M1 Thoughts After 2 Weeks


I’ve been using the new M1 MacBook Pro, 13-inch as my main computer for the last 2 weeks. For the last 5 years, my portable computer has been a 12.9 inch iPad Pro. It is light and has all day battery life. When I need the power of a Mac, I used a 2017 iMac with lots of storage and memory (64 GBs). When I bought this M1 MacBook, I thought it would be more of an experiment, trying out the bleeding edge of what Apple has to offer, but still not a replacement for my iMac. But over these 2 weeks, I’ve barely used either my iMac or iPad. I feel like now it can be a replacement for both computers. I also bought the LGE 27-inch 5K monitor to plug in the MacBook, so when plugged in, I have the same screen real estate as my iMac. When I need portability, I unplug the monitor and I’m good to go.

The only time I actually prefer my iPad is for reading books or pdfs, where I can use the Apple Pencil for highlighting and notes. The iMac I haven’t missed at all. I thought going down from 64 GBs to 16 GBs in memory would make a difference in tasks, such as Xcode builds, but as far as I can tell, Xcode performs better on the M1 than the iMac with 4 times as much memory!

It’s amazing to flip open the lid and you can immediately start typing. I know it’s a small thing, but it is something that makes your computing life so much better. It’s hard to believe the computer even went to sleep.

I’m most impressed at the performance of Xcode. Even with my iMac with 64 GB of memory, there are times when the UI is just sluggish. Ctrl-dragging from a widget to the swift code can just be inexplicably slow and janky. All of these weird speed slowdowns and glitches I’ve always experienced in Xcode just never happen on the M1. It’s just as smooth as typing in TextEdit or some other simple app.

Another thing that used to be slow and painful is starting up a new Simulator. It was so slow that I’d avoid starting up a new simulator if I really didn’t need it. Now it is so much faster that I have no hesitation to test across different iPhone models.

The other thing that is amazing is the battery life. I spent an entire Saturday using just the battery. Doing heavy tasks like watching videos and using Xcode. By the end of the day, the battery was still at 65%! This is even better battery life than I get on my iPad Pro!

iPad/iPhone apps are just baffling. I tried the HBO Max app on the M1. When I click on the full screen button, it puts the app in full screen, but the video is shown with black bars around it. When I play the same movie in Safari, the full screen button plays the video in actual full screen without the black bars. Why would anyone prefer using this app over Safari?

I downloaded the Volvo car manual app. The app runs in a fixed size. I can make it landscape, portrait or full screen, but cannot resize the window as you would a real Mac app. I guess this matches what is possible on an iPad, but makes it frustrating to use on a Mac. I think Apple really needs to rethink the way iOS apps work on the Mac.

I’ve loved using my iPad over the years, but with the new M1 MacBooks it will be hard to go back to using it for anything besides reading Books and PDFs. The multitasking of the iPad is just too limited. Even though I have used it every day for years, I still mess up the dragging of an app from the Dock. The Mac is just easier to use for power users. And of course the entire world of development tools (Xcode, Python, etc, etc) is just not possible on the iPad.


Intel Macs getting hot after using on the lap. People say now that M1 not heat up anymore. Does it apply all the time when you use your machine or only the first hour you use it and later MacBook on M1 start to heat up anyway?

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It’s true, I have yet to hear the fan on this laptop. It is always cool to the touch.


My Air has yet to feel anything more than “slightly warm.” And by “slightly warm” I mean “I wouldn’t notice if this was on my lap in the middle of summer.”

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My M1 MacBook Pro replaced an 11" iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and I’m still convinced I made the right choice.

The one place I miss the iPad is watching Apple TV+ content. Long Way Up looked spectacular on that screen. While the MBP’s screen is of equal quality, and of course a somewhat larger viewing area, I do find the extra bulk of the laptop to be a downside so I stick to my iPad mini (5) when watching in bed in the evenings. Smaller display, but still P3 and way easier to handle. This is more about tools for jobs than a problem with the M1 MBP.

However, there is one other negative with the M1 MBP. Well, two, but one I can’t blame on the hardware. My WD My Passport Wireless Pro is a great device, but when I plug it into the MBP neither device sees the other. It should, as it does still when plugged into my Mac mini, switch to USB storage mode. I can still access it wirelessly (slow) from the MBP or directly on the Mac mini but it’s inconvenient. In researching the problem I found WD My Cloud users are apoplectic that WD have no support for their devices on M1 Macs until July!

Otherwise I really love the M1 MBP. I, too, have seen insane battery figures. In the short time I had it before Christmas I was taking it into the office without the charger. I don’t use it for my work, as such, but like to use it for bits and pieces that are simply easier on a Mac, plus I will often do updates and such while it’s just sitting there. BTW, the warnings of “plug into power before performing this update” should seriously be reconsidered with these machines!


Love this and its why I am ditching my iPad and old MacBook for the new M1 Max!

This post is now a year old. How’s it been since then?

I was just using XCode last night on my M1 MacBook Pro from last year. I am so incredibly tempted to buy one of the new MacBook Pros, but I still haven’t pulled the trigger because the 13-inch from a year ago still does everything I ask from it with ease. I have never once felt like a task I’m doing is slow or sluggish.

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Yep I wouldn’t buy a new one either if I was in your position. Milk that M1 until the next update if its still zippy and long battery life. Those are my main two requirements I think. I plan on upgrading all specs with my coming order (maybe just 1TB storage though should be enough but still deciding) once the order backlog clears up (its showing 6-8 weeks currently for pretty much any customs).

Never underestimate the effect of familiarity. We got a new (big IBM) server at work last year, to replace a slow 2009 model. When we fired that puppy up it was ridiculously fast. Fast like “did that work?” fast. But I recall the introduction of the 2009 model and how ridiculously fast it was. :joy:

I’ve also not seen my 13" M1 MBP get “sluggish” but I can tell you how to get the fans going pretty loud with 100% success. Adobe Lightroom Classic — build standard previews. Do it on more than about 30 photos and watch the temps rise.

It must be quite inefficient because DxO PhotoLab can pump through the very same photos, applying AI-based noise reduction and a lot more adjustments besides, without the computer breaking a sweat. Both are “M1-aware” though I know PhotoLab explicitly uses the Neural Engine for its AI.

Thank you for this valuable data point. Reinforces my confirmation bias against Adobe apps. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I should also say that I still use my 13-inch iPad Pro. I still prefer it for some tasks, for example reading magazines (pdf) and surfing the web. I think Steve Jobs was right, it’s nice to hold the internet in your hands. Direct manipulation of the elements on a webpage is better in most cases than a mouse or trackpad.

I also use it for “light” productivity tasks, email, taking notes, etc. I also use it as a 2nd screen when I’m traveling. iPad next to the MacBook Pro is a pretty good portable, 2 screen setup. I was just going through an Apple SwiftUI tutorial. Tutorial on iPad, XCode on the MacBook.