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Best business Mac in 2020: best laptop, all-in-one, workstation, mobile workstation and laptop replacement

(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s products have always found favour with creative professionals, and in 2019 they’re adopted by many kinds of business professionals too.

Any business kitting out its workforce with Apple products knows what to expect. The brand is synonymous with innovative design and simple operation, not to mention creativity and reliability.

We’re not living in a world where the old mantra of, “Nobody gets fired for buying IBM” quite applies to Apple but opting for the Cupertino company’s products certainly carries less risk in several product categories. (And yes, we’re aware of the problems surrounding Apple’s Butterfly keyboards.)

Let’s continue to our round-up of the best Mac devices for business – from laptops and all-in-ones to workstations, mobile workstations and laptop replacements.

Best Mac laptop for business

(Image credit: Future)

13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The best MacBook for business gets a price cut

CPU: Intel Core i5 1.4GHz – 3.9GHz | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 | RAM: 8MB DDR3 | Storage: 128GB SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59in

Bright and color-accurate display
Four USB-C Thunderbolt ports
Good battery life
Divisive keyboard

Now is the best time to buy a Touch Bar-equipped 13-inch MacBook Pro following Apple’s recent price drop. In our view it’s the best all-round Mac laptop for business thanks to its high-resolution display which is not only color accurate, covering the DCI P3 color gamut, it also runs at a bright 500 nits which prevents eye strain and makes from working on anything from spreadsheets to hosting video meetings a pleasure. Another big plus goes to its four USB Type-C Thunderbolt ports, which allow multiple monitors to be hooked up along with USB-C accessories to take advantage of lightning-fast data speeds. Unfortunately, the MacBook Pro’s divisive Butterfly-switch keyboard remains and may not be updated until 2020.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, mid-2018)

(Image credit: Future)

13-inch MacBook Air

A more portable alternative to the MacBook Pro

CPU: Intel Core i5 1.6GHz – 3.6GHz | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8GB DDR | Storage: 128GB SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 12 x 8.3 x 2.74in

Apple’s most portable 13-inch MacBook
Fast SSD
Only two Thunderbolt Type-C ports
Worse display than MacBook Pro

Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air is the best Mac laptop for business if you don’t need all the features of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. It halves the number of USB-C ports which makes using multiple monitors problematic (unless you opt for one such as the LG UltraFine 5K that adds more Thunderbolt ports), and it has the subtly, yet noticeably dimmer and less color-accurate (yet still high-resolution) display out of the pair. On the other hand, the Air is marginally thinner and lighter than the Pro which makes a tangible difference when carrying it around.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Air (2019)

(Image credit: Future)

12-inch MacBook

A MacBook that's made for travel

CPU: 1.2GHz Intel core m3 Dual-Core | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 | Storage: 25GB SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.14in

Thin and light
Decent display
One Thunderbolt Type-C port
Divisive butterfly-switch keyboard

Apple’s 12-inch MacBook is hard to recommend over the 13-inch Pro or Air due to its lone Thunderbolt USB-C port, which seriously hampers its practicality. The only reason to choose this model is for its portability. As Apple’s most compact and light MacBook for business owners who are constantly on the move, it can’t be beaten for slipping into a suitcase or small backpack – and it has enough power inside for everyday computing tasks. Move quick though - Apple has officially stopped selling the machine, so when stocks run out it’s time to say goodbye for good to this miniature marvel.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook

Best all-in-one Mac for business

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iMac with 5K Retina Display

A balance of convenience, power and affordability

CPU: Intel Core i5 3.0GHz – 4.1GHz | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 570X with 4GB of memory | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB Fusion Drive | Dimensions (W x D x H): 65 x 20.3 x 51.6cm

Gorgeous 5K display
Most affordable 5K iMac
Limited upgradability
Limited repairability

This SKU currently being offered by Datavision is a good choice for businesses looking to pick up a capable 5K iMac at a reasonable price. You get the same gorgeous Retina 5K display that exudes brightness at 500 nits and is suitable for video editing work thanks to coverage of the wide DCI P3 color gamut. And while its 1TB Fusion Drive won’t offer as fast read and write speeds as an SSD, it’s still quick enough for everyday usage and becomes more efficient over time. The inclusion of a Radeon Pro 580 GPU with 4GB of RAM helps multimedia tasks run smoothly.

