The new Apple M1 MacBook Pro boosted my productivity in the weeks I've used it. It's not perfect and won't save you hours of time, but will help make you a little more efficient. Find out how with these 5 productivity boosters.

I bought the new M1 MacBook Pro and over the last week, it made me more productive. Here are 5 ways that this new M1 MacBook Pro can help make ministers more productive in ministry and at the end, I’ll offer one reason that it’s not all perfect.

m1 macbook pro

In case you didn’t know, Apple released a significant update to its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro line. They replaced the Intel processors with Apple Silicon, which streamlined interconnection between the brain of the computer (processor) with the memory and graphics processor to make the computer faster and more efficient. It runs a lot of things faster and the battery lasts longer, up to 20 hours long depending on how the user sets their preferences and what software they’re using. That’s Apple’s figure not mine.

apple silicon processors

How does a computer make someone more productive? I’ve got 5 ways the M1 MacBook Pro makes me more productive. This applies to the M1 MacBook Air and M1 Mac mini too, since the internal hardware of the new Apple M1 MacBook Air and Pro perform similarly.

M1 MacBook Battery Lasts a Long Time

When I first opened and set up my new Apple M1 MacBook Pro, I plugged it in because that’s the popular wisdom – charge your tech to 100% right away. After doing that I didn’t plug it in for a couple of days of heavy use. I didn’t time it so I don’t know how long it lasted. But it lasts a long time.

M1 MacBook Pro battery life is stellar, even with the screen brightness set fairly high.

My friend who also got an M1 MacBook Pro took his computer to a coffee shop. He worked with it untethered to power all day long and reported in the early evening that it still had 63% battery life left at 4:07 in the afternoon. That’s stellar battery life.

I typically use mine for about 3-5 hours per day on battery power and I don’t charge it for two or three days at a time. Even then, I only do it to be safe. I could probably go 4-5 days easily.

This kind of battery life makes you more efficient because you don’t have to worry about finding your charger. Leave the charger at your desk, nightstand, or wherever you top off the battery. It may not save hours a day, but every five-minute saving helps. You’re not worried about battery life so you can work anywhere instead of seeking out a table or booth at the coffee shop near the power outlet.

M1 MacBook Keyboard Enters Text More Accurately

Apple customers have a checkered history with Apple’s recent keyboards. Until a few years ago, they made the best mobile keyboards around. My first Mac was a 2nd generation MacBook Air and I loved that computer because of the keyboard, the trackpad, and the operating system.

Apple kept the stellar trackpad but wanted to make their computers thinner so the designers at Apple crippled their amazing keyboards making them nearly unusable. Fortunately, this changed with the newest MacBooks released in 2019 and 2020. The new M1 MacBooks also sport the new keyboards that actually work great, feel great and type accurately if you’re a quick touch typist.

Not everyone agrees that the newer keyboards work better, but most do. I hated the previous versions and feel like these latest keyboards work more like that first MacBook Air I received nearly 10 years ago.

M1 MacBook Screen’s Brighter and Easier to Read

Do you know what 400 or 500 nits mean? Neither do I. Practically, it means a bright monitor that you can keep at about 50% most of the time. A nit is a measurement of brightness. The word comes from the Latin term nitere meaning to shine.

A bright screen saves battery life and stays crisp and bright enough to see text, view video, and enjoy using your MacBook. I can read my M1 MacBook Pro screen easily while out and about keeping it at 50%. Most computers I’ve used or tested had to be set at about 70-80% in most bright rooms for me to view them comfortably.

The M1 MacBook Air is 20% darker than the M1 MacBook Pro officially. The Air offers 400 nits of brightness while the Pro has 500 nits. When my son and I placed our two M1 MacBooks together, we didn’t notice as much a difference as I expected. See that in our unboxing of his new M1 MacBook Air in which we put my M1 MacBook Pro next to his Air to compare the two.

m1 macbooks screen comparison
The M1 MacBook Air on the left and the M1 MacBook Pro on the right.

