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scarylarry

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 17, 2019
19
11
I'm trying to decide whether to max out an M1 MBA or MBP and try to make it last as long as possible, or get a base model and "trade up" to a specced out 14" or 16" ARM once they're available.

I'm in dire need of a new laptop. My 2012 MBA can no longer hold a charge, and seizes up when trying to handle medium tasks. I have a maxed out 2019 5K iMac for heavy tasks, but my work requires that I use a laptop fairly frequently.

Normally, I max out whatever model computer I get to future-proof it. For the first time, I'm considering going with the base model as a stopgap until the new models are available.

Anyone else doing this? If I were to get the very cheapest M1 MBA now, then trade in through Apple in June or October of 2021, does anyone have a rough estimate of how much they'd offer? I really want a theoretically more powerful 14" or 16," but I need a laptop yesterday, so I'm trying to game out my options....
 

CWallace

macrumors G5
Aug 17, 2007
12,271
11,082
Seattle, WA
If you know or fully expect to upgrade within 6-12 months, then I would think it is not worth getting more current machine than you need since you probably won't see that value on trade-in / sale.
 
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cycling_pete

macrumors member
Dec 8, 2020
60
89
Let's assume for the sake of this thought experiment that the 14 inch MBP is going to come out in August 2021. How much would you be willing to pay for using an M1 for 8 months?

Now compare that number to the amount you would lose by buying a baseline Air today and selling it in August. Let's say you spend $1100 today (with taxes) and then sell the MBA on eBay in August for $700 (? don't really know what you would get). Ebay + paypal fees are about 13% so you would pocket $609. This would mean that you would pay around $500 to use the MBA for 8 months.

Feel free to play around with the numbers a bit, I don't really know how much the MBAs will sell for come August and I don't know when the 14inch will be released. But I think this is the correct thought experiment -- compare what you'd be willing to pay for 8 months of M1 usage to cost of buying the Air and selling in in 8 months. Come up with conservative estimates (e.g. assume 14 in is released in June rather than August, or that the MBA will sell for less on eBay) and aggressive estimates. Then make a decision.
 

KShopper

macrumors member
Nov 26, 2020
84
116
Since you have a powerhouse desktop for the big jobs and your current laptop is failing, I heartily recommend getting the base M1 MBA now. Your life will improve dramatically and you might find that it's you favourite computer, ever. :)

If/when the 14" option becomes a thing you can re-evaluate. No way I would wait for it could be a year or longer. Plus the base MBA is not going to depreciate as much as a more expensive option.
 

deeddawg

macrumors G5
Jun 14, 2010
12,260
6,412
US
I'm trying to decide whether to max out an M1 MBA or MBP and try to make it last as long as possible, or get a base model and "trade up" to a specced out 14" or 16" ARM once they're available.

I'm in dire need of a new laptop. My 2012 MBA can no longer hold a charge, and seizes up when trying to handle medium tasks. I have a maxed out 2019 5K iMac for heavy tasks, but my work requires that I use a laptop fairly frequently.

Normally, I max out whatever model computer I get to future-proof it. For the first time, I'm considering going with the base model as a stopgap until the new models are available.

Anyone else doing this? If I were to get the very cheapest M1 MBA now, then trade in through Apple in June or October of 2021, does anyone have a rough estimate of how much they'd offer? I really want a theoretically more powerful 14" or 16," but I need a laptop yesterday, so I'm trying to game out my options....
Couple questions come to mind...

#1 - if a base M1 MBA will suit your needs, why would you upgrade to a 14 or 16" model later on?

#2 - if a base M1 MBA won't suit your needs, why would you even consider buying it?

Side note - my windows work laptop is 14". The difference between it and my MBP's 13.3" display isn't something I ever notice while sitting & using the computer. So speaking for myself I'm not champing the bit awaiting a 14" macbook display.
 
Last edited:

scarylarry

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 17, 2019
19
11
Couple questions come to mind...

#1 - if a base M1 MBA will suit your needs, why would you upgrade to a 14 or 16" model later on?

#2 - if a base M1 MBA won't suit your needs, why would you even consider buying it?

This is a great way to put it. I guess my answer will be that I think the base MBA will suit my needs for the next 8 months to a year, but I'm not confident it will see me through the next seven or eight years. I prefer to max out my computers and upgrade infrequently. So I was thinking of getting the MBA for now, but trading to a more powerful ARM machine sometime after they're available...

I've never really purchased computers this way before, and I'm trying to decide whether it will be throwing money away. Maybe if I go with the current M1 MBP with 16GB RAM, rather than the base MBA, it will be good enough for 7-8 years? I can't decide.
 
