Wednesday, 11 November 2020 10:04

MUST-WATCH KEYNOTE: Apple's new M1 powered Macs - next-gen computing has arrived! Featured


While Macs aren't yet equipped with touchscreens or Pencil compatibility, the new M1 processor blows away Intel processors in a new Mac mini, MacBook Pro 13-inch and a brand new and completely fanless MacBook Air, while macOS 11 Big Sur arrives this week, too!

Apple's new MacBook Air may be fanless, but Apple is about to deservedly earn the attention of millions upon millions of new fans drawn to the power of Apple's new platform, delivering the next big change in traditional computing since the iPhone and iPad.

Where Microsoft tried to unify traditional desktop apps with mobile apps during its Surface RT and Metro days, and failed dismally, and where Google has tried its ChromeOS that can run Android apps with some but hardly stellar success, Apple will prevail and succeed beyond its wildest imagination.

That's because the new Apple M1 SoC, with its 16 billion transistors and integrating everything important can not only run desktop Mac apps designed to run on Intel processors, but can also run every iPhone and iPad app on the App Store, delivering the best of all worlds.

Indeed, when Apple spoke of completely transforming the Mac experience, about the only thing that hasn't yet happened is a Mac with a touch screen or Apple Pencil support, but given macOS now runs on an ARM processor, a future iPad with macOS support is, presumably, inevitable.

Especially given iPads now have full mouse, trackpad and cursor support, giving the iPad the ability to be used like a Mac more than ever before, and which is incredibly transformative and exciting for iPad users!

But Mac users with the new M1 processor are now getting the ability to run iPhone and iPad apps too, and alongside the incredible power that Apple demonstrated its M1 offers in its must-watch keynote video, and we have a monumental day that transforms computing forever.

Intel will have to triple down to compete while it sees its lunch being eaten by AMD. Qualcomm and Samsung have just seen its smartphone, tablet and notebook ARM processors shown up to being far weaker and far less advanced that they imagined, with all those companies undoubtedly now striving to catch up, even if it will take some time.

Before we go further, below is Apple's MUST-WATCH keynote, which at just under 49 minutes is jam packed with information that will have customers delighted, and competitors quaking in their boots.

The video starts with a brand new Tones and I song called "Fly Away", due to be launched on November 13, and which are extremely telling lyrics. It's also a damned good song and is sure to be a global hit of epic proportions:

I've been on my own for a minute
Is it only me out here
No-one seems to think that I fit in
That I don't want to be like them
No, cause I don't want to be like them
Cause I know that I, know that I, I
I had a dream that someday
I would just fly, fly away
Oh-oh-oh, ooh-oh-OH, Woah-oh, OH, Oh, I Fly away
Oh-oh-oh, fly fly away ooh-oh-OH, Woah-oh, Oh, Fly, Fly away
Oh-oh-oh, fly, fly away ooh-oh-OH, Woah-oh, OH, Oh, oh, I Fly away
Mmm, mmm-mmm-mmmh, mmm-mmm-mmmmh, mmm-mmm-mmmmh.

Apple has delivered upon the promise of its own Apple Silicon, building upon over a decade of custom CPU development to deliver its most powerful processor yet, and its first "system on a chip" designed for "traditional" Macs.

As you can tell, I think it's seriously impressive stuff, with Apple's just-released description of all the technologies listed below, and its absolutely must-watch keynote presentation on all of its new developments something you must watch above if you haven't already. I'm serious - stop whatever it is you're doing, including reading this article, and watch!

Apple is also launching the brand new macOS 11 Big Sur operating system on Thursday 12 November in the US, and due to the usual timezone changes, this means Friday 13 November in Australia.

Now below I'm to simply reprint what Apple has said about the M1 processor, which you can also read here.

Apple has also issued a media release about all the new Macs, which is in full here, with local pricing and orders starting TODAY, and which I'll write more about this afternoon, but the M1 processor is what is powering the new Macs and delivering all of the magic.

You can find out more about the new macOS 11 Big Sur here, the new MacBook Air here, the new Mac mini here and the new MacBook Pro 13-inch here

So, with Apple unleashing its new M1 processor, here's what Apple had to say:

With industry-leading performance, powerful features, and incredible efficiency, M1 is Apple’s first chip designed specifically for the Mac

Apple today announced M1, the most powerful chip it has ever built and the first chip designed specifically for the Mac. M1 is optimised for Mac systems in which small size and power efficiency are critically important.

As a system on a chip (SoC), M1 combines numerous powerful technologies into a single chip, and features a unified memory architecture for dramatically improved performance and efficiency. M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometre-process technology and is packed with an astounding 16 billion transistors, the most Apple has ever put into a chip.

