MacBook For College - Wait or Buy Now

Hi all,

Need some help and advice/guidance. My son is heading off to college in late August and we need to get him a new laptop computer. I have heard all sorts of rumors of new MacBook Pro’s coming out but he will need it when he leaves for school. Do we go with the lighter M1 MacBook Air or the 13" M1 MBP? Is there a material difference in processing power of those two? Any rumors of when new MBP’s are going to be announced?

I have hopes that the new MacBook Pro will be announced this summer, but I wouldn’t count on it. The M1 MBA and MBP are really good computers and if you need a new laptop now I wouldn’t hesitate to grab either of them. The only difference you are likely to see between the Air and the Pro is sustained performance under load (rendering video and the like). Unless your son has some very specialized need (or really likes the Touch Bar) I don’t see much reason to get the curent Pro over the Air.


Get the free AirPods with education pricing!


Apple always has a back to school special so
make sure you wait for those. Unless your son has really specific needs, I think the Air is a perfect laptop for any college student.


Get the Air, and AppleCare. And a nice backpack or something.

I’m writing from one right now, and it’s superb. Can’t imagine a college student needing anything more.


He will be studying Film so he will likely need to do some editing, however the school has full editing computer rooms and resources so the burden wont be that heavy on the machine we get for him. Thanks for all the suggestions and feedback! Definitely taking advantage of the EDU discounts!


I just bought a MacBook Air and I LOVE it! It’s a natural. I think it would be ideal for a college student! I sure wish I had had one when going to college. I cannot type. Every other key is delete. So I begged and never had to type a college paper… just handwritten. ;o)

The keyboard is terrific. It would be easy to write papers on it.

And it is super lightweight, portable.

The MacBook Air runs about as much as the iPad Pro which is what I was going to buy. I would have needed a new pencil and the keyboard. So I have 512 GB and my impression is that it willl most certainly last for years.

Best of luck to your son!


I’m 100% in the “get the Air now” camp.

My last notebook was a $3000 16"
MBP, and my M1 Air not only runs rings round it, but the keyboard works too.


Get the M1 Air, cheapest base model is fine. It surpass the performance of my $1800 MBP 2018. I’ve done my software engineering projects in this machine, it never overheat even though I live in equator country without Air Cooler. Definitely worth it.

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I’d take the Air, think the pro is overpriced for the difference,
You could max the ram to 16Gb for the money saved by not getting the pro?


100% agree here. If the choice is between 8GB + Pro or 16GB + Air then absolutely get the Air.

I really doubt that we’ll see new Apple notebooks before September.


Does his academic program have computer recommendations or requirements?


Very much agree. I also transitioned from a totally specced out larger MBP to a M1 MBP. The smaller machine totally smokes it, and works better with an external display.

As for Air vs Pro. I think Air is better for most people, since it’ll meet the needs for nearly any college student.
Plus with the impending Pro redesign later this year, I feel like Pro users who didn’t buy the M1 earlier are better off waiting a little longer.

However, I still went for the Pro because the practical increase in battery life is truly next level and well worth the premium on its own (brighter display and better speakers round out the rest, everything else is a bonus).

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Re: MBP Rumours

It is highly likely that Apple will announce their new MBPs in September or early October. Their have been numerous reports by several tech sites that the new MBPs will feature the new M series processor and will have a completely redesigned look.

As I’ve seen in the discussion your son is going to be studying film in college with access to professional video editing gear. I would recommend he get an Air, unless their is the possibility that he’ll need to edit projects on his laptop frequently, in which case I’d recommended a MBP. Simply because, as others have said, the air doesn’t have the same thermal capabilities as the MBP.

Hope you and your son have a good summer!

I definitely fall in the camp of get the Air. I would make sure you get it with the education promo’s. I have heard @Macsparky talk enough about the fact that his Air is able to render video similar to his previous iMac Pro so I think the Air will be enough for at least a couple years of college for your son.

Agree. 16GB will potentially be useful for the film editing too, as would (if you feel like springing for it) the extra GPU core.

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I bought the Air with 8 GB RAM but with lots of hard disk space ie 512 GB.

If I wanted to do so in the future, would I be able to have more RAM put in? I know they use to do that.


Nope. Not anymore, I’m afraid.


I feel the same! Thinking of selling my MBP and replacing it with something lighter but better!!

And @Katie it’s not just that they won’t, it’s that they can’t. The whole thing is integrated into the single chip, so even if the parts were available you couldn’t upgrade anything without throwing away all of the CPU / SSD / RAM.

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