Apple’s shockingly powerful M1 chip for Macs wins raves

The reviews are in on the first batch of Apple Macs with the new Apple-designed M1 chip, and they are overwhelmingly positive.

M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with an astounding 16 billion transistors.
M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with an astounding 16 billion transistors.

By far the most powerful chip Apple has ever made, M1 transforms the Mac experience. With its industry-leading performance per watt, together with macOS Big Sur, M1 delivers up to 3.5x faster CPU, up to 6x faster GPU, up to 15x faster machine learning (ML) capabilities, and battery life up to 2x longer than before. And with M1 and Big Sur, Mac users get access to the biggest collection of apps ever.

The new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini are now powered by M1, Apple’s revolutionary chip.
The new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini are now powered by M1, Apple’s revolutionary chip.

Max A. Cherney for Barron’s:

“The new MacBook Air with Apple’s M1 chip is a triumph,” tech site The Verge declare. The site rated that version of the laptop 9.5 out of 10 and said that the computer is the most impressive laptop in years. Ars Technica described the M1 as a “seriously fast x86 competitor” referring to the instruction set that Intel and AMD chips use. TechCrunch wrote that the new processor’s performance gains will make Intel’s chips “obsolete overnight.”

Investors have had plenty of time to grapple with Apple’s decision to move its machines over to its own line of processors. The company officially made the announcement in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference, after weeks of rumors and leaks.

Apple sold $28.62 billion worth of Mac computers in fiscal 2020, up from $25.48 billion in 2019. Sales of the Mac segment have remained flat at roughly $25 billion for the past five years, except in 2016 when they fell to $22.83 billion. Analysts project Mac sales of $30.12 billion for 2021.

Apple stock has gained 34% since its announcement about its new chips…

MacDailyNews Take: While we’ve long suspected that Apple would have their ducks in a row on this transition, they seem to be exceeding even our high expectations with Rosetta 2 performing better than even the most optimistic of use expected!

27 Comments

  1. I don’t think its hitting a lot of people yet. This is the first generation of this chip in Macs. The birth of a new Mac with a new OS has happened while we’re busy hating each other. Kinda like counting votes while the oceans are drained of water by spaceships or something.

    The baseline $999 M1 MacBook Air benchmarks single core faster than my $4500 MacBook Pro 16 Core i9, 64GB RAM. It is faster than my Razer Blade 15 also.

    It changes the way people look at computers, and how they buy them. Suddenly the option to have a light computer doesn’t mean I have to completely give up performance. It’s no longer silly to think, “I want something really thin, really powerful, long battery life, and extremely fast.” That is now your baseline!

    So instead of being forced to choose the MacBook Pro, its more of choosing the MacBook with the “accoutrements” you desire. I want a fast, thin, long battery life computer, but I’m thinking I want a bigger screen and more ancillary storage and more RAM.

    Screw Games… these computers are now so powerful, I just want to work.

    I’m getting wet picturing data analysis laptops with plowing through millions of records on local databases before I can get coffee, while the computer sits on a blanket in bed because it doesn’t get too hot.

    My typical “Non-Pro” users will have Word, Excel, Outlook, FileMaker, Safari, Chrome, server connections, VOIP, Video Conferencing, audio streaming, video streaming, calendaring, and various other web based vertical industry apps open simultaneously. They love when the computer is fast switching between apps. This changes everything, not just video and photo editing.

    1. The stock market has not priced in how big a tectonic move this is. The industry doesn’t understand that a few continents have just been swallowed by the ocean and a new content of Atlantis just emerged.

      Suddenly everyone is 5-7years behind.

  2. I wonder if the ARM version of Windows will end up running on M1 chips? With Windows users buying M1 Macs to run it? Not that I care personally but it’s always nice to broaden the Mac market and give people the option, as on Intel Macs, to use both Mac and Windows OS.

    I wonder what Redmond is thinking these days being shown up once again by Apple?

  3. Ok, so what happens if Asus, HP, Lenovo, Dell, and any other PC maker who can afford it does something similar? Does the software industry become wildly fragmented?

