More Mac users switching to those with Apple chips

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Last year about this time I updated a column I’ve written periodically about when to replace an aging computer. Those columns are always popular, though the basics I discuss typically don’t change much. 

Most folks need to get a new computer when its operating system can’t be updated; it can no longer run modern versions of critical apps; it’s broken and a repair would be exorbitant. Those are generic guidelines that apply to most systems, regardless of the type.

But in 2022, there’s a new wrinkle – if you’ve got a Mac.

Specifically, I’m talking about owners of Apple’s Macs that have a central processor made by Intel Corp. Apple introduced its own line of processors in 2020 and replaced nearly all of its desktop and notebook computers with models that use processors of its own design. 

The company calls the chips collectively by the moniker Apple Silicon. There are now two generations of them, designated as M1 and M2, and underneath those families are further iterations: Pro, Max, Ultra. (The processors are also now in the entire iPad Pro lineup.)

Today, there are just two Mac models still sold with Intel processors: the Mac Pro, a hulking, powerful, pricey desktop that is expected to be replaced with an Apple Silicon version next year, and the Mac mini, which is also sold with Apple Silicon processors. The last new Intel Mac to be launched was the 27-inch iMac Pro in 2020. I own one of these, and it is a fantastic machine

I bought it knowing full well that Apple was planning to transition its lineup to its own processors. CEO Tim Cook said Apple would support its Intel Macs “for years to come,” and though he didn’t say how many, the company typically provides OS updates for hardware for about seven years. That was good enough for me at the time.

But there are now a few trends that are giving me pause – and may for other owners of Intel Macs.

(I should add that I also own a 2021, 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip, but the Intel iMac is my primary machine – for now.)

There are more and more features in the macOS operating system that…

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