M1 MacBook Always Stays On So No Waiting to Boot

My old MacBook started up pretty quickly. It took a few seconds from sleep mode and less than 20 seconds from off. However, opening the lid on the new M1 MacBook Pro turns on the screen and the computer snaps to attention instantly ready for your input.

Instant-on displays won’t save you hours a day or a week, but it does make you more efficient.

Consider this scenario. You have an idea, so you pop open the computer and start typing within a few seconds. With older MacBooks or a PC, you open the screen and often you have to wait for the computer to boot up or wake from sleep. It takes 5-30 seconds or some Macs and longer on old systems, maybe 5 minutes.

You wanted to quickly get an idea written in your sermon notes or the Bible study notes, but the slower computer means you’re waiting. In the interim, you get interrupted by someone and you forget to write down that idea. That perfect ending to your sermon or the excellent illustration of your third point is gone into the recesses of your aging mind. I hate when that happens. It’s less likely to with an instant on display that pops up the moment you lift the lid. How often does this happen? Not very! But one time makes this a nice added benefit of a faster computer.

Bonus Benefit: iOS Apps on Your M1 MacBook

Did I say five benefits? Well, here’s a bonus sixth benefit of the new M1 MacBook Pro and Air – iOS Apps on your Mac. You read that right. You can install some of the apps you love using on your iPad or iPhone on your Mac.

It’s too simplistic to say that the new M1 MacBook is just a glorified iPads, but they do run Apple Silicon just like an iPad or iPhone. For that reason, Apple designed the new macOS 11 Big Sur with the ability to install iOS apps, if the developer makes that option available.

Not all developers flipped the switch to turn on iOS app installation on the Mac. For example, I edit my sermon podcast on the Ferrite iPad app. It’s quick and easy to use and I’d love to edit my sermon podcast with Ferrite my new M1 MacBook Pro too. Ferrite won’t let me do that right now. But they’d be insane not to offer a version. This would give them a large number of potential customers. I’m guessing they will make it available in the Mac App Store, but they’ll charge an added fee. Ferrite’s so good I’ll pay extra if it’s not too expensive.

A few Bible app developers flipped that switch already. You can install a few great Bible apps for iPad on your Mac.

M1 MacBook Performs Some Tasks Faster

The video above exported from Final Cut Pro, a video editor from Apple that Apple updated to take advantage of the power of the new processors. It exported in under three minutes. On my old MacBook from 2017 that would take about 15-20 minutes depending on how complicated I made the edit with tracks and transitions.

If you use Apple’s iWork apps like Pages, Keynote, or Numbers you’ll seem excellent responsiveness. iMovie or GarageBand run quickly too.

Any application made to run natively on the M1 Apple Silicon Processors will run more efficiently than the previous generations of those programs. Here’s one example. I created a twelve-minute video about how Bible software runs on my new MacBook. See it below. Microsoft released new versions of their Office apps with M1 Mac optimization support.

1 Way an M1 MacBook Doesn’t Boost Minister Productivity

Notice the previous section heading says “some”. Not all macOS software runs screaming fast. Traditional software that developers failed to update to an M1 optimized system require something Apple calls Rosetta 2. Rosetta 2 takes the software coded to run on the old Intel-based systems and helps them work on the new Apple Silicon processors. Think of it like a translator who listens to you speaking English and translates your message to Sign Language for a hearing impaired person.

All Bible software that I’m familiar with requires Rosetta 2 to run on an M1 MacBook at this point. The previous video shows you how well most of the Bible software runs, but it’s not perfect. I experienced some slow performance in both Logos and Accordance. It’s minor, but worth mentioning. You can use these programs, but you will not see an increase in productivity till Faithlife and Accordance or the other developers update their programs. I’m told Logos is looking at 6 months to 18 months depending on how they attempt the update. Accordance isn’t saying anything publicly, but I hope it will be sometime in the next year.

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