There was another online Apple event earlier this week that live-streamed on the company’s YouTube channel. Dubbed “One More Thing” (a tribute to the late Steve Jobs’ signature slogan at Apple events of the past), the event was largely focused on hardware. The company unveiled its latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini, all powered by Apple’s very own M1 silicon chipset. For the uninitiated, earlier this year, Apple hinted about its plan to transition from Intel processors for their MacBooks to its own processors. At this event, Apple gave details about its all-new first-generation ARM-based M1 silicon chipset to power the company’s Mac lineup, including MacBooks and Mac mini.
The newly launched M1 is an ARM-based 5nm chipset comprised of an octa-core processor consisting of four high-performance cores and four efficiency cores. Apple says it is the fastest chipset ever manufactured and has also boasted that the new chipset offers the best-in-class performance per watt of any other CPUs in the market. M1 also comes with flash controllers, which speed up data accessing for read/write operations faster than before.
M1 is packed with 16 billion transistors, and the M1 system on a chip (SoC) integrates the CPU, GPU, Neural Engine, I/O, and more into a single chip. The chipset also comes with a 16-cores neural engine and uses machine learning (ML) technologies to improve the performance. The chipset also comes pre-baked with a pair of dedicated ML accelerators and packs in a performance controller that distributes ML tasks to the right places to maximize performance. Apple is also promising that the new chipset is very power efficient and will provide significantly more battery life on the new and upcoming lineup of MacBooks.
Apple MacBook Air is one of the first devices powered by the company’s new M1 chipset. This new MacBook starts at $999 and is listed for preorders with availability starting Nov. 17. According to Apple, the MacBook Air with its new processor, offers better overall performance, graphic handling abilities, and delivers a better battery life. MacBook Air comes in several configurations and can offer up to 16GB of unified memory paired with up to 2TB of SSD storage.
Thanks to the new M1 chipset, MacBook Pro,which is considered the best Mac for business use, is now set to offer the longest ever battery life on a Mac with up to 20 hours on a single charge. Specification-wise, everything remains the same as that of the existing MacBook Pro. Along with the M1 chip, the Pro variants will be available with up to 16GB of memory and offers up to a 2TB solid-state drive internal SSD storage options. For network and connectivity, the device comes with WiFi 6 and has a pair of Thunderbolt USB-C ports. The new MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 and is now up for preorders, with availability starting later this week.
Mac mini is Apple’s do-it-all desktop replacement for traditional PCs. And unsurprisingly, the new M1 chipset will also power the Mac mini desktops. Speaking about the specifications of the Mac mini, it comes with 8GB of memory with a configurable option to expand up to 16 GB. The device offers up to 2TB of onboard storage and comes with a DisplayPort, a pair of Thunderbolt/ USB 4, an HDMI 2.0, an Ethernet port, and a pair of USB ports. Surprisingly, Apple has cut the Mac mini’s price with the new M1 chipset compared to its Intel-powered variant. The Mac mini starts at $899, and, just like the MacBooks, it will also be available to order starting later this week.
MacOS 11 Big Sur
Apple has also announced the release date of its upcoming macOS 11 Big Sur. While the company already hinted about it back in June, the OS will now finally be publicly available. Both the latest version of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro will run the new macOS Big Sur out-of-the-box. For everyone else, this update will be available starting today. Apple said that this new OS is tuned and optimized for the latest M1 chipsets to enhance its performance.
The completely in-house manufacturing and development of both hardware and software will allow Apple to establish and achieve a brawny combination of hardware and software allowing better performance, security, and efficiency. With the new M1 chipset, the company aims to do the same and is trying to gear up its lineup of MacBooks to match its competitors. However, it is worth considering that this is the first generation of chipsets from Apple and could need fine-tuning based on real-time performance, which we are yet to witness.