      1. It is years away, it took Apple 12 years to get to this point Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM, Intel, and the Asian companies aren’t going to do it. And this is just the baby of the family….

    1. On the phone side, no manufacturer has been able to do it yet, and the prize is at least as big. Samsung has everything they need, but keeps falling short.

      I think only Apple and Microsoft can do it in the PC space. Now that Apple has shown the way, perhaps Microsoft will try too. It is a big investment, but we know Microsoft has hardware ambitions.

      1. Good Point! However, all those manufactures NEVER had the consumer market clout that Apple enjoys now with ARM based tablets, phones and now computers plus the secret sauce – they OWN the whole stack.

  4. It’s unfortunate how big investors are no more interested in the M1 chip than they would be interested in a common potato chip.

    Apple Silicon Macs may not been seen as decent revenue generators as far as investors can tell. Apple will have to sell a huge number of Silicon Macs to make up for the lack of iPhone sales in China. Apple has a long path from being The iPhone Company to becoming the Apple Silicon Mac Company.

    I have watched dozens of reviews on Youtube for Apple Silicon Macs and I think Apple has done a fantastic job for a particular segment of computers. I hope Apple can take advantage of what it has before certain highly aggressive companies steal it away. I can almost imagine Microsoft buying Qualcomm just for ARM processor IP in order to compete with Apple.

    1. Magnificent, these aren’t ARM chips. They are Apple chips that use the ARM instruction set, as implemented though 14-15 years of Apple proprietary development. Buying an ARM license or chip design shop will still leave a competitor a decade behind.

  5. Yes the M1 is an extraordinary accomplishment allowing unbelievable computing power, greatly improved battery life and that, at no increase in price. This is not the incremental improvement that we normally see from one generation iteration on Intel CPUs.

    Let’s not forget, however, to salute and congratulate John Srouji and his team. Such a revolutionary product is the result of long term vision, team building, team work, years of hard work, and overtime.

    Let’s also recognize the fact that Apple management had the vision and patience to endorse the team with funds and time to realize such an accomplishment. This is totally contrary to the 1 or 2 return on investment approach that many organizations have.

    Apple is a model to the world of business

  6. Investors will be moved by sales, revenue and market share. The M1 is a big leapfrog in technology that was was made possible by transistor density and how it is architected – a massive paradigm shift.

    I can imagine that adding a few GPU cores in a chip for the 16″ MacBook Pro would eliminate the need for an eGPU. The question is – how will it work with the MacPro where it is designed to allow performance increases by replacing discrete parts like RAM memory and GPU?

    Will it be a design that just allows for replacing the silicon board or having multiple ones? Who knows. I’m sure Apple has a plan.

    With such a huge advancement in performance per watt, a chip like this makes huge sense for rack servers that can run cooler and more efficiently. Call it MServe. Imagine a data center cutting their energy consumption by up to 60% – that’s a big win.

  7. “I . . . guess . . . this . . . is . . . really . . . fast???” — I have watched a number of Youtube reviews, and many reviewers seem to have this dumbfounded realization that the M1 is orders of magnitude faster than they expected.

    1. There amazement is really amusing to watch! Having been an iPad and iPhone user of past and very current models – especially the iPad Pro lineup – I suspected that the M1 synched to an OS specifically tuned the the hardware would produce extraordinary results. I guess those reviewers never really understood the leaps and bounds iPad Pro has demonstrated since – hey – they never use and iPad Pro as a daily driver, I guess. Grin.

  8. A few comments: The M1 Apple Silicon chip is not an ARM chip. It is a custom-designed chip using the licensed ARM RISC instruction set. Apple has experience with RISC chips—the PowerPC was a RISC chip. No other company will use M1 chips, just as no other company uses A-series chips in their phones. because Apple Silicon is custom-designed for Apple products; Apple won’t sell them to competitors anyway. M1 is not the end of the line, hence the “1”. There will be M2 and M3 chips, and so on, for later-generation computers and computers with the need more ports and more memory. The Mac Pro will eventually run on Apple Silicon, but it will be an M[higher number] chip that is already under development.

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