New ports, processors, and price: Will consumers buy the new MacBook Pro?

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
October 26, 2021, 1:16 PM UTC

Announcing the new MacBook Pro line of notebooks this month, Apple explained at great length the virtues of its new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. As Apple continues its transition to its in-house silicon, a YouGov survey in the US and the UK reveals just how much importance consumers place on what brand of chip is found in their laptop. 

About a third of consumers in the UK (35%) and about a quarter of those in the US (27%) say the processor brand is important to them when buying a laptop. Those figures are higher among those who use laptops for creative work (39% in the US, 43% in the UK) or for gaming (53% in the US, 52% in the UK). 

Ports, ports, ports: The latest generation of MacBook Pros also feature something users have been begging for years: Ports. HDMI, USB, and an SD card slot all made a return to the notebook after Apple did away with them in 2016 in pursuit of a slimmer form factor. 

Our survey shows such ports are as important – if not more important – than the branded chip powering the device, particularly among those doing creative work or general office work. 

The new slate of MacBook Pros come in 14-inch and 16-inch versions, which hits the sweet spot for consumers. A plurality of consumers (43% and 39% in the UK) says 15 to 16 inches in the ideal size, while the 13- to 14-inch range is the next most popular (31% in the US, 35% in the UK). 

Will consumers buy? So, Apple seems to have struck a lot of right chords with its latest offering. It has existing Mac owners excited, with 28% of MacOS users in the US – and 25% in the UK – likely to pick one up in the next 12 months. Is it enough to woe Windows loyalists? Not in great quantities, but 6% of those users in US and 6% in the UK say they’re likely to pick up a MacBook Pro in the next year. 

Apple’s Airpods have become the brand’s hottest item. According to a recent international survey conducted in 17 markets by YouGov, it’s among the most coveted tech gadgets this holiday season. Riding on that success, Apple unveiled the third generation of wireless earphones, which now feature spatial audio, water resistance and a redesigned form factor. In the US, 16% of Americans say they’re likely pick up a pair in the next three months, and 9% of Brits say so. 

The importance of the ecosystem: Part of the success of AirPods can be attributed to how well they seamlessly integrate with iPhones, which remains by far the most important product in Apple’s lineup. Apple goes to great lengths to ensure their hardware can be used with one another to create the so-called “walled-garden,” a tech ecosystem that makes life easier and easier the more a consumer buys in. While it may be construed as a negative by some industry observers - since it’s hard to escape the ecosystem once invested - survey data shows roughly a third of consumers say it’s important to them that their personal devices are the same brand. Survey data shows this is enormously true among Mac users (79%), but not as much in the Windows camp (17%). 

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Methodology: YouGov polled 1,200 US adults online on October 18, 2021 between 4:12 and 6:11 p.m. ET. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity. Results are nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is 2.9% for the overall sample. Learn more about YouGov Direct. 

YouGov polled 1,200 British adults online on October 18, 2021 between 9:13 p.m. and 9:34 p.m. BST. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, region, and social grade. Results are nationally representative of adults in Great Britain. The margin of error is 2.8% for the overall sample. Learn more about YouGov Direct.