Will Apple’s first Arm-based laptop computer revolutionize battery life?
Apple’s “One More Thing” event was on Nov. 10 – and we got just the news we’d been waiting for. Back in June, Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) their plans to manufacture their own chips.
Previously, Apple has used Motorola & Intel processors, but eventually decided to start working on their own CPU designs. Intel’s release dates delayed Apple’s product launches one too many times, it seems. Intel’s issues with their Skylake line of processors also apparently prompted Apple to start producing their own.
The day has finally arrived and now we get to know more about Apple’s Arm-based laptop. Here’s what you need to know about the newest Macbook Pro with Arm processors, and what we should expect from other Mac computers in the future.
What are Arm (or ARM) processors?
Arm Holdings offers the opportunity to develop custom chips by issuing licenses that help companies build processors, enabling organizations like Apple to make their own processors instead of relying on third parties. Other than solving supply chain issues, the intention appears to be that Apple devices will be more efficient with chips designed especially for them.
The new M1 chip has an 8-core CPU: four high-performance and four high-efficiency cores. It also has an up to 8-core GPU. The M1 also promises to be much more responsive (almost double according to them, actually).
Are Arm processors better?
The iPhone has become incredibly popular due to how well its hardware & software complement each other. Apple’s all about performance, and the M1 chips are Apple’s way of ensuring they stay at the top of the game.
The Apple Silicon chips will make Macs ideal for machine learning, while also offering other valuable features such as cryptography acceleration & unified memory. The new in-house processors will also help integrate software & hardware in a seamless way, one of Apple’s trademarks since the very beginning.
But what about the Intel-based apps?
As Apple’s still in the process of transitioning, it would be crazy to expect every single app to be available for Apple Silicon chips already. Fortunately for every Mac owner, Apple’s aware of this and the new Macbook is supposed to run Intel apps with the Arm processors.
Intel-based apps will also run in the new Apple devices with Arm chips, made possible by a translating process called Rosetta 2 running in the background. Apple users can enjoy Intel-based apps running on the new Apple Silicon chips while we wait for new native apps.
What else can we expect?
Apple’s custom CPUs are said to be mindblowingly efficient. Mac laptops’ battery life is advertised to last over ten hours, but in reality, they tend to last between six & eight hours.
While we still need to see the new Macbook Pro’s performance, it’s possible a considerable improvement may be seen with the new Arm processors. By developing its own chips, Apple actually achieves more control over the battery life of its devices.
Meanwhile, Apple is making a foray into the headphone market, launching a pair with high-end noise cancellation, built-in touch controls, and Siri control features.