It features the world’s fastest CPU core in low-power silicon, the world’s best CPU performance per watt, the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer, and breakthrough machine learning performance with the Apple Neural Engine. As a result, M1 delivers up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6x faster GPU performance and up to 15x faster machine learning, all while enabling battery life up to 2x longer than previous-generation Macs. With its profound increase in performance and efficiency, M1 delivers the biggest leap ever for the Mac.

“There has never been a chip like M1, our breakthrough SoC for the Mac. It builds on more than a decade of designing industry-leading chips for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, and ushers in a whole new era for the Mac,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies.

“When it comes to low-power silicon, M1 has the world’s fastest CPU core, the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer and the amazing machine learning performance of the Apple Neural Engine. With its unique combination of remarkable performance, powerful features and incredible efficiency, M1 is by far the best chip we’ve ever created.”

First System on a Chip for the Mac

Macs and PCs have traditionally used multiple chips for the CPU, I/O, security and more. Now with M1, these technologies are combined into a single SoC, delivering a whole new level of integration for greater performance and power efficiency. M1 also features a unified memory architecture that brings together high-bandwidth, low-latency memory into a single pool within a custom-engineered package. This allows all of the technologies in the SoC to access the same data without copying it between multiple pools of memory, further improving performance and efficiency.

The World’s Best CPU Performance per Watt

M1 features an 8-core CPU consisting of four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. Each of the high-performance cores provides industry-leading performance for single-threaded tasks, while running as efficiently as possible. They are the world’s fastest CPU cores in low-power silicon, allowing photographers to edit high-resolution photos at lightning speed and developers to build apps nearly 3x faster than before. And all four can be used together for a huge boost in multithreaded performance.

The four high-efficiency cores deliver outstanding performance at a tenth of the power. By themselves, these four cores deliver similar performance to the current-generation dual-core MacBook Air, at much lower power. They are the most efficient way to run lightweight, everyday tasks like checking email or browsing the web, and preserve battery life like never before. And all eight cores can work together to provide incredible compute power for the most demanding tasks and deliver the world’s best CPU performance per watt.

The World’s Fastest Integrated Graphics

M1 includes Apple’s most advanced GPU. It benefits from years of analysis of Mac applications, including everyday apps and challenging pro workloads. With industry-leading performance and incredible efficiency, the GPU in M1 is in a class by itself. Featuring up to eight powerful cores capable of running nearly 25,000 threads simultaneously, the GPU can handle extremely demanding tasks with ease, from smooth playback of multiple 4K video streams to rendering complex 3D scenes. With 2.6 teraflops of throughput, M1 has the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.

Blazing-Fast, On-Device Machine Learning

The M1 chip brings the Apple Neural Engine to the Mac, greatly accelerating machine learning (ML) tasks. Featuring Apple’s most advanced 16-core architecture capable of 11 trillion operations per second, the Neural Engine in M1 enables up to 15x faster machine learning performance. In fact, the entire M1 chip is designed to excel at machine learning, with ML accelerators in the CPU and a powerful GPU, so tasks like video analysis, voice recognition and image processing will have a level of performance never seen before on the Mac.

More Innovative Technologies Packed into M1

The M1 chip is packed with a number of powerful custom-engineered technologies, including: 

  • Apple’s latest image signal processor (ISP) for higher quality video with better noise reduction, greater dynamic range, and improved auto white balance.
  • The latest Secure Enclave for best-in-class security.
  • A high-performance storage controller with AES encryption hardware for faster and more secure SSD performance.
  • Low-power, highly efficient media encode and decode engines for great performance and extended battery life.
  • An Apple-designed Thunderbolt controller with support for USB 4, transfer speeds up to 40Gbps, and compatibility with more peripherals than ever.

macOS Big Sur Optimised for M1

macOS Big Sur is engineered, down to its core, to take full advantage of all the capability and power of M1, delivering a massive boost in performance, astonishing battery life and even stronger security protections. With M1, things users do every day feel noticeably faster and smoother. Just like iPhone and iPad, the Mac now instantly wakes from sleep. Browsing with Safari — which is already the world’s fastest browser — is now up to 1.5x speedier at running JavaScript and nearly 2x more responsive.

With Big Sur and M1, Mac users can run a greater range of apps than ever before. All of Apple’s Mac software is now Universal and runs natively on M1 systems. Existing Mac apps that have not been updated to Universal will run seamlessly with Apple’s Rosetta 2 technology. And iPhone and iPad apps can now run directly on the Mac. Additionally, the foundations of Big Sur are optimised to unlock the power of M1, including developer technologies from Metal for graphics to Core ML for machine learning.

Start of a Two-Year Transition for the Mac

M1 powers the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. They join the rest of the Mac product line to form the strongest Mac line-up ever. This is the beginning of a transition to a new family of chips designed specifically for the Mac. The transition to Apple silicon will take about two years to complete, and these three systems are an amazing first step.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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