Would You Buy A New Mac If...


macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 17, 2014
Lincolnshire, UK
Just a thought experiment….

Would you rush to buy a new Mac (ie more than you would for the latest, greatest Intel model) if Apple changed to a new architecture?
It's not relevant what that architecture might be as long as it was proven (according to certain benchmarks) to be hugely superior to current (and anticipated) Intel designs.
The catch is the newer machine would largely break compatibility with existing OSX software and there would be the danger of developers dragging their heels to roll out compliant software or even not at all.
Also, peripheral devices would be thin on the ground until the architecture took off.

Essentially what I'm doing here is recreating the environment around the birth of OSX.
When I started buying Apple back then, the chief attraction was the think different attitude - and that came with a price - buggy OS, poor software support, virtually zero compatibility with peripherals and the nascent PDA/phone market - and the realisation that for the most part, these new machines didn't actually outperform Intels of a similar class.

Of course, there is zero chance of Apple doing this now but I thought it might be an interesting what if?


macrumors newbie
Apr 25, 2017
I figure that there would be native emulation to begun with like how classic mode existed in early OSX and Rosetta on early Intel equipment

I don't think theres Zero chance, low for sure but sticking the low end desktop Macs on ARM designed silicon could happen.

Just to stress, not a great in my opinion but it could happen


macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 17, 2014
Lincolnshire, UK
I figure that there would be native emulation to begun with like how classic mode existed in early OSX and Rosetta on early Intel equipment

I don't think theres Zero chance, low for sure but sticking the low end desktop Macs on ARM designed silicon could happen.

Just to stress, not a great in my opinion but it could happen
Yes, initial emulation but like in the past, with the same pitfalls...

There might be a financial incentive with their own ARM chips but I don't think Apple are about innovation too much now but like I said, the architecture doesn't matter as long as it presents the same shift as back in the day.


macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two

And here's why. My profession makes demands on certain developers and those developers would stand to lose a LOT of money if they kept dragging their heels.

You cited the birth of OS X and this is a perfect example to quote back to you.

Adobe led the way in the design industry when it came to updating apps for OS X. Quark…not so much.

While Quark's CEO Ebrahami was berating customers on their demands for an OS X version of QuarkXPress, Adobe was quietly bundling InDesign with Photoshop and Illustrator. Hell! Adobe Acrobat 5 was the first version that could run on OS9 and OS X!

Extensis moved quickly as well. Suitcase is an integral part of any designer's workflow whether they use InDesign or XPress. Thus, Suitcase X1 was OS9 and OS X capable - even running under Classic.

By the time Quark offered a version of XPress capable of running on OS X it was the end of 2004! And it used OS9's type engine!

The type engine didn't get redesigned for OS X until version 7!

And guess who is the dominate design software in the industry now? Right. Adobe!

My industry is change. If you as a developer do not adapt well to change and cannot respond to it then you won't do well. So, my answer is yes because I know that in my case the apps I need to use WILL get updated - because the industry demands it.

Adobe may have a lot of evil attributes now, but they learned this lesson very, very well. Which is why you see their apps on just about any platform you can name.
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macrumors 68020
Apr 22, 2014
Central New Jersey/ North Virginia, USA
Knowing Apple and their rich history, I'd wait for the second model with the new arch to come out. Looking at Apple and their history of new products and architectures, the second model always corrects every problem the first had.

  • Macintosh 128k vs 512k, or the 128k and 512k vs Plus, or the 128k/512k/Plus vs SE.
  • All the first generation Power Macintosh computer vs their 2nd generation counterparts.
  • Any G-era computer vs its 2nd revision, often times with new features, better CPUs, redesigns, etc.
  • All of the first Intel-based Macs with Core Duo/Solo CPUs vs their 2nd generation Core 2 Duo counterparts.
  • iPhone 2G vs 3G
  • iPad 1 vs 2
  • Apple TV 1 vs 2
  • Apple Watch Series 0 vs Series 1 and 2
  • Alu Unibody 13in MacBook vs first 13in MacBook Pro
The list can go on for awhile, but these are some of the more notable examples. Now obviously the 2nd model will always be better than the first because of advancements in technology (other than, for example, the SE and SE/30 vs Classic, which went backwards, but that was almost 30 years ago during a dark time in Apple history), but besides just advancements in technology, Apple always builds off of the failing points of the 1st model, and fixes those issues in the 2nd model. Now, that being said, I dont think I would ever buy a Mac with an ARM CPU. ARM is meant for mobile devices and is still too weak to solely power professional-grade computers. Could this change over the next decade or so? Absolutely. But if Apple were to announce the transition to ARM tomorrow, for example, I would not be buying any new Macs for some time. I'd buy a last model Intel Mac over a brand new ARM-based Mac.

