Apple has introduced the new M1 chip that will power its new generation of Arm-based Macs. It’s a 5nm processor, just like the A14 Bionic powering its latest iPhones. The new chip will power Apple’s new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.
Apple says the new processor will focus on combining power efficiency with performance. It has an eight-core CPU, which Apple says offers the world’s best performance per watt of an CPU. Apple says it delivers the same peak performance as a typical laptop CPU at a quarter of the power draw. It says this has four of the world’s fastest CPUs cores, paired with four high-efficiency cores.
It pairs this with up to an eight-core GPU, which Apple claims offers the world’s fastest integrated graphics, and a 16-core Neural Engine. In addition, the M1 processor has a universal memory architecture, a USB 4 controller, media encode and decode engines, and a host of security features. These include hardware-verified secure boot, encryption, and run-time protections.
For an idea of how power efficient the new chip is, Apple says its new MacBook Air which features the chip can play up to 18 hours of video on a single charge (up from 12 hours on this year’s Intel-powered MacBook Air), and offers up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing per charge (up from 11 hours previously). It also doesn’t need a fan, meaning the laptop should run near silently.
Apple claims the chip allows a Mac to instantly wake from sleep mode, and offer good performance even when running 3D programs or editing RAW photos.
Apple says it’s optimized all of its apps for the new processors. Final Cut Pro is up to six times faster, Apple says, and Logic Pro can handle up to three times the amount of audio tracks. Apps from third party providers like Adobe are also coming, Apple says. Lightroom will launch later this year, with Photoshop following next year.
Apple is offering Rosetta 2 translation software for apps not optimized for the new processors, and existing iOS and iPadOS apps will also run natively on the new machines.
Developing… we’re adding more to this post, but you can follow along with our Apple “One More Thing” live blog to get the news even faster.