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proalorrs

macrumors newbie
Nov 12, 2020
11
1
I am doing the same. Regardless all the math ;) joined the m1 club with the mbp 16/512 (coming from i7 mbp 2018 13 inch 16 gb ram). The fan in clamshell on lg 4K with everydaytask like videoconferencing is driving me nuts

now I observe, if I am really such a pro user (with a bit of photo editing). But in my experience this lasts as long as the 14 inch is not published. I am pretty sure to sell my m1 and go for the 14 inch model. (With a little probability of saying: the m1 is more than enough)
 
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deeddawg

macrumors G5
Jun 14, 2010
12,260
6,412
US
This is a great way to put it. I guess my answer will be that I think the base MBA will suit my needs for the next 8 months to a year, but I'm not confident it will see me through the next seven or eight years. I prefer to max out my computers and upgrade infrequently. So I was thinking of getting the MBA for now, but trading to a more powerful ARM machine sometime after they're available...

I've never really purchased computers this way before, and I'm trying to decide whether it will be throwing money away. Maybe if I go with the current M1 MBP with 16GB RAM, rather than the base MBA, it will be good enough for 7-8 years? I can't decide.

You're coming from a 2012 MBA. I wouldn't be planning today's purchase against rumors and speculation of someday future models being even faster that today's models that already will blow you away, even running stuff under Rosetta.

If one of the current M1 models will meet you needs, buy it and enjoy. Configure it for a 3-5 year horizon. IMHO too much changes in life to plan any further ahead than that -- if you can keep it longer, great, but I wouldn't plan for it.
 

KShopper

macrumors member
Nov 26, 2020
84
116
This is a great way to put it. I guess my answer will be that I think the base MBA will suit my needs for the next 8 months to a year, but I'm not confident it will see me through the next seven or eight years. I prefer to max out my computers and upgrade infrequently. So I was thinking of getting the MBA for now, but trading to a more powerful ARM machine sometime after they're available...

I've never really purchased computers this way before, and I'm trying to decide whether it will be throwing money away. Maybe if I go with the current M1 MBP with 16GB RAM, rather than the base MBA, it will be good enough for 7-8 years? I can't decide.
You'd be better off with the base MBA now (saving 30% plus of purchase price for a pointless MBP). It will utterly destroy your 2012 MBA in every conceivable way. :)

The future is an unknown, if Apple does eventually release a 14" MBP (or Air/iPad thingy) that compels you, you will have a much larger potential resale market with the lower prices MBA, and you will suffer less depreciation in absolute $ terms vs a more expensive MBP.

My advice, grab the base MBA and never look back! You're going to love it!
 

edk99

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2009
859
1,409
FL
I'm in dire need of a new laptop. My 2012 MBA can no longer hold a charge, and seizes up when trying to handle medium tasks. I have a maxed out 2019 5K iMac for heavy tasks, but my work requires that I use a laptop fairly frequently.

If your work is requiring you use a laptop is your work not helping you pay for a laptop?
 

Ocnetgeek

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2018
185
105
Oak Creek, WI
I'm trying to decide whether to max out an M1 MBA or MBP and try to make it last as long as possible, or get a base model and "trade up" to a specced out 14" or 16" ARM once they're available.

I'm in dire need of a new laptop. My 2012 MBA can no longer hold a charge, and seizes up when trying to handle medium tasks. I have a maxed out 2019 5K iMac for heavy tasks, but my work requires that I use a laptop fairly frequently.

Normally, I max out whatever model computer I get to future-proof it. For the first time, I'm considering going with the base model as a stopgap until the new models are available.

Anyone else doing this? If I were to get the very cheapest M1 MBA now, then trade in through Apple in June or October of 2021, does anyone have a rough estimate of how much they'd offer? I really want a theoretically more powerful 14" or 16," but I need a laptop yesterday, so I'm trying to game out my options....
That was my original plan but I found that the 13" MacBook Screen is too hard on my eyes. I got a M1 Mac mini that I am using for now and will sell once the 16" MacBook Pro is released with ARM
 

jdb8167

macrumors 601
Nov 17, 2008
4,780
4,504
I'm trying to decide whether to max out an M1 MBA or MBP and try to make it last as long as possible, or get a base model and "trade up" to a specced out 14" or 16" ARM once they're available.

I'm in dire need of a new laptop. My 2012 MBA can no longer hold a charge, and seizes up when trying to handle medium tasks. I have a maxed out 2019 5K iMac for heavy tasks, but my work requires that I use a laptop fairly frequently.

Normally, I max out whatever model computer I get to future-proof it. For the first time, I'm considering going with the base model as a stopgap until the new models are available.

Anyone else doing this? If I were to get the very cheapest M1 MBA now, then trade in through Apple in June or October of 2021, does anyone have a rough estimate of how much they'd offer? I really want a theoretically more powerful 14" or 16," but I need a laptop yesterday, so I'm trying to game out my options....
My original plan was to get a 16 GB MB Air with 512 GB ssd so that I could trade it in when the higher end MacBooks came out. But Apple had a 5 week delay on customized Macbook Airs that weren't 16 GB/1 TB so I went with what I could pick up in the store on launch day (Nov 17).

Now I think that any future MacBooks in the first half of 2021 will be the same CPU architecture with better I/O for mulitple monitors and 4 Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. While that is somewhat useful, it isn't enough to make me switch to a new notebook. My current M1 MacBook Air is probably going to be good for at least 12 months before something significant comes along requiring a replacement.

So, buy the minimum that meets your current needs but don't assume that a MacBook with double the performance is coming in the next 6 months. It is probably not going to happen. The next MacBook is going to have > 16 GB RAM, > 2 TB SSD and more CPU cores but the CPU is probably going to still be the M1.
 

Ocnetgeek

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2018
185
105
Oak Creek, WI
My original plan was to get a 16 GB MB Air with 512 GB ssd so that I could trade it in when the higher end MacBooks came out. But Apple had a 5 week delay on customized Macbook Airs that weren't 16 GB/1 TB so I went with what I could pick up in the store on launch day (Nov 17).

Now I think that any future MacBooks in the first half of 2021 will be the same CPU architecture with better I/O for mulitple monitors and 4 Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. While that is somewhat useful, it isn't enough to make me switch to a new notebook. My current M1 MacBook Air is probably going to be good for at least 12 months before something significant comes along requiring a replacement.

So, buy the minimum that meets your current needs but don't assume that a MacBook with double the performance is coming in the next 6 months. It is probably not going to happen. The next MacBook is going to have > 16 GB RAM, > 2 TB SSD and more CPU cores but the CPU is probably going to still be the M1.
I am ok with the same CPU in a larger MacBook Pro. The M1 Performance is fine for what I do. The only reason I didn't keep the M1 Air is the 13" Screen is too hard on my eyes. I am curious to see how far they can push things though. The performance is pretty impressive so far
 

PepeSilvia

macrumors newbie
Dec 11, 2020
6
2
In a similar situation here, unsure about the M1 MBA or M1 MBP. I'd be getting a heavy rebate on either purchase, so the money isn't an issue. But I do plan to sell (either privately or trade-in) & upgrade as soon as the rumored redesigned 14" or 16" M1s w/ LED are out in 2021. Would the MBA be a better stop-gap solution?

How about in terms of selling value? Obviously none of us know about resale value in the future as the M1s have just come out - but if there was, for instance, a redesigned 14" or 16" out later in 2021, would the 13" M1 MBP with its dated design have depreciated quicker in value than the (recently redesigned) M1 MBA?

Definitely not paying the $200 for extra RAM though, as there's no way you'd even be getting $100 of it back when selling privately.
 
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bsmr

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2005
1,093
286
Germany
I am ok with the same CPU in a larger MacBook Pro. The M1 Performance is fine for what I do. The only reason I didn't keep the M1 Air is the 13" Screen is too hard on my eyes. I am curious to see how far they can push things though. The performance is pretty impressive so far
Too small, or don't you like the display at all?
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 603
May 20, 2010
5,928
2,519
Los Angeles, CA
I'm trying to decide whether to max out an M1 MBA or MBP and try to make it last as long as possible, or get a base model and "trade up" to a specced out 14" or 16" ARM once they're available.

I'm in dire need of a new laptop. My 2012 MBA can no longer hold a charge, and seizes up when trying to handle medium tasks. I have a maxed out 2019 5K iMac for heavy tasks, but my work requires that I use a laptop fairly frequently.

Normally, I max out whatever model computer I get to future-proof it. For the first time, I'm considering going with the base model as a stopgap until the new models are available.

Anyone else doing this? If I were to get the very cheapest M1 MBA now, then trade in through Apple in June or October of 2021, does anyone have a rough estimate of how much they'd offer? I really want a theoretically more powerful 14" or 16," but I need a laptop yesterday, so I'm trying to game out my options....
Why not just get a 13" Pro, spec it out with 16GB of RAM and whatever storage you think you'll need and then just keep that until your next regularly scheduled refresh/upgrade? What is it about the performance of a theoretical 14" MacBook Pro that you NEED that the current 2-port M1 MacBook Pro can't provide (especially since said M1 MacBook Pro will make your MacBook Air look like it came from the 90's)?
 
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Jinbei

macrumors member
Jul 18, 2018
72
72
If you tend to change your macbook every year, then no reason to ask yourself any question.

However if you tend to keep it for several years, I guess you need to change for a good reason, what about the M1 make you think it will not be good enough to keep it for several years like your previous mac ?
 

Captain Trips

macrumors 68000
Jun 13, 2020
1,859
6,343
If/when the 14" option becomes a thing you can re-evaluate. No way I would wait for it could be a year or longer. Plus the base MBA is not going to depreciate as much as a more expensive option.

This was my thought process when I decided to get the base MacBook Pro (8 GB memory, 256 GB SSD). It is very good for my needs (which I admit may not be the same as the original poster).

When a MBP (or MBA) with a larger screen (and hopefully more ports and an even more powerful SoC) is released then I will decide if the cost to upgrade is worth it to me. If it isn't, then I keep on using my M1 MBP. Either way I am good. :)
 
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scarylarry

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 17, 2019
19
11
OP here, update for anyone interested. The base 7-core MBA just briefly came in stock on Costco.com, and I couldn't resist (I get 3 years of extended warranty with my Costco Citi card, so I try to go through them when I can). Just pulled the trigger.

I have some qualms about going with the absolute base model, but I will have 90 days to see whether it fits my needs and my usage. I can always return it and buy an 8-core/16GB RAM build from Apple if it falls short. And I figure that the base model will be easier to part with if/when I trade up to a 14 or 16 inch, assuming they actually appear. And who knows--I could find that it's a perfect fit for me, and I don't need to trade up at all.

Excited to join the M1 club!
 
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magbarn

macrumors 68030
Oct 25, 2008
2,974
2,301
A big factor that determines how much you lose on selling the MBA is IF Apple decides to upgrade both the MBP and MBA at the same time to 14" which I highly doubt. Pretty sure the current MBA will continue in it's current iteration. Meanwhile the new 4 port MBP 14 and MBP 16's with M1 will likely hurt the resale on the MBP M1 13 that's out right now than it will the MBA's resale as it will remain the current model.
 
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PepeSilvia

macrumors newbie
Dec 11, 2020
6
2
A big factor that determines how much you lose on selling the MBA is IF Apple decides to upgrade both the MBP and MBA at the same time to 14" which I highly doubt. Pretty sure the current MBA will continue in it's current iteration. Meanwhile the new 4 port MBP 14 and MBP 16's with M1 will likely hurt the resale on the MBP M1 13 that's out right now than it will the MBA's resale as it will remain the current model.
This was my thought exactly and the one reason why I'm shying away from the M1 MBP 13. This is expected to be the last of the dated 'slab' design being used, assuming the rumors of the 14 and 16 M1s being a complete redesign (i.e., thinner bezels, more TB ports, perhaps an M1x/M2 chip) are true, surely the MBP 13 would depreciate in value quicker than the MBA..
 

nobackup

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2008
200
40
This was my thought exactly and the one reason why I'm shying away from the M1 MBP 13. This is expected to be the last of the dated 'slab' design being used, assuming the rumors of the 14 and 16 M1s being a complete redesign (i.e., thinner bezels, more TB ports, perhaps an M1x/M2 chip) are true, surely the MBP 13 would depreciate in value quicker than the MBA..
Redesign makes it a gen 1 product ... with all the issues that comes with being the first ... that's why the only thing that change on the M1 was the main board ... smart move the rest just works... every time they introduce a new design ... **** happens and its the 2nd gen that's the sweet spot.. M1 is more than enough for the next few years to come ... laptop/notebook is a tool ... but tools have to be reliable Gen 1 designs don't tend to be without issues... if you "need" a new device go for the M1 not much you can do wrong ... then wait two years .... the choice will be greater and better (and more stable)
 

magbarn

macrumors 68030
Oct 25, 2008
2,974
2,301
Redesign makes it a gen 1 product ... with all the issues that comes with being the first ... that's why the only thing that change on the M1 was the main board ... smart move the rest just works... every time they introduce a new design ... **** happens and its the 2nd gen that's the sweet spot.. M1 is more than enough for the next few years to come ... laptop/notebook is a tool ... but tools have to be reliable Gen 1 designs don't tend to be without issues... if you "need" a new device go for the M1 not much you can do wrong ... then wait two years .... the choice will be greater and better (and more stable)
I dunno about the Gen1 curse being such a big deal. The Gen1 MBA is certainly a very good first run product...
The MBP 16 was a Gen1 and wasn't that bad out of the gate (other than the monitor issue, but that's an AMD GPU issue)
 
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