Now, in terms of software and peripherals, that would be another reason to wait for the second version of the OS as well. Much like OS X 10.0 vs 10.1 in terms of bugs, compatibility, ability to be able or not able to do certain things that you could do in the previous redesign, etc. Also, by the time the 2nd version of the OS is released, as well as the 2nd revision of the new hardware comes out, developers and accessory manufacturers will have gotten a chance to play around with these new items enough to begin creating new components and applications for them. Just look at USB C. Prior to Apple making it the new standard on their MacBook Pros, there were barely any accessories for USB C and it wasnt too common on other electronics. A little over 6 months later, USB C is beginning to show up everywhere, and there are many more accessories compatible with USB C now than ever before. Same goes for apps compatible with and take advantage of the new Touch Bar.

So that's my 2 cents. I would wait for the 2nd models to come out, hopefully with a 2nd edition of the new OS to go with it. However, I would not be buying any Mac with an ARM CPU until they fully surpass their old Intel counterparts, which I don't see happening any time in the near future.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2016
505 USA
Well, the latest and greatest really is not a big deal to me and does not affect me professionally in the way that it does Erik. Also, anything new is $$$ and has it's share of glitches IME. I'm sure I would adopt new tech eventually but not right away - I have no personal or professional reason that would push me to.
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macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2014
Oregon North Coast
To me it's more a matter of what Apple puts into the machines. In particular, what PPC Macs used to offer and what you have to go to a Windows PC to get now -- an expandable, upgradable case, with upgradeable and serviceable RAM, storage and GPU. And stop forcing me to buy a display with every new Mac!

I have a 2012 Mini with a quad i7 and I recently put an SSD in it. I also built a Windows gaming rig in February. If I can get an eGPU into the Mini in the next few months (I'm looking at trying a Sonnet Breakaway Box and I have a 1050 Ti handy, all indications are that this works) and the rig is decent for gaming I'd sell the pieces of my PC to stay with the Mac. The SSD has made a huge difference but the graphics still suck. With decent graphics I would sell the PC for parts, maybe getting 2/3 of my "investment" back, and go back to the Mac full time.


macrumors regular
Jul 4, 2013
Bedford, UK
I do like different which is why i tend to have so many diverse computers from the 80s to around about 2010. I don't have anything newer because there is nothing i need a new computer for that my old PMG5 or X230T can't handle. I always used to use AMD whenever i built a desktop machine and would do so again if i ever needed to. As far as software is concerned, i do love a 'different' OS but i do like it to be 99% fully functional out of the box so i have never really got the hang of any Linux distros at all, despite trying to familiarise myself with them so i have stuck to what i know best.
Would love to find time to play with Raspberry PI.....


macrumors member
Jan 3, 2017
Would you rush to buy a new Mac (ie more than you would for the latest, greatest Intel model) if Apple changed to a new architecture?
I wouldn't rush.

This new Mac is a Retina iPad way beyond "Pro" / Touch Bar the size of a full sized keyboard. The keyboard is the screen, but it also is very capable of connecting seamlessly to other very large monitors and other very small devices as screens, maybe there is even a projector as well. This new Mac is loaded with the most powerful fanless massive array of Apple/ARM 1x GPUs/CPUs/RAM: 128G cache/RAM, 128 cores minimum. They drop macos and every Apple device, including this new Mac, runs iOS.


macrumors 68000
Jun 2, 2017
Digital Ocean
If anything, I foresee Apple eventually moving to their own processor chips; the Ax. When it gets to desktop strength, that is.

Being the low end kind of person I am (I'm writing this from my 2GHz DC G5.), I really like to use old and discontinued stuff and squeeze out every last bit of life left on it.

