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A Look At The New Apple M1 Chip

Rafal KuklaApple

So what do we know about the new M1 chip so far?

Well, most people would agree that it’s already a game-changer. The rest think it’s worth keeping an eye on for the future.

At the very least, we know M1 technology is about improving performance and efficiency. So was this something we needed?

Definitely. Because where my old Mac has separate chips – including processor, I/O, security and memory – my future M1 Mac will need just one chip. That’s one single place where all the different technologies can access data, without unnecessary duplication.

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In practical terms, everything will run faster and more efficiently. With the new technology, I’ll get enhanced detail on video apps and games, with 3.9 times faster video processing. And the speed of image processing will be faster by up to 7.1 times as well.

This means the entire system will be much more responsive and easy to use. 

I’d say that’s a job well done already. 😃

Previous Technologies

So where were we before all this happened? Before Apple came along and gave the industry a metaphorical talking-to?

For many years, Intel and AMD have been competing ferociously for the top spot in CPU performance, battery life and integrated graphics.

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Apple has been doing its own thing. And as always, it’s been doing its own thing pretty well.

The developmental interplay between its hardware and software has resulted in huge success and sales of the iPhone and iPad over several years.

Apple has always focused on designing high-quality products that match its functionality. And they design software that optimises its hardware. So I - the user - can get the performance I want and still have a product that looks amazing.

Now they’ve turned their attention to the Mac. And they’ve done pretty well again.

8-Core CPU

The new M1’s CPU has two types of cores: four high-performance and four high-efficiency. Battery life is optimised as never before, even when performing the most energy-greedy tasks.

If we’re talking actual figures, Apple claims the CPU performance will now be 3.5 times faster than before – “the world’s fastest CPU core when it comes to low-power silicon”. That’s now twice the performance level of the latest PC chip.

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With each performance core able to run a single task more efficiently, four of them running together achieve a higher level of performance on multiple threads. Meanwhile, the efficiency e-cores are designed specifically to handle lighter tasks, using significantly less energy. That means it uses just as much as it needs – and no more. 

Power consumption with the M1 chip is so much better, which is exactly what I need day-to-day. My future M1 Mac will now use just a quarter of the power of the PC chip, while achieving the same peak performance.

There’s a pattern emerging here. At every stage of looking at the M1 chip, I can see higher performance can be achieved using much less energy – whether I’m using its integrated graphics – or anything else.

M1 Products

M1 Macbook

The M1 MacBook Pro 13” can achieve up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing. And up to 20 hours of movie playback.

The M1 MacBook Air can achieve up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing and 18 hours of movie playback.

Just take a moment to imagine that. No more nervous glances at your battery life every half hour, as you watch it dwindle before your eyes.

M1 Mac mini

The Mac mini was already versatile. And compact. Small yet perfectly formed.

M1 can pack incredible speed and power into this little square box. The 8-core CPU now delivers up to 3 times faster processing power than it did before. And up to 6 times faster graphics. And up to 15 times faster machine learning with its enhanced Neural Engine.


MacOS Big Sur will now allow me to run more apps than before, all optimised for M1. And more are on their way - all with the promise of optimised performance.

With Rosetta 2, M1 and macOS Big Sur can run apps that are mid-transition to universal versions. This means that I don’t have to keep updating, but can keep working on all the same projects uninterrupted. 

Rosetta 2 will enable me to run my old apps more efficiently, while still offering optimised performance on any new apps.

iPhone and iPad

Unlike before, investing in one of the new M1 Macs means I’ll be able run iPhone and iPad apps directly on Mac. This includes games, movies and all my usual apps – the things I do each day to help with my work and play.

They work just like regular Mac apps, with menu bar, resizable window options, mouse etc. Even apps previously purchased can just be transferred over easily.

And I can buy plenty of new ones as well, of course.

The Future

It was easy to be sceptical in the early stages. How can Apple possibly produce something that will change the way we all work – or would like to work?

Well, they’ve done it before. So why not now?

And yes, they’ve done it. Everyone is talking about these ambitious claims that have now come to life. As if we ever doubted it.


The M1 chip holds its own against even Intel’s most powerful Core i9 chip for laptops. So what can competitors of the likes of Intel, AMD and Qualcomm do about Apple cornering this market?

I’ve no doubt developers are already hard at work coming up with new ideas and designs that will knock our socks off.

So just watch this space. 😊

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