Yesterday, on the 10th of November, Apple held very likely one of the last events for this year 2020, called “One More Thing”, a third in a series of events in the last 2 months. But this event was particularly important for the whole segment of the Mac lineup of computers, a very important change, not from the outside but from the inside, that is, their new in-house produced ARM processor.
Starting this year Apple started teasing about how they were working on their in-house ARM chip, which would go to replace all the current Intel processors in all of the Macs. Well, at yesterday’s event they finally announced their latest creation, the M1 Chip, and the line-up of products that will incorporate the newly created chip.
Now, this move is big and important by giving Apple the possibility for tighter integration of software and hardware, like in iPhone and iPad, and unify the architecture across all of the products. But we’ll need to wait for the full transition, which is planned to get there in 2 years.
But back to yesterday’s One More Thing event. The M1 chip presented yesterday has an 8-core CPU with a mind-boggling 16 billion transistors, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. Huh, that’s a lot of stuff on a chip. A new architecture with shared memory called Unified Memory Architecture (UMA) so all of the technologies in the SoC can access the same data without copying it between multiple pools of memory. All of that with a huge performances boost and dramatic battery life improvement. The claims here are strong, but yet it’s to be tested.
The M1 chip will be found in the freshly released MacBook Air, MacBook Pro (13-inch), and Mac Mini. Aesthetically they will remain the same, the changes are just internal and now they all share the same power horse. So the question is, does MacBook Pro justify its price now when having the same power output as the MacBook Air? Sure, Pro has some of the futures that differentiate it from the Air, like a touch-bar, better audio, and active-cooling, but power-wise it looks like they all will be the same. Just by looking at the current line-up of iPhones 12, the most affordable iPhone Mini and the most expensive Max Pro share the same power, and I think this is where Apple is going with the Mac line-up. We yet have to see how is this going to evolve when they announce, MacBook Pro 16-inch and MacPro, which will very likely happen next year.
The list of hardware released yesterday: