If there’s one thing Apple has down to a science at this point, it’s handling hardware pre-orders. Other than a little snafu with my Apple Watch Series 6 two months ago, which was really a band inventory issue rather than a pre-order problem, my experience the last few years has been smooth and easy.
Today was no exception. I arrived at a customer site for work a few minutes before 7 AM Central, but I had another contractor meeting me there, so I didn’t have a lot of spare time. I was still able to get into the Apple Store app by 7:02, which immediately brought up the order I had preset, and confirm it. I did end up having to change credit cards before I processed the order, but that only took a moment. That was it. I was in and out in about three minutes with delivery slated for next Friday. It can’t go much better than that.
After we finished up the small amount of work we had at this customer site, I was able to get back into the Apple Store app and pre-order two new HomePod Minis to try out in my bedroom. Again, everything was fast and easy. I should have them in less than two weeks.
So now the attention of the Apple world shifts to what promises to be the company’s biggest event of the year. The iPhone may be Apple’s bread and butter, but the Mac is still the foundation the company we know today was built on. Any major change to the Mac is going to be a huge shift for Apple and many of its biggest, longest running and most loyal fans. It doesn’t get much bigger than Apple shifting the Mac from Intel to its own processors.
While Apple’s Tuesday event is obviously going to captivate the attention of Mac users everywhere, it will also get a lot of attention in broader tech circles. If Apple can pull off the combination of speed and efficiency with their own processors that many expect, then it won’t just impact Mac users. That’s a shift that will be felt across the entire tech landscape.
The fact that we are hearing about a MacBook Pro being unveiled during the event could be huge sign that Apple is nailing this already. It wouldn’t make sense for them to release a refreshed version of their powerhouse laptop right out of the gate unless they knew it could deliver improved performance. If they can already deliver pro performance with Apple Silicon literally on day one, watch out.
I’m not even an Mac user and I will be watching this event with great interest. I’ve kept an eye on Microsoft’s efforts with ARM, but even though their Surface Pro X is really nice looking machine, so far it hasn’t really delivered on its promise to move the Windows ecosystem forward. Most developers aren’t making apps that are compatible with ARM and Microsoft is just now getting around to emulating 64 bit apps. They just can’t seem to get any traction with or interest from developers. That, and there just aren’t that many interesting Windows devices running on ARM yet.
Apple’s command of it’s platform and technology stack makes a move like this so much easier and more efficient for them. They control everything going into the machines, giving them the ability to more tightly integrate the hardware and software. That integration makes it easier to squeeze additional power and efficiency out of the machine, even in these early days. Apple also knows that it’s top developers will follow them in this move. It may not be immediate, but most of them will be making apps that are optimized for emulation soon and fully ARM-compatible before the two year transition is done. That’s something Microsoft just can’t bank on today.
As a Windows user, I am hoping that Apple finds great success in shifting the Mac to Apple Silicon. If they are able to deliver on power and performance, then the PC market as a whole will take a greater interest in this, as well. Microsoft has struggled to get their move to ARM compatibility off the ground, but Apple nailing it out of the gate may actually help them push things along, as well. When PC manufacturers and developers see what’s possible, they will be more likely to go ahead and start moving in the same direction. That’s a win for everyone.
Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but you never know. Apple certainly tends to set trends for the rest of the market with smartphones. Just look at the removal of the headphone jack and the notch as recent examples that others quickly followed. Maybe Apple can blaze the same trail with Mac with ARM compatibility.
As a lifelong Windows user, I have to admit that I’m very intrigued and will be paying close attention during Tuesday’s event. If the price of the MacBook Air is right, I might even consider getting one to try out. How about you? Is anyone already primed to put their money down on an Apple Silicon Mac? Are some of you waiting to see what the specs and prices look like before taking the plunge? Let me know if you are ready to buy, or what you are hoping to see during Tuesday’s event in the Comments section below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.