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M1: The first Apple Silicon chip to power three new Macs

by Yvonne Ng
M1, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, Apple

For the first time ever, Apple is using its own chip, the M1, to power three of its new products, the MacBook Air, Mac mini and MacBook Pro.

M1 chip

The new M1 chip is based on a 5nm process and features 8 CPU cores, 8 GPU cores and 16 cores for its Neural Engine. Apple says that the M1 chip is its most powerful chip yet and can deliver great performance for with better power efficiency, making it the world’s best CPU performance per watt. When it comes to its GPU, the M1 can support up to 24,576 concurrent threads and has a performance of 2.6 teraflops.  

MacBook Air

The new MacBook Air is the first to be introduced with the M1 chip during the event. The MacBook Air has an improved 13.3-inch Retina display and also support Touch ID. Apple claims that the MacBook Air has 3.5x faster CPU performance, 5x faster GPU performance and 9x faster machine learning as compared to its predecessor.

Apple also removed the fan to offer a silent design, but promises that the MacBook Air can still deliver great performance. The battery life on the MacBook Air is also improved, offering up to 18 hours of battery life when used without its charger. Apple’s macOS Big Sur also enhances the overall experience; when paired with the M1 chip, the MacBook Air’s screen can wake as instantaneous of that of the iPad/iPhone.

Apple also introduced Rosetta 2, a translation process that works on most Intel-based apps. On the other hand, Apple’s Universal Apps will consists of apps that will run on both Intel-based Macs and Apple Silicon Macs. With the M1 chip, Apple also announced that it’ll be possible to launch apps on your new MacBook that were previously only available on the iPhone and iPad.

Mac mini

The M1 chip is also integrated in the new Mac mini that comes in an ultra compact design, offers up to 15x faster machine learning and has a thermal design that provides quiet operation. Thanks to the 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, the Mac mini has 3x faster CPU performance and 6x faster graphics performance than the previous Mac mini.

Its two USB-C ports support Thunderbolt and USB 4 which allows it to connect to the Pro Display XDR for a 6K external display. Apart from that, the Mac mini has up to 16GB RAM and 2TB SSD.

MacBook Pro

The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro also comes with the M1 chip to offer 5x faster GPU performance and 11x faster machine learning than the previous model. Using Secure Enclave, the MacBook Pro has an activation lock the can protect it if stolen and an active cooling system to prevent the notebook from overheating. 

Similar to the Mac mini, the MacBook Pro comes with up to 16GB RAM and 2TB SSD storage. It also has two USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt/USB 4. Not only does it have advanced camera ISP, the MacBook Pro also supports WiFi 6, has an improved camera and now features studio-quality mics. 

Pricing and availability 

The MacBook Air starts at RM4,399, the Mac mini starts at RM2,999, and the MacBook Pro starts at RM5,599.

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