Monday, March 1, 2021

The Mac Price Crash of 2021

Robin Harris (via Hacker News):

The impressive performance and battery life gains of the new M1 MacBooks have created a historic discontinuity in the normally placid resale market. Should you spend $800 for a one year old MacBook Air when for $200 more you could get a MacBook Air with several times the performance and 50 percent better battery life?


I check Craigslist fairly regularly to keep track of what’s for sale. I’ve seen an unusual bifurcation in the pricing for MacBooks.

There are more late-model Intel MacBooks showing up for sale. Some of those are showing context sensitive pricing, i.e. almost new MacBook Airs for $600 rather than the $800-$900 that some think their Intel-based machine is still worth.


Update (2021-03-02): Om Malik:

After Apple loaned me a 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro for review, it was clear: we were on the cusp of a significant shift in architecture. Intel-powered Macs would feel puny in a few years. I needed to get rid of all my Intel machines as quickly as possible.

I will be keeping mine for a long time for testing. They work just as well as they always have, and even 2013 MacBook Airs can run Big Sur, so my hope is that many Intel Macs will have long second lives after being resold. The transition will create good opportunities for anyone who doesn’t need the latest or requires x86 support.

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I think this is caused by a sudden over-supply of enthusiasts upgrading and selling their Intel machines rather than a drop in demand.

I bet the majority of Mac buyers still don’t know about the processors, and those who buy used generally care less about specs, anyway. They just want a Mac at an affordable price.

Did this happen during the transition to Intel?


Having been watching used Mac prices for some time, it is curious that this phenomenon doesn't seem to have yet impacted older MacBook Pros… I'm still seeing 2012-2015 13-inch MBPs at the same price that they've been, and 2015 15-inch MBPs are still astronomical ($800+). If anything, this has served to collapse the garbage-keyboard models market. Which, makes perfect sense. Those models already had been suffering from low resale values. This was just the final straw.
Myself, I'm looking out for a nice sub-$600 2015 13-inch i7 MF841LL/A MBP with a decent battery to carry me through the early days of the Intel -> Apple Silicon transition. I still need Windows 64-bit occasionally; I think I have a year or two.

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