Apple Inc on Tuesday introduced its first ARM-based silicon for Mac as it began the process of moving its Mac computers to its own silicon in a bid to reduce its dependence on American chipmaker Intel. Named the M1 system-on-chip (SoC), the custom-designed Apple Silicon will debut on Macbook Air, MacBook Pro (13-inch) and Mac Mini computers to will be available in India starting November 17. The MacBook Air price starts at Rs 92,900 (Rs 83,610 for education); the 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at Rs 1,22,900 (Rs 1,10,610 for education); and the Mac Mini starts at Rs 64,900 (Rs 58,410 for education).
Built on a 5nm process, the Apple Silicon M1 SoC boasts 8-core central processing unit (CPU), featuring four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. The SoC features an integrated octa-core graphic processing unit (GPU) for graphic-related jobs. Featuring 16 billion transistors, the M1 SoC is touted to deliver industry-leading performance per watts percentage.
Speaking of the MacBook Air, which is among the first Macs to get the M1 SoC, it now boasts a fan-less design without compromising on any of the performance metrics. According to Apple, M1 SoC powered MacBook Air is up to 5 times faster with regard to graphics and 9 times faster in handling machine learning workloads. Being an integrated solution, the M1 chip’s storage controller and flash technology deliver up to 2 times faster SSD performance on the MacBook Air. Apple also promises ‘extraordinary’ battery life, with up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 18 hours of video playback.
Compared with the previous generation, the M1-powered MacBook Air can:
- Export a project for the web with iMovie up to 3 times faster
- Integrate 3D effects into video in Final Cut Pro up to 5 times faster
- For the first time, you can play back and edit multiple streams of full-quality, 4K ProRes video in Final Cut Pro without dropping a frame
- Export photos from Lightroom up to twice as fast
- Use ML-based features like Smart Conform in Final Cut Pro to intelligently frame a clip up to 4.3 times faster
- Deliver up to 18 hours of battery life
- Extend FaceTime and other video calls for up to twice as long on a single charge
The MacBook Pro (13-inch) is another Mac notebook to get the Apple Silicon M1 SoC.
It is touted to be up to 2.8 times faster than the previous generation with Intel chip. Like the Air, the Pro model is also set to get a gain in power efficiency and it is touted to deliver up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 20 hours of video playback.
Compared with the previous generation, the M1-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro can:
- Build code in Xcode up to 2.8 times faster
- Render a complex 3D title in Final Cut Pro up to 5.9 times faster
- Fluidly design intricate game scenes in Unity Editor up to 3.5 times faster
- Perform ML tasks in Create ML up to 11 times faster
- Separate out beats, instrumentals, and vocal tracks from a recording in real time in djay Pro AI
- Play back full-quality, 8K ProRes video in DaVinci Resolve without dropping a single frame
- Compile four times as much code on a single charge
Besides the Mac notebooks, the Mac Mini also gets the M1 SoC. The M1 powered Mac Mini features an advanced thermal design to sustain its performance while staying cool and quiet, support for up to two displays, including Apple’s Pro Display XDR in full 6K resolution, and Wi-Fi 6 for faster wireless performance and the Secure Enclave in M1 for best-in-class security.
Compared with the previous generation, the M1-powered Mac Mini can:
- Compile code in Xcode up to 3 times faster
- Play a graphics-intensive game like “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” with up to 4 times higher frame rates
- Render a complex timeline in Final Cut Pro up to 6 times faster
- Take music production to new levels by using up to 3 times as many real-time plug-ins in Logic Pro
- Magically increase the resolution of a photo in Pixelmator Pro up to 15 times faster
- Utilise ML frameworks like TensorFlow or Create ML
Complementing the M1 SoC is Apple’s macOS Big Sur operating system, which comes preloaded in the new Macs. Designed to take advantage of the ARM-based M1 SoC, Big Sur brings a redesigned user interface with new updates to apps like Safari. Moreover, the OS supports apps designed for iPhones and iPads like Messages and Maps. Besides, all of Apple’s Mac software is now Universal and runs natively for M1 systems. Existing Mac apps that have not been updated to Universal will run with Apple’s Rosetta 2 technology. For existing Macs, the macOS Big Sur starts rolling out from November 12.