Apple may have just released its first M1 Macs, based on its custom silicon, but the company is setting its sights on nothing less than the performance crown.
Apple made headlines when it announced it was transitioning away from Intel to its own custom silicon, based on the same kind of ARM chips it has used in iPhones and iPads for years. The company was hoping custom silicon would improve its products’ battery life, as well as overall speed and performance. The transition comes at a time when Intel has experienced increasing issues meeting demand and innovating, especially in the high-performance, low-profile designs Apple is known for.
The M1 Macs were unveiled at Apple’s One More Thing event in November, and the initial results didn’t disappoint. The MacBook Air, considered an entry-level laptop, easily bested the fastest MacBook Pros based on Intel’s chips.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is just getting started in the performance game, with plans to unveil a 32-core version of its custom silicon. To put that in perspective, the MacBook Air is running an eight-core processor that has four high-performance and four energy-efficient cores. That means, theoretically, the new processors could be several times faster than a machine that already beats the fastest Intel chips Apple is using in its high-end laptops.
Jean-Louis Gassée, the founder of Be, Inc., made the case in July that Apple’s custom silicon would have profound impacts on the industry and Intel, far beyond the 10% of Intel’s business that Apple represents:
Specifically, what are Dell, HP, Asus, and others going to do if Apple offers materially better laptops and desktops and Microsoft continues to improve Windows on ARM Surface devices? In order to compete, PC manufacturers will have to follow suit, they’ll ‘go AR’ because, all defensive rhetoric aside, Apple and Microsoft will have made the x86 architecture feel like what it actually is: old.
Given that Apple is expected to begin rolling out its 32-core processors in desktop Macs starting in 2021, with the Mac Pro possibly debuting in 2022, Gassée’s prediction may be coming true sooner rather than later.