I really really want to buy an M1 MacBook Pro. Here’s why I’m not yet

When Apple’s One more thing event kicked off on Tuesday, my Apple Card was ready. I’ve made no secret of my intention to hold off on buying a new Mac until Apple started using its own silicon inside, and the day finally arrived. The Apple Store was down, the event clock was ticking down, and I was ready to buy my first new MacBook in nearly a decade.

Except I’m not. At least not yet, anyway. While there’s a lot to like about the speed and battery life claims in the new M1 chip in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, there are just as many reasons to hold off on the purchase, especially if you’re coming from an older high-end machine. It’s not so much that I’m disappointed with the first M1 Macs as much as my curiosity is piqued.

In a nutshell: I want what’s coming next.

apple m1 core Apple

My issue isn’t with the design, which is a carbon copy of the Intel models. Sure, an edge-to-edge screen would be nice, as would a smaller footprint, Face ID, light-up Apple logo, and MagSafe integration, but the current design is plenty nice.

While there’s no doubt that these machines are crazy fast for their prices—though there’s some doubt that they’re faster than the 98 percent of PCs as Apple claims—there’s also reason to believe that Apple is only scratching the surface with what it will deliver.

Take the ports. On the previous MacBook Pro lineup, Apple offered a $1,799 step-up option that delivered four Thunderbolt 3 ports rather than two on the base model. That’s the configuration of my work machine and I use every one of the ports on a daily basis, as do a lot of users. But like the MacBook Air, the new M1 MacBook Pro and Mac mini only have two USB-C ports.

That’s likely because the M1 chip only has a single Thunderbolt 3 controller—which also explains why both ports are on the same side—but it also means you can’t buy an M1 Mac without being seriously hampered when it comes to USB ports. Assuming you’re using one for charging, you’re probably going to need a hub, which is an inelegant solution.

Future MacBook Pro models, even smaller ones, aren’t likely to have this restriction. Apple clearly understands that pro users need more than two Thunderbolt ports, which is why the 4-port Intel models are still on sale, for the same prices as before. Apple wouldn’t have kept those aging Intel machines around if it didn’t recognize the need for more ports was there, and I expect next year will bring M1 models with twice as many ports.