So of course, I'd stick with the very last Intel-based workstation, and that does not mean the iMac Pro. The iMac Pro is not a workstation if it is not user-serviceable. - So that would mean the last Mac Pro, and sticking with it. Likely for 20 / 30+ years, computers have gotten so powerful.


macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2008
Central US
I wouldn't rush to be a new Apple computer period. I don't have the needs to justify the cost of a new Mac which is why I still use PowerPC and early Intel systems daily. In fact, the newest machine I own is a 2009 MBA which is anything but powerful or reliable. It is also pretty well known that early adoption is not typically a good idea for longevity, and I am not the kind of guy who buys a new system every year or two making longevity far more important than anything. I got the first MacBook Pro Core Duo back in May 2006 and then upgraded to the Core 2 when it came out in 2007. Both were really nice, but each ended up with early OS EOL which really sucked. Had I known the late 2007 would see OS support through El Capitain vs Snow Leopard and Lion in the others, it would have been worth the wait. Of course, holding onto the PREVIOUS architecture isn't exactly wise either. While Snow Leopard is only one OS revision after Leopard which our beloved PowerPCs support, it is no secret that software developers were very quick to drop PPC support and Snow Leopard actually saw pretty good support from both Apple and other developers for much longer. Thus, even an early adoption may is probably still wiser than buying into the last of a previous architecture. So if Apple made a switch and I was looking to buy a new Mac, I would probably give a good year into the NEW generation of chips before buying anything.


macrumors 68000
Jun 2, 2017
Digital Ocean
Not likely. - I've not been a fan of the direction Apple has been taking with either their hardware or software for a number of years now, so unless they dropped the "everything has to be thin" aspect from their hardware and the "it has to become more like iOS" aspect from their software, then a change in architecture means nothing to me.
This man understands.


macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2013
Not initially. That's because processor changes stir up a hornets' nest of initial problems.

It's possible that I would, but only if it gives the performance I need. As of right now, no matter what Apple does (due to the need for Oracle's Java to make the moneys), I can't upgrade. Piss-poor Java performance compared to "Winders.'


macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
France - between Ricard & Absinthe

I regret nothing.
Couldn't help smiling, and wondering whether the hood (softop) of that red Alfa was up or down! The model - a Series 3/4 Alfa Romeo Spider with re-styled 'heavy' red or black front and rear bumpers (fenders) for the American market in mind, and no doubt with automatic transmission - (cry of sacrilege)! I was fortunate to have the earlier, wonderful Series 2 Spider Veloce 2000 - manual shift of course. When driving was fun.
I'd probably buy a new Mac today if they were as exciting as the above. But they're not - so I won't. In fact since having aquired a few 'as new' PPC's over the last few months, and a 17" MacBook Pro8.3 and loving them all, I haven't used my 15" Retina for many weeks. Not even missing it, and in fact I'm even considering selling it. Macs are certainly not what they used to be!!
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macrumors member
Oct 16, 2012
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Apple could in theory make a new switch to an old and familiar architecture. The company Apple bought to make ipad cpus also made PPC based systems and I seem to remember reading that shortly before Apple bought them they even had a working prototype of the infamous G5 mobile. IBM still uses the Architecture and theoretically now that they have ownership of a fabricator and their intellectual property they could in theory come out with a Power based system and not have to worry about IBM dicking them around like what ultimately killed the AIM alliance. IBM has a very long history of committing to consumer computer products and changing their minds and sabotaging their own divisions so it is no surprise they dicked Apple around with the G5. That could be very interesting as a new system that could load older software natively and well you would have the fan boys back on board. hehe. But in all seriousness the biggest think I like about the old PPC macs is they keep kicking whereas I have had 3 Intel based macs and all but one died horribly within a year. I am also not crazy about the sodder and glue everything including the battery approach. But the big thing is with the exception of a few bad batches the PowerPC macs seem so have far better longevity. I will take a slower machine over a faster and newer one if I know when I push the power button something is going to happen.


macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2015
Fort Worth
[...]Also, peripheral devices would be thin on the ground until the architecture took off.
[...]virtually zero compatibility with peripherals and the nascent PDA/phone market [...]
Let's ignore professional concerns for a second (i.e. I need to develop for a popular platform, I need certain software to do my job etc...)

This quote is my real concern. When OS X was in its early days, I had iPods, keyboards, and thumb drives. Now, I have phones, cameras, external disks, and local networks I use for my daily personal life. The digital hub concept of computing has grown such that an increased amount of compatibility is needed for a computer to really fit my basic needs.

Now, realistically, I don't see Apple making an architecture change that would be this drastic. So yeah, I probably would make the jump after gen 1 / gen 2.