- Apple unveiled the first computers that will run on its Apple silicon processor on Tuesday: a new MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a Mac Mini.
- The company also unveiled the technical details regarding its first Apple silicon chip, which is called the M1.
- It’s an important shift for the Mac, breaking from Intel processors and giving Apple more control over the launch cycle and new features for its laptop and desktop computers.
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Apple just unveiled the first computers that will run on its new homemade Apple silicon chip, kickstarting a new era for the Mac that will make the company’s laptops and desktops a lot more like the iPhone.
Apple revealed that a new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini desktop will be the first Apple silicon-powered computers. It also unveiled the chip itself: M1, which joins the family of processors Apple has made for other key products like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
It also showcased how iPhone and iPad apps will be able to run on laptops powered by its new M1 chip.
Developing its own chips for the Mac is a crucial step that will give Apple more control and flexibility over both the launch cycle and the features it develops for its laptops and desktops. It also represents a departure from Apple’s long-running relationship with Intel.
The shift has enabled Apple to make the Mac software experience more consistent with that of the iPhone and iPad since all apps will run on the same architecture. That means iPhone apps will be capable of running on Apple silicon-powered Macs.
Apple made the announcements during a virtual event on Tuesday, marking its third such event in the past three months.
Here’s a look at the biggest announcements Apple made.
Apple started by announcing its M1 chip, its first processor for the Mac.
Apple took the wraps off its M1 chip on Tuesday, which the company claims is its most powerful chip ever and its first processor designed specifically for the Mac.
With M1, Apple was able to bring multiple technologies together on a single chip, rather than using multiple chips for things like computing power, security, and graphics. That includes an eight-core CPU that consists of four high performance cores and four high efficiency cores. One of the biggest benefits users can expect to see from M1-powered Macs, according to Apple, is longer battery life.
Like the iPhone’s A-series chips, the M1 also has Apple’s neural engine built into it, which should improve performance in machine learning-based tasks.
It also announced a new MacBook Air that will run on the M1.
Among the first products that will be powered by the M1 is a new MacBook Air. One of the big draws behind the new MacBook Air, according to Apple, is its fanless design – which should keep the device completely silent.
Apple is also making a lot of claims when it comes to improvements in battery life and performance, saying it can export a project for the web from iMovie three times faster than the previous generation and export photos from Lightroom up to twice as fast. It also has the longest battery life of any MacBook Air, says Apple.
Because the M1 chip has Apple’s image signal processor, we should also see enhancements to the webcam, which is a big deal considering many people are working remotely because of the pandemic.
It will start at $US999 and launches next week.
Apple is also launching a 13-inch MacBook Pro powered by its M1 chip.
The new MacBook Pro should be almost three times faster the previous generation in terms of computing power, according to Apple, and is said to offer five times faster graphics performance.
As is the case with the MacBook Air, battery life is one of the biggest improvements coming to the M1-based MacBook Pro. Apple says it should last for up to 17 hours when browsing the web and 20 hours when playing video, meaning it has more battery life than any other Mac ever.
The Pro also has studio-quality microphones like its predecessor and Apple’s image signal processor for better video conferencing.
It starts at $US1,299 and also launches next week.
The Mac Mini is also getting a refresh with Apple’s M1 chip.
The new M1-powered Mac Mini is three times faster than the previous generation model, says Apple, and offers 15 times better performance when it comes to machine learning workloads.
Apple offered a few examples of areas where you’ll experience better performance compared to the older Mac Mini, such as compiling code in Xcode three times faster, rendering timelines in Final Cut Pro six times as fast, and increasing the resolution of images in Pixelmator Pro up to 15 times faster.
It will be available for $US700 and also launches next week.
Apple also revealed that macOS Big Sur, its next major software update for the Mac, is launching on Thursday.
Apple’s macOS Big Sur update, which was announced in June, is launching on Thursday. The update brings several design changes that generally make the Mac software feel more consistent with that of the iPhone and iPad, especially across apps like Safari and Messages.
You can, for example, pin conversations to the top of the Messages app like you can in the iPhone’s iOS 14 software. Safari is also getting upgrades like a customisable start page and a translation feature that’s similar to the one offered in Google Chrome.
Big Sur is compatible with the MacBook Air 2013 and later, iMac 2014 and later, iMac Pro 2017 and later, MacBook Pro late 2013 and later, Mac Pro 2013 and later, MacBook 2015 and later, and the Mac Mini 2014 and later.
Overall, Apple laid out its vision for the future of the Mac, and it follows a similar trajectory as the iPhone.
Apple dropped a few hints throughout the presentation that suggest the future of the Mac looks a lot like the iPhone.
Macs running on its M1 chip, for example, can wake their screen similarly to the way the iPhone does. It also showed how iPhone apps like the popular game “Among Us” and HBO Max will be able to run on M1-powered computers.
But those are only small examples that contribute to the bigger picture. Apple’s secret sauce is its custom system-on-a-chip processors that have given the iPhone praise-worthy performance and have allowed Apple to design features that require hardware and software elements to work together.
Now, it’s finally bringing that to the Mac.