MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini run on Apple’s self-designed M1 silicon

The company has integrated its first chips for Macs across its computer lineup. And the devices sport long battery life.

Apple’s long breakup with Intel is official. The tech giant on Tuesday unveiled its first Mac computers that use Apple’s own silicon — the MacBook Air, Mac Mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The devices all sport improved battery life and either cost the same or less than their Intel-powered older siblings.

The computers’ designs are essentially the same but feature something very different inside: Apple’s new M1 processor. The MacBook Air will start at $999 for the general public — the same price as the older version — or $899 for educators. The Mac Mini will retail for $699, which is $100 lower than the previous generation. And the MacBook Pro will start at $1,299, or $1,199 for educators, the same level as before. Preorders begin Tuesday, and the computers arrive Nov. 17.

“The Mac is having its best year ever,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the event. “More customers than ever are choosing the Mac.”

The computers use Apple’s new M1 processor. It’s based on 5-nanometer technology, the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology in the world. The M1 has an eight-core CPU — four performance and four efficiency cores — and an eight-core GPU, making it both powerful and battery efficient, said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies. It’s twice as powerful as a rival laptop chip (likely one from Intel) while consuming a quarter of the battery life, he said.

The MacBook Air has 15-hour battery life for wireless web browsing and 18 hours for movie playback, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro can surf the internet for 17 hours on a single charge or play back video for 20 hours — 10 hours longer than its predecessor.

And Apple customized Mac OS Big Sur “to fully take advantage of all the capability and power of M1,” said Apple’s head of software, Craig Federighi. The software is available for Mac users Thursday.

Apple made the announcement during its third event in the past three months. The tagline for the latest launch was “One More Thing.” It followed September’s introduction of the revamped iPad Air and Apple Watch Series 6 and October’s unveiling of the iPhone 12 lineup.

Apple silicon for Macs is the latest effort by the company to control all of the hardware and software on its products. It designs its own application processors that act as the brains of its iPhones and iPads, a Bluetooth chip that quickly links its AirPods to its iPhones, and security chips that protect personal data and biometrics from hacking attempts. By designing its own chips, Apple is able to better control the features it releases, as well as better manage the timeline for introducing new devices.

“With the move to in-house capabilities, Apple is looking to regain control over the pace of the technology road map on the processor chips, and create a common architecture across all Apple products, making it easier for developers to write and optimize applications for the product ecosystem,” JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee noted.

Source (Cnet)






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