Apple introduces new Macs with M1 processor

Apple introduces new Macs with M1 processor

2020 was a special year from several points of view. The global pandemic has prevented the organization of most press events, but we certainly cannot complain about the scarce amount of products and services to come. In addition to the new generation consoles, the new hardware for the PC, Apple certainly could not miss the appeal, in fact this year it has organized three virtual events only in the last few weeks. After introducing the new iPad Air and Apple Watch to the world, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro alongside an interesting HomePod mini and some new services, it's finally time to talk about their trusty Macs. During the WWDC 2020 the Cupertino company had announced a very important generational change for their line of computers. Finally, the time has come to abandon Intel processors, used for about fifteen years on both laptops and desktops, to move to chips designed directly by Apple itself. Just like with the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV, the new Mac computers will use the so-called "Apple Silicon". In this way we aim to achieve an enviable optimization between hardware and software, just as we are used to seeing on other products. It is therefore a really very important change, especially in the future, but let's calmly examine what was said and presented by Apple in yesterday's event to try to better motivate our enthusiasm.

The new M1 chip

Apple has finally decided to abandon Intel processors to introduce the new M1 chip in its Macs. Designed directly by Apple, this computing unit reaches an unprecedented level of optimization, leveraging the knowledge already applied on other devices produced by the company. In this way, every Apple device uses hardware and software with the same roots, thus offering a level of continuity across the entire ecosystem. It is therefore a change called "epochal", which marks the beginning of a new era for Mac computers, driven by the M1 processor.

The new M1 chip was produced on silicon with 5 nanometer technology, the same used in the most recent iPad Air and on the entire iPhone 12 line In fact, in its architecture we find several elements in common with the A14 chip, such as the Neural Engine, the Secure Enclave, ISP and an entire area dedicated to machine learning. But M1 wants to go further, to offer Mac computers performance worthy of their name with an 8-core CPU (4 for high performance and 4 for low consumption) and an octa-core GPU. Taken individually, the high-performance cores are the fastest in the world, while the GPU part reaches 2.6 TFLOPS becoming the integrated graphics with unmatched performance. Among the 16 billion transistors present in this piece of silicon was also included the DRAM memory, so that you can pack everything into a single SoC. According to Apple, this chip manages to achieve the best performance in relation to the electrical power used, beating all competing laptops and desktops.

macOS Big Sur

As mentioned above, in addition to hardware, a good software optimization is also needed to ensure maximum performance. And this is where macOS Big Sur comes into play, which we have already talked about in the article dedicated to WWDC 2020. The operating system has been specially designed to take advantage of every transistor inserted into the new M1 chip. This made it possible to achieve impressive performance, even in the simplest tasks such as launching individual applications or browsing the web on Safari. Every app, even the professional ones like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, has been redesigned to ensure maximum performance. As for the software written by other developers, Apple has perfected Rosetta 2, which is able to "translate" the code designed for Intel processors in real time, offering in some cases greater performance on the new hardware without the intervention of the developers. Big Sur also natively supports all applications on iPhone and iPad, which can be easily optimized for macOS with a few hours of work by the developers . We will finally be able to have a complete ecosystem to be able to use the same application across the entire range of devices. Furthermore, thanks to the excellent experience acquired on iPhone and iPad, the new M1 chip and Big Sur are able to guarantee high-level energy management to offer autonomy never seen on laptops. All operations are also protected by the innovative Security Enclave, as well as our biometric data sampled by Touch ID on compatible Macs. This new version of the operating system will be made available for download starting tomorrow, November 12, also for Macs with Intel processors currently in circulation.

The new Macs with Apple Silicon

To immediately demonstrate the advantages offered by the M1 chip and the macOS Big Sur operating system , Apple also announced three new Macs with these new hardware and software. All these devices are equipped with the same M1 chip (with some small compromises) and therefore aim to offer rather similar performances.

The new MacBook Air uses the same design introduced earlier this year with a 13.3-inch Retina display, the Magic Keyboard, and a fanless heat dissipation system. The computing power offered by the CPU reaches performance up to 3.5 times higher than previous models with Intel processors, while the graphics power is 5 times greater. Apple has also introduced a new SSD up to 2 TB which guarantees a reading and writing speed twice higher than in the past and an excellent battery that reaches 18 hours of use without being connected to the electricity. There is also the Touch ID, the Wi-Fi 6 modem, two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, a front camera in high definition and expandable RAM memory up to 16 GB. The price of the basic model in Italy is € 1,159 for the 256 GB cut, while it reaches € 1,429 for the 512 GB one with various other customization options. Currently it is already possible to pre-order it with delivery scheduled in the next few days in the three colors Space Gray, Gold and Silver.

The MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon retains its design slightly more full-bodied than the Air. The aluminum body is cooled by a traditional system with the use of a special fan. Opening it we find the usual 13.3 "inch Retina display with the Touch Bar at the bottom together with the Touch ID, perfectly integrated into the Magic Keyboard. Its performance increases 2.8 times for the CPU part and 5 times for the graphics part. to previous Intel models. This new model reserved for "professional" users offers an improved SSD, RAM memory up to 16 GB, a high definition front camera and an incredible autonomy of up to 20 hours. In Italy the basic model is sold starting from € 1,479 with 256 GB of internal memory, instead the 512 GB cut can be found at € 1,709 with various customization options. These MacBook Pros are also already available for purchase in Space Gray and Silver. br>

Finally Apple introduced a desktop computer with the new M1 system-on-chip. Also in this Mac mini the design remains essentially identical to the previous model with its line and minimal and a truly enviable overall size. Apple claims it is impossible to find a desktop computer of this size with the same computing power. The CPU in fact achieves 3 times higher performance and the GPU improves up to 6 times compared to Intel models currently on the market. This Mac mini can be connected directly to a monitor up to 6K resolution via one of the Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports on the back. It too offers an SSD with impressive read and write speeds, Wi-FI 6 and configurable RAM memory up to 16 GB. Being a desktop computer, it does not have an internal battery, but in the same way it manages to be more efficient than 60% in terms of electrical power consumption. You can already buy the new Mac mini starting at € 819 for its base 256GB model up to € 1,049 for the 512GB model with various other customization options.

So what changes?

Apple has managed to achieve the record in terms of performance, optimization and efficiency with most of the its products. The iPhone is the most powerful smartphone in the world, as are the iPad and Apple Watch in their respective tablet and smartwatch categories. The credit for all this is primarily due to the use of Apple Silicon, along with excellent software integration. The advantage of designing both the hardware and the operating systems and applications is obvious, so Apple has decided to take the same path for Mac computers as well. Currently, more in-depth comparative benchmarks have not yet been released, but the premises are there. all to be able to elevate even Macs to another level. This finally unties Apple from the timing dictated by Intel, allowing it to continue the hardware development of its computers with greater consistency, just as we are used to seeing on other devices. While many thought they were dead, Apple has shown that they still have a lot to say with Macs and we can't wait to find out what awaits us in the near future with these iconic desktop and laptop computers.

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