Apple’s long separation is official with Intel. On Tuesday, the tech giant introduced its first Mac computers, the MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and 13-inch MacBook Pro, using Apple’s M1 silicon chips. The devices all sport enhanced battery life and cost the same or less than their older siblings powered by Intel.
The computers’ architectures are the same but feature something very different: the latest M1 silicon chips from Apple. For the general public, the MacBook Air will start at $999 — the same price as the older edition — or $899 for educators. For $699, which is $100 cheaper than the previous version, the Mac Mini will sell. And for educators, the MacBook Pro will launch at $1,299, or $1,199, the same level as before. Preorders start Tuesday, and on Nov. 17, the computers arrive.
During the case, “The Mac is having its best year ever,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “The Mac is being preferred by more clients than ever.”
The computers use the latest M1 silicon chips from Apple. It is based on 5-nanometer technology, the world’s most advanced manufacturing technology for semiconductors. Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, said that the M1 silicon chips have an eight-core CPU — four output and four efficiency cores — and an eight-core GPU, making it both powerful and battery efficient. Though consuming a quarter of the battery life, he said it’s twice as powerful as a competing laptop chip (likely one from Intel).
For wireless web surfing, the MacBook Air has a 15-hour battery life and 18 hours for movie playback. In contrast, the 13-inch MacBook Pro can browse the internet on a single charge for 17 hours or play video for 20 hours—10 hours longer than its predecessor.
And Apple optimized Mac OS Big Sur “to take full advantage of all of M1’s capacity and resources,” said Craig Federighi, head of software for Apple. For Mac users, the app is available on Thursday.
During its third event in the previous three months, Apple released a statement. “One More Thing” was the tagline for the new launch. It followed the redesigned iPad Air and Apple Watch Series 6 in September and the iPhone 12 range’s unveiling in October.
The company’s new attempt to monitor all its products’ hardware and software is Apple silicon for Macs. It develops its application processors that serve as the brains of its iPhones and iPods, a Bluetooth chip that connects its AirPods to its iPhones easily, and protection chips that avoid hacking attempts to secure personal data and biometrics. Apple can better manage the features it introduces by manufacturing its processors and better manage the timeline for new devices to be released.
“Apple is trying to regain leverage over the speed of the technology roadmap on the processor chips with the switch to the in-house capabilities, and create a shared architecture across all Apple products, make it easier for developers to write and optimize product ecosystem apps,” JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee stated.
Why Apple Break up Relations With Intel?
For over a decade, as it stepped away from its former partner, IBM, Apple used Intel chips in its computers. The decision altered the PC industry and enabled Intel to become the dominant computer chipmaker in the world. Yet, in recent years, Intel has stumbled. It has failed to switch to the highest-end processor technology, and last year it abandoned its mobile chip activities and sold its 5G phone modem company to Apple. Simultaneously, for many years, Apple has been working on processors to replace the Intel chips on Mac computers.
Losing Apple as a buyer would offer Intel a big blow, but will give Apple more control over its computers’ features and release date. According to IDC, though Macs make up just a small percentage of the overall PC market —8.5 percent in the third quarter — Apple remains one of the largest and most influential technology firms. Macs appear to control higher prices than Windows-based PCs, and Apple’s has been rising while many PC businesses have seen their market share slide.
When it comes to battery life, the latest Apple silicon-based computers are supposed to have a significant advantage over Intel devices. They will also go up against modern Windows machines that are more like mobile devices that have been built. To build what it calls always-on PCs, Qualcomm has collaborated with Microsoft and PC manufacturers, including Asus, but the products have not sold in huge numbers. They may have decent battery life and continuous connectivity, but Intel and AMD processors’ reliability does not equal them.
The latest Macs from Apple come as millions of individuals worldwide update their machines to function or study from home. Laptops were selling around the board well. According to Canalys, global notebook and mobile workstation shipments jumped 28 percent from the previous year in the third quarter, helping drive total PC shipments up 13 percent to 79.2 million units. Shipments have reached levels that have not been seen since 2011, the firm said.
Although Apple has revamped three of its computers, at least for now, its highest-end Macs stick to Intel chips.
The Revised Mac Lineup
Laura Metz, Mac product line manager, said that the new MacBook Air is three times faster than the best-selling Windows laptop on the market and is shorter than 98 percent of all PC notebooks sold in the past year. It features a retina display of 13.3 inches and does not require a fan to cool the unit.
“We took the MacBook Air with the M1 silicon chips and Big Sur and made it into something much beyond any other notebook,” she said.
The Air has a lithium-polymer battery of 49.9 watts per hour and comes with a 30-watt USB-C power adapter. There are two models of the machine, with $1,249 retailing for the higher-end product. And there are three colors available: space grey, gold, and silver.
Similar to each other are the Pro and the Air. Both include a 3.5 mm headphone jack and two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports. They come with 8GB of RAM and can be upgraded to 16GB, and up to 2TB can be configured, and the solid-state drives start at 256 GB. To unlock the devices, both have 720p FaceTime HD cameras and TouchID sensors.
The Pro has a slightly better display, better speakers, a larger battery (58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery) that increases the battery life over the Air by two hours, and comes with a USB-C power adapter of 61 watts. It is significantly more massive than the Air and weighs 3 pounds, compared to 2.8 pounds for the Air.