When it comes to Apple computers there is a wide choice of products that suit every budget and application. I will break this down to laptops (MacBook’s), iMacs (All-In-ones) and Mac Mini (computer only). This article does not do a deep dive, it’s more of a general guide to what is available in October 2022.
Laptops or MacBooks
Apple laptops aka MacBooks come in various configurations but one of the lightest and most popular is the MacBook Air which is a budget-conscious choice for many. It is very light at around 1.29kg and has a sleek aluminium case. Apple currently offers this in a 13 inch screen and with either the slightly older M1 chip or the very recently announced (July 2022) M2 chip. Both are very power efficient and quick with multiple cores assisting in any processing required. MacBook Airs come in several different configurations with chips (as above), different RAM amounts and different SSD storage sizes. The prices vary depending on the configuration required.
They also have the usual two USB ports for connectivity and more components can be added by purchasing an adapter or USB hub, which Apple sells or you can purchase a third-party item. Wi-Fi is standard as well as Bluetooth for any wireless connections required, pretty much essential these days so a Bluetooth mouse, keyboard or speakers do not require a USB connection.
Apples M1 chips are up to around 20% faster than the old Intel CPUs so wait time is reduced. These are excellent laptops but be warned they cannot be upgraded so think carefully when choosing one of the different models offered.
Apple also sell the MacBook Pro again in different configurations and screen sizes 13, 14 and 16 inch. The Apple MacBook Pro is their “top of the line” laptop and is generally larger and heavier than the Air. These computers are designed for the more demanding user and they cost and perform better than the MacBook Air. Again, choose carefully as they cannot be upgraded, what you buy is what you will have.
All the MacBooks have excellent screen brightness and clarity with high screen resolutions but the more expensive ones with Liquid Retina XDR would be the best.
Mac Mini is Apple’s smallest desktop Mac and is a good combination of price, speed, performance and small form factor. Again as above there are various options with M1 chips and SSD sizes and a M2 version will no doubt be available soon. Connectivity is good with USB ports, HDMI port, headphone jack and a Gigabit Ethernet port.
The Mac Mini does require you to provide your own monitor, keyboard and mouse so take that into account when deciding which Apple product is right for you. The Mini does have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built into it as with the laptops for connecting peripheries. An excellent little computer and it was the first to receive the new M1 chip in November 2020. The price is also very attractive to many.
Apple iMac comes in two different screen sizes – 24 inch and 27 inch. Again as per above there are many different M1 and M2 chips available as well as different SSD sizes and RAM specifications and body colours, again choose the one you want as they are not upgradable. The 4.5K Retina screen is excellent with support for a wide colour range and brightness. An anti-reflective coating on the screen assists with readability and light reflection. Again the prices reflect the different options and hence care should be taken to purchase the one that suits your needs.
Connectivity is again good and very similar to above. One thing to note for some people is that the new iMac does not come with an SD card slot so if that is what you require then an external unit will need to be purchased. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built in with the Ethernet port on the power adapter. Please note that on the lowest priced iMac the power adapter does not have this Ethernet port. One other thing to note is the lowest priced iMac has one fan whereas the more expensive ones have two. Now, this may not be an issue for many users it is something to bear in mind in hot Australian summers.
There are two other Apple offerings which are the Mac Studio and the Studio Max both with M1 and soon M2 chips. These are designed for the person who wants a Mac Mini sized unit but with more power. Again prices vary depending on configurations and requirements. For someone wanting a built in SD Card slot then these units may be for you. They are designed for a heavier workload than a Mac Mini which is for the more professional video editing, graphics design or media production task. As with the Mac Mini you are required to provide any ancillary devices.
This computer is for serious server type applications or real heavy duty video/file editing and still uses the Intel Xeon processors. Anyone interested in this computer will not likely be reading this article as they would know all about it anyway as it was released in 2019.
Any Apple computer is an investment in leading edge technology and there is one to suit just about everyone, it’s just a case of choosing what you require and then choosing the hardware that suits your needs.