As expected, Apple unveiled its first Macs to take advantage of its custom silicon: the MacBook Air, the Mac mini and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple had promised it would deliver the first of its new machines before the end of the year, with many experts expecting one of the MacBook lines to be the first. Sure enough, the MacBook Air was the first new Mac announced, with the Mac mini and MacBook Pro following.
Many have wondered how fast the new Macs would be, especially in comparison to Intel-based Macs. Apple didn’t disappoint. The company unveiled its M1 chip, the first in a family of chips that will power Apple’s products.
The M1 Chip
The M1 is the first SoC for the Mac, giving it much faster efficiency and performance than previous generations of Macs, all of which had to use different chips for different tasks. The M1 features an eight-core CPU, four for high-performance and four for high-efficiency. Even the high-efficiency cores are workhorses, however. According to Apple, the four high-efficiency cores deliver roughly the same performance as the last generation dual-core, Intel-based MacBook Air…but at 1/10 the power.
The GPU also includes eight cores. Apple claims it can deliver up to two times better performance than the graphics on Intel machines using only 1/4 the power. The M1 also includes a 16-core Neural Engine, delivering up to 15x faster ML performance.
The M1 chips improves the overall security of the Mac, bringing the same security architecture that the iPhone and iPad have enjoyed. This includes automatic, high-performance encryption.
With the M1, the new MacBook Air is up to 3.5x faster than the previous model, with up to 5x faster graphics. This makes it faster than 98% of PC laptops sold in the last year.
Like the iPad and iPhone, the new MacBook Air has no fan, is completely silent and wakes instantly. Its improved efficiency gives the MacBook Air 15 hours of web browsing, 18 hours of video playback and 6 hours of videoconferencing.
The MacBook Air starts at $999, or $899 with the education discount.
The new Mini offers 3x faster CPU performance, along with 6x faster GPU performance. In fact, the Mini is up to 5x faster than desktop PCs at 1/10 the size.
The Mini starts at $699, $100 less than before.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro features 2.8x faster CPU performance and 5x GPU performance. Together, this makes the MacBook Pro up to 3x faster than comparable Windows laptops. The MacBook Pro has the best battery life of any Mac ever made, with 17 hours of web browsing or 20 hours of video playback.
The new MacBook Pro starts at $1299, or $1199 for education.
All of the new machines can be ordered today and are available next week.
At the outset, Tim Cook said: “We love the Mac. It’s in our DNA.” Based on today’s event, that is more evident than ever. It’s also a safe bet far more people will love the Mac too, if today’s announcement is any indication.