Apple makes some of the best smartphones on the market, and it’s also a leading manufacturer when it comes to computers. macOS is one of the best operating systems for creators, general users, and professionals. Apple offers an extensive lineup of computers in its catalog, which contains more than eight different computers, all aimed at different people with different needs. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the most popular machines, and categorize them by price, and say why you should buy them.
All of the machines below are scheduled to receive the latest macOS Ventura update, coming later in the fall. These machines are equipped with Apple’s own M1 and M2 silicon chips, some of the most powerful and power-efficient processors on the market today. We also have an explainer about every single chip that Apple has ever created and put into its devices, which we recommend you look at to find out more about them.
Best All-in-one: 24-inch iMac
The 24-inch iMac is an affordable and powerful computer. It’s powered by the M1 chip, and the base model has an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU, 256GB of base storage and 8GB of unified memory. It starts at $1,299 and is the cheapest desktop computer in Apple’s lineup, offering all the necessary accessories to get you started.
It’s one of the best devices for those who work from home, or need a computer that can be stationary. It’s powerful for light gaming, using your favorite applications, editing images, and even some videos. The base model even has two Thunderbolt ports to plug in all of your accessories and hard drives.
We recommend the higher-end model, which comes with 512GB storage, since it’s available in more colors and has a gigabit ethernet port to reduce latency and improve the browsing experience. If you’re looking for a perfect all-in-one, the 24-inch iMac is one of the best Apple computers.
24-inch iMac (M1 2021)
The latest 24-inch iMac finally comes with Apple’s own powerful M1 Silicon and 8GB of RAM. It has a new, improved design, a higher quality camera, excellent speakers and comes in a number of new colors to brighten up your room or office.
Most Affordable MacBook: 13-inch MacBook Air, M1
The 13-inch MacBook Air with the M1 chip has been our number one recommendation since it was announced in 2020, and it’s still our preferred device for those who want a powerful and portable computer. The MacBook Air features a 13-inch Retina display, and it’s colorful and bright.
Apple is selling the MacBook Air with the M1 chip for just $999, making it the cheapest Apple MacBook in the entire lineup, and you get a lot for that money. Students can also receive an extra $100 off with verified email addresses, making it a no-brainer.
The MacBook Air M1 is capable of editing videos, photos, playing some games, and browsing the web without a sweat, and it’s one of the most popular Apple laptops. It’s silent – since it doesn’t have a fan – and it can last a full day on a single charge, meaning you won’t have to rush to a nearby outlet to get some charge for your following lecture or next meeting. This is a solid choice if you’re on a budget and need a laptop that can do it all.
13-inch Apple MacBook Air
Powered by M1
The M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are some of the most affordable Apple laptops which are excellent for light tasks, and they can even handle some heavy editing and tools when required.
Runner-up: 13.6-inch MacBook Air, M2
It’s hard to improve on the already excellent MacBook Air with the M1 chip, but Apple made some significant changes to the MacBook Air M2. First and foremost, the laptop received a slight redesign to resemble the 14-inch MacBook Pro laptops more closely, and it also sports the controversial notch. The new MacBook Air is also more colorful and is now available in Midnight, Starlight, Space Gray, and Silver options. Myriam Joire also wrote an excellent article about the new MacBook Air M2, which you might be interested in reading.
The new MacBook Air does everything the old one could, but it’s slightly faster and slightly better all-around, making it a solid recommendation if you have the budget and want something more modern. Thanks to the notch, it also has a slightly larger display, but there are still only two Thunderbolt ports.
A student discount could get you $100 off the new MacBook Air, but it will still cost you more than the previous model, which remains available on Apple’s website and most retailers. It’s an excellent device for business purposes, small content creators, students, and generally for everyone. Students can benefit from the additional power when running specialized software, and it’s an all-round excellent machine. We also have five reasons why you should buy the new MacBook Air over the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, which we’ll cover down below.
13.6-inch Apple MacBook Air
Powered by M2
The latest MacBook Air is powered by the M2 Apple Silicon, offering even better performance than the M1 series of chips. It has an excellent battery life, and all the performance you need for multitasking, editing, and working on-the-go.
The one you shouldn’t buy: 13-inch MacBook Pro, M2
Before we talk about the 13-inch MacBook Pro, we must address the elephant in the room. On paper, the new MacBook Pro is an excellent device, after all, it’s powered by the new M2 chip, it has a beautiful display, and a long battery life. However, the lack of design refresh makes it hard to recommend, and it’s not entirely great value for the money, considering that once you upgrade the RAM and the storage, you may be better off upgrading the 14-inch MacBook Pro altogether. I’ve explained in a separate article why the price for the new M2 Macbook Pro makes sense, in case you’re interested.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes in Silver and Space Gray colors, and it has a 13.3-inch Retina display, two Thunderbolt ports Magic Keyboard and the infamous Touch Bar. The MacBook Pro has all the power you need for editing on-the-go, and at your desk.
