Does the world need a faster MacBook?
Apple recently announced the M3 chip series. A top-spec M3 MacBook Pro with M3 Max boasts 92 billion transistors, a 16-core CPU, a 40-core GPU, and 128GB Unified Memory (RAM that's built into the CPU).
Granted, the average person doesn't know let alone care how many transistors, cores or gigabytes their device has. They care about how it performs overall - that it runs all their programs smoothly.
Very few people will dig into the specs and benchmark tests. Even fewer will truly understand them beyond: this year's numbers greater than last year's numbers.
"Scary Fast", as it was named in their Halloween launch event, is a lot more appealing and relatable to the average Joe.
All you need to know is that one of these devices should be able to handle just about any task that you throw at it.
Mac has never really been a viable option for gamers when shopping for a PC. Apple has recently (finally) become interested in gaming - as they should, given that the video game sector is larger than the movie and music industry combined, and is projected to be worth $321 billion by 2026.
It's hard to envision an M3 Mac experiencing any difficulty running a complex, demanding game. It's equally hard to envision the PC gaming community fully embracing Apple. In either case, we'll have to wait and see.
It's becoming increasingly less important to take specs into account when purchasing a new device. The vast majority of users needn't split hairs between different types of processors, assuming they are opting for a high-end £600+ device over a mid-range alternative. Just as the vast majority of drivers aren't concerned with how a vehicle's gear ratio or aerodynamics will influence its top speed. Any half-decent phone or computer will run Netflix and Snapchat without getting out of first gear.
Why would you ever need anything which performs above and beyond your requirements? The most efficient product in any given situation is the one that precisely meets but does not exceed your current requirements. You needn't second guess what you currently have unless it's hindering your productivity or enjoyment.
So is there any point? Well, having a fast car is cool, even if you never take it over 90mph. It's better to have more power than you need, and it is there in case you need it. It represents progress, which is what we all strive for in living a fulfilling life as individuals and making the world a better place collectively. Being part of this feels good.
The M3 isn't much of a step up from the M2, because you simply cannot make that much progress from year to year. It'd be quite difficult to justify upgrading from an M1 to an M3. If you're currently using an old Intel Mac however, then this would be a significant enough upgrade, and you wouldn't have to worry about upgrading again for several years. Law of contrast: a big upgrade is always more exciting and satisfying than a small, incremental one.
Some people will mock or criticize a company for headlining its new product's slightly darker shade of paint, proclaiming it to as an insufficient or sneaky trick to increase sales at higher prices. In actuality, there usually are some real and meaningful improvements to the product itself. The millions of dollars spent by a huge team of marketing experts determined that consumers would have a more favourable response to a darker shade of paint than to actual performance upgrades. People really care that it looks good, and paint isn't subject to scientific or economic constraints, so why not pull on that disproportionately long lever as much as possible?
Every ad that you see has been ruthlessly split-tested and refined to induce an optimum combination of desire, craving, jealousy, insecurity and anxiety in the largest proportion of consumers possible. It's just effective marketing.
Technology can be pretty difficult to explain or comprehend. "Our best camera yet" and "our fastest chip ever" are pretty clear-cut. The people who want to geek out (or argue) over computer specs will have no trouble finding them in their online geek communities.
Sharron on the other hand, just needs to think that the new MacBook will make her more productive and popular. If you can afford a £1700 MacBook Pro M3 to watch YouTube and play solitaire on, then have at it. I think most of us would rather cruise the middle lane at 60 in a Lambo than a Fiesta. The difference here is that an M3 Mac will be common and affordable in a decade. That's the beauty of tech.
Literally any device or piece of technology that you use today was, at some point and perhaps not too long ago, highly sought after and indeed considered cutting-edge.
These tools enable more artists and professionals to create more and better music, movies, art, and other content that you enjoy. Technology is the driving force behind advances in engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, and just about every major industry. And it only truly thrives in a competitive market. Even if you stay far from the cutting-edge; whether it excites you or not, its benefits will trickle down to you in time.
You might not need a faster Mac, but the fact that it exists will certainly benefit you.
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