Apple held its “One More Thing” event today and unveiled its latest technological project: an in-house developed and managed chipset named Apple M1. The CPU, which was teased and mentioned in June during WWDC 2020, is Apple’s answer to removing the Intel-provided architecture CPUs that have historically been in its Mac lineup of computers.
The first hardware unit that was announced, the 2020 MacBook Air, will house the M1 chip whose base model will contain eight CPU cores, seven GPU cores and 16 neural engine cores. The body highlights a silent, fan-less design yet in a familiar chassis from the previous MacBook Air. Apple’s event mentioned power-upgrade figures that claim 3.5x CPU performance over the previous generation, along with 5x graphics speeds. The 13” MacBook Air will also have configurations of up to 16GB of memory, 2TB of SSD storage and up to 18 hours of battery life. The base model will start at $999 USD and have 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
Secondly, Apple unveiled the Mac Mini desktop computer, with M1 advancements for the home. The new M1 architecture will give the Mac Mini a purported 3x faster CPU and 6x faster GPU performance from its predecessor. While the chassis also remains unchanged for the 2020 edition, Apple’s event claimed the cool and quiet operation is emphasized due to the efficiency of the M1 chipset, resulting in a near-silent daily usage. The base model M1 Mac Mini will contain 8GB of “unified memory” and 256GB of SSD storage, support for Apple’s recently released 6K Pro Display XDR and more, starting at $699 USD.
Lastly, in true “one more thing” Apple fashion, the event announced the M1-enabled MacBook Pro. The 13” model receives similar treatment to the MacBook Air, but with performance figures appropriate for the Pro nomenclature. The M1 arrives on the Pro with eight processing cores and 16 neural engine cores. The event had mentioned the deletion of a discreet graphics chip for efficiency sake, hence the MacBook Pro 13” will have integrated graphics, albeit processed through eight cores. The chassis again remains unchanged, and includes an active cooling system that allows for 2.8x faster CPU processing and up to 5x faster graphics. Perhaps most impressive is battery life, as Apple claims the M1 MacBook Pro will allow up to 20 hours of video playback performance, 10 hours more than the previous generation.
With M1, Apple had generally announced new abilities that all coincide with the release of its latest Mac OS, Big Sur. The latest operating system will allow for iPhone and iPad apps to run natively on desktop/laptop hardware, and software that remain Intel-chipset-reliant will be able to run via Rosetta 2, a transitional app that allows for Intel-to-M1 operation until they are fully converted to M1.
The M1 MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and MacBook Pro 13” are all available to order now, with units shipping November 17. Mac OS Big Sur will release on November 12.
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