Apple M1 for music production - buy or not (or wait)

Apple M1 for music production - buy or not (or wait) play video
Written by: Dexxter Clark, 01-12-2020
You have a bit of a dilemma when you to buy a new Mac.
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lifecycle
Apple’s typical lifecycle of a product is 3 years.
After 3 years, they stop with software updates, including important security updates
But Apple announced that they will shorten the support cycle from 3 to 2 years for Intel based Macs.
But Apple silicon means that also 3rd party developers will only develop for the new plat-form.
You are basically buying an old computer when you buy an intel mac.

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compatibility
When you buy an apple sillicon Mac, software compatibility will be an issue.
As far as I know, there are no DAWs yet that run flawlessly on the new ARM based Macs, except Apples Logic itself.
FL Studio says it’s working on an update, so does Steinberg, Native Instruments, Reason and a couple of others.

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Rosetta
The compatibility layer Rosetta is a “quick and dirty” attempt to make most programs work on a ARM based mac.
But hardware intensive programs (like DAWs) that rely heavily on real-time processing, things don’t always work properly, because rosetta was never meant for that in the first place.

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ecosystem
Even IF DAW software makers would be up-to-date, we still have a whole ecosystem of plugin makers who are not.
This can take a while.

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advantage
The M1-chip is a so-called SOC (System On a Chip).
This has advantages
-enegery effectiency
-faster (because eveything is integrated)

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downsides
But there are long-term downsides, especially for music producers:
-no memory expansion after the fact
-no storage expansion after the fact
-Also repairing a computer has become more difficult, because there is less to repair.
I hope that Apple sees that that is a huge turn-off for professional users.

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My advice
WAIT!
This is a first generation product
Apple has a tendency to not their first generation of products for very long, look at the first Apple watch and the first iPad.

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So when you are buying a first generation product, you are basically a beta tester
Let others do the beta testing for you.
Apple has the room to make even more optimizations that you can benefit from.

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In the meantime, DAW software and plugin makers had the time to play catchup.
These startup problems will eventually be a non-issue in 2 or 3 generations.

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I think this step is a good step for the industry as a whole, because it leads to innovation, since everyone is slavishly copying apple.
And Apple did some really interesting innovation.

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photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Music Producer / YouTuber

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