The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro is an excellent computer on paper, but it’s not a great value for money, and it’s the one you shouldn’t buy. You’re probably safe to skip this one and either configure an M2 MacBook Air or go straight for the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
13.3-inch Apple MacBook Pro
Powered by M2
The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro may be tempting, but 8GB of RAM and 256GB of base storage for the price $1,299.00 is steep. Once you configure the device to have 16GB of RAM, or more storage, you might as well save up a little bit more and go for the 14-inch MacBook Pro, which outperforms the current generation M2 MacBook Pro.
Most powerful MacBook(s): 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro
The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro devices are the best laptops that Apple offers and they’re also the most powerful machines in the laptop lineup. It doesn’t matter if you’re a photographer, content creator, student, software engineer, or general user; the new MacBook Pro machines will fulfill your requirements.
The 14-inch model can be configured with an M1 Pro chip, and the base model comes with an 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16GB of unified memory, and 512GB of SSD. The 16-inch base model has the same chip but a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, and the same memory and storage. The larger, 16-inch model can also be configured with the M1 Max chip, which offers even more GPU power for more graphics-intensive tasks, such as editing video and photos.
If you’re a power user and do a lot of work at your desk and out and about, the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro machines are the best laptops that money can buy now. You can also watch our review of the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
Best budget: Mac Mini
If you already have a monitor, a mouse, and a keyboard, then all you’re probably missing is a computer. If you want to save money, and prefer your own peripherals, you’ll likely want to consider the Apple Mac Mini, powered by the M1 chip. It’s mini, mighty, and it has everything you need.
It’s excellent for those who want to browse the web, do some occasional video and image editing, and do some light gaming on the side. It has the full power of the M1 chip, and it’s one of the best options for those wanting to save money.
The base Mac Mini has an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, 8GB of unified memory, and 256GB of built-in storage. We recommend upgrading to the 512GB or 1TB version to better futureproof yourself since the storage is soldered, and you’ll need external hard drives or SSDs to store even more content. The 512GB version costs $899, while the 256GB will set you back $699.
The Mac Mini is ideal for all general users, and it’s also a great starting point for those who want a powerful stationary device that can do it all, and can be paired with virtually any accessory and monitor. The Mac Mini also houses a Gigabit ethernet port, making it ideal for plugging in, and rescuing the latency while browsing or gaming.
Apple Mac Mini
The Apple Mac Mini is the most affordable Mac computer on a budget, and it comes with the new M1 chip, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of base storage. It can easily be connected to a monitor and other peripherals using the USB-C ports on the back.
Most Powerful: Mac Studio
Technically speaking, the Apple Mac Pro is the most powerful computer in Apple’s lineup, but it’s overdue for an upgrade, which may happen this year, or sometime next year. The upgraded model will reportedly feature an M2 Extreme chip, and it’s expected to be the most powerful computer in not just Apple’s lineup, but also compared to other competing Windows machines.
As it stands, the most powerful computer in Apple’s lineup is the Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra chip inside. It’s also available with the M1 Max configuration, and it can be customized to fit your requirements with different memory, storage, and chip configurations. The base model comes with the M1 Max chip, which has a 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. It’s plenty enough for most creators and professionals. However, those working on 4K and even higher resolution footage, or graphics-intensive tasks, might want to consider the M1 Ultra variant that comes with a 20-core CPU, and either a 48-core GPU or 64-core GPU inside.
The memory for all these machines starts at 32GB, and they can be configured with up to 128GB of unified memory on the highest specialized models. The storage starts at 512GB SSD, and can be configured with up to 8TB SSD, adding an additional $2,400 bill to the final price.
We recommend the base model with some configuration for most people who require fast and a lot of computing power, and the M1 Ultra for those content creators and professionals who work with graphics-intensive software, and need the extra legroom for more comfort and futureproofing.
Remember that the Mac Studio doesn’t come with any accessories, only a power cable, so you’ll have to pair it with existing peripherals, or buy some new ones. We also have an excellent guide for buying the best USB-C monitors for your Mac computers.
Mac Studio is the latest desktop-class computer from Apple. It features Apple’s fastest M1 Max/Ultra chipset, up to 128GB RAM, 8TB SSD, and much more. Check out all the deals on the device using the links given below: