16" MacBook Pro vs 13" MacBook Air with M1

I bought a 16" MacBook Pro in April because my MacBook Air was just not cutting it with what I needed to do when WFH due to COVID-19.

I knew it wasn’t really when I wanted to buy a new laptop, but I didn’t really feel like I had a choice at the time.

On a whim, I went through the Apple configurator to see what I would get for a trade-in towards a new MacBook Air with M1.

For just under $500 (or $40/mo for 12 mon) I could get a new MacBook Air with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD (which is what I have on my MacBook Pro). That also includes AppleCare.

I’d be losing 2 ports, but I have the CalDigit T3 hub, so most of the time when I’m plugged in at home I’m only using one plug.

The 16" vs 13" seems like a wash… when using it at my home office, I have a 4K monitor that I connect it to anyway. When using it on the couch as a laptop, 13" might actually be a little easier to deal with.

Seems like a pretty good move…and I was tempted to do it.

Then I remembered that that MacBook Air would not have the Touch Bar… and now I’m pretty certain that I will do it. Because as hard as I have tried to like the Touch Bar, I just do not like the Touch Bar. In fact, I would say it’s the only thing I don’t like about the MacBook Pro.


I’ll just leave this here:


For me, the decreased GPU performance would make a huge difference in my daily workflow. Also lack of eGPU support, which allows the 16" to perform like an iMac Pro rather than a laptop. I also need to be able to run Windows applications, it’s a part of my job.

Nevertheless, I’d consider a M1 MacBook Pro as a portable device for light work, but not as a replacement for the 16". The Air would just not have enough power for what I need.

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If you have no need of Bootcamp, I would wait until the Rosetta reports start coming in before making any decisions. Even with Rosetta, I believe you will be losing Keyboard Maestro and Hazel right? Alfred is ready to go tho.

It seems that it’s Big Sur itself that is more of an issue for Hazel.

Preliminary (unauthorized) benchmarks tend to show that Rosetta’d apps run better on the DTK than on native Intel because of the sheer processing difference.

I don’t think we’ve seen any graphics benchmarks in the wild yet. All we really know is that the M1 has much better graphics performance than the Intel integrated graphics.

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This thread is comparing the 16" though, that has AMD discrete graphics.

Like I said, we haven’t seen any graphics benchmarks for the M1, so all we know at this point is it’s much faster than the Intel integrated graphics. We don’t know how it compares to the discrete graphics in the current 16”.

Please do not consider this post as spam.

It is so much fun to read about the Mac apparently rocking our desktops again. So. Much. Fun.

I will resist jumping on the M1 bandwagon, but the Mac future shines bright. Amazing times. The Macbook Air M1 is definitely an amazing computer. 2021 will be breathtaking when the “pro” version of the M1 probably will enter the stage.

Sorry for my eruption of enthusiasm here… :blush:


I’m very tempted by the Air. My current machine is a late 2019 13” Pro, with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB hard drive.

With the trade-in value on the current machine and the educator’s discount, I could double both RAM and storage for under $50/month over 12 months.

I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about the Touch Bar. What attracts me (in addition to more memory and storage) is the fanless design. I do some screen casting, and anticipate doing more of it in the coming semester. My current machine gets noisy when exporting my videos from Screenflow. It’s looking like the new Air could handle that task just fine, and would be quiet about it.

(Un)fortunately, the shipping dates on the configuration I’d want show an arrival that’s too close for comfort to the date I expect to be traveling, so this can’t be an impulse purchase. At the very least I’ll need to wait until I get where I’m going — I’ll be there long enough that I can order once I get there, if I decide I still want it. :grin:

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a hunch… I just think there will some apps from outside the appstore that may have issues…

My two cents (that you absolutely did not ask for, but it’s the Internet so…): If you depend solely on your current MBP for your livelihood and it’s doing the job right now then I would absolutely wait for a few months before jumping to a computer based on a new CPU architecture and OS, neither of which have seen any use in the real world yet. This kind of transition doesn’t happen without all kinds of weird bugs and unforeseen issues that may be annoyances to consumers, but become serious problems for people who depend on their computers in order to be able to work.


So, I called AppleCare to find out what I would get as a credit towards the AppleCare that I have for the MacBook Pro. It will vary slightly depending on when I actually send my MacBook Pro back, but as of today, it is $281.

I had also purchased a second Stream Deck (when I was using two computers on the regular, mostly before Rogue Amoeba’s apps were Big Sur compatible) which I can and will return for $250.

All of which means that I can replace the 16" MacBook Pro with the 13" MacBook Air for $0.

Hazel has a new version 5 coming out next week, and I can’t believe that it would not be compatible with Rosetta.

Haven’t heard anything about Keyboard Maestro not being compatible either.

My MacBook Air (which I have just ordered) won’t be arriving until the end of November, so that will give developers a bit of a chance to fix the early bugs, if there are any.

I’ll also have 2 weeks to trade-in the MacBook Pro, in case I do find something wrong with the MacBook Air, which seems like plenty of time.


You can get credit for the unused months of AppleCare? I had no idea. Did the rep say anything about how to make sure you get the credit?

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I just need to call when I am sending my trade-in.

For more info, see:


Ah, I see — it’s a pro-rated refund rather than a credit per se. Many thanks for the info!

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Quoting https://forum.keyboardmaestro.com/t/keyboard-maestro-9-1/20129 (release notes for Keyboard Maestro 9.1) item #1:

Native build for Apple Silicon.

So while I believe that Keyboard Maestro would have run under Rosetta, it’s a moot point because it’s already available for Apple Silicon.


that’s awesome. maybe everything will be ok

You don’t have the need of more than one external display, do you?

Nope. I have one 4K external display and no room for another, even if I wanted another, which I do not.