Tech industry is probably the fastest evolving. No industry in the past has grown at this pace. As an example, consider past 100 years. Cars are only twice as fast. Human brain is almost the same. Now look at the computational power. It has grown by at least a trillion times in this century.
Back in WWDC, Apple announced that they are ditching Intel processors for the new lineup of Macs and therefore Apple’s new M1 chip becomes the first processor to be built “in house”. What does this new chipset has in store for us? Let’s evaluate.
Top features of M1 Chip:
- High computation speed:
M1 may not be different in terms of the technical specification but it will give a significant edge over its predecessors in terms of computational speed for the very reason that it is now optimized for MacOS. In other words, Apple now has full control over customization of the processor to make it a best fit of MacOS. Apple mentioned in their keynote that there’ll be a boost of up to 2x in speed.
2. Power Efficiency:
Once again, since M1s are specifically optimized for MacOS, the power consumption has decreased dramatically. You can expect new lineup of MacBooks to be much more efficient in terms of battery backup now. Apple confirms that M1s have industry leading performance per watt .
3. Horizontal Deployment:
Using the new Apple’s M1 chip in the Mac would also mean that now MacOS can run iPad and iPhone apps. While developers can opt out of this, you will soon be able to see some iPad and iPhone applications on Mac App store very soon.
Apple’s M1 chip also features an 8 core GPU which is capable of executing 25,000 threads concurrently. This would mean that it is capable of handling extremely demanding tasks with ease. As per Apple, this is the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.
5. Neural Engine:
Apple has, for the first time, brought a neural engine to the Mac lineup through M1 chipset. Neural engines have been used in iPhones since 2017 but would be first of a kind in MacBooks. Neural engines essentially provide the capability of machine learning to a device which has a wide array of applications like video processing, AI, voice recognition etc. For example, in iPhones, when you take photos in dark lighting, the system uses a neural engine to fix it and give you a perfect picture each time. Application in Mac would be an interesting thing to explore.
What does it mean for Apple Ecosystem?
- Bringing the chipset ecosystem in house, Apple now can ensure the best in class performance and highest level of optimization for its software. This would also mean that Apple is slowly plugging all the leakage holes in it’s development cycle and maintaining high standards of secrecy in building a proprietary system.
- We can also expect much more synchronization for apple products in future. Given the base architecture is now on the track of unification, developers will have the option of maintaining a standard customer experience across all Apple platforms.
Intel Vs M1?
Intel has always been an industry leader in this business and saying that Apple would beat intel to its own game with the very first iteration of a chipset, would be wrong.
Xeon by Intel would be one such example which features the following:
– As far as GPU is concerned, intel has their own intel Xe architecture based GPU – For neural engines, they have something called neural compute stick 2.
Conclusion and limitations:
M1 is a welcome change by Apple for sure. However, there are certain limitations of the first iteration of silicon by Apple.
- M1 Macs max out at a 16GB RAM whereas Intel Macs can go much higher.
- SSD is also limited to 2TB whereas Intel has the possibility of going way higher.
- M1 can support only two ports.
With that being said, if you are not using it for some really professional task, these limitations shouldn’t bother you much.