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Posts tagged with "M1"

The M1 Mac mini and MacBook Air: A Giant Leap Forward for All Mac Users

It’s been just over two months since the first M1 Macs were delivered to customers. I purchased an M1 MacBook Air to replace my aging 2016 MacBook Pro, and not long after, Apple sent me an M1 Mac mini to try. In the ten weeks or so since then, I’ve used both almost exclusively for a wide variety of tasks, and although both computers are somewhat limited by their lack of ports, that has been less of an issue than I anticipated. What’s been far more notable, remarkable in fact, is the performance of the new MacBook Air and Mac mini.

Benchmarks don’t do these Macs justice. There are plenty of CPU-intensive tasks that are faster than before, which I expected would be the case. However, living with both of these Macs for as long as I have has given me a much greater appreciation for the impact that the M1 has on ordinary, day-to-day tasks. The differences are less pronounced for individual tasks that require less computing power, but the aggregate impact has still been significant for both computers, especially the MacBook Air.

The M1 SoC. Source: Apple.

The M1 SoC. Source: Apple.

Performance increases quickly become the ‘new normal.’ They tend to fade into the background. What starts as startling soon becomes ordinary and expected. The M1 Macs are no different in this respect and perhaps even more so because they look like the machines that came before them.

Still, if you step back and consider these new Macs in the context of those that immediately preceded them and account for the fact that these are entry-level models, the future of the Mac is bright. The M1 update makes these Macs substantially better deals than the versions they replace with computing power to spare for most users. The new machines also bode well for the remainder of the Mac lineup that hasn’t been updated yet.

I’m excited to see what the M1 means for the rest of the product line, and I’m sure I’ll be tempted to try them, but I’ve also never been more content with new Macs than these. I’m sure there are things I do that future M1 Macs will do even faster, but the M1 MacBook Air and Mac mini have introduced a fluidity in my daily computing that I haven’t experienced since I first tried the iPad Pro. It’s the sort of subtle, qualitative shift that can’t be captured by benchmarks but has rekindled my fondness for the platform by improving the experience across the board. Here’s what I mean.

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The Independent Interviews Federighi, Joz, and Ternus on M1 Macs

Following Apple’s special event this Tuesday, The Independent scored an interview with Craig Federighi, Greg Joswiak, and John Ternus. The Apple execs provided some fascinating insight into their new M1 chips, including that the speed and battery life of the M1 Macs were far greater than even Apple had imagined they would be before the project began.

Federighi discusses the differences between the new MacBook Air and Pro as well. The Independent’s Andrew Griffin writes:

The M1 arrives at first in three different products: the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini. The latter occupies its own place in the line-up, but given that the Air and Pro now have the exact same chip, how can they stay distinct?

“Thermal capacity,” says Federighi decisively. The Pro has a fan – Apple calls it an “active cooling system” – while the Air doesn’t, and the rest of the performance flows from there.

Federighi starts sketching out a graph that will be familiar to anyone who watched the event. The thing that is really holding these chips back is heat: as you give them more cooling to play with, they become even faster. The MacBook has some other things, too – such as even more battery – but it’s that extra headroom that really allows them to roar.

The interview also discusses Apple’s chip naming strategies and their decision to not ship new laptop hardware designs alongside the new chips. Federighi even gets a chance to pour cold water on the popular theory that Big Sur is paving the way for touchscreen Macs:

“I gotta tell you when we released Big Sur, and these articles started coming out saying, ‘Oh my God, look, Apple is preparing for touch’. I was thinking like, ‘Whoa, why?’

“We had designed and evolved the look for macOS in a way that felt most comfortable and natural to us, not remotely considering something about touch.

Make sure to check out the whole article over at The Independent.

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iPhone and iPad Apps Are Coming to the Mac App Store

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple’s M1-based Macs will start to be delivered to users next week and are capable of running iPhone and iPad apps natively. In an App Store story and developer documentation, Apple has explained how that will work.

iPhone and iPad apps will be available on the Mac App Store by default, although developers can opt out of offering their apps there. A developer might not want to make their iPhone or iPad app available on the Mac App Store for a variety of reasons. For example:

Some apps available on Mac may not function as they normally would on iPhone or iPad. For example, features that rely on hardware unique to iPhone or iPad—such as a gyroscope or a screen that supports complex Multi-Touch gestures—may not work on Mac. In some cases such a feature may be central to the app’s functionality, while in others the app may be usable without it.

Developers who want to offer their iPhone and iPad apps on the Mac App Store don’t have to do anything to make them work on the Mac. However, Apple is asking developers to consider adopting things like keyboard support, multitasking, and Auto-Layout, which will add Mac keyboard and window resizing support, for example.

Apple is also encouraging developers to verify that their iPhone and iPad apps work on the M1 Macs. Apps built for iOS and iPadOS will be labeled as ‘Designed for iPhone’ and ‘Designed for iPad,’ so users can identify them, and if an app hasn’t been verified by its developer yet, it will also be labeled as ‘Not verified for macOS.’

Search results will feature a toggle that separates Mac apps from iPhone and iPad apps. Source: Apple.

Search results will feature a toggle that separates Mac apps from iPhone and iPad apps. Source: Apple.

Apple’s developer documentation notes that iPhone and iPad apps can be found on the Mac App Store,

by browsing curated selections and charts, or by searching and clicking the “iPhone & iPad Apps” toggle at the top of search results.

The toggle strikes me as a good way to handle search results to help ensure that users understand which version of an app they are downloading. Also, developers who offer their iPhone or iPad app on the Mac App Store can later replace it with a macOS version, which will be delivered to users as an update to the app. However, if developers already offer a Mac app as part of a universal purchase, they cannot later offer an iPhone or iPad app instead.

It will be interesting to see how many apps opt out of the Mac App Store. There are many reasons why a developer might not participate, but I expect those that do will verify their apps relatively quickly to provide users with the confidence to try their app on a new M1 Mac.


Apple Unveils New M1 Apple Silicon Chip for Macs

During this morning’s Apple special event stream, SVP of Hardware Technologies Johny Srouji unveiled the first Apple silicon chip for Mac. The company teased this chip at WWDC in June, but we’ve had to wait until today for the full details. Chip transitions are never undertaken lightly, so expectations were high for how significant the advantages of Apple silicon would be. Thankfully, the M1 chip does not disappoint.

The M1 ushers in one of the largest single-generation leaps in performance and power efficiency for Apple hardware in recent history. It is a system on a chip (SoC), meaning it has pulled multiple different chip types from prior Macs together into one package. Assembled using a 5-nanometer process, the M1 is packed with 16 billion transistors. The result is a highly power-efficient chip which can deliver impressive performance while maintaining the longest battery life ever for Mac laptops.

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