The MacBook Resale Value Crash of 2021

The resale of Apple products has been a staple on many marketplace sites for a long time. Apple products are well known to hold their resale value significantly longer than many other companies’ products. The guaranteed long-term support for Apple products gives them an edge over most other tech companies in the second-hand market; However, the recent release of M1 macs has destroyed older macs’ value within weeks. The ambitious new chip from Apple is on a rampage to destroy the older Intel platform for good.

Apple’s long-term support guarantee has had one historical exception: switching chip platforms to a new provider. In the early 2000s, Apple had used “PowerPC” for multiple years and promised support to the platform until Intel macs’ arrival. Intel macs put a deadline on support for PowerPC macs and promoted switching to the new platform. The same situation has just happened with the announcement of the M1 chip platform. The entire suite of Intel macs will lose support much faster, and all new features will be focused on the new M1 chip platform.

The M1 switch is even more devastating than the Intel switch for a few reasons. M1 chips can more than double the performance of the best Intel macs in most benchmarks easily. M1 chips have also kickstarted a wave of ARM based chips which makes supporting ARM architecture a priority for software companies. Another key point is that Intel macs have been the standard for so many years that over five generations of older macs used by many Apple fans are all going out at once. This surge in macs that are doomed to lose support will double the amount of older macs on the market, which will tank the average value of Intel macs.

The situation for Intel macs is even worse when you consider the upcoming M1X chips being released in 2021. M1X chips could double the new MacBook pros’ performance, making older makes even less powerful by comparison. The benchmark difference will make any shopper stop in their tracks before bargaining on an older mac. As the M1X chips get released, even more, Intel macs will be dumped at a faster rate because M1 computers might get slightly discounted by retailers to entice switching.

Apple resellers are now facing a terrifying situation that could lose them thousands of dollars. Older Intel macs have to be sold as fast as possible to limit losses due to the drop in market value; However, dumping Intel macs on the market will destroy any remaining resale value over time. Lower resale prices will only make more resellers aggressively clean their inventory of older macs to the detriment of the entire market. People with extensive inventories of Intel macs could easily lose hundreds of thousands depending on how fast they sell their stock.

Ebay listings for 2017 Intel Macs
MacBook prices have already dropped significantly on eBay

The Intel-mac value massacre will affect all categories of macs. The mac pros worth 20,000 dollars could be completely eclipsed by smaller macs within one year. Buyers of the latest highest-end macs will most likely feel burnout from the incoming obsolescence of their multi-thousand dollar machines. Recent buyers of top-end MacBook pro machines are in a similar boat where they can’t easily cut their losses due to the monetary investment in their laptops.

An unintended effect this wave of new macs will have is the introduction of even more e-waste. Thousands of older Intel macs will be scrapped due to artificial obsolescence, and their parts will become useless. Now that Apple manufactures all the parts for their computers, any Intel parts are effectively a waste of silicon. The number of macs that will be thrown away is sad because many of the computers were top-notch just months ago. Apple’s switch to the M1 platform is another example of modern tech creating entire mountains of e-waste with artificial obsolescence dates.

M1 macs have made a splash on the computing industry in more ways than one. 


24 thoughts on “The MacBook Resale Value Crash of 2021

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