Graphic designers use several programs, often simultaneously, to do their job. Because of this, design work can be very heavy for ordinary laptops—but not for Apple laptops. These laptops are designed to carry out these tasks while dealing with large and multi-layer files.
However, not all Apple laptops are designed the same. As a professional, choosing which Apple laptop as your daily driver is crucial. You have to consider if it’s powerful enough to handle outputs you usually create such as photos, videos, animations, and more. You also have to take into account its speed and storage capacity when rendering and storing files.
Many other factors come into play when choosing the best MacBook for graphic design tasks. To help you get started, this article can serve as your guide in selecting a MacBook as your design companion.
Apple Laptops: What Are Your Choices?
The MacBook Air currently has two versions available in the market: an M1-chip-equipped Air with a 13.3” Retina display and a 7-core GPU, and the newly released M2-chip-equipped Air with a redesigned 13.6” Liquid Retina display (with notch) and up to 10-core GPU.
As of the moment, the M2-chip-equipped MacBook Pro is only available in its 13” version. No word yet on when it will be released for the 14” and 16” with notch display design. With the M2 chip, you get 20 hours of battery life and a 10-core GPU.
What to Look for in an Apple Laptop
Your graphic design work may involve different visual media, which is why you must choose an Apple laptop with a good display. MacBook Airs and Pros come in different Retina displays, screen technologies, and screen sizes and resolutions.
Both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (14-inch and 16-inch) already come in Liquid Retina and Liquid Retina XDR displays, respectively. However, the Pro model boasts XDR brightness: 1000 nits sustained full-screen, 1600 nits peak (HDR content only), while the Air stands at 500 nits.
When it comes to screen technologies, MacBook Airs and Pros are equipped with True Tone technology. True Tone technology automatically adjusts the white balance of the device’s screen to provide you with a natural viewing experience. This is especially important whenever you work on designs and videos for long periods of time.
On the other hand, the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch already have the ProMotion technology which offers a 120Hz screen fresh rate to allow smoother scrolling and improved responsiveness. Having a high refresh rate can speed up your work and enhance your overall experience when designing. These Apple laptops are built with best in the industry displays making them ideal for creative work and high-resolution projects.
2. Color accuracy
Colors that appear on a computer screen often come out differently when printed out. It’s for this reason that you should select an Apple laptop designed for color accuracy. For example, the MacBook Pro’s Liquid Retina XDR ensures the accuracy of the P3 wide color panel and reproduces various color spaces such as sRGB, BT.601, BT.709, and even P3-ST.2084 (HDR). As such, you get more colors at different saturation and vibrant levels, allowing you to produce color-accurate outputs. On top of these features, Apple allows you to calibrate your displays to access more color profiles.
3. File transfer or ports
In graphic design, you’ll typically need many input and output components as you use external drives and SD cards to transfer files, extra monitors and ergonomic equipment to boost your productivity, and more. With that said, choose an Apple laptop with multiple ports to improve your efficiency. If you’re on a budget, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air should be enough as they both have two Thunderbolt 4 ports. You can purchase a USB hub to create more ports. On the other hand, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros have three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SDXC card reader, and an HDMI port. While more expensive, these MacBook Pros offer more convenience as they already have ports you’ll need to connect to other devices.
4. Software compatibility
Naturally, you would need a laptop that can handle all the programs you often use. Fortunately, many graphic design programs are available for macOS platforms. In fact, the Apple Macintosh computer released in the 1980s was the first device to truly allow for digital typography and the first version of Adobe Photoshop. Look for an Apple laptop that can handle the minimum requirements of the software that you use daily. For example, if you use Adobe Illustrator, you’ll need an Apple laptop that has at least a multicore Intel processor with SSE 4.2 or later, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1024 x 768 display.
Most graphic design programs are hungry for random access memory (RAM), which is why you need to select an Apple laptop with the most unified memory you can afford. It’s worth noting that doing this at the onset is important, as Apple no longer allows memory upgrades for new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models. Their memory and central and graphics processing units are now contained on the same chip, the M1 and M2. On the bright side, having all these features in one place helps speed up data transmission and improves your laptop’s performance.
Since you’re often required to create and handle large files, storage is another essential factor that you need to consider when choosing an Apple laptop. Similar to your choice of RAM, use an Apple laptop with the biggest solid-state drive (SSD) you can afford because you can’t upgrade it on new models.
Air or Pro: How to Choose an Apple Laptop for Designers
It’s easy to see why you might prefer to use Apple laptops for work. While offered at expensive prices, Apple laptops are intentionally built for convenience and efficiency, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. However, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models come with different specifications. They may be equipped with the same technologies, but they differ in terms of screen size, unified memory, battery life, and more. Before purchasing an Apple laptop, remember to align your work style and budget with the factors listed above.
Enhance Your Graphic Design Work with an Apple Laptop
If you’re ready to take your design work to the next level, look no further and consider purchasing a refurbished MacBook from a trusted, all-in-one shop like Macs4u. Visit the blog to know more about refurbished Apple products or contact Macs4u today.