Apple’s new M1 processing chip will see Mac computers run more like iPhones


Apple chief Timothy Cook.

On Tuesday evening, Apple unveiled its next generation of Mac computers, powered by a new M1 processing chip that was designed in-house with the intention of enhancing speeds, battery life and noise reduction.

For more than a decade, all Mac models have been powered by multiple chips, designed by Intel, each delivering different features, such as security, the central processing unit (CPU) and input/output (I/O). 

The M1 is the first chip designed specifically for the Mac range.

The M1 is “the most powerful chip Apple has ever made”, the tech behemoth said in a press release.

It features an eight-core CPU, with four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, built with low-power silicon, the latter of which promises to prevent devices from overheating.

Additional promised perks of an M1-powered Mac include “outstanding performance at a 10th of the power”, “the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer”, and “15x faster machine learning performance”, for the software geeks out there.

The M1 also features high bandwidth and low latency, which together allow the technologies in a device to access the same data without copying it, promising to improve performance and efficiency.

The M1 chip is currently for sale in three new Mac models available to Australian consumers — a MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro and a Mac Mini.

Apple predicts it will take two years to transition the entire Mac range to feature the silicon-based M1 chip.


Apple’s new range of M1-powered Macs. Source: Apple’s newsroom.

Apple announced in June this year that it was breaking up with Intel and would instead custom-design chips based on architecture from UK firm Arm.

By controlling both hardware and software, Apple said it will be able to build Macs of new shapes and sizes and better optimise them for certain applications.

At the time, members of the international tech community voiced concern that the split would give Apple even more power over developers and startups.

Essentially, the M1 chip will enable Macs to run in a similar fashion to iPhones and iPads.

Where Mac users would have previously been free to download software and apps from the internet browser of their choice, in the future, they may be limited to what’s on offer in the App Store.

This change would give developers little choice but to list their products on the App Store.

However, Apple takes a 30% cut of all in-app purchases and app sales, which is a sizable chunk of potential revenue for big and small developers alike.

In August, video game developer Epic took a stand against Apple’s app monetisation policy, introducing its own in-app payment system to circumvent the 30% fee.

In response, Apple booted Epic’s widely popular game Fortnite from the App Store. The two mammoth tech companies are still locking horns.


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