Will Apple Silicon Macs get cheaper?
Industry watchers are beginning to mutter that Apple Silicon will work out a little cheaper to put inside future Macs than the current Intel chips, but will Apple reduce the cost of its computers, or simply make the systems better?
The value case
There are significant reasons Apple may want to pivot into offering systems at slightly more competitive price points:
- For the one thing, it will help Apple more quickly build up the installed base of Apple Silicon Macs, something it will need to do in order to make its new platform competitive in future.
- Another reason: With a pandemic-inspired global crash set to burn across the planet, even the cutting edge creatives who occupy much of the Mac market just won’t have as much liquidity as before. The world has changed. So must the Apple business plan.
- A third reason: Apple will face a little suspicion when it first introduces these systems based on its new processors. Lots of customers may need to find alternative apps if their developers don’t switch. That suspicion and inconvenience can be muted slightly by delivering a better deal.
The features benefits
Faster, lower power, cheaper to run and with tens of millions of iOS apps immediately available, you might think these new Macs offer tremendous features from the get-go. What can Apple do to improve them using the dollars it saves on the processor?
- 5G Macs: Putting 5G inside Macbook family devices makes complete sense. But until Apple makes its own 5G modems it will need to pay someone else to for the chip, might this be what it chooses to do?
- Better screens and more memory: We know that iOS is really memory smart, so it will be no surprise to find that Apple Silicon is similarly inclined. It will achieve more with less – but could achieve even more with more. And what about 6K displays in every Mac?
- Wireless power: We know Apple is working with wireless power. We learned this when its Airpower failed to take off. I don’t imagine it has stopped. What if Macs were waterproof and powered wirelessly? What might that cost and what are the benefits?
And the company might also double down on design and build quality (it could even deliver a better butterfly keyboard that worked). Thinner, lighter Macs? “An iMac that’s all screen”? Why not?
Why not do both?
I don’t think Apple will keep Apple Silicon Macs at the same price.
- I think they will be slightly cheaper (up to $200 cheaper according to the latest leak).
- I also think Apple will invest some of the cost savings in improved and new features.
It can do both – passing on some of the processor price saving to the consumer to boost adoption and loyalty and using the rest of that saving to field new functionality into these machines.
That way it gets good PR and good product design.
What benefits can we already expect?
Here’s a short and partial list of the benefits we can already predict from the move to Apple Silicon:
- Fast, low-power Macs and a road map to 3nm chips.
- Excellent battery life.
- Metal graphics, including AR support.
- Built-in security encryption and machine learning inside the Mac.
- Face ID and on-chip data security,
- Out of the box zero-touch configuration for enterprise set-ups.
- Millions of iOS apps, plus the capacity to run most existing Mac apps.
- Virtualization, including Linux presently, but – you know – Windows is coming.
- Basically whatever you can imagine might be useful on a Mac that currently runs on an iPhone is coming to your Mac.
This will open up a host of new opportunities to developers – and we can be fairly certain Apple is already working with the people who develop high-end Mac software products to help ease the transition to Apple Silicon.
All this and cheaper too? Sign me up.
PS: If Apple doesn’t redesign the iMac this year, then I think it will do so when the first Apple Silicon iMacs appear in 2021.