac announcements felt as formulaic as they did during the Intel years.

This is always the case when it comes to processor transitions. When Apple moved from PowerPC to Intel, Apple got to throw around graphics like these:

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