Four missed opportunities in the new M1-based Macs

Apple’s got new Macs with its first-ever custom designed system-on-chip, the M1. We’re getting three new Macs with the chip—a MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini—all available for order now and shipping soon.

Apple’s claims of performance and efficiency are eye-popping, and if even remotely true could be more than enough reason for Mac fans to be excited about Apple’s switch from Intel processors to its own.

Yet, we can’t help but feel the company’s entering this new era for the Mac just a little too conservatively. Outside of the M1 processor, these Macs are dead ringers for their predecessors. Here are five ways Apple could have easily made these Macs better, but didn’t.

Light up the Apple logo!

Remember when the Apple logo on the back of your MacBook lid would glow? That’s been gone for years, and we kind of miss it. At least, it would be nice if it glowed a little, perhaps with an option to shut it off.

macbook apple logo pexelsNegative Space (CC0)

Admit it…you kind of miss it, don’t you?

The new M1-based Macs feature the exact same design as those with Intel processors. I think it’s time for a totally new design, perhaps taking cues from the new flat-edged iPad Pro and iPhone 12, but I can understand Apple saving that for later in the Apple silicon transition process.

It would have been nice to get at least a single small, obvious design differentiation between MacBooks with the M1 and those with Intel chips, and the return of the glowing Apple logo would have been just the thing.

Why only two TB3 ports on the MacBook Pro?

The M1-based version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro has only two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side of the machine. The models with Intel CPUs—which are still available—have an additional two ports on the right side.

macbookpro 13 tbolt3 ports Apple

We shouldn’t have to choose between the awesome new M1 chip and the full compliment of Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The new M1 chip models essentially replace the lower-end versions of the MacBook Pro, which had only two TB3 ports and 8th-gen Intel processors. The higher-end models, with 10th-gen Intel processors and four TB3 ports, remain availalbe.