Read the full review: Apple iMac (2017)

Best Mac workstation for business

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iMac Pro

If money is no object…

CPU: Intel Xeon W | Graphics: AMD Vega 64 (16GB HBM2 RAM) | RAM: 128GB | Communications: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 65 x 20.3 x 51.6cm

Unbelievable power
Convenient form factor
Limited upgradability
Eye-watering cost

Let’s be clear, here: the iMac specced above costs $14,727 on Apple’s website. That’s clearly an outrageous proposition for any business that’s not swimming in cash, but if you need the convenience of an all-in-one that packs power, this is Apple’s best Mac workstation for business. Whether you would be better suited to the company’s newer Mac Pro is another question. If you do drop some serious cash on the iMac Pro, you may as well spec it to the hilt because it’s extremely difficult to repair – scoring a lowly three out of 10 for repairability from iFixit – so you would be stuck with its internals for some time to come.

Read the full review: iMac Pro

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Mac mini 2018

Apple’s smallest workstation is now even better for business

CPU: 8th | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 | Storage: 128GB – 2TB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (W x D x H): 9 x 6 x 6in

Four USB-C Thunderbolt ports
Space-saving design
Integrated graphics
Higher starting cost

Apple’s Mac mini has been a popular choice for business users for years due to its space-saving design and ability to be hooked up with an affordable monitor. Apple’s updated 2018 version is now aimed squarely at creatives and professional users. It features the same small design but ups the power – at least on the CPU side – its integrated graphics still aren’t powerful enough for video or photo editing at high resolutions. Still, you get four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports for hooking up multiple monitors, making it pretty good value overall.

Read the full review: Apple mac mini

(Image credit: Apple)

Mac Pro

A workstation with a unique design

CPU: 2.7GHz 12-core Intel Xeon ES-2687v2 | Graphics: AMD FirePro D500 x 2 with 3GB of dedicated GDDR5 | Storage: 2TB OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59in

Compact design
Can be repaired and upgraded

Apple’s newest Mac Pro (unofficially named the ‘cheesegrater’) has just been completely revamped, though it’s not on sale yet – just so that you’re aware. This is the older model (very unofficially named the trashcan) from six years ago, which Apple is no longer selling, but it still has something to offer business users if you can pick it refurbished or in the sale. Its cylindrical design feels a bit stale in 2019, but it’s second only to the mac Mini in terms of its compactness. And, while still powerful, its specs across the board are inevitably outdated today. That said, the machine was given a healthy 8 (out of 10) for repairability from iFixit – so you can upgrade the CPU and RAM, at the very least.

Read the full review: Apple Mac Pro

Best mobile workstation for business

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15-inch MacBook Pro

Apple’s most powerful workstation for business

CPU: 9th-ge Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of video memory | RAM: 16GB memory | Storage: 256GB SSD

Big dazzling display
Latest Intel 9th-gen processor
Butterfly keyboard is divisive
Still expensive

The 15-inch MacBook Pro remains Apple’s portable powerhouse. Now improved for 2019, it remains the best choice for multimedia professionals and anyone who requires maximum screen real-estate for using productivity and other applications on the move. If you can look past its shallow Butterfly-switch keyboard, which is expected to be changed back to a scissor-style mechanism in the rumoured 16-inch MacBook Pro, then the 15-inch MacBook is the best mobile workstation for business that Apple currently offers.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)

Best Mac laptop replacement for business

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iPad Pro 12.9-inch

Apple’s laptop ‘replacement’ is a versatile business tool

Massive display
Snappy iOS 12
Limited battery life
No headphone port or connector

Apple’s largest iPad is the closest yet to replicating the feeling of a laptop in a tablet, especially when paired with a full-sized keyboard dock. This model has a gorgeous huge display for manipulating spreadsheets, annotating PDFs, holding web conference call or doing most other things that you would usually do with a clamshell device. One consideration for business users is that it doesn’t have a headphone port, so you’d need to pair it with a pair of AirPods or other Bluetooth-equipped headphones for private calls.

Read the full review: iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)

(Image credit: Future)

iPad with 10.2-inch Retina display

A bigger screen for business tasks

Larger screen, smaller bezels
Apple Pencil support
Lacks FaceID
Accessories are expensive

Apple’s yet to be released iPad shares many of the 12.9-inch iPad’s best features, all for half the cost. It will prove attractive for businesses who want to kit out their workers with an Apple tablet that boasts a large display and Apple Pencil support. It also has a smart connector for hooking up Apple’s Smart Keyboard, which will allow for staff to be productive on the move.

Read the hands-on review: New iPad (2019)