M.J. Tsai, who curates a great mac blog, pointed to a story with a clever headline — The Mac Price Crash of 2021. “The new M1 Macs have cratered MacBook resale values,” notes Robin Harris.

I check Craigslist fairly regularly to keep track of what’s for sale. I’ve seen an unusual bifurcation in the pricing for MacBooks. There are more late-model Intel MacBooks showing up for sale. Some of those are showing context sensitive pricing, i.e. almost new MacBook Airs for $600 rather than the $800-$900 that some think their Intel-based machine is still worth.

That said if you are on a budget and don’t care about the latest: wait a few months, and Intel macs’ prices will collapse. Harris predicts price “carnage.” And he is right. Why would you buy an older machine powered by Intel chips when you can read all over the internet — the M1 Macs are better, faster, and most importantly, run cooler.

After Apple loaned me a 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro for review, it was clear: we were on the cusp of a significant shift in architecture. Intel-powered Macs would feel puny in a few years. I needed to get rid of all my Intel machines as quickly as possible. The prices were going to collapse. Off went my two computers — an iMac Pro (from 2017) and MacBook Pro 16 from 2019. 

I got pretty reasonable prices for both of them — enough to be ready for the next Apple Silicon-powered large screen laptop. 

As you know, I do most of my daily work on an iPad — emails, writing, reading, and managing my web life. The computers are really for one thing and one thing only: managing and editing photos. I use Adobe Photoshop, which, unfortunately, is not very good on the iPad. 

After sending back the loaner, with much regret, I now have a new loaner laptop hooked up to an XDR Display. It is a perfect replacement for either of the two Macs I sold earlier. I have not missed the old machines for a minute. 

I have been trying out a digital medium format camera, and it produces some big files. And I mean big. Even a few layers in Photoshop can increase the file size to over 5 Gb with my workflow. This computer is being put through the paces — and yet it doesn’t break a sweat. I can be running Adobe Bridge, Capture One, and Photoshop all running simultaneously — with Apple Mail in the background, and everything feels smooth as silk. 

The only time I have experienced some hiccup is when I fire-up Zoom and Photoshop (running via Rosetta) at the same time. The mouse doesn’t move across the screen as smoothly on the screen. 

M1-based Macs are just better. And that is why it doesn’t surprise me the prices are collapsing. The sliding prices are just a continuation of what I had pointed out in August last year — Mac has been steadily losing some of its resale value. At that time, I had wondered if the “news of the pending launch of ARM-based machines that has depressed the prices.” 

Well, I have my answer.