Apple’s M1 chip is an essential piece of Steve Jobs’ grand plan which Apple is still executing nearly a decade after his passing. Until now, a Mac needed multiple chips to deliver all of its features — including the processor, I/O, security, and memory. With M1, these technologies are combined into a single system on a chip (SoC), delivering a new level of integration for more simplicity, more efficiency, and amazing performance. And with incredibly small transistors measured at an atomic scale, M1 is remarkably complex — packing the largest number of transistors we’ve ever put into a single chip. It’s also the first personal computer chip built using industry‑leading 5‑nanometer process technology.
M1 also features Apple’s unified memory architecture, or UMA. M1 unifies its high‑bandwidth, low‑latency memory into a single pool within a custom package. As a result, all of the technologies in the SoC can access the same data without copying it between multiple pools of memory. This dramatically improves performance and power efficiency.
Steve Jobs’s last gambit was challenging the classic notion of the computer, and the M1 is Apple’s latest maneuver. The new chip will first be available in the MacBook Air, the Mac mini, and a lower end version of 13-inch MacBook Pro (a loaner version of which I have been trying out over the last three days). To get a better sense of what the company is up to, I recently spoke with three of their leaders: Greg “Joz” Joswiak, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing; Johny Srouji, senior vice president of Hardware Technologies; and Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering…
“Steve used to say that we make the whole widget,” Joswiak told me. “We’ve been making the whole widget for all of our products, from the iPhone, to the iPads, to the watch. This was the final element to making the whole widget on the Mac.”
“It seems like some of these people were people who don’t buy that part of our product line right now are eager for us to develop silicon to address the part of the product line that they’re most passionate about,” Federighi told me. “You know that their day will come. But for now, the systems we’re building are, in every way I can consider, superior to the ones they’ve replaced.”
Instead of a chip that is one-size-fits-all, Srouji said that M1 is a chip “for the best use of our product, and tightly integrated with the software… I believe the Apple model is unique and the best model,” he said. “We’re developing a custom silicon that is perfectly fit for the product and how the software will use it. When we design our chips, which are like three or four years ahead of time, Craig and I are sitting in the same room defining what we want to deliver, and then we work hand in hand. You cannot do this as an Intel or AMD or anyone else.”
MacDailyNews Take: There’s much more in the – recommended – full article.
I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do. — Steve Jobs