It seems like the laptop and desktop world are in the midst of a revolution of sorts. Since Apple’s launch of their M1 architecture a number of friends have been asking me if I’ll be getting one, particularly after all my posts on leaving big tech behind. The answer, as with almost any tech is maybe. What I can say without a doubt though is that, for my work, they’re simply not ready yet.
I know, that’s not much of an answer but let me break that down a little bit.
They’re not ready yet
This is the biggest thing for me right now. Docker is an absolute hard requirement to have in a stable form as it is a requirement for the only good options for WordPress and other work. While Docker and some of my other development tools are available in alpha or beta form they’re not yet stable. This means that, no matter what I think about how “cool” they are I could not use one yet even if I was ready for a new machine.
They are darn cool
While I can’t use one, yet, I wouldn’t rule it out. They are cool. The performance and power gains made by switching to a System on a Chip (SoC) architecture are darn impressive. That said, coming from 15″ Macbook Pros and my current Oryx Pro, I do perfectly fine on a machine with a 2-3 hour battery life and I already have a machine with more power than I need so, while a performance gain sounds neat it really has nothing to offer me for my workflow.
What will others do?
Put together the fact that my current setup is more than fast enough and the software isn’t ready and, no, I won’t be getting an M1 Mac for the foreseeable future. As I also wouldn’t want to downgrade back MacOS, I am more interested in seeing what the architecture pushes others to do.
Pine64 has already been offering the Pinebook Pro ARM based laptop for a while and there does seem to be movement on expanding the architecture further in the Linux space and beyond. The only real question then becomes one of how the big two processor makers, Intel and AMD, will respond.
There are serious questions as to whether the PC market in general could support SoC beyond Apple as most computer manufactures are really just assemblers. Putting the whole system on a single chip will be a fundamental shift in that model. It will happen at some point though and, as long as the alternatives can still do my job and do it well I have no problem waiting. If, however, the market doesn’t shift and I find that Apple is the manufacturer I can turn to for a machine to do my work I’ll buy one.