Apple has announced the first laptops powered by its own custom silicon. At a virtual event today, the iPhone maker launched the new 13-inch MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro. These are officially the first Mac devices to ditch Intel processors for Apple designed ARM processor, called the M1.
At WWDC 2020, Apple first detailed its plan to transition from Intel to its own silicon. Back then, Apple said it will unveil at least one new Mac powered by its own chipset. However, the company is introducing two new models, showing confidence in its custom silicon. The fact that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is part of this lineup shows Apple is more than prepared for this transition.
Apple M1 is the first custom chip for Mac
Apple says M1 is the first SoC designed for the Mac. Like Apple A14 chip, Apple says the M1 is built using a 5nm process and packs 16 billion transistors. The M1 has four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. Johny Srouji touted that the 8-core M1 can match the performance of current dual-core Mac.
Apple is also claiming highest CPU performance per watt and it also comes with an 8-core GPU. With M1, Apple is touting a 16-core neural engine “designed to excel at machine learning”. The SoC brings Thunderbolt/USB 4 controller built-in. Apple is essentially trying to make Mac as closer to iPad and iPhone with the M1 chip.
At the event, Apple also highlighted how macOS Big Sur is designed with the M1 chip in mind. The new version of macOS, will be available from Thursday, and it brings a design similar to that of iPadOS and iOS including a redesigned control center. It also offers secure boot and relies on secure enclave on the M1. Apple is mainly talking about existing apps supporting Mac powered by M1 but there are also Universal apps where an app can run on either platform.
Apple says Universal Photoshop is coming next month while Photoshop will arrive next year. It is also highlighting Rosetta 2, a translation layer that will help emulate existing x86 apps on ARM. Interestingly, Apple
Apple MacBook Air specifications and features
The 13-inch MacBook Air is identical to the current model powered by Intel processor in terms of design. However, Apple says it offers 3.5x more performance using the M1 chip. Apple is claiming the M1 powered MacBook Air is faster 98 percent than PC laptops sold last year. Apple is also claiming ability to handle multiple streams of ProRes Streams on the device.
As one would expect, Apple is claiming 18 hours of battery compared to 12 hours on the existing model. The 13.3-inch Retina display supports P3 colour gamut and has an updated FaceTime camera with noise reduction. The laptop seems to be designed for work from home scenario, where work and consumption happen at the same time. It is priced at $999 and does not come with a fan. It seems remarkable but a lot will depend on how it performs in the real world.
Apple Mac mini specifications and features
Apple is bringing its M1 chip to the Mac mini as well. At WWDC in June, Apple used Mac mini as the developer transition kit. Now, it is making the device official. Apple is claiming 3x performance of previous quad-core mini and 6 fold increase in graphics performance.
Apple is saying Mac mini is 1/10th the size but offers 5x performance compared to top-selling PC desktop in its price range. The Mac mini is one of the powerful devices among developers and those getting started on the Mac ecosystem. By bringing M1 to this product, Apple seems to be extending the transition kit to real world consumers.
Apple Mac mini starts at $699, which makes it $100 lower than the previous version. “The most incredible Mac mini we’ve ever made,” John Ternus said at the event.
Apple MacBook Pro specifications and features
Apple is also introducing a new 13-inch MacBook Pro powered by M1 chip. The 8-core CPU delivers 2.8x performance while the GPU is 5x faster. It is 3x faster than a comparable Windows laptop. Apple is targeting developers and photographers and video editors with this new model.
While MacBook Air lacks a fan, the MacBook Pro with 13.3-inch display packs a fan. It delivers up to 17 hours of wireless web and 20 hours of video playback. There are also three studio quality mics but the same FaceTime camera. The new MacBook Pro has the same touch ID and two Thunderbolt ports. It is priced at $1,299 and $1,099 for education customers.
Apple Mac Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro price in India
Apple says the new 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini will be available for pre-order in the US starting today. They will start shipping from next week. In India, the Mac mini is priced starting at Rs 64,900. The 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro start at Rs 92,900 and Rs 